How To Sharpen Bandsaw Blades

A quality band saw blade is essential to a good band saw operation. When the band is dull it can cause the material to burn and create a lot of friction, which will cause the motor to work harder and eventually break the belts.

Dull blades are one of the main reasons for failed cuts, so you can see just how important having sharp blades is.

Sharpening your blades correctly will ensure an accurate cut while keeping your blades in top shape, which in turn ensures optimal operation for your band saw.

Using the wrong band saw blades can not only put your equipment at risk but also compromise the quality of your finished cuts. A dull band saw blade will kick back, causing kickback, which can result in injuries.

We will share some of our favorite tips for keeping your band saw blades sharp and making sure you get the most out of your band saw.

Steps to Sharpen Your Bandsaw Blade Manually

For safety recommendations, have the following tools before you start:

  • Sharpening stone
  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Dremel tool or hand file

Sharpening a band saw blade by hand is a common technique used to provide a new cutting edge to the tool when the existing one becomes dull.

Now that you have a sharpening stone, the next step is to set it up. The stone should be on a secure surface, making sure if it falls over, it won’t break anything underneath or cause injury.

You should also turn any machines off in your shop and unplug them just to make sure there is no way that they can turn on accidentally while you are sharpening your blades.

You should have on safety glasses and gloves while doing these steps, as there will be flying metal shards when you cut your blade.

When viewed from above, bandsaw blades are actually S-shapes. The area between the serrations is called the gullet, which guides material that makes contact with it.

This means that when a blade is sharpened, by pushing up on its teeth, it is actually sharpening only the bottom edge of each tooth.

As you sharpen the blade, you reduce the gullet — an area beside each tooth of the blade — and gradually expose more and more of the tooth face. While a small amount of gullet may exist in your new band saw’s teeth when it arrives, during use, you will gradually reduce it.

While manually sharpening a band saw blade, it is important to maintain a 15- to 20-degree angle when using a file to sharpen the tips of teeth. This will allow for the best results and will make sawing through the hardest materials easier.

Be sure to use a file or Dremel tool on the blade only when it is off. To do this, locate the gullet space between the teeth. The gullet is about a one-eighth inch deep and leads to the cutting edge of the band saw blade.

Position your file so that you can cut across this gullet area while it is off. Start filing at this curve carefully one tooth at a time until each tooth is sharpened.