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Saw Tips in Oven Cleaner

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Saw Tips in Oven Cleaner

Executive Summary:  No effect was found on the carbide or the braze alloy.  Oven cleaner does remove any paint and the expensive plastic coatings which may be the best reason not to use it.  Also see our article Do Cleaners Hurt Saw Blades.    

Reason:  The question arises repeatedly as to whether you can safely soak saw blades in oven cleaner to clean them.  The best answer is “Who cares. There are many better things to use”.   However we use it in testing because it is very fast, works very well, is readily available and is recognized as dangerous.

Experiment:

1.  We took 100 modern grade saw tips and weighed them on a precision scale.  This scale cost us about $1,500.  There are better but this is pretty good.   Weight for 100 tips was 5.68 ounces.

2.  We put them into a lab flask and filled it with Easy Off oven cleaner.  We let it sit an hour with regular shaking.  

3.  After an hour we washed the tips and dried them then weighed them.  They still weighted 5.68

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Notes:   

A.  This is a test of ‘loss of mass” where mass is assessed by weight.   It is possible there was an effect we missed this way.  However, given the structure of carbide, any effect that was deeper than a couple microns (2 microns = 0.000078” that is 78/1,000,000) would result in mass loss.   Once the chemical reaction takes place on the surface it forms a barrier against further reaction until that reacted surface is removed.  Cor –Ten and stainless steels as well as Titanium and Aluminum also work this way. 

B.  These were pretinned tips which means that they had braze alloy on them.  Thus we were testing for the effect of oven cleaner on both carbide and braze alloy. 

C.  An hour exposure time was much longer than needed or than is common in most saw blade cleaning so we thought that was a pretty safe time. 

D.  By weighing 100 tips we thought it would be 100 times as easy to see any loss of mass compared to one tip. 

E.  Soaking saw blades and tools in a strongly caustic solution is a very common practice in industrial applications and has been for many years. 

F.   There may have been an effect we missed with this test.   Compared to what a saw blade sees in use any effect we missed would be rather trivial.  Sort of like losing weight by getting your haircut. It works but how important is it?


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