Sharpening a hand saw - you must pay attention to this

Straight hand saws do not need to be thrown away if they have become dull. With a little skill you can sharpen them again and again and keep them in use for many years. What to look out for when sharpening, read here.

Sharpenable hand saws

Basically, all saws can be sharpened themselves - except those with specially hardened teeth. These teeth are then harder than the files and would remove material from the file instead of becoming sharp.

In ordinary hand saws, however, such specially hardened teeth are not quite as common as with replaceable saw blades.

With special tools (diamond files), these teeth can be sharpened, but you must bring the saw to a sharpening service. Even that is not possible.

Important when sharpening

  • use suitable files (toothing of the saw, so note tooth spacing)
  • dress in time
  • always check the setting after sharpening
  • if necessary, correct tooth form
  • Always observe the saw geometry (LS or QS)
  • pay attention to the correct filing angle
  • Clamp the saw correctly

Suitable files

A file must always be selected to match the tooth pitch of the saw. The tooth pitch is usually given in saws in TPI (teeth per inch, also ZpZ), if necessary, you have to convert that to millimeters.

tPITooth spacing in mm
320.8 mm
241.1 mm
181.4 mm
161.6 mm
102.5 mm
83.2 mm
55.1 mm


When dressing teeth are brought to the same length. For this one usually uses a flat file. It is always judged by the shortest tooth of the leaf.


The width of the setting can vary individually, but usually around 1.5 times the thickness of the saw blade is used as the cabinet width. Cabinets (or restraints) prevent the saw from getting stuck later.

Correct tooth shape

By dressing, the tooth shape can change unfavorably. It must therefore be corrected with the file again so that the teeth are tapered and have no head surfaces.

Note saw geometry

Each saw blade has a specific profile and geometry. Saws can be designed, for example, for longitudinal and cross sections to the fiber. The saw profile must always be kept as it is.

Proper filing angle

Teeth must be sharpened at the appropriate angle. For beginners, a file guide with attached protractor is recommended.

Clamp the saw correctly

The saw must be clamped in such a way that the teeth just barely protrude (eg with the vise). If you hone more frequently, it is worth buying a separate file for clamping the saw in any case.

Tips & Tricks

Hints and instructions for sharpening circular saw blades can be found in this article, instructions for sharpening the chains of a chainsaw can be found here.

Video Board: How to sharpen a big saw chain