How to Clean a Hand Saw Blade

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When sharpening a hand saw, assessing the cleanliness of your blade is essential since rust that has accumulated over the past years can be hazardous. Furthermore, cleaning a hand saw blade either for restoration or maintenance is an easy chore which you can carry out within an hour or less.

Getting Started

Before you embark on cleaning your hand saw, you need to have some cleaning materials such as boiled linseed oil, sandpaper, paste wax, metal scraper, used newspaper among others. In this article, we shall take you through how to clean a hand saw blade. Here are some of the tips to consider when cleaning your hand saw blade.

1. Safety

When cleaning a saw blade, safety has to be your number one priority. Therefore, you need to wear gloves of high quality as well as a mask before you start cleaning your blade. To do this, you typically will require boiling linseed oil as well as mineral spirits which are often irritating to your skin, mucous membrane and lungs. It is because of this that protecting yourself from the irritation is vital.

2. Using old newspapers

When it comes to protecting your worktable, old newspapers works are the best. Furthermore, newspapers help in cleaning rust residue from sanding and scraping. Once you are done with scrapping, fold your old newspapers with rust residues and throw it into the dust bin.

Related: Best Handsaws for Woodworking

3. Blade scraper

Cleaning your hand saw blade using a blade scraper is vital in removing all rust residues on the surface of your blade. When workings with blade scarper, you should hold it at low angles and operate within short strokes from end to end of your hand saw blade. Additionally, you should carry out an initial scrape and repeat it till you get rid of all the rust on the surface of your blade. Once you are done with the scraping, wipe down all the available rust residues.

4. Thin sandpaper

Thin sandpapers are best known when it comes to cleaning hand saws. The sandpaper should be thin and often they provide a great feeling when compared to thick sandpaper. When using a coarser, you should carry out light sanding around your hand saw blade. Additionally, sanding your blade in a circular motion will allow you to achieve optimum sanding.

You should repeat this process with new sandpaper and always get rid of rust residue during the sanding process. Once you are done sanding, clean both sides of your blade equally.

Also: Learn How to Maintain a Sharp Blade

5. Paint thinner

Alongside sandpaper, paint thinner works correctly when it comes to cleaning a hand saw blade. Once you pour the paint thinner on a dry paper, you should scrub your saw blade lengthwise. After every application of paint thinner, it is advisable to use fresh sandpaper. When applying or working with paint thinner, you should ensure that you have your gloves and mask on.

6. Paste wax

Paste wax is often used in protecting your hand saw blade from rusting. Once you are done with cleaning your hand saw, apply paste wax evenly across both sides of your blade. You should always wipe off excess wax from your blade using a piece of dry rag. Paste waxes are available in various local hardware stores.

7. Coarser sandpaper

When cleaning the back of your blade, using coarser sandpaper is the best way to go. From your sandpaper, rip a small piece and apply the pressure from your thumb or wood in sanding back of your blade. You should always sand back and forth until you get rid of all the rust, grime and dirt accumulated on your blade.

8. Washing down your blade with paint thinner

Once you are done with the sanding and scrapping of your blade, you should rinse it down using paint thinner. Rinsing down your hand saw blade and let it dry for approximately four hours will help it become well-polished and shiny.

Check Out: How to Make Square Cuts with a Hand Saw

9. Mineral spirits

You might consider using mineral spirit as a substitute to painting thinner. When using mineral spirit, you should apply it equally on both sides of the blade. Furthermore, you should use clean and dry cloth in applying mineral spirit before beginning sanding your hand saw blade. You should repeat this process until you become satisfied with the outcome.

Steps to follow when cleaning your hand saw blade

There are various methods of cleaning and getting rid of rust, grime and dust from your hand saw blade. Here is how you can easily clean your blade using home remedies;

1. Removing the handle

Before you start cleaning your blade, you should remove its handle. By doing this, you will be able to expose the entire blade to the cleaning process. Furthermore, during this time, you should assess whether the bolts are in good condition or need to be replaced once you are through with cleaning.

2. Electrolysis

Electrolysis is one of the best methods of rust removal and can be used on various metal tools at home. When conducting electrolysis, ensure that you are in a well-ventilated area and free from open flames. Here is how you can perform electrolysis at home;

  1. Fill a bucket with warm water
  2. Per gallon of water, you should add one tablespoon of baking soda and stir to dissolve.
  3. On the positive lead, attach iron metal and deep it in the bucket with baking soda solution. You should not place clips or clamps in the solution to prevent them from rusting.
  4. On the negative clam, attach your rusted hand saw blade and deep into the baking soda solution in the bucket. While inside the solution, ensure that positive and negative leads are not touching.
  5. Once you are done setting up, you should turn on the power. Once the power is on, the negative side where the rusty blade is will start to bubble and fizz. The bubbles are hydrogen gas escaping electrolysis. During this process, the rust will become negatively charged ions and separate itself from the blade. Afterwards, the rust will move to the positive side of the electrolysis where it will be deposited. Often this process takes approximately 30 minutes; however, it will depend on the amps of electricity being used.
  6. Once you are through with electrolysis, you can use a wire brush in removing the remaining rust or debris. When done, you should consider treating your hand saw blade with oil or rust inhibitor to prevent rusting in the future.

Importance of cleaning a hand saw blade

Friction is the enemy when it comes to woodworking which means keeping your tools such as a hand saw blade free of pitch and clean is very critical.

Maintaining your hand saw blade clean is essential, especially when dealing with pitchy softwoods. When resin and pitch build up in your blade, it will affect your woodworking experience since it causes a build-up of heat, drag and vibration. Furthermore, this will affect the quality of the cut; therefore, cleaning your blade will help you avoid such situations.

Maintaining a clean hand saw will ensure that you have peak performance in woodworking. Getting rid of materials that dull your blade is essential in improving your performance. When rust accumulates over time on your blade, it can make it lose its strength. Whenever a hand saw blade has any deficiency, it should not be used until it is repaired.

Protecting your hand saw blade from rusting

Protecting your blade from rusting is vital in improving its performance. Once you clean your hand saw, the lasting you would want is it to rust again; therefore, protecting it is essential.

Keeping your blade dry is the first thing you should consider. Always store it in a dry toolbox or place. Furthermore, using lubricants such as gun oil or WD 40 is critical in protecting your blade from rusting. The oil or lubricant helps in preventing oxygen from coming into contact with the surface of your blade.

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Always maintain the wood handle of your blade by rubbing it with boiled linseed oil. When the wooden handle is dry and scratched using linseed oil is the best method of protection it. You can use a dry rag to rub the oil on the handle. Moreover, you can unscrew the handle when it appears dirty or rusty and cleans it all round. Often dust particles build in the wooden handle; therefore, getting rid of it is essential.


Once you clean your hand saw blade, you should always store it in a dry place and you should always avoid high humidity or excess moisture to prevent it from rusting. Furthermore, you should often clean it to maintain excellent performance. When sap and pitch accumulate, it will lead to increase heat and friction, which will affect your blade’s performance.

When cleaning using a wire brush, you better use it gently since it might lead to severe damage. However, using brass or nylon brush as a substitute is more considerable. You should always avoid overheating your blade while cutting wood​ since it can lead to a thermal crack in carbide. The crack might cause fragments to come off the blade and possibly injure you while operating.

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