Anyone who owns a saw has probably gone through several saw blades. Although they are built to last, they suffer plenty of wear and tear from their normal usage. At some point, your saw blades will need to be sharpened or thrown out.
And yes, you can sharpen saw blades, either at home or by taking them to a professional. But you can also recycle them if you no longer want them. Since they are made of steel, any place that recycles metal should take them. In addition, there are many ways to reuse saw blades. To learn more about your options, check out our helpful tips below.
What are saw blades made of?
Saw blades are typically made of steel. They may also have additives to improve their performance. For example, some manufacturers put cobalt in their blades to add extra strength. Tungsten carbide tipped saw blades have a chemical compound on the teeth that is twice as strong as steel. It makes the blades more durable.
There are many different types of saw blades available to consumers. Jigsaw blades, circular saw blades, tile or metal saw blades, and hand saw blades are just a few examples. There are many ways to give your saw blade new life once it has worn out or you no longer need it.
How to recycle saw blades
Most curbside recycling programs do not accept scrap metal. As a result, you will need to recycle your saw blades elsewhere.
There are a couple of good options for this. Your local recycling should have a metal recycling bin onsite. Steel is easy to recycle, and it can be quite valuable, so it is in the company’s (or the county’s) best interest to collect as much of it as they can.
However, before you start throwing your saw blades in the recycling bin, check with the staff to make sure they take them. Even a dull saw blade could seriously injure one of its employees if they came into contact with it. Saw blades may require some special handling.
The same is true of scrap metal dealers. They are the final destination for your old saw blades anyway, so you may be able to drop them off directly with them. But again, ask if they have any special rules for how you should present sharp saw blades when your drop them off.
How to reuse saw blades
Many saw blades can be sharpened and used another time. Check with your local hardware store to see if they sell sharpening tools. That way you can sharpen your blades at home every time they get dull. It is cheaper and you can go right back to using them.
If you do not want to sharpen your saw blades at home, you should be able to find a company in town that will sharpen them for you. These companies employ experts who are certain to touch up your saw blade the correct way.
A company called Exchange-A-Blade
takes back people’s old saw blades and gives them a discount on new ones. All the saw blades it receives are inspected for quality to see if they can be used another time. If the answer is yes, it sharpens them and sells them. If the answer is no, it sends the blades to a metal recycler.
Artists sometimes paint on old saw blades and sell them at craft fairs. Check out these beautiful examples on PaintedSawBlades.com
and Fine Art America
. Painting of western scenes and animals are very popular on saw blades, but you can also find artists who do very modern designs. This is a great way to reuse both circular saw blades and larger hand saw blades. See if you can find a saw blade artist near you, or give saw blade painting a try yourself!
In addition, artists can use a plasma cutter to carve the inside of the saw blade into an interesting design. The teeth make a natural saw tooth border. Check out some examples on this Pinterest page
Saw blades can be used for other craft projects. Pinterest has photographs of saw blades used as clocks, light fixtures, signs and garden art. Creating animals with old rusty tools was a big trend several years ago, and you will find saw blades incorporated into many of those pieces. Saw blades look interesting enough that they can be used as decorations on their own, especially if they are large or have an unusual shape.
If your saw blades are in good condition, Woodworker’s Journal suggests
donating them to a high school or community college with a shop program. They might be able to use them on their equipment.
How to recycle saw handles
A hand saws will have a wood or plastic handle that the user grips to pull it back and forth. If that grip is made of untreated wood, you should be able to recycle it at your local recycling center. You will need to remove the grip from the saw blade first. After that, look for the wood recycling bin.
If the handle is made of treated wood or plastic, you will need to throw the handle in the trash. Treated wood is not recyclable, and a plastic handle is likely not recyclable either.
You can also consider repurposing an old saw handle. We love this cute little monster design
. The hole where a hand fits makes a perfect mouth for the critter’s sharp teeth.