How to Sharpen a Carbide-Tipped Saw Blade

Written by brian connolly
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How to Sharpen a Carbide-Tipped Saw Blade
Thanks to the affordability and accessibility of small power tools, sharpening your own saw blades has never been easier. (detail of circular saw image by Thor Jorgen Udvang from

Opting not to rely on industry professionals, more and more individuals are touching up and sharpening their carbide-tipped saw blades at home. While starter sets for sharpening can be purchased at prices from £65 to £260--with professional-grade equipment costing up to £3,250--anyone with a working Dremel tool and diamond wheel attachment can learn and perfect the art of sharpening carbide saw blades.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Carbide tip saw blade
  • Dremel tool with diamond "paddle hone" attachment
  • Small brass-bristled brush
  • Basin or water container
  • Citrus oil soap
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety gloves

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  1. 1

    Select a well-lighted working area for cleaning and sharpening your saw blade. Ensure that the working surface is clear of any dust, dirt or other debris.

  2. 2

    Fill the basin with hot water and add generous amounts of citrus oil soap until the surface is thick with soapsuds. Submerge the dull saw blade in the basin and let soak for 10 to 20 minutes to loosen any resins or oils trapped between the blade teeth. Once finished, carefully scrub the faces and teeth of the blade using a small brass-bristled brush. Rinse the blade in hot water and let dry.

  3. 3

    Put on your safety gloves and goggles. Insert the diamond paddle hone attachment into the Dremel tool and wet the tip in soapy water. Turn the Dremel tool on the medium setting and apply the wet paddle hone tip to the flat steel faces of your saw blade. Wet the paddle hone attachment periodically as the liquid evaporates, or if sparks occur. Continue working the faces of the saw blade until both surfaces display a uniform sheen and colour.

  4. 4

    Position the saw blade for sharpening by holding the blade vertically with one gloved hand. Dip the paddle hone attachment in soapy water once more and carefully insert it against the flat, "leading" face of the saw teeth. Turn the Dremel tool to the medium setting and apply the wet hone to each carbide tooth, making sure to keep the hone flat against the face of each tooth so as to protect the sides of the teeth. Finish each tooth by gently pressing the hone to the top of each tooth, to aid in cutting.

  5. 5

    Repeat until each tooth of your carbide saw has been successfully sharpened. Re-wet the paddle hone attachment as necessary if sparks occur. Once sharpened, rinse the blade again and let dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Always practice caution when working with saw blades. Even dull or diminished blades can prove dangerous. Removing oils and resins can reveal hidden sharp areas. Always wear safety goggles when working with power tools.

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