Most every town has a recycling center or program today. We’re urged to recycle paper, glass, and plastic. There are specific ways to dispose of ion batteries, cathode ray tubes, computer screens, and more.
Metals are not usually included in recycling efforts on a municipal level. Many communities will have a scrap metal recycling business, though. While our woodworking shop doesn’t generate much of anything to be recycled except in-house with scrap pieces of wood, there are times when we do have an old tool or part that is no longer usable.
Such is the case with old circular saw blades. Age and use catch up with all of us and with all of our tools. Perhaps we’ve sharpened the tool as many times as we could and there just isn’t any life left in the blade’s teeth.
Can we repurpose an old circular saw blade ourselves into something useful?
Circular Saw Blades
Circular saw blades are made of steel. Spring steel, as it is sometimes called, is referred to as the steel springs are made of, typically medium carbon steel or high carbon steel. Circular saw blades are made from high carbon steel, so I suppose you can technically say that they are made from spring steel.
The teeth of circular saw blades are usually carbide-tipped. They last for quite a while, but will dull over time. Before you consider disposing of or recycling them, though, take the time to extend their useful life by caring for them well:
- Keep them dry. Store in a dry place where moisture will not lead to rust.
- Lubricate the blade. After each use, oil or wax the blade before storing the saw.
- Remove rust. When rust appears, remove it with a razor or with sandpaper.
- Use it properly. Circular saws are very handy, but make sure you use them as recommended by the manufacturer for a long blade and motor life.
We mention this because the better you care for the blades, the longer they can be used before you even need to consider what to do when they get old.
High carbon steel blades can be sharpened as many as 15 times before wear out. The tungsten carbide tips can be sharpened 3-4 times themselves before they need to be replaced.
Sandpaper and files can be used to sharpen the teeth. There are also specific tools you can purchase to sharpen them, and they are readily available at your local hardware store, at the large DIY stores, and online.
Get your money’s worth from the blade before it’s time to consider what to do with it in old age.
Old Circular Saw Blade Uses
Your blade has reached its inevitable old age, though, and now you must decide what to do with it. While we found many suggestions during our research for this article, some of them were just too “far out there” to recommend to you. We want to save you time in reading about them, so we’ve whittled the list down to a few reasonable suggestions that you can have some fun with while either recycling or repurposing your old blade.
Recycle the steel. Your landfill or transfer station likely doesn’t have a metal recycling program. But, if you ask around or search online you will likely find a scrap metal recycling business nearby. For me, the local business is about 2 miles away, a short drive.
The blade isn’t going to fetch much for you, certainly less than a dollar, but at least it isn’t in your shop anymore, and you’ll know it isn’t buried in a landfill somewhere.
Metal work. If in addition to being a woodworking person you also happen to be a metal worker and have metalworking tools in your shop, there are a number of options available to you. Carbon steel knives would make sense, for instance.
Depending on the size of the saw blade, you could measure and mark a knife blade pattern on the saw blade, cut it out and polish it, and make a wooden handle for it that will accommodate a full tang. A paring knife you made yourself from an old circular saw blade could be a fine addition to your kitchen knife set, and one that would become a conversation piece with others.
Or, if not for you, such items are being offered for sale on Etsy. Some such knives are priced over $200, even. That circular saw blade, after years of use, being repurposed into a knife and sold for even half that gets your money back in a big way.
In our research, we even found suggestions for shuriken, hidden hand blades used by ninja warriors. For a wall ornament, that might be okay, but it is illegal pretty much everywhere to carry them with you.
A clock. The workings of a clock are easy enough to source, with many different options to choose from. They are readily available in kits from both craft and online resources that include the hands of all types and sizes.
Mounting that old saw blade on a beautiful piece of mahogany, with the clock movement workings extending through the hole that had previously been attached to the arbor of the saw, ornate hands on the face, and hanging on your woodworking shop wall, would make a serious statement about your talent and your imagination. Fully polished and shiny, decals could be attached to the blade to mark the hours, or you could even carve them yourself if you also happen to be a metalworker.
Art. Different saw blade sizes could be painted different colors to your liking and attached in some abstract or linear way to present an artful display. That, too, could hang on your woodworking shop wall, or on a post in your garden. It’s a craftsy project that would be limited only by the limits of your imagination – – a funny face, googly eyes, or merely a pleasant combination of colors. You could involve your kids in its making even, and let them have all the fun.
We’ve also found old circular saw blades that were polished finely and then used as a “canvas” for paintings. You can find such works of art on Etsy for sale today.
Donate them. If there is a technical or vocational school in your area, it is likely to have both a woodworking shop, an electrical shop, and a metalworking shop. We’re sure the school would appreciate the donation of your old circular saw blades for any or all of these purposes.
They could be used to turn out a clock, or a knife, or even a work of art, to introduce students to a variety of projects. The school could sell these pieces, even, to raise money for new tools in each of those shops. At the least, it teaches students to use their imagination in their chosen craft and to appreciate the value of repurposing materials.
Another suggestion might include a trade-in use – perhaps a local retailer would discount the price of a new circular saw blade when you turn in your old one. To give you an idea of other suggestions we found but don’t take seriously enough to recommend were earrings and other jewelry, and breaking the blades down into small pieces and using as mulch.
Those were beyond our imagination, and we narrowed the list down to the five mentioned above. But the knife, clock, and art ideas really are available for purchase on Etsy, and likely show up at crafts fairs all over the country. There’s money in old circular saw blades, so don’t be quick to dismiss them to the scrapyard.
You’ve used your imagination in designing projects in your woodworking shop using up scraps of wood left over from previous projects. Now use old saw blades in the same way – imagine something, draft the plan and make the template, cut the piece(s), polish and shine, assemble, and hang or use in the shop or kitchen.
And have fun when you do.