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What is binding and how can you prevent it?

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Binding on a saw When sawing, the material either side of the cut can close against the sides of the saw blade, causing it to become stuck.


That’s bad, right?

If the saw is being pushed through the material quickly or forcefully, and binding occurs, this can cause the blade to bend, as pressure is being applied by the user from behind, and the blade has nowhere to go.

Representation of a saw blade bending in wood, work piece closing around the blade. More than anything, binding is just an annoyance, especially if you’re trying to achieve a neat finish, as you could end up tearing the material’s fibres or ruining the cut as you try to remove the saw.

Preventing binding

There are a number of ways you can prevent binding:
Check the blade

1. Check the blade

Ensure your teeth are sharp and have the correct ‘set’.

For information on how to do this, see: How to check and maintain a saw blade.

Lightly coat the saw blade with oil or bees wax

2. Lightly coat the blade

Lubricate the saw blade lightly with tool oil or beeswax before you begin work. This will help the blade to move more smoothly through the material.

Avoid sawing wet wood

3. Avoid sawing wet wood

Even a saw in top notch condition could have trouble sawing wet wood. The moisture causes the wood to expand, but as you saw, the wood can contract again, closing around the blade. As well as this, saw teeth have a tendency to chew up the wood if it’s wet, subsequently becoming stuck, rather than slicing through cleanly.

Place a wedge in the kerf as you saw, in order to keep it open

4. Make a wedge

Place a wedge in the kerf as you saw, in order to keep it open.

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