How to Sharpen Table Saw Blades by Hand Easily

How to Sharpen Table Saw Blades by Hand Easily

How to Sharpen Table Saw Blades by Hand Easily

The sharpness of the blade greatly affects the quality of the cut a table saw can make.

A dull blade more or less chews through the wood rather than cut through it and so sharpening it is vital.

Hand sharpening a table saw blade with sandpaper is easy and can be done quickly.

I'll show you how to do this easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Table Saw blade
  • Cleaning Solution/Laundry Detergent
  • Wood
  • Glue
  • Oil

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Table Saw Blade

To sharpen the table saw blade, we need to first cut out a small piece of wood with a 20-degree beveled edge to keep the sharpening stick or sandpaper flush with the face of the blade.

Take a small piece of scrap wood around 10 inches long.

The length doesn't matter as long as the wood has a flat edge.

scrap wood for making the sanding block
scrap wood for making the sanding block

To cut the wood at a 20-degree angle, first set the angle of the table saw blade to 20 degrees.

table saw blade angle set to 20 degrees
table saw blade angle set to 20 degrees

Bevel the edge of the wood piece using table saw

making the beveled edge on table saw
making the beveled edge on the table saw

Now you have a piece of wood that has a 20 degrees bevel on one edge and flat on the opposite edge.

Reduce the length of this piece to around 5 inches as anything more will not sit comfortably in your hand.

crosscutting on table saw to size the block down to 5 inches
crosscutting on table saw to size the block down to 5 inches

Stick a piece of 220 grit sandpaper onto the beveled edge using glue.

fixing sandpaper on the block of wood
fixing sandpaper on the block of wood

With that the sanding block for sharpening the table saw blade is ready.

sanding block for sharpening the table saw blade
sanding block for sharpening the table saw blade

Make sure to unplug the table saw wire before beginning sharpening.

Mark the first tooth before sharpening, so you'll know when one full pass has been completed.

marking a tooth on the blade for reference
marking a tooth on the blade for reference

Take the block and slip it into the gullet of the saw blade teeth as shown below.

slipping sanding block between the teeth of the saw blade
slipping sanding block between the teeth of the saw blade

Now slide the block back and forth while maintaining contact with the face of the tooth.

You can do this about 10 times and move on to the next tooth.

Note that there is no need to sand the sides of the saw blade.

It is a good idea to also use some sort of oil or lapping fluid while grinding so the effectiveness of the sandpaper is increased.

It's going to take you about 10 mins or so to complete one single pass and to sharpen all the teeth.

table saw blade after sharpening
table saw blade after sharpening

It's also a good idea to clean any gunk or resin off the blade before sharpening so that it doesn't gum up your sharpening stick/ sandpaper.

Once the blade is sharpened it's time to test it.

Take any scrap piece of wood.

Cut this scrap wood on the table saw with the rip fence as guide.

cutting wood with the sharpened table saw blade
cutting wood with the sharpened table saw blade

After cutting, inspect the edges of the cut wood for signs of burned marks or chipped wood which indicates a dull blade.

If the edge is smooth, then you are done and you've successfully completed sharpening your table saw blade.

Otherwise, sharpen the blade again.

Wood cut using the sharpened table saw blade
Wood cut using the sharpened table saw blade

Tips for Sharpening Table Saw Blade

  • Although sharpening using hand is a good and effective way to increase blade efficiency, If the blade is too dull or if the blade has carbide tip, consider sending the blade over to a grinding shop to get it professionally sharpened.
  • Since carbide blades cut with its teeth and its sides, you can end up rounding off these edges. So be careful while sharpening.
  • One way to look out for the dullness of the blade is by examining the cuts themselves. When new cuts are made using a dull blade, they often tend to have rough finishes and take a longer time to complete. The sound of the motor can also be an indicator.
  • Heat generated while cutting will be excessive in dull blades, and so burned marks may be observed on the cut.
  • Check the saw blade for missing teeth and splits on a regular basis.
  • Using oil/ lapping fluid prolongs the life of the sandpaper/ sharpening stick.
  • A blade might be dull for cutting wood but can still be sharp enough to cut you, so don't be careless while handiling a saw blade, even a dull one.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What to do with an old table saw blade?

Your saw blades will need to be either sharpened or discarded at some point. Although saw blades may be sharpened at home or by taking them to a professional, if you no longer require them, you can recycle them. Since they are made of steel, they should be accepted by any metal recycling facility.

How do you paint an old saw blade?

Allow the saw blade to dry after a thorough cleaning. Apply a layer of metal primer (it doesn't matter if it's paint-on or spray-on) and let it dry. 

What type of steel is a circular saw blade?

High carbon steel or a blend of different steels may be used as material for manufacturing a saw blade.

About V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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