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Is it safe to use the table saw blade I dropped?

Hidden damage could equal dangerous shrapnel if this broken blade is used again before being properly repaired.

Q:

I dropped my premium tablesaw blade on the concrete and the carbide broke off of a tooth. Can I keep using it?
—Todd Hubbard, Oakland, Calif.

A:

Short answer, Todd: no. Besides the obviously damaged tooth, other teeth may have sustained invisible damage. The next use could turn that carbide into dangerous shrapnel.

But is there any way to salvage your investment? We called several premium blade manufacturers posing as customers to see what our options were.

Not surprisingly, bouncing a blade off of concrete instantly voids the warranty—so there would be no free replacement. And companies offered few alternatives beyond purchasing a new blade. When prompted, most agreed that a local sharpening service might be able to replace the carbide tip less expensively than replacing the blade.

The representative of one manufacturer, Forrest Manufacturing, asked us to send in the broken blade. They offered to check the surrounding teeth for damage, replace missing carbide tips, straighten any bent teeth, and make a test cut to ensure everything was in order. They directed us to their online price list, which had a detailed listing of their fees for these services. At the time of this writing, in addition to shipping costs, carbide tip replacement starts at $8 for one tooth down to $4 each for four or more teeth. A test cut checking for bent teeth costs an additional $3.50 and straightening any bent teeth costs $3 per tooth.

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