How to Sharpen a Reciprocating Saw Blade

reciprocating saw on wood

Dull reciprocating saw blades often lead to poorly-cut materials. Giving your saw the proper maintenance is thus very crucial to ensure you get the most accurate cut.

Keeping your saw in the razor-sharp condition is part of that regime’s care. You should also know the type of sharpener that can give you the best results.

Keeping your saw’s blade sharp increases its longevity. Moreover, the performance of its motor gets better, leading to quality cuts. This maintenance also helps you to save time and money. However, what are the available ways of sharpening a reciprocating saw blade?

We are going to share the various ways you can use to sharpen your saw blade.

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Using a Taper File

Using a tapered file is one of the effective ways of sharpening your saw blade. You will need a small or larger taper file. The choice of the file you make will depend on the size of your reciprocating saw’s teeth.

Either a double or single-cut file will be effective while sharpening your reciprocating saw blades.

The taper file is triangular. This feature enables it to file one tooth’s front as well and the back of another.

However, you should select the appropriate file for the best results. In this case, you will require a small file. This file will make you achieve a more refined finish on your reciprocating saw blade.

That said, you need the following before you start sharpening your saw blade.

  • A saw set
  • A spare wood
  • A vice 

Use of Diamond Wheel Sharpeners

You can sharpen your saw blade by use of diamond sharpeners. You will require a diamond saw blade on which you will mount your reciprocating saw blade. If you do not have one, choose from either Kobalt 10- or 7-in dry/wet continuous diamond blade. 

Ensure that the grinding wheel that you go for has a profile that matches your blade. Because most wheels have flat edges, they are considered an easier approach to sharpening a saw blade.

All you need to do is run the saw blade teeth through the wheel. This simple process enables you to touch up a blade in just a couple of minutes.

The Process of Sharpening a Reciprocating Saw

1. Inspect the Saw

Ensure that the teeth are of the same height. In case of any variations, clamp the blade in a vice. Use a strip of wood to hold the reciprocating saw blade in the vice. Then, use a smooth metal file to reduce the protruding height of the teeth.

After that, examine the damage of the blade. Remember, rust, and other blemishes may cause the binding of the blade in the stock.

2. Set the Teeth

Make sure the kerf is the appropriate width. Misaligned teeth result in undesired cuts, no matter the sharpness of the saw blade. You can use a saw set to fix this problem.

A saw set is similar to a pair of pliers. It has a pivot, a set of teeth, and long handles. Clamp the reciprocating saw blade in a saw set. Adjust the hammer disk to tighten and put pressure on the teeth to align them closely.

Bend each tooth into shape by squeezing the saw set handles. You should start the process from the point in the middle with matching sets on each side.

Saw sets are effective with fewer teeth saw blades. Alternatively, you can get a professional if the tooth count of your blade is high.

Starting at one end, put the saw set in position with the first tooth. Squeeze the handles and commence filing the saw blade in the same manner.

Always skip the next tooth as you work along. The teeth are not in the same order on the blade. Flip the blade and commence the process for the teeth facing the opposite direction. 

3. Install the Saw Blade

Get back the saw blade and check if the blade has been properly sharpened. Then, plug in the saw and turn it on.

Try to cut a piece of material. The cutting should be easy without much effort. Additionally, the cut edges must be smooth and regular.   

4. Secure the Saw Blade

Clamp the blade in the vice using wooden strips to protect the blade metal. The clamping gives the blade rigidity. Maintain a file-angle of 60% as you work across the teeth. Make sure the file works the rear and the front of the teeth. Apply double strokes per tooth for an even finish.

Safety Precautions When Sharpening

The first thing to do is to unplug the saw blade.

Next, put on the safety gear to avoid injuries. The safety gear includes:

  • Safety goggles to protect your eye
  • A pair of gloves to prevent you from cuts and bruise
  • A mask respirator for prevention of inhalation of wood or metal particle
  • A pair of earplugs for sharp noises during the process 

Remove the Blade

You should never try to sharpen a blade before removing it from the saw. It is hard to restrict the blade’s movement while in the saw. Despite it being blunt, it can still cause serious injuries.

So, remove the blade you want to sharpen from the saw. After that, replace it with the diamond blade which you want to use. Choose a saw with quick lock technology will ease your job.

Tighten the diamond blade using a nut to keep it in place. The nut should never be too loose or tight. Much tightening can bend the saw blade while a loose one may not hold it in place.

Ensure to sharpen every tooth. If your blade’s teeth face one direction, you will have a one-pass sharpening. However, if they point in the opposite direction, one pass will be required for each direction.

Sum Up Everything

Learning how you can sharpen saw blades in different ways is a critical skill. This knowledge will help save time and maintenance costs. 

You are sure to get smooth and regular cuts with a well-maintained saw blade. Working sharp saw blades give confidence and peace of mind. As a result, you will have high-quality cuts and reduced material wastage.

The methods in this article are easy to use. However, you can get a professional to help you sharpen your blade if need be.

Also, make sure you select an appropriate file depending on the size of your blade. Doing this ensures that you do not tamper with your blade’s teeth.

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of WiseMakr.com. Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.