How to Sharpen A Bow Saw Blade – 7 Simple Steps to Follow

Nothing cuts wood faster or more effectively than a keen hand bow saw. However, with repeated use, a bow saw’s shape and sharpness deteriorate. Surprisingly, a sharpened saw cuts three times quicker than a dull one. So cutting that log will take the least effort and time. This means you must keep your bow saw blade sharpened for maximum impact.

Sharpening a bow saw is not a simple task, which is why we are here to help. This article will instruct you on properly sharpening a bow saw blade. Continue reading to learn more about the process of bow saw sharpening.

How Do You Sharpen A Bow Saw Blade

Cutting wood by using a bow saw

Regular sharpening is essential to keep your blade in peak operating condition. Sharpening them regularly helps to prolong their life and makes your job easier. The process of sharpening a bow saw blade is simple to follow, but it must be completed properly to reap the most benefit from your efforts!

I’ll explain below:

Bow Saw Sharpening: Required Tools

Purchasing the necessary tools for a project is just the first part of the job’s completion. Some basic tools are necessary for sharpening a bow saw blade, and they are listed below.

  1. A vise for sharpening bow saw
  2. Bow saw sharpening files with a triangular bow saw handles
  3. Bow saw sets
  4. Guides for sharpening bow
  5. A bastard mill file and saw jointing machine
  6. A protractor

Safety Measures

We must wear safety gear, such as lengthy safety gloves and eye goggles since we’re working with sharp items. Secondly, ensure that the saw is properly clamped or otherwise fastened to prevent any movement of the saw while it is being sharpened.

Now that we have what we need, let’s go for the actual method of sharpening your bow saw blade:

1. Set the Saw & Teeth in A Vise

Placing your saw in a bow saw sharpening vise will allow it to be sharpened more effectively. A vise is easily available for purchase at most places. You can also build and modify it in your house to suit your specific requirements. When you’re putting the hand saw in the vice, be sure that the section of the blade that has the teeth is facing up.

To avoid any movement while sharpening the hand saw blade, ensure that just the teeth are visible and the remainder of the blade has been fastened and locked.

2. Clean Up Any Dirt or Rust

To ensure that the teeth are properly sharpened and avoid damaging the file, remove any filth from the blade before using it. Using a liquid blade cleanser, which can be obtained at a hardware shop, may be beneficial. It will also help to remove rust from the blade.

3. Shaping Tooth Tops Smooth and Equal in Height with A File

A diamond file is required to sharpen most current saws. Older blades are composed of weaker metals and may be sharpened using less expensive tools. To avoid damaging your teeth, avoid exerting too much force on the file.

Also Read: How to Choose A Perfect Coping Sled for Router & Shaper.

4. Filing Crosscut Saw Teeth

Choose a file based on the angle and size of the teeth. The file should not cover more than half the teeth when positioned between gullets (teeth gaps). This will prolong the file’s life and prevent premature wear on the inner edge.

To get the greatest results with cross-cut saws, it is recommended to use a three-square or cross-cut file for each cross-cut set of teeth.

Your cross-cut hand saw will be a lot sharper when you’ve used the correct file to sharpen it up. When sharpening, you’ll just want a little fleam added to it.

You should double-check your angle gauge to ensure that you have not added too much fleam.

5. Filing Rip Saw Teeth

The rip-cut hand saw is the same. Add a little rake to your filing motion. Use the angle gauge to ensure you’re applying the correct amount of rake. Be sure to look at the teeth for both scenarios.

Various individuals employ this movement depending on the effects they desire to attain. Do I need to add movements? It all relies on the outcome and the bow saw’s sharpness.

6. Final Sharpening

Start filing after you’ve completed these steps. Aim for 2-3 strokes for each tooth. A cross-cut bow saw requires filing alternate teeth (e.g., 1, 3, etc.). Then switch sides and start filing opposite teeth from the tooth you skipped.

The teeth can be filed and sharpened individually for a rip cut. Remember to switch sides after completing each side. A cross-cut saw requires more than one side change due to the teeth’ shape.

Read Also: How To Pick A Dovetail Markers For Making Dovetail Joints.

7. Go for A Test Cut

After you’ve sharpened your hand saw, the next step is to evaluate its sharpness by making a test cut. If the cut is fast and clean, you’re ready to go; if not, you may want to try honing the set of teeth one more time.

Bow Saw Sharpening Quick Guide


How often should I sharpen my bow saw blade?

Depending on the amount of use and type of material you use your bow saw for, you should sharpen your blade at least once a month. Regular sharpening will help to ensure that you can make straight, accurate cuts and that your blade remains in good condition.

What is the best way to sharpen a bow saw blade?

The best way to sharpen a bow saw blade is to use a sharpening stone or a file. Start by removing any burrs or nicks from the blade with a file. Then, use the stone or file to go along the length of the blade, making sure to keep the angle of the blade consistent. Work in small sections and then check the blade to ensure it is sharp.

How do I know when my bow saw blade is sharpened?

When the blade is properly sharpened, you should be able to feel a smooth, even surface when running your finger along the length of the blade. Additionally, the blade should be able to cut through wood or other materials without difficulty easily.

Is it possible to sharpen a bow saw blade at home?

It is possible to sharpen a bow saw blade at home. However, it is important to use caution when sharpening the blade as it is easy to damage the blade if you are not careful. You should wear protective eyewear, gloves, and a dust mask when sharpening your blade.

Is it necessary to use a lubricant when sharpening a bow saw blade?

Yes, using a lubricant such as mineral oil or WD-40 when sharpening a bow saw blade is important. This will help to reduce friction and heat buildup, which can damage the blade. Additionally, it will help keep the blade clean, making it easier to sharpen.


The proper maintenance of a bow saw will ensure that it will serve you for several years.

A thorough step-by-step guide on how to sharpen a bow saw blade was provided in this post for your convenience. Even though sharpening is a long-forgotten technique, there is no harm in brushing up on it, particularly if you are a fan of woodworking.

The knowledge in this post will make sharpening a piece of cake old tackie, whether you’re sharpening for the first time or have been doing it for a long while.

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