Hand Saws

Handsaws are sharpened using a number of tools.
  1. Required
    1. Flat, mill file
    2. 60° triangular file
    3. Saw set tool
  2. Optional -- wooden jigs can be made
    1. Jointer tool
    2. Clamp-on filing guide

Sharpening steps:

  1. Clean & de-rust the saw blade; repair as necessary.
  2. Joint the tops of the teeth.
  3. Set the teeth.
  4. File the teeth.
  5. De-burr / Dress the teeth.
  6. Wax the blade.

Side View

End View

Top View
Saw Type Use Rake Fleam Drop Set Comments
Range Recom. Range Recom.

Hardwoods -10° to 5° -5° 0° to 6° 50% saw blade's thickness For dense wood with wild grain, increase fleam to 10°. For general, all-around use, set rake to 10°.
Softwoods For general, all-around use, set rake to 0°.

Hardwoods -12° to -30° -15° 10° to 45° 10° 10° 50% saw blade's thickness Generally Drop = Fleam.
Softwoods 20° 20° For soft, fibrous woods, consider fleam = 30°, rake = 45°, and increase Set.
2-Man Crosscut (same as for Crosscut Saws) 0.020"
Compass (same as for Rip Saws)
Dovetail (same as for Crosscut Saws) 0.002" For backsaws, Set should be 0.005".
Reciprocating Saw Blades 50% saw blade's thickness
Veneer 0 Use a stone to de-burr, and then bevel the sides of the teeth.

Notes & Comments

Getting Started with Western Saws

This video from Lee Valley is a great overview of various saw types.

About this site
Remember : The goal of sharpening is to produce sharp tools, and these tools can injure you if mishandled. Safety measures should be followed to protect yourself and those in your shop. Be sure to read and follow all instructions from the manufacturer, and and utilize proper safety equipment. Never consume alcohol or anything that could impair your judgement before sharpening tools, or using sharp tools. Comments can be sent via eMail to me at SharpeningHandbook@Gmail.com.