Why is my table saw burning wood (9 reasons + easy fix) Thumbnail

Why Is My Table Saw Burning Wood? (9 Reasons + Easy Fix)


Sawing wood is quick and easy thanks to the modern table saws we have today. They are great tools, but they are not without problems. A common problem when using this tool is that sudden, your table saw starts smoking, and mysterious burns appear on the wood. This is, of course, not fun, but it can point to some serious problems. So, what’s the deal with my table saw burning wood?

The type of wood and the friction between the blade and the wood are the two main causes of burn marks. Cherry and walnut are highly sensitive woods. Possible causes include a dull or dirty blade, an incorrectly aligned or wrong blade, or pushing the stock too slowly.

This article will learn you how to properly diagnose any burn your table saw blade is causing. Once you understand this, you will be able to fix the problems. Taking these actions will burning the wood, extend the life of your blades and table saw, but you also avoid having to throw away expensive wood.
Do you still have a burn mark on the wood? No problem! With the handy tip that you will discover in this article, it will be gone in no time.

How Do Burn Marks Form on Wood?

With a table saw, we are dealing with a rapidly rotating saw blade. A table saw can reach speeds between 3000RPM and 4000RPM. That means the saw blade makes between 3000 and 4000 revolutions per minute, pretty fast, isn’t it?

If all parts, including the saw blade, are perfectly aligned, the saw blade will cut through the wood without any problems.
However, if only one part is not adjusted correctly, there is some kind of damage to the saw blade, or you cut wood that is not dry enough, friction will develop. This friction will generate heat with the result that you will see burn marks appear.

Friction is typically accompanied by a familiar sound and a slowing down of the table saw’s speed. In some cases, you will also notice the table saw smoking. As a result, even with very little friction, table saw kickback is a possibility.
This can cause significant injury. For that, in order to avoid serious discomfort and injury, you must carefully avoid all of the things listed below. To avoid kickback, you must also know how to use a table saw properly. As a result, I strongly urge you to read my essay on how to use a table saw.

Here’s Why Your Table Saw Is Burning Wood (9 reasons)

Friction is the main cause of burn markings on the table saw, as you have previously read in this article. Friction can be caused by a variety of factors. The list below contains some of the most prevalent causes, and you may use it to figure out which one relates to your table saw. You can also think of it as a checklist that you can use during a pre-cut inspection.

You have a dull blade

With a dull blade, excessive heat will build up between the saw blade and the wood. To make sure the blade is in good working order, look for chipped, missing, or rounded teeth.

I propose that you examine the saw blade for bluntness every time you start a new working day. A smart suggestion is to have a spare blade in your workshop for each saw blade you have. This allows you to rapidly replace a saw blade if it becomes damaged.

Of course, replacing the dull blade with a sharp one is the solution. If your blade is of high quality, the manufacturer may offer a blade sharpening service. If you still have burn marks after changing the blade, the problem isn’t with the blade.

The blade is out of alignment

Table saw burn marks will appear on your wood if the saw blade is misaligned even slightly.

These types of alignment issues are easily identifiable since they frequently result in burn markings on one side of the sawn wood. If you suspect a problem with your table saw’s alignment, make sure all of the table saw’s relevant parts are aligned.

Kickback and catastrophic injury can be caused by a misplaced saw blade. If you discover this problem, you should make sure the saw blade is correctly aligned as quickly as possible.

how to check the alignment of a table saw blade

A saw blade that is perfectly aligned will always be parallel to the table saw’s miter slots. To check this, follow the next steps:

  1. Raise the blade to its greatest height and make sure it’s at a 90-degree angle.
  2. In the miter slot, place a combination square and extend the ruler until it just touches a tooth in front of the saw blade.
  3. With a marker, mark the tooth on the saw blade where the square contacts the blade.
  4. Move the blade up to the designated tooth, which is at the back end of the throat plate.
  5. Now is the time to place the combination square in the miter slot. If the combination square is parallel to the miter slot and touches the blade in the same way, it is parallel to the miter slot. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to make blade alignment modifications.
Why is my table saw burning wood (9 reasons + easy fix) - Combination square

Starrett Combination Square

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Your fence is not parallel to the blade

Saw marks on wood will appear if the fence is not parallel to the blade, comparable to table saw burn marks on a blade that is out of alignment. As a result, you’ll need to figure out if the problem is with the fence or with the saw blade alignment.

The blade is bent or warped

Using a blade that is bent or warped will not only cause burn marks, but an extremely increased risk of kickback. This means that at the slightest deviation, you have to replace the saw blade immediately.

Warping often happens when a saw blade has been overheated for a long time. The heating will cause the metal from which the saw blade is made to expand and contract, causing it to be bent or warped.

A bent or warped saw blade cannot be repaired, so throw it away so that you can never accidentally install it in the table saw again.

You are using the wrong blade height

For safety reasons, I will always set the saw blade at a height that is slightly higher than the workpiece. This in turn can have disadvantages with certain types of wood such as cherry or other sensitive types of wood that burn stains occur.

In that case, it will be recommended to increase the height of the blade, possibly stopping the combustion. When you must use this technique, be extremely careful and always use a push stick. In this video, you can see how I made a simple push stick for my table saw.

The reason why raising the saw blade can help is as follows: The height of the blade affects the angle at which the teeth contact the wood. With a high blade, the angle of the tooth will be ideal for making a cut without much difficulty. If this angle is too low, there will be more friction, which will burn the wood.

Find the appropriate blade for the cut

It is most recommended to use a universal saw blade for the most common tasks. That will save you a lot of time and not have to change the knife every time. However, there are certain tasks that require a specialized blade. What makes the big difference here is the distance of the teeth on the blade and the shape of the individual teeth. The right saw blade will ensure that less heat is generated.

When choosing the right saw blade, the number of teeth is one of the most important factors, but it is certainly not the only feature to consider. My article, Understanding Table Saw Blades | Always Find The Perfect One, will be of great help to you in this.

In short, a saw with more teeth will produce a smoother finish than one with fewer teeth, but it will almost certainly inflict burns if used incorrectly. This is because the heated blade metal keeps in touch with the wood for prolonged periods of time without interruption or ventilation.

BladeNumber of teeth on a 10″ (254mm) bladeUsage
Rip Blade24Ripping wood quickly. Does not create a smooth edge
Universal blade40All-around blade
Finishing blade/crosscut blade60 to 80Making crosscuts. Creating a smooth edge. Not good for ripping
Veneer/plywood blade200For creating a smooth edge on plywood and other thin woods prone to tearout
Why is my table saw burning woodNumber of teeth on a saw blade & usage

The blade is dirty

Inspect the blade on a regular basis to see if it is unclean. Blades are frequently covered with resin that is liberated from the wood during cutting over time. This build-up will increase friction, resulting in table saw burn marks on your wood.

If the blade is unclean, special blade cleaning solutions can be used to clean it. If the saw blade still burns wood after cleaning, you’ll need to look into the problem further.

Why is my router bit burning the wood_ (+ 3 simple fixes) Table saw blad and router bit cleaner

CMT Formula 2050 Blade and Bit Cleaner

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The feed rate is too slow or uneven

Table saw burning wood is primarily caused by friction. As a result, it’s not true to say that the slower you pass the wood through the table saw, the longer it takes to heat up and burn.

The wood can burn if you don’t feed the wood to the table saw quickly enough or if you have to take a break to shift your hand while operating.

The type of wood you’re cutting, the blade you’re using, and the saw’s design all influence how fast you feed the wood. Some woods, like cherry, are more prone to catching fire. For certain types of wood, a higher feed rate is required.
It’s a good idea to keep your eyes on the saw blade and listen attentively to the sound your table saw makes during input. You might start feeding the wood quicker or slower based on your observations.

Your wood is warped or dried improperly

Warped wood can cause the blade to jam in the kerf, especially to the point where both parts have been cut so far that they individually assume a new position on the table saw surface. By taking this new position, there is a chance they will lock the saw blade.

If you want to saw a piece of wood that does not have the right moisture content, you can expect wet sawdust. Wet sawdust adheres faster to the saw blade than dry sawdust. In addition, wet sawdust will accumulate in the gullet of the saw blade, creating more friction. A moisture meter is one of the digital tools I highly recommend having in a workshop in my article, 7 Inexpensive Digital Tools For Accurate Woodworking.

Why is my table saw burning wood (9 reasons + easy fix) - Gullet
Why is my table saw burning woodGullet

Both cases can cause burns, but there is also an increased risk of kickback. For warped wood, the solution is to flatten one side with a hand planer or with a planer-thicknesser. I have this Belmash planer-thicknesser in my workshop, and it is a great tool for DIYers and hobbyists. When you want to saw wet wood, it is recommended to use a saw blade with a low number of teeth.

Type of lumberMoisture level
Exterior lumber9 to 14%
Interieur lumber6 to 8%
Why is my table saw burning woodMoisture level of wood

The power of the table saw is too low

A table saw with less power cannot cut hard and thick chunks of wood as easily as one with more power. As a result, you’ll need to alter the feed rate. If your table saw isn’t powerful enough to cut the wood you’re working with, you’ll see table saw burn marks.

How to Remove Burn Marks from Wood?

Don’t panic if you notice saw marks on wood. It doesn’t matter if the burns are superficial or deep, with a few basic approaches, you may simply remove them.

Burn marks on the surface can be sanded, planed, or scraped away using a flat scraper. Deeply scorched burn marks can be removed by lightly running the wood along the table saw blade one more time.

Sandpaper is the greatest alternative for minimizing saw marks on wood. Don’t start too course, though. With 220 grit sandpaper, you have a good chance of removing the burn marks while causing minimal sanding damage. Deeper saw marks on wood can be erased with a sharp scraper or hand planer by removing a small layer of wood. The table saw is a last option for serious burn marks. Keep in mind, though, that you’ve removed a lot of wood and that this can affect customized work.

Why is my table saw burning wood? Conclusion

When working with a table saw and starting to see the table saw smoking or notice burn marks, remember that it can have multiple causes, and in the worst cases, even a combination of causes.
Use this article as a checklist to check your table saw and avoid possible causes of table saw burn marks on wood one by one.

Always check the alignment of your blade first. Also, visually check for the bluntness and presence of dirt on the teeth. Always pay attention to the correct feed speed when cutting wood.

If you still see table saw burn marks, remind yourself that specific woods such as cherry or walnut wood are more prone to burn marks, so adjust the way you work on these types of wood. For example, you can cut a little wider, so you will have some extra space to give another pass along the edge of the wood with the table saw. If you follow each of the tips in this article, you should be able to completely avoid burning wood from the table saw.


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