How to Sharpen a Panel Saw

Written by evelyn fielding
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Sharpening a panel saw by hand is easy but requires some patience to maintain a smooth rhythm. If your saw is binding in the cut and you have to fight it to stay on mark, take a little time to sharpen the blade. The job is much easier to do if you have a saw vice, which you can purchase at any good hardware store or hand tool shop. If you'd like to make your own saw vice, simply hinge two pieces of plywood the length of your saw together and clamp to the workbench.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Saw vice
  • Saw set
  • Saw file

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  1. 1

    Clamp the panel saw inside the saw vice with the teeth facing up.

  2. 2

    Set the saw's teeth using the saw set. This is a special pliers designed for setting saw teeth with a knob you can turn to change the angle of the jaws. Adjust the dial to match the current pitch of the saw's teeth, place the jaws over the tooth closest to the handle and tighten. Bend every other tooth in one direction to the desired pitch. Reverse the saw in the saw vice and bend the rest of the teeth to the same pitch. You will need to set the saw's teeth every third or fourth time you sharpen it.

  3. 3

    Sharpen the saw with the saw file. Begin with the teeth closest to the handle. Run the file two to four strokes the length of the file, always in the same direction (not back and forth). File at the same angle as the teeth are now. Use the same number of strokes on each tooth. Sharp saw teeth are not shiny and have just a little edge.

  4. 4

    Joint the saw, if necessary. Jointing simply means that you make all the teeth the same height. Look at the tops of the teeth. They should all be at the same height. If some teeth are higher than the rest, make a few strokes with the saw file to take off the top of the tooth. Hold the file perpendicular to the blade when jointing.

Tips and warnings

  • Crosscut panel saws usually have their teeth sharpened at about 15 degrees from perpendicular to the blade. Follow this angle when resharpening the saw.
  • Rip saws usually have their teeth sharpened at 90 degrees to the blade. Follow this angle when resharpening the saw.

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