Keep Carbide Saw Blades Sharp

| 3/30/2011 7:23:00 AM

carbide2Over the last 30 years, carbide saw blades have almost completely taken over from regular steel saw blades for woodworking because carbide lasts so much longer between sharpenings. In this case the term “carbide” refers to an extra-hard alloy that’s used to form the cutting teeth arranged around the circumference of a blade. Carbide teeth are typically brazed to the main body of the blade, and it’s the incredibly hard nature of carbide that makes these teeth last so long, while also presenting a challenge when it comes to sharpening.

Inexpensive carbide saw blades of the sort used in hand-held circular saws are designed to be used then recycled, while more expensive carbide blades for tablesaws and chopsaws are built to be resharpened 4 or 5 times. Even in a professional shop, these blades deliver years of service.

There are two ways that the teeth on carbide blades can be sharpened. You can send a blade out to a dedicated sharpening shop, or you can invest in the equipment to do the work yourself. I have almost a dozen carbide saw blades in my woodworking shop, and a couple have been with me for almost 20 years. I’ve always sent my blades out to be sharpened. Costs typically run from $10 to $15 per 10- or 12-inch diameter blade and the results have always been excellent. Performance after a fresh sharpening job is at least as good as when the blade was new. I don’t live anywhere near a sharpening shop, so I wait until I have 3 or 4 dull blades to package up and ship by mail.

There are a few small scale machines designed for DIY sharpening of carbide saw blades, and one that I know of is made by Viel ( I’ve never used this machine personally, but a friend of mine with a welding shop just bought one. I’ll know better how it works in a few months. Besides having the necessary sharpening equipment, it does take skill to restore carbide saw blade performance. Some blade designs are easier than others to sharpen, but either way you should expect to invest some learning time for you get good.

Why would someone with a welding shop need to sharpen carbide saw blades? Over the last few years carbide metallurgy has progressed to the point where it’s tough enough to handle heavy ferrous metal. So-called “dry cut” carbide blades are available for cutting all kinds of steel, both solid and hollow. Performance is quite surprising and much better than traditional abrasive wheels. Carbide blades cut faster, they generate far fewer sparks, they’re very accurate and leave no burr. The cut surface is also cool to the touch. To see a metal cutting carbide saw blade in action, check out my video at 

Contributing Editor Steve Maxwell has been helping people renovate, build and maintain their homes for more than two decades. “Canada’s Handiest Man” is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. Contact him by visiting his website and the blog, Maxwell’s House. You also can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and find him on . 

2/23/2015 4:24:56 PM

If you don't have the experience then I would recommend just paying a professional service to sharpen your carbide blades. You'll end saving time and money in the long run, by not messing up your blades. We tried doing it on our own but our results weren't on par with saw houses. I recommend Saw & Specialty Corporation ( or Grand Saw & Machine (, it's always best to have more than one option because these shops can get busy.

10/22/2014 1:29:57 AM

This is very nice post. It is very informative post. As the saw teeth are made of cemented carbide,so that hard material can be cut easily. Few months ago I had taken the construction service from ERMRICH INC. This company uses high quality building materials including carbide tip saw blade, diamond blade etc. I am very satisfied and benefitted with its valuable services and products.

10/12/2013 1:05:00 AM

Nice sharing, if you want to get any kind of hand tools. You can also buy from

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters