How to Sharpen Your Saw Blade by Hand


A dull blade will not only ruin your material, but it is also difficult to operate and can pose a threat to you, the person handling the saw. In order to prevent your gear from wearing out quickly, you will need to sharpen your blade on a regular basis. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you wish to manually sharpen the teeth on your saw blade.

Preparatory steps

Sharpening the blade requires a chainsaw filing kit, plus the mandatory safety goggles and gloves to keep you safe from harm.

Before beginning, make sure the saw is cool, and clean it with a little degreasing detergent. This is the best time to inspect the blade for any damaged teeth so that you know what you need to do next.

Engage the chain brake, and place the saw in a vise; use two blocks of softwood to secure it on either side. To prevent any wiggling, make sure to place the blade on a solid surface.

Types of files

In your filing kit, you should have flat and round files, file guides and depth gauges; the files should match the diameter of the teeth. A round file is great for sharpening semicircular cutting edges, especially when used in conjunction with a file guide to keep it at the same depth. A flat file, along with a depth-gauge guide, is better for lowering depth gauges.

Sharpening proper

Take the file guide and place it between the chain rivets; this ensures you won’t file too deep. Cut a slot into a block of wood and mount a flat hand file inside. Then, holding the hand file firmly, run it against each tooth; file evenly starting with the shortest tooth (or cutter), constantly checking that the top edge of each tooth is the same length.

If you’re using a vise, lower the level saw in the grip so that the teeth are barely showing. Place one of the triangular corners of the saw file into the space between two teeth, then, holding the file horizontally, begin filing.

Once you have leveled the side of the saw that is exposed, either reverse the saw in the vise, or release the chain brake, manually rotate the chain forward, then re-engage the brake. The idea is to turn the saw around so that you can access the teeth on other side of the chain. Make sure to soak the saw in oil when you’re done.

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