You’re doing some sawing and you notice that your trusty Dewalt Compound miter saw smoking. What could possibly be the reason? Is it something you have to worry about or ignore for the time being?
Well, it’s hard to give a straight answer to that because there are a few reasons for the smoke to occur in the first place and it could either be the saw itself or just the blade causing the smoke.
This is not inherently dangerous to anyone, but you should still try to fix it as soon as possible. After you identify the problem, work through the steps and try to find a solution.
If your miter saw starts smoking often and you find yourself asking why is my miter saw smoking? Then don’t worry because you’re not alone. This is a very common problem and while it is not a simple one, it can be easily solved with a little research.
The first thing you have to identify is where exactly the smoke is coming from. It could either come from inside the saw itself due to a problem with the motor. This produces a chemical like the smell and indicates that there is something wrong with the saw itself. You will have to take it to a proper service center or ship it there.
The other reason and the more common one for this could be that the smoke is coming from the interaction of the blade with the wood. You can identify this due to a wood-like smell caused by the burning.
There are several reasons for this to happen which we will discuss in detail here.
Miter Saw Smoking- Causes and Troubleshooting
1. Blunt saw blade
If you’re wondering why does my saw blade smoke? The simplest and most common cause for this to happen is that your blade could be getting blunt with usage. This means that the blade cannot easily cut into the wood anymore and it has to struggle and apply a lot more pressure than before.
This immense pressure itself will lead to more than acceptable levels of friction and might cause smoking. You can also notice brown/black burn marks on the wood when this happens.
This might not always produce smoke, but it is still worth looking into.
Note that every blade can only be sharpened a limited number of times before it becomes completely unfit for work and some blades cannot be sharpened at all. So, you might have to find a replacement.
Here are a few of our recommended best miter saw blade for clean cuts–
- Freud D12100X 12 inch 100 tooth Circular Saw Blade for Wood (Top pick)
- Makita A-93681 10-Inch 80 Tooth Micro Polished Miter saw Blade (Best for money)
2. Dusty Blade
Another fairly common and easy to overlook the reason for the saw blade smoking is when it becomes dirty from small wood pieces getting stuck on the blade especially in its teeth.
If this is significant, then the blade will struggle to cut through the material since there is a lot of junk blocking the teeth essentially causing the same effect as that of a blunt blade.
Increasing the pressure and friction and leading to it smoking. Smoking caused by this is usually very noticeable and you should always clean your blade long before it happens. Regular cleaning tends to help a lot and prevent something like this from happening in the first place.
How to clean miter saw blade?
Cleaning a saw blade is easier than you think and after cleaning they will cut again almost as if they were new.
But here’s the problem;
There are several cleaning solutions that work very well. It is important to remember that caustic cleaner, such as oven cleaners or chlorine or bleach-based solutions. Saw blades manufacturers never recommend to use these types of cleaners because they attack the binder in the carbide and deteriorate the welds of the metal. This can cause the individual teeth to peel off during use.
It is recommended to use cleaning product that are specifically designed to clean the cutting blades of circular saws. You can also use household products like vinegar, baking soda, kerosene. I like to use a Simple Green® All-Purpose Cleaner.
Whatever technique you use to clean the cutting blades of saws, always remember to read the safety instructions and always protect your eyes, hands, and lungs when necessary.
Here is the quick miter saw blade cleaning guide-
- Place the blades of your circular saw in a shallow container.
- Pour enough cleaning solution to completely cover the blade and ensures that the cleaning solution comes into contact with each individual tooth.
- Let the solution works for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Scrub the blade surface and teeth with an old toothbrush.
- Rinse and completely dry the cutting blade.
- Spray a thin layer of WD-40 oil to protect against corrosion.
3. Lack of proper feed speed
Feed speed is the rate at which you pass your material through the blade. In order to avoid friction, you have to move the material under the blade at the right time.
This is why this is often the cause for smoking as people tend to feed too slowly and some materials are very sensitive to the friction of the blade. So much so that, even a few additional seconds under the blade could cause it to smoke.
Slower feed speed would obviously result in cleaner and smoother cuts but it could also cause smoking and severe damage to the material. You must always take into account the type of material and adjust the feed speed according to its sensitivity.
4. Saw Blade Drawbacks
Not every saw blade is made to cut every material and while your motor might be powerful enough to produce enough torque to cut through something like tiles, your blade might not be very adequate for that job.
Usually, when cutting through harder materials like any kind of flooring or metal, a stronger and more durable carbide blade is used. These are much better suited for the job, can handle the pressure well, and can also be sharpened multiple times before their life is done.
For any other cheap blade, you will usually be limited to wood and probably just the softer versions of it as well. It is always good to know what your blade is rated for and stick to those guidelines if you want to avoid ruining the blade and cause smoking.
5. Uneven alignment
When cutting using a miter saw, it is important that the material being cut is placed in a perfect angle that the saw is rated to be able to cut. Miter saws have a fence to ensure that the material is in the proper place and hold it in that position until the work is done.
However, if you don’t properly align and secure the fence or the material, there could be a slight tilt on one end. This would result in uneven amounts of pressure on each side of the blade, with one side being significantly greater.
This could sometimes cause smoking and even damage the material. To avoid this, you should always ensure that everything is perfectly aligned before starting. Sometimes, the blade itself could cause some misalignment while you’re working.
It is a good practice to every so often just to make sure that the alignment is still good especially if you’re working on a material that is very large.
It is not at all uncommon to see your miter saw smoking when cutting wood, however, it is important that you identify and address the issue as soon as possible because it could cause varying levels of damage to your material, the blade, and in some cases the saw itself.