How To Sharpen A Pruning Saw (Easy Steps & Useful Tips)

Maintaining a sharp and efficient pruning saw is essential for anyone who regularly engages in gardening or tree care. A blunt or dull saw can make your tasks more challenging, leading to unnecessary strain and less precise cuts.

However, fear not, as sharpening a pruning saw doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through a detailed step-by-step process to help you sharpen your pruning saw effectively.

From gathering the necessary tools to understanding the correct technique, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and skills required to restore your pruning saw’s cutting edge, ensuring it remains a valuable asset in your gardening toolkit.

How To Sharpen A Pruning Saw

Things You Needed To Sharpen A Pruning Saw

  • A clamp or a table vice or any other tool kit for sharpening your saw ( you can work without one by making a makeshift clamp/vice)
  • Shifter/spanner/screwdriver to remove the saw’s handle if it can be detached.
  • White vinegar or water and cleaning detergent
  • A brush
  • A rag or other cloth
  • A tub big enough to hold liquid and the saw
  • Gloves for safety
  • Filing rod
  • Feather-edged file
  • Any kind of oil or other lubricant
  • Saw set

Prepare your Pruning Saw for Sharpening

Pruning saws get rusted and dirty as they are used for gardening. It is necessary to clean them so they still need to come out dull when sharpening them. There are three ways to do that:

1. Using Cleaning Detergent

If your saw only has debris and dirt from cutting, then water, a brush, and a cleaning agent is all you need.

Mix your cleaning agent and water. Now use your brush and the solution to clean your saw.

Ensure you wear gloves so you do not get hurt by the blade. After scrubbing, dip your saw into the water; it should be free of debris and dirt.

2. Using Kerosene

If your pruning saw still has a caked residue, leave it in water for at least minutes. It should be gone by now, but do not worry if that is false.

Pour some kerosene over a cloth and rub it over the residue. It should get rid of any pestering residue that has still lingered.

3. Using White Vinegar

Pour enough vinegar into a container to submerge your entire saw and let it soak for some time, preferably a week or more, if it is rusty.

Remove your handle if it can be detached for this step, as you do not want the vinegar to ruin your grip potentially.

After the natural rust is gone, use a rag or steel wool to remove the remaining residue. You can use oil to prevent rust on your saw.

How To Sharpen A Pruning Saw

Take off the Handle

Some saws come with a removable handle. If yours is one of them, take out the handle from the blade. This will make it easier to sharpen your saw.

You do not have to worry about your handle if it cannot be removed. You can still sharpen it.

Placing the blade correctly

You need a clamp, vice, or any other sharpening tool kit where you can put your blade. Make sure the serrated edge is facing upward.

Many kinds of pruning saws exist, but they all have their teeth in common. It is necessary to remember that different techniques might be used for different saws, but our method here should also work fine.

Pruning Saw File | Pruning Saw Sharpening File

There are different types of files for pruning saws. If you are a first-timer, we suggest using the diamond file. They are easier to use than traditional whetstones.

You can also use feather-edged files for pruning the saw and leveling the teeth.
You can also use triangular files though they need a bit of practice to use correctly.

Knife File for Pruning Saw

All the files mentioned above are knife files: they are designed in a knife shape that makes them easier to handle. Their sides are double-cut and have a single edge cut edge, which is thin.

Push your filing rod forward to file off your blade. You should never file your blade’s teeth back and forth as it would damage your blade, but instead, just insert it and push it forward, bring it out, and repeat.

You need to do this only 1 or 2 times for each tooth, but you might have to do it more if your blade is blunt or very old. Make sure not to overdo it, or you will ruin your blade.

If your teeth are not leveled, use a feather-edge file and run the flat side over your teeth in one stroke. Do this before you sharpen your blade.

If the gaps between the teeth are not even, you must set the saw before sharpening it. You need a saw set for this specifically, the pliers and a vice.

Keep your blade in the same position as we mentioned keep it facing upward, with your vice sitting on the edge of your saw.

Now place the saw set in between the teeth. Push it on the grip to set the tooth and repeat in the opposite direction.

Cleaning the Metal Shedding

As you already know, sharpening your blade gives off metal shedding or burr, which you need to clean off of your blade.

Use a rag or other cloth to get rid of all the burr. Avoid using your bare hands to clean off the burr from the surface, not to hurt yourself.

Preventing Rust

You can avoid rust on your newly sharpened pruning saw using a lubricant. Apply oil on your blade before or after attaching it to the handle. If you will use your saw right after sharpening it, apply the oil afterward.

What kind of oil should you use? The answer is any kind. Even engine oil is refined. You can also use food-grade silicone pray and lithium grease.

Test the Sharpness

After you are done sharpening, test your pruning saw to see if it is sharp enough. Use it on a wide branch to see how well it works.

Do not test the sharpness using your hands, even if you think you are being cautious. You could injure yourself severely, especially now that the blade is sharpened.

How to Sharpen a Folding Pruning Saw?

Clean your folding pruning saw as described in the previous section, then position a triangular saw 30 degrees above the saw’s teeth.

Sharpen the teeth with continuous strokes- 10 for each tooth. The direction you will move your file depends on if your saw cuts in a pulling or a pushing motion. It can be both too. To avoid breaking any tooth, keep your clamp close to the teeth.

How To Sharpen a Ripping Pruning Saw?

If your current one cannot fit your rip saw, you may need a different vice made explicitly for ripping pruning saws.

If your teeth are crooked, use a saw set to straighten them. You can clamp the set on a tooth and then let it go. Keep doing it for all the crooked teeth.

If your teeth are not leveled, slide a jointer across the saw with a slow, steady hand and downward pressure. If you need more than one time, repeat it 2-3 times.

Use a triangular file. Your file size depends on the size of your rip saw. You can check your saw’s manual to determine the size.

Take your file and pull it between two teeth. Start from the tooth facing the other side of the saw handle. Keep doing this until you are done, and avoid every other tooth.

Now, turn the saw around and do it again. You can end it by stoning the saw, though this is optional.

What To Do If You Do Not Have a Clamp Or Vice

Things you will need for making a makeshift clamp/ vice:

  • Workbench
  • Rope
  • A stick or dowel
  • Timber

Place your saw blade against your workbench’s edge and timber on the other side to act as a clamp. On your workbench’s leg, attach the rope, wrap the rope around the bench, going over the timber.

Tie the rope’s other end to the leg of your workbench. Next, take the stick or dowel and ensure that you insert it vertically between the two loops.

This stick or dowel can now tighten the rope, acting as a clamp. You can therefore adjust the blade by twisting the stick or dowel by twisting and untwisting.