Why is My Table Saw Marking the Wood?

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Just like other machineries, table saws have their own problems. A common issue that people experience while using table saws is the appearance of mysterious burn marks on the wood.

This is mainly caused by friction and it occurs on the edges of cut wood. Burn marks occur because of too much heat between the wood and the blade. So, why is my table saw marking the wood?

Why is My Table Saw Marking the Wood?

Your table saw is marking the wood because it is burning it as it cuts. This could be because of a dirty blade, a dull blade, using an incorrect blade, misaligned parts, and pushing the stock through the machine too slowly.

If you notice burn marks on the edges of cut wood, it is caused by friction. This heat is usually generated from friction that is created when the blade is slicing through the workpiece.

Table saw burn marks can be quite a challenge, especially when handling precision cabinetry projects.

Man trying to test the blades

Burn marks on your wood are something that should be taken seriously. This is because they usually indicate a problem with your table saw.

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The issue must be corrected for your table saw to continue cutting wood safely and accurately.

What Causes a Table Saw to Mark Wood?

Let’s discuss the most likely causes for a medium range table saw to mark wood.

1. Dirty Blade

You should inspect your blade to determine whether it is dirty or not. With continuous use, table saw blades usually become coated with resin and pitch as they cut through wood.

A buildup of these can cause burn marks to appear on the wood after cutting.

If your blade is dirty, it should be cleaned using specialized blade cleaning solutions. However, you must be cautious when handling the table saw blade.

If you notice that your table saw is still burning wood even after cleaning your blade, then it means that the blade may be too dull.

2. Dull Blade

A dull blade can cause the buildup of excess heat between the wood and the saw blade. Therefore, you should check the blade to determine whether it is chipped, has rounded teeth, or any missing teeth.

To solve this, you need to substitute the blade with one that is sharp. For high-quality blades, most manufacturers offer blade sharpening services to their clients.

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If you still notice burn marks even after changing the blade, then it means another problem is causing the burn marks.

Man showing why is his table saw marking the wood

3. Using an Incorrect Blade

All-purpose blades can handle the most common cutting jobs. However, some tasks require a specialized blade to achieve the right cut and prevent burn marks.

The shape of individual teeth and the spacing of teeth on the table saw blade can make a difference in the performance of the saw and the heat that is generated.

When choosing the right blade for the task, one of the most important factors that you should consider is the number of teeth.

In most cases, a saw that has more teeth will result in a smoother finish compared to one that has fewer teeth. However, if a blade is used for the wrong task, then it may result in burn marks.

4. Slower Feed Rate

If your feed rate on your high-end table saw is slow, it will have more time to heat up and even burn. The wood can burn if you are not feeding your wood to the table saw quickly enough or you have to pause so that you can reposition your hand while working.

There is no fixed rate for feeding wood to the table saw. The feed rate will largely depend on the type of wood that you are cutting, the design of your saw, and the kind of blade you are using.

Some woods, such as cherry, are more susceptible to burning and they require faster feed rates.

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Man checking if the blades are clean

How Can you Determine Which Part is Burning Wood?

You can determine the part of the table saw causing wood burns by looking at the location of the burn marks on the wood. If the burn marks are on the side of the board that is close to the fence, then the fence and the blade may not be parallel.

How Can I Eliminate Wood Burn Marks?

You can remove light burn marks by using sandpaper to sand off areas that have been burned. For deeper burns, you can use a scraper. However, this will affect the end results of your project by creating textural differences in your work.


If you notice burn marks on your wood when using a table saw, be sure to check the common causes of this problem. Most burn mark incidents are caused by dull or dirty blades and these can be remedied with ease.

When cutting wood, you must ensure that you use the right blade for the type of wood you are working on and your motions should be quick and continuous to prevent burn marks on the wood.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.