ImageWant your woodworking tools to last forever? Today we’re sharing a great article about keeping your tools clean and sharp, so you’re always ready to create.

Getting longer life out of your carbide tipped cutting tool portfolio, including router bits, saw blades, planer knives and molding cutters, is more than just keeping them sharp. Keeping them clean is perhaps even more important than worrying about whether they are sharp. In fact, regular cleaning is a proven way to extend the work life between sharpening your tools. I am sure you have noticed the accumulation of wood rosins on the back face of those carbide bits and blades. That is the culprit behind the premature demise of the cutting edges, not the mechanical wear of the actual cutting action.

Carbide cutters are typically comprised of a mechanical mixture of various hard carbides such as tungsten, titanium or vanadium carbides and a suitable metal or alloy as a matrix material. Most commonly found are carbide materials comprised of titanium carbide and cobalt binder ranging from about 2 to 20 percent. Chemical compounds found in the heartwood of many wood species (in varying concentrations depending on the species and whether the wood is dried or wet) such as tropolenes, thujaplicins and polyphenolic lignans will cause chelation of the cobalt binder very similarly as has been shown to occur with iron.

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