How to Sharpen a Table Saw Blade: 3 Tips & Tricks
Table saws are one of the most versatile tools in any workshop, but their blades can get very dull after excessive use. Therein lies the choice to either replace the blade or sharpen it. Many people aren’t even aware that the latter is an option, but with a little work and preparation, you can make dull old blades nearly as good as new. Let’s find out what you’ll need and how to go about it.
Before You Start
There are several ways to sharpen blades, but we’re going to be going over the most user-friendly method: hand sharpening. This requires minimal equipment and supplies, but you will need a few things to get started. Let’s see what you’ll need to get your blades sharp again.
- 12-inch piece of scrap wood
- Diamond sharpening stick/sandpaper
- Dull table saw blade
- Double-sided tape
- Steel wool
- Table saw
The 3 Tips to Sharpen Your Table Saw Blade
1. Shape a Wedge
First, set the angle of your table saw to 20 degrees and have your flat block ready. Bevel one edge of the block at 20 degrees along its length, leaving the other edge flat. This block will help you sharpen your blades in the next steps. If you wish, you can cut the block shorter. Six inches or so will fit comfortably in the hand, so we’d recommend that length.
2. Prepare the Block
Next, use double-sided tape to attach a diamond sharpening stick to the beveled edge of the block, or use fine-grit sandpaper. Glue can also be used to attach sandpaper to the block, but it might be harder to get off and leave a residue behind.
3. Sharpen Your Blades
Before sharpening, scrub your old blades with steel wool to remove rust, dirt, and other debris that may have accumulated. You want the blades as clean as possible before sharpening them because debris can interfere with the process. Now, insert your dull blade into the table saw and unplug the machine. You won’t need power for this, and you’ll reduce the chances of an accident.
Next, insert the sharpening stick or edge of your sandpapered block into the gullet of the blade’s teeth. Holding it at a firm perpendicular angle, scrape the tooth’s edge back and forth against the sharpening surface. As you go, you may need to adjust the angle of your sharpening stick or block so your blade gets evenly sharpened.
This is going to take some practice, and you may ruin a couple of blades, but you’ll quickly get a rhythm of how long it takes to sharpen a blade.
What Blades Can I Sharpen?
Blades with numerous short teeth are less suited to sharpening, while blades with fewer long teeth are best. Most importantly, you should never sharpen a cheap blade. It’s simply not worth the effort to sharpen a blade that only costs a couple of bucks! Higher-quality blades that cost more are better for sharpening because you’ll actually be saving some money with your efforts.
Is It Worth It to Sharpen Saw Blades?
We’d recommend only sharpening blades that cost more than $30–$50, but you should practice on cheap blades. Your first few attempts will be rough and the blade might not be usable at first, but once you hone your skills, you should reserve them for good blades.
Table saw blades are easily replaced, but with a little work, you can make them as sharp as new. Sharpening is best reserved for your fancy blades because of the time and effort required, but you’ll need some cheap old blades handy for learning the skill.
Featured Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay