7 Tips for Sharpening a Hand Saw Blade

A hand saw.

Proper maintenance and care of a hand saw blade is a cost-effective way to extend the life of the tool. The process of sharpening the blade can provide effective operation by paying attention to and caring for the components of a hand saw.

Sharpening Process

The sharpening process involves each component of the saw: the blade, the teeth, and the handle. The following are tips for sharpening a hand saw blade.

Step 1 - Level the Blade

It is important to hold the blade securely while you are filing the teeth. This will ensure even filing of the teeth. Place the hand saw in a vise with the teeth pointing upwards. To protect the blade while it is in the vise, place scrap strips of wood on either side of the blade in the vise.

Step 2 - Hand File

Once the blade is leveled, run a hand file over the top of the teeth of the saw in a steady and even manner.

Step 3 - Shape the Teeth Using a Saw File

Adjust the saw in the vise so that just the teeth are visible over the vise. This will give you greater hold while shaping the teeth. Shape the teeth using a triangle-shaped saw file. This will make sure that there is a consistent pitch to each tooth. The correct 60 degree angle of each tooth has the leading edge leaning towards the tip of the saw.

Step 4 - Adjust the Teeth

The teeth not only need to be even from the handle to the tip of the blade, but also from one side of the blade to another. If you view the hand saw blade horizontally, you can clearly see teeth that stick up or down.

To set the teeth evenly with the others, use a saw set. This is a tool that works similarly to pliers to bend the teeth to the correct angle. It has preset pitch settings that you choose to get the angle you want.

Step 5 - Finish the Sharpening Process

The last step in the sharpening process is to file the front edge of the saw’s teeth to the proper angle. This angle is determined by the type of hand saw you are sharpening. For a saw with a cross cut blade, the correct angle is 70 degrees while a rip saw blade’s correct angle is 90 degrees.

To make sure that you are filing the correct edge, either turn the saw around in the vise so that the handle is to your right or go around to work from the other side of the vise.

Step 6 - Tighten the Saw Handle

Most saw handles are attached to the blade with screws. Make sure that they are all fastened securely as saw blades will not cut effectively if the handle is loose.

Step 7 - General Maintenance

While it is important to have a sharp hand saw blade, it is equally important to regularly maintain and protect the blade. Place tooth covers over the blade while storing and wipe down the blade with a lightly oiled rag before usage.