Band saws provide unmatched versatility when you need to cut curves and irregular shapes into even the thickest lumber. But the only way to ensure the functionality of your band saw and the quality of your final product is through using sharp band saw blades.
It often makes sense to replace a dull blade with a new one, but you can sometimes get the best value out of merely sharpening an old blade instead of replacing it altogether. You should typically be able to get two to three sharpenings before you need to change your blade completely.
If you’re looking to sharpen your band saw blade, you have two options: manually sharpen the blade yourself or use a mechanical sharpening machine.
MANUALLY SHARPEN YOUR BLADE
Manually sharpening your band saw blade might seem like an overwhelming task considering the sheer number of teeth, but it’s actually a relatively simple process and costs far less than purchasing a mechanical sharpener if you don’t plan on sharpening blades very often.
Sometimes, you’ll be able to sharpen only the dullest parts of the blade, such as when it encounters a nail or other foreign object. Other times, however, you’ll need to prepare to sharpen the entire blade. You can perform both partial and full sharpenings using these steps.
STEPS TO SHARPEN YOUR BAND SAW BLADE MANUALLY
Before you begin, gather the following tools:
- Gloves and eye protection
- A sharpening stone with a flat surface
- A Dremel tool, hand file or pencil grinder
- Band saw or a homemade jig.
Now you’re ready to start sharpening. Keep in mind that throughout the sharpening process, you want to try to maintain the original edges of the blade without changing the angles of the teeth. With a good eye and steady hand, follow these steps to return your saw to working order:
You can choose to leave your blade in the band saw or use a homemade jig to hold it while you sharpen. If you’re keeping the blade in the saw, unplug the power before you begin.
Sharpen and align the tips of the teeth by holding the sharpening stone against the toothed edge. Make sure the stone is parallel to the blade’s teeth and perpendicular to the saw table. Touch it against the teeth as you move the band saw backward by hand. As the blade moves, any protruding teeth will come into contact with the stone and sharpen down.
Using a Dremel tool turned on at a low speed or a file, run the device at a slight angle from the top of the tip to sharpen the tip’s back.
Find a file or Dremel attachment that fits the curve of the gullet — the space between the teeth. Lightly touch the underside of each tooth tip you wish to sharpen.
Use either a round file or Dremel bit to touch up the cutting area — the outer edges of the gullet below the tip.
Check the gullet for any debris buildup and clean as needed.
Save Time and Energy With a Mechanical Band Saw Blade Sharpener
While manual sharpening can save you money, it’s often a frustrating and time-consuming process. If you have dozens of saw blades laying around that you want to get the most use out of as possible, a sharpening machine might be a wise purchase. Specialized sharpeners make the sharpening process significantly more manageable, saving you time and energy that you could invest elsewhere.