How to Sharpen a Handsaw

We research in-depth and provide unbiased reviews and recommendations on the best products. We strive to give you the most accurate information. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

You may be wondering how to sharpen a handsaw properly. Here are a few tips. The first thing you need to know is that you have to start by examining the teeth. This small reflective flat surface is referred to as the saw’s teeth. You should file down these teeth to make them sharp. Once you have done that, you should place a bright light over the saw’s teeth and move it around as necessary.


When you’re looking to file a handsaw, you’ll need to know how to keep the face of the file at a constant angle. This means you must start at the handle end of the saw, filing the back of the bent teeth first. Then, move to the front of the saw, and repeat the process until you have a smooth, uniform face on your file. Files work better on teeth that are bent away from you than those that are bent toward you.

The size of a file depends on the type of saw you have. You can find a file with a single cut, double cut, or XX-slim tooth geometry. Single-cut files are narrower than double-cut files, but they cut slower. Double-cut files have two rows of diagonal teeth. Single-cut files are generally easier to work with and leave a smoother surface. The difference between single-cut and double-cut files is usually minor.

When sharpening a saw, make sure to use the proper handle. Never grasp a file by the bare tang as this puts you at risk of stabbing your palm or fatigued fingers. Whether you buy a handle or make one yourself, the file should be positioned low enough in the vise to prevent it from being pushed into the jaws. You should make a test cut to make sure that the saw is sharp and avoid making any cuts that bind.

File and set

There are several steps to file and set a handsaw properly. A leveled file is a great way to achieve the perfect T shape. A combination square or straight line drawn on a square draw board can help you test the cut. If the cut is straight but there is a bind in the cut, it means you need to file and set the teeth more. If you can’t make a straight cut, the saw may be dull.

Before you begin filing a handsaw, you must first determine the size of the blade. Smaller files give you better visibility of the saw’s tooth when filing. You can find tables or charts that match saw files with ppi. While these can be helpful, it is best to follow the recommendations of the vendor. If you’re unsure, try the recommended ppi for the file. It’s easy to confuse the ppi numbers.


How to sharpen a handsaw by filing it is a common DIY project, but there are certain techniques to follow when doing it correctly. For best results, file the saw in the same direction as the saw’s bevel angle. The file must be parallel to the floor and parallel to the blade’s contours. Before filing the saw, inspect its teeth for wear and if there are any that have broken or need to be filed down, then stop.

When filing a handsaw, be sure to file the back of each tooth to the same height. Files cut better on teeth that are bent away from the user than on those facing toward it. You can use a file to file the back and front of the tooth, or alternate the two. If you find one or more teeth that are not sharpened, use a file to remove the slack and replace the blade.

Read More:   The Ryobi Table Saw BT3000

Using a jointing file, you should be able to achieve the desired result. By jointing, you will make all the teeth of the saw the same height, resulting in a flat facet on each tooth’s point. If the teeth are sharp, the file should leave a small flat on the top of the tooth, or a rounded facet. Jointing a handsaw is much easier than filing it by hand.

Inspection of teeth

The first step in sharpening a handsaw is to visually inspect the blade to ensure that it has proper size and shape. The blade blank should be sharp enough for the sharpening process, and the spring steel should be uniformly tempered. You can use a Disston sharpening tool for this. If you don’t have one, you can use a scrap piece of metal as a backboard.

If you purchase a saw with dull teeth, inspect each blade to check for any damage. Toothy teeth cause the blade to twist, and they can be uneven. The teeth of a saw should have a uniform curve, and it shouldn’t be lopsided or uneven. A saw with uneven teeth may cause binding, and a lopsided blade will not give a perfect cut. To avoid this, sharpen the saw every few months.

If the saw’s teeth are irregularly shaped, they should be filled. Toothy saw teeth can snag and cut the skin. If the teeth are unevenly shaped, you should file them with a flat file. This will ensure that the blade has the same height throughout. This step is particularly important if the saw is not a high-quality handsaw. If you are unsure about whether your saw needs sharpening, you can consult a manual.

Jointing of jaws

A handsaw can be sharpened by reshaping the teeth, or jointing the jaws. A saw vise holds the saw steady so that the filing blade does not vibrate. The saw must be held still along its length to do this. Before sharpening the saw, it is important to check its teeth for uniformity. If the saw’s teeth are irregular, it may need to be repaired.

First, use a black marker or grease pencil to mark the edges of the jaws. Make sure to align the teeth with the corresponding flats on the triangular file. This way, you can measure the progress of the cutting action. Remember that if any teeth are missing, you will have to joint all of the other teeth down to them. Moreover, any subsequent sharpenings will catch up to it.

When you sharpen a handsaw, you need to file all of the teeth evenly. Jointing the jaws makes each tooth equal in length, and it also ensures that each tooth is the same height. It is important to use a jointer to do this, which comes in many different styles. A file can also be used as a jointer. If you have a jointer at home, you can use it to sharpen the saw.

Lie Nielsen, Bad Axe

If you want to learn how to sharpen a handsaw, there are many different tools available on the market. Lie Nielsen, Bad Axe, and Wenzloff are all good choices, but if you’re on a budget, a FloRip saw is also a viable option. A handsaw file will also come in handy, and they’re all less than $5.


If you’re looking to sharpen your handsaw and want to learn how to do it properly, you should consider getting a saw file for your Veritas. Although sharpening a handsaw can be difficult, filing a saw can be much easier than sharpening it. A saw vise with wooden jaws and a mill file embedded in a block of wood is an excellent choice. Another option is a Veritas Saw File Holder. This simple tool will help you train your hand on proper orientation while filing the teeth of your handsaw.

Read More:   How Much Does a Wood Router Cost?

The Veritas Saw File Holder is an innovative device that will hold your file and adjust its angle and bevel. The tool can sharpen blades up to 14 tpi. This tool is easy to use and lightweight, but will not ruin your tools. You can even resharpen your handsaw blades in less than ten minutes with a simple file. The Veritas Saw File Holder is also incredibly affordable, with only a few bucks.

The first step in sharpening a handsaw is to check the blade’s condition. If it is in bad condition, it could have been sharpened incorrectly in the past. When sharpening a handsaw yourself, it’s important to use a high-quality taper file. Using a 0.5mm felt-tip pen for marking is recommended. Avoid using a scriber on the blade because this will encourage the blade to crack.

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

Disclosure: participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.