In order for your saw to work properly and cut smoothly, you need to have a sharp blade. While you can always purchase new blades and just replace them far too often, you can also simply sharpen your blade and keep a great blade around a little bit longer.
Sharpening your blade won’t stop you from having to replace blades on occasion but it will certainly make your blade last a bit longer and probably save you some money in the end. Saw blades are not always cheap so you might as well learn how to maintain them and sharpen them to get as much longevity as possible out of them.
In this guide, we will cover how to sharpen a saw blade. We will walk you through the entire process so you know just exactly what you need to do to sharpen your blade.
Why Sharpen Your Own Blades?
There are several reasons you might sharpen a saw blade. The biggest reason is to simply make your blade last longer. However, you will find that operating with a sharp blade simply makes your job much easier.
A sharp blade will allow you to make a much smoother cut on the saw. It will be more equipped to handle the material you are cutting. These are the 3 primary reasons that you should sharpen your blade.
- Improve the quality of your cut
- Help a blade last far longer
- Make the cutting easier on your saw
Not only will your blade last longer but your saw will last longer too. A sharp blade makes the cutting job easier for your saw so it doesn’t have to use as much power for as long to make the cut you are demanding of it.
A blade that is dull can be really hard on the saw and your wood. Rather than having to replace a blade when it dulls after 10 cuts, you can easily sharpen it so it works far more efficiently.
How Do You Know When Your Blade Needs Sharpened?
It’s important to be able to determine when the blade needs to be sharpened. You need to be sure to keep it sharp but you also don’t want to sharpen it when it doesn’t need it. Understand the signs so you know when to take action.
The most noteworthy sign is when your saw is obviously being challenged to make a cut that should be more simple. If you’re at all experienced working with wood, you will be able to tell when the saw is not making a cut as easily as it should.
Consider whether it seems like the cut you are making is requiring more effort or time than it really should. This is your first indicator.
If you can look at the blade and see that it is dull, it is definitely time to sharpen it. If you neglect the blade for too long, you are likely to have to just replace it as sharpening won’t save it after a lot of time has passed.
If the blade is meeting resistance while you are cutting, this is a sign that it’s time to sharpen the blade.
Does your blade make extra noise when it touches the material? A noise like a sharp whistle or grinding noise is a definite indication that your blade is dull. It’s making this noise because the work is challenging for the blade’s sharpness.
Another common indicator might be if you finish a cut and notice it’s not smooth. Are the edges chipped or splintering? Does it look like a rough cut? If it looks like a rough cut and you notice chipping, fraying, or splintering, it’s a definitive sign to sharpen the blade.
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How to Sharpen a Saw Blade
Now, if any of this sounds like it might pertain to your blade, then it is time to sharpen it. You can use these steps to help sharpen just about any blade.
Some people would recommend using a diamond blade on a table saw to sharpen your dull blade. This is an effective method. There are different ways that you can sharpen blades and some of those might depend on the material or the type of blade that you have.
In this guide, we are walking you through the process for a circular saw blade specifically. You can take these steps and use a similar approach for any other blade as well.
We have two methods to consider.
Sharpen a saw blade on a table saw
This first method specifically refers to using your table saw to sharpen your table saw blade. In this case, you just need your table saw and a diamond blade to work through the sharpening process.
You need to be prepared with the blades as well as safety equipment. This includes goggles, gloves, ear plugs, and maybe a face mask as well.
Follow these steps.
- Be sure that the saw is powered off and unplugged.
- Remove the dull blade from the table saw and replace it with a sharp diamond blade.
- Use a marker to mark the blade notch you plan to start with. This helps you mark your progress and know when you have sharpened all of the teeth on the blade.
- Plug the saw in and power it up at the slowest speed possible.
- Carefully touch the teeth of the dull blade to the spinning diamond blade. You can use this video as a guide for moving one tooth to the next. Sharpen one tooth at a time until you have made it through each tooth. If you have teeth facing multiple directions, work one way and then the other.
- Once you are finished sharpening, power off the saw and unplug it. Replace the diamond blade with the sharpened blade.
It is important that you be very careful during this process. You need to be able to maintain a firm grip on your blade and keep your fingers clear of the moving diamond blade. Wear all of the appropriate safety gear as well.
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Sharpen a saw blade by hand
Now, the alternative is to sharpen your blade by hand. This might be a safer approach. It could take some extra time to accomplish but it works well over all. In order to sharpen by hand, you will need clamps or a vise, oil, and a small piece of wood and sandpaper or a sand paper block. You could use a sharpening stick instead.
Follow these steps to sharpen a saw blade by hand.
- Remove the saw blade from the saw. Be sure the saw is unplugged and powered off before doing so.
- Start by cleaning your blade. Remove dust and debris so it doesn’t lead to burrs or anomalies on the blade.
- Use your clamp or vise to fix the blade into a standing position and hold it steady for you to work with.
- Mark your starting tooth so you know when you have made it all of the way around.
- Oil the sandpaper just slightly for some lubrication during the process.
- Use the sand paper to file against each tooth of the blade. You only need to sand back and forth on the edges of the blade teeth. Sanding about 10 times on each tooth should do the trick.
- Continue forward until you have successfully sharpened each tooth and returned to your mark.
- Reinstall the sharpened blade back onto the saw safely.
This process is also pretty simple. It’s safer than using a running blade on a saw so we recommend this one unless you feel absolutely confident in your skills to handle the alternative option.
Sharpening a saw blade is an essential part of being able to use your blade for much longer. Get the most use out of your blade that you possibly can. These processes should help you be able to sharpen your blade pretty easily if you follow all of the steps carefully. Be sure to always practice safe handling.