If you’re like many people, you probably think of saw blades as being something you just replace when they start to go dull or wear out. When your equipment isn’t cutting as well as it used to, it’s easy to buy a new blade and either toss or recycle the old one. After all, blades are cheap enough, right?

If you really want to get the most out of your circular saws and other equipment, though, you might want to rethink your stance on this. Instead of buying cheap blades and replacing them when they start to dull, consider finding a local saw shop and having your blades sharpened instead. If you’re not sure why you’d want to do that, here are a few things to think about.

Quality Counts

You’ve almost certainly heard that you get what you pay for – that’s just as true with saw blades as it is with anything else. You can get blades relatively cheaply, but you may be sacrificing quality for that lower price. Higher-priced (and higher quality) blades are often made with more precision, have a better edge and will hold that edge longer than the cheap blades off the rack. This gives you better cuts with less splintering for a longer period.

A Matter of Economics

Having higher-quality blades sharpened when they start to dull may even save you money down the road. Sharpening extends the life of the blade, so the initial cost of the blade plus the cost of having it sharpened a few times could end up being less than you’d pay to replace cheaper blades over the same period. The cheap blades lose their edge faster and you must pay the full blade price every time, so the cost of your cheap option can add up quickly.

More Than Just Blade Sharpening

One great thing about saw shops is that they do more than just sharpen saw blades. If you have a saw or other piece of equipment that’s experiencing problems, your saw shop may be able to repair it for you. This will keep your equipment running longer, delaying replacement costs and ensuring that you won’t be out a needed tool during your next woodworking project.

Valuable Recommendations

The people who work at saw shops know blades and tools inside and out. This makes them an invaluable source of information when you have questions about tools, parts and even projects. Once you’re familiar with the people working at your local saw shop and they’re familiar with you, you’ll likely be able to ask all sorts of questions when you stop in. Whether you ask for a recommendation between different tools or which type of blade to use with different woods, you’ll get opinions from people who really know what they’re talking about.

Networking Opportunities

You’re not the only one who visits the saw shop – many other patrons probably have the same interests as you. This sets up some great networking opportunities when you strike up conversations with other customers who’ve stopped by the shop. This could help you to find places to sell your work, give you new perspectives on your projects and may even provide you with fellow woodworkers who are interested in tools or equipment you no longer need or use. Knowing others in your area with an interest in woodworking can open a lot of doors, even if it’s just to learn another way to build a better door.

While you probably enjoy the time spent in your own shop, you may just find a whole world of woodworking knowledge, skills and experiences at your local saw shop – along with those expertly sharpened blades.