How To Sharpen A Hand Saw? [6 Simple Steps]

A hand saw is an essential part of woodworking and is a convenient tool. However, over time, the blade of the hand saw becomes dull and loses its sharp edge. Because of this, every user needs to know how to sharpen a handsaw to get the expected outcomes.

Relying on a dull hand saw will not only affect the quality of wood cutting but will also make the process more time-consuming. The dull blade will result in sloppy and uneven cuts of wood and ruin the entire look of the design.

Sharpening a hand saw is easy and does not require much trouble. So, let me guide you through the entire process and help you with tips and tricks to make the process easier and avoid mistakes. 

6 Steps You Should Follow To Sharpen A Hand Saw: Get The Job Done

The hand saw is the easiest type for a woodworker to use. Woodworking skills and manpower ensures proper and precise cuts with this saw. (1) Luckily, sharpening the blade of a hand saw does not take much effort. So, take a look at how to sharpen a hand saw perfectly. 

Step 1: Clean The Hand Saw

If the hand saw has not been used for a while or is left out in the open, there is a possibility of rust build-up. Cleaning the rust and other dirt particles off the hand saw is the first step of sharpening the tool. Take a wire brush and gently scrub the blade to get rid of the rust. 

Remove any dirt, debris, etc., that has made itself home on the hand saw. Leaving the blade in a rusty condition will affect the sharpness and damage the metal over time. 

Step 2: Hold The Saw In Place

The next step is to hold the hand saw in place, so it does not move. A saw vise rigidly holding it on a flat surface will allow the woodworker to sharpen the teeth easily. Put the saw in the vise and clamp it properly as a result the blade does not bulge. 

Step 3: Set The Alignment and Length Of The Saw Teeth 

Once the saw is set in place, it is time to ensure that the teeth are properly aligned and of the same length. Take a saw set, clamp it around the crooked saw teeth, and straighten it. Repeat the process until all the teeth are completely straight and aligned properly. 

After correcting the alignment, take a closer look to ensure that all the saw teeth are of the same length. If there are uneven teeth, take the jointer and place it on one end of the saw. Move the jointer to the other end by applying pressure. Repeat the movement until all the teeth are of the same length. 

Step 4: Choose And Adjust The Saw File 

Once all the teeth are set properly in their place, the next step is to file the hand saw perfectly. Each type of saw teeth has a specific file depending on the number of teeth per inch. Choose the right saw file depending on the teeth. For safety, adjust the file to a handle to avoid accidents and cuts. 

Step 5: File The Saw Blade

Take the saw file attached to the handle and place it perpendicularly to the teeth. The unique shape of the file will perfectly fit the blade. Keep the file straight and at a steady position without twisting or turning it. 

Hold the file with two hands. Place one hand on the handle and the other on the end of the file. Move the file in short and even strokes to ensure proper sharpening. To ensure a proper and even filing, the filer must be held and moved at the same angle for every tooth of the saw. (2)

Step 6: Stone The Saw 

The last step of the sharpening process is to stone the saw blade. After the filing is complete, unclamp the saw from the vise and lay it flat on a table. Take a diamond stone of 600 grits and stone the saw. 

Make sure to put protective tape over the teeth to prevent stoning the blade body. It is essential to stone both sides of the saw. Stoning is considered to be an important part as it gets rid of all the rough or uneven edges. 

5 Mistakes Needed To Avoid While Sharpening A Hand Saw

Woodworkers often make mistakes that ruin the result of sharpening a hand saw. The mistakes that must be avoided during a hand saw sharpening are mentioned below. 

1. Delaying The Sharpening Process

The most common mistake that woodworkers make is delaying the process of sharpening the hand saw. Leaving the hand saw out for long in an open space results in rusting. Delaying the process causes the rust to eat through the saw’s metal, damaging the blade permanently. 

2. Tilting Or Twisting The File 

A major mistake that ruins the overall look and performance of the hand saw is twisting or tilting the file. Saw files are shaped like a triangle to ensure that they fit the teeth properly. Tilting or twisting the file instead of moving it directly damages the teeth permanently. 

3. Moving The File Too Quickly 

The saw file must be moved straightly with slow and short strokes. Applying too much pressure or moving the file too quickly will damage the teeth. Not only that, but it will not sharpen the teeth properly. Thus, resulting in a waste of all hard work and time. 

4. Applying Too Much Pressure 

Applying the right pressure to the saw teeth while sharpening them ensures proper performance. However, many woodworkers accidentally apply too much pressure, which does not sharpen the hand saw. Instead, the additional pressure damages the teeth and prevents a precise and clean cut. 

5. Not Using The File Handle

Several woodworkers skip on the use of a file handle. However, using the saw blade file with a handle is important to avoid accidents and cuts. If the saw blade is used without a protective handle, the woodworker is exposed to the risk of cuts on the blade. 

Tips That Will Be Effective To Sharpen A Hand Saw Properly

A few tips make the process easier and smooth when sharpening a hand saw. So, let me guide you through the tips and tricks of sharpening a hand saw properly:

  • Securing The Saw In Place:

One of the top tips while sharpening a saw is to secure it properly in place. The sharpening process becomes easier when the saw is set perfectly without any scope of movement. Use a saw vise to hold the hand saw at one position to help you save both time and effort. 

  • Aligning the Saw Teeth: 

Many woodworkers skip the step that requires them to align the crooked saw teeth. Aligning these saw teeth helps the woodworker to sharpen the blade properly without much hassle. This step does not require much effort and can be aligned easily with the help of a saw set. 

  • Regular Cleaning And Sharpening:

Regular cleaning of the saw blade will prevent the buildup of rust and other dirt particles. Sharpening the hand saw regularly and storing it properly will keep the blade sharp and save time. This will reduce the effort the woodworker spends sharpening the tool. 

Related Questions: 

What Type Of File Is Used To Sharpen A Hand Saw?

A triangle-shaped mill file is used to sharpen a hand saw. The unique shape and style of the film fit the saw blade teeth perfectly and ensure proper sharpening. However, it is essential to choose the right size of the file depending on the number of teeth that the blade has within one inch. 

After cleaning and securing the hand saw, attach the file with a secure handle to avoid risk. Put the file in the gap of the saw teeth and move it in a straight direction to file the tool. Make sure that you do not turn or twist the file, as this can cause severe damage to the blade. 

Which Is The Easiest Method To Sharpen A Handsaw?

There is no easiest method of sharpening a handsaw. However, sharpening the saw blade with the help of a saw file is the best method available to woodworkers. Clean off all the rust and hoist the tool on a saw vise. 

Straighten the teeth of the saw blade and ensure that all the teeth are of the same length. Choose a suitable saw file and file the teeth on the saw blade to sharpen it successfully. Lastly, stone the saw to get rid of the rough ends. 

Is It Worth Sharpening A Hand Saw?

Sharpening a hand saw is worth the effort and time. When a woodworker sharpens a saw, it significantly improves the durability and performance of the tool. The hand saw can also be passed down to future generations if properly maintained and sharpened regularly.

Professional or passionate woodworkers typically have all the tools and equipment required to sharpen a hand saw. The sharpening process is quite simple and does not cost much money. And maintaining the hand saw properly will save money on buying new tools. 

Final Verdict: 

Maintaining woodworking tools often turns out to be a struggle for many woodworkers. The hand saw is one of the most efficient tools in wood cutting. Now that I have let you in on how to sharpen a hand saw, I hope you can easily work on the tool and use it for future projects. 

Make sure to pay proper attention to the mistakes discussed above to improve the durability and longevity of the hand saw. Follow the tips and tricks for an efficient sharpening process without any trouble. 


  1. Sole, C. (2018, February 5). How to Use a Hand Saw. Better Homes & Gardens. Retrieved August 10, 2022, from
  2. How to File and Set a Saw. (1869, October 16). Scientific American. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from 

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