How to Properly Care for a Handsaw

What You'll Need
Razor blade and holder
Cotton rags and paper towels
320-grit sandpaper
Paste wax or WD-40
Mineral spirits
Boiled linseed oil
Mask and gloves
Charcoal or silica gel packets

Properly caring for an old or new handsaw will extend its quality and length of life, making it a more productive tool. Follow these instructions to properly maintain a new saw or clean up an old one.

Safety Tips

  • Rags soaked in mineral spirits or linseed oil can combust and burst into flame if they are piled up while wet and left for some time. Dry each rag out by laying it flat on the ground away from your home before throwing it in the trash. Keep mineral spirits away from any open flame. 
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself from the fumes of the mineral spirits.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Step 1 - Store in a Moisture-free Tool Box

Storing your handsaw in a moisture free home is vital for keeping it from getting rusty. Check the gasket on your toolbox, especially if the box is often left outside or in a moist environment. Help remove moisture from the inside of your toolbox by storing charcoal or silica gel packets on each shelf or tray.

Step 2 - Lubricate the Blade

After each use, lubricate your blade with paste wax or WD-40 before storing. WD-40 can just be rubbed on with an rag and left on the blade. Paste wax should be wiped off after allowing to soak into the blade for about 10 minutes. Both wax and WD-40 will help to keep rust off your blade.

Step 3 - Oil the Handle

Maintain the wooden handle by regularly rubbing it with boiled linseed  oil, especially if the wood is scratched and dry. Use a cotton rag to rub in the oil. If the handle looks rusty or a little dirty, unscrew the handle from the blade and clean around the slot where the blade fits into. Rust and dirt commonly will build up here. Scrape off dirt and rust with a razor blade and steel wool. To remove dried paint, scrub with steel wool soaked in mineral spirits. Finish this cleaning by rubbing in the boiled linseed oil.

Step 4 - Remove Blade Rust with a Razor

If you regularly wax or oil your blade and keep it in a dry place, your blade may never rust. However, rust may accumulate with time. To remove rust from a saw blade, first unscrew it from the handle. Scrape off the grim with a razor blade, paying close attention to the area where it attaches to the handle. Scrape with the length of the blade, not width-wise. Hold the razor at a low angle to keep from scratching the blade.

Step 5 - Remove Blade Rust with Sandpaper

To remove the remainder of rust, sand with 320-grit sandpaper. Apply a little mineral spirits to the blade before sanding. Sand in strokes that go with the length of the blade. Remove dirt and rust particles and mineral spirits with paper towel. Finish rust removal by waxing or oiling the blade as explained above.