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The BladeSaver System includes everything you need to clean saw blades, router bits and cutters of all descriptions.
Click image to enlarge

The BladeSaver System

Modern technology for cleaning blades and cutters

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   There are folks within the woodworking community that concern me. A surprising number seem very willing to invest in high-dollar saw blades, router bits and cutters but then clean them with cheap, often caustic oven cleaners or flammable materials to save a buck. If there is logic in this, I am having trouble seeing it.

   The BladeSaver System (from Empire Mfg.) was designed by real chemists specifically for cleaning cutters safely. Unlike other cleaning materials frequently used by woodworkers, BladeSaver is non-flammable, non-fuming, leaves no residue and is water based.

   All that is lost by using the BladeSaver System in place of the previously mentioned materials is eliminating the potential for flash fires, gassing yourself and possibly weakening the brazing that holds the carbide cutters in place.

A Kit For All Reasons

   The BladeSaver System is actually designed to clean virtually any cutter in the shop. Table saw blades, router bits, jointer/planer knives, whatever cuts wood and suffers from build up. Even sanding belts can be cleaned with BladeSaver!

(Top) This bit had a layer of burned-on glue and pitch from a pattern job.
(Bottom) The BladeSaver System can't fix chips in the paint, but it removed all of the pitch and glue buildup after soaking only 5 minutes.
Click images to enlarge

   The only caveat is that BladeSaver is not designed for use on aluminum. Some router and shaper bits have aluminum bodies requiring their carbide cutters to be removed for cleaning.

   The BladeSaver kit contains a 16 Fl. Oz. bottle of the BladeSaver fluid, a pistol-grip spray head, a 4 Fl. Oz. cup and top for soaking router bits, an abrasive pad, a brass-bristled brush and shop towels. When Empire Mfg. says "System," they mean it.

In The Shop

Note: When beginning a review, the equipment it is being tested on is "zeroed out" to be sure it does not influence the testing. In the case of the BladeSaver System, I cleaned the blades in hopes of quantifying the time between cleanings. As noted below, it appears the BladeSaver System also prevents buildup to some degree. Despite holding off on this review for a few additional weeks, my blades refused to accept the normal amount of buildup I was anticipating for the accompanying photos.

   Using the BladeSaver System is simple and fast. Spray BladeSaver on the cutter and let it soak in. How long to let is soak depends on how much buildup there is on the cutter but in our testing 30 seconds or so seemed to work well.

(Top) The build up wasn't as thick as I anticipated (see note above) but the BladeSaver System worked as advertised!
(Bottom) After spraying BladeSaver on the blade it was lightly rubbed into the surface and allowed to sit for 5 minutes. This is what it looked like after wiping clean and flushing with water.
Click images to enlarge

   Rub the blade lightly with the abrasive pad to loosen the buildup. Usually this step reveals any tough or heavy deposits that require further attention. The brass brush included is used to loosen the more stubborn deposits before wiping the blade clean with a shop towel. If all of the contamination is gone, rinse the blade with clear water, dry and it is ready for use.

   If it has been a while since you last cleaned the cutter, a second application may be needed to get the really tough spots off. Repeat the steps and the cutter should be spot free.

   Since the BladeSaver System appears to clean so thoroughly, I believe it is wise to treat the blade with a light wipe of WD-40 to prevent rust if your climate tends to promote that.

   Cleaning router bits is just as easy with the only exception is soaking the bit in the provided cup rather than spraying BladeSaver on. We did spray the BladeSaver on long and large-diameter bits that would not fit in the cup with equally good results. If the bearings can be removed on bits so equipped, do that before cleaning or be sure to lubricate them before returning to use.

   While testing the BladeSaver System there were no foul odors noted and covering the cleaning area with plain newspaper made clean up simple.

   Remember that the street price of $19.99 (12-19-2004) is spread over the considerable number of cleanings each kit is capable of. The actual amount of the BladeSaver material used to clean a blade or cutter is surprisingly small. This makes the actual cost-per-use almost insignificant.

   While Empire Mfg. makes no such claims, my in-shop testing seems to show that cleaning blades with the BladeSaver System helps prevent future build up to some degree. It is hard to quantify the actual time but I seem to be cleaning blades less frequently than before I began using BladeSaver.

Conclusions  

Pricing Link

 The BladeSaver System works as advertised or better and is a very good value as well. If improving overall shop safety and protecting your investment in the many blades and cutters used is important, cleaning them with the BladeSaver System's modern technology is the prudent, cost effective thing to do.

Visit the Empire Mfg. web site!

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