The hand saw is the most primitive and the most useful saw for every woodworker who has ever walked down this planet. This manual tool can be used for making any type of cut on any type of wood. For example: cross cut, rip cut, bevel cut, and many more of them. Learning how to use a hand saw is also very easy. The hand saw is also a very safe sawing tool as it is a manual tool. Behind all these advantages there remains a very little complexity. The complexity is that just like other sawing tools the blade of the hand saw wears out after some time for many reasons. When the blade wears out, you have to sharpen it. When it wears out again, you have to sharpen it again. For this, it is important for the owner of the hand saw to know how to sharpen hand saw blades.
Why you should consider sharpening the hand saw blade on your own?
You should sharpen the hand saw blades on your own because it not that much of a hard task. Anybody can do it. So why waste money going to someone for such an easy task? And it is not like that you will need many tools which you cannot afford or much physical labor. You can sharpen a hand saw blade in your leisure time; when you have nothing else to do. And speaking of tools you need, they are just some common tools that every woodworker have. Even if you do not have them, you can just buy them from any shop with a few bucks. They are not at all that expensive. What expensive is, going to a shop for sharpening a simple hand saw blade.
For how to sharpen hand saw blades, you just need a few common and cheap materials. These are the materials that you should have in your toolbox if you are a regular woodworker.
- A saw set
- A saw vise
- Hand saw
- Saw jointer
- A mill file
- Taper saw file or also known as triangular saw file
- Some time
- A little bit of patience
That is it! You only need these easily available things (you already have some of them) for sharpening a hand saw blade.
Now here is a little extra description of some of these tools for my readers:
Saw set: A saw set is a tool similar to a plier. And its work is also just like a plier. Saw set is used to bend the saw teeth. The teeth of the hand saws are not fully straight. They are slightly bent in both sides to prevent the saw blade from binding inside the workpiece. If they are bent sidewise, then it is fine. You do not have to bend them. But if your hand saw blade requires bending, how are you going to do it? Well, take the saw set and bend the first tooth towards you. Then skip the next one and bend the third one. Do this to all the teeth. Then go to the other side and bend the teeth that you have skipped earlier towards you.
Saw vise: Saw vise is used for holding down the hand saw blade still. When you are sharpening the blade, you need both of your hands for different works. You do not have another hand or two for holding it. Besides, even if you have a spare hand, the hand cannot hold the saw perfectly. The constant movement you will be making when sharpening will create a great number of vibrations. So using a vise is a must.
Saw jointer: The saw jointer is the assistant to the mill file. It helps the mill file to run above the teeth of the hand saw blade.
Mill file: After using the hand saw for a time, the teeth of the blade wear out and the height of the teeth becomes uneven. This uneven height of the teeth is a problem while cutting. So they have to be evened. This is where the mill file comes to use.
Taper saw file: This is the ultimate sharpening tool for your hand saw. You will use this file to perform the main sharpening task. The type of sharpening file you will need varies on the type of saw blade you have in your hand saw. There are four types of tapering files.
- Extra slim
- Double extra slim
The length of the file is also important for sharpening. A 4 inches long double extra slim taper can be used to sharpen smaller teeth than a 6 inch double extra slim taper. So you need to choose the right type of file for your saw.
The sharpening process of hand saw is of two types. One type is for rip cut saws and the other one is for crosscut saws.
Your first job is to secure the saw blade with the help of the vise. Attach it inside the vise in such a way that the blades are facing upwards.
Now take the mill file and attach it with the jointer. Place the jointer against the blade of the hand saw and run it down along it. This process will make the uneven teeth of the hand saw even. When you see flat shining spots on the filed place of the blade when light touches it, you can be sure that they are sharpened.
Now take the taper file and start sharpening the blade. Push the file across the cutting edge of the teeth. The file should go perpendicularly from the saw blade. Use the same number of strokes for sharpening each of the teeth. And you should also be aware that the taper file files on the push stroke only. So pay attention to how you are filing.
If there still remain any flat teeth, use the file and file the side of the blade pointing towards the handle.
The first step of sharpening crosscut saw blade is similar to that of the rip saws’. Attach the blade in the vise.
This step is also the same as that of the rip saws’. Use the mill file with the saw jointer to make the teeth of the blade even.
Now, the basic process of sharpening a crosscut saw same as the rip saw. The only difference is that you have to tilt the angle of the file 15o towards the handle. File the hand saw blade when the file is angled and you will get the perfect sharpened blade.