How to Stop Your Saw From Sticking — Miter, Hand, and Circular Saws

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Keeping your saw running smoothly is crucial for woodworking precision and efficiency. If you’re dealing with a saw that keeps sticking and causing disruptions, you’re at the right place! 

I’ve created this guide to share effective techniques on how to prevent your saw from sticking, whether it’s a miter, hand, or circular saw. So, keep reading!

Why Does Your Saw Keep on Getting Stuck?

For woodworkers, experiencing a saw getting stuck while trying to achieve a clean finish can be a dreadful nightmare. A range of factors can be responsible for this problem, stemming from either errors made by the user or issues with the tool’s functionality.

Ultimately, getting a saw stuck can be a significant setback for any woodworker attempting to complete a project. Identifying and addressing the root causes is essential to prevent future occurrences.

Thus, the reasons behind the saw getting stuck are summarized below. These causes exacerbate the issue and create setbacks for woodworking endeavors.

sawing wood

Stop Your Saw from Sticking in 8 Ways

1. Lubricating the Saw Blade

One way to prevent the saw blade from becoming stuck during cutting is by applying grease before using it. While this may appear to be a straightforward step, using lubricant reduces friction between the blade and the wood, resulting in a smoother cutting process.

By doing this, the saw blade can effortlessly cut through the wood, thus preventing any hazardous or bothersome circumstances where the blade gets jammed. In addition, you may use tool oil, beeswax [1], or paste wax to lubricate your saw’s blade.

However, choosing the correct lubricant for your saw blade is crucial. It is also important to consider the level of moisture and type of wood used, as this can affect the quantity of lubricant required.

How To Lubricate A Saw?

Ensure you apply a thin layer of tool oil or wax to the entire blade, covering all areas thoroughly and emphasizing the sections that come into direct contact with the wood during the cutting process.

cleaning hand saw

In addition, it is recommended to let the lubricant dry for around ten to fifteen minutes after application. Once the lubricant has fully dried, use a clean cloth to buff the surface using circular motions.

Treating the saw blade with wax or tool oil and buffing it will rejuvenate it and restore it to its original condition. This process will effectively minimize friction between the blade and the wood, resulting in smoother and more efficient cutting.

Moreover, reduced friction enables the saw blade to glide smoothly through the wood, minimizing the risk of getting stuck and ensuring effortless and precise cuts. As a result, you achieve clean and accurate cuts with ease.

2. Keeping the Two Sides of the Wood in Place (Clamping)

Another important factor to consider is securing the wood by clamping or holding it down. This is an effective technique for preventing the saw blade from getting stuck while cutting. I suggest using the best woodworking clamp you have. 

This reduces the likelihood of the wood shifting or moving during the cutting process, which can cause the saw blade to become lodged in the wood.

clamping and sawing wood

Moreover, if the blade of the saw is not under pressure from both sides of the wood, it will easily glide through the fibers of the wood, creating a straight and clean cut.

Thus, securing the wood with clamps is an effective method to make it sturdy enough to handle the pressure of the cutting process. I recommend using clamps on both sides of the wood to ensure it remains in place.

However, while using your hands to hold the wood can be useful, it may not be as effective as clamps. If necessary, your hands can support the clamps to ensure the wood remains secure throughout the cutting process.

See Also: Are Corners Clamps Necessary

3. Inserting A Wedge in the Kerf

You can insert a wedge into the kerf opening to avoid the saw blade getting stuck. This will prevent the saw blade from becoming stressed or pinched between the two pieces of wood.

Moreover, using a wedge can facilitate a smooth cutting process by providing a clear path for the saw blade to move through the wood without any hindrances or interruptions.

wood wedges

4. Cutting Straighter

To avoid the saw blade from sticking, it’s crucial to maintain a straight cut. By cutting in a straight line, the blade can easily move through the wood fibers, reducing the amount of friction and preventing the blade from getting stuck.

Thus, taking your time and using a steady hand is important to ensure the cut is as straight as possible. However, before cutting, it is essential to ensure that the saw blade is sharp and even. 

An uneven or dull blade will make it challenging to achieve a straight cut and may cause the blade to get stuck in the wood. So, make sure to visit some saw blade sharpening services near you. 

5. Utilizing a Different Set of Saw

If you experience difficulty with your saw getting stuck while cutting wood, it may be worth trying a different saw set to see if it improves the cutting performance. Using a saw set can increase the number of teeth on the saw blade, facilitating a smooth, effortless cut.

However, induction-hardened teeth are commonly used on saw sets sold at hardware stores to prevent them from bending like regular saw teeth. Thus, the teeth may break during cutting due to their increased hardness.

different set of saw

6. Replacing or Retrofitting Your Saw

While the cost of this option should be considered, it can be a valuable investment. It is also the best option when the sharpening process is challenging, or lubrication fails to address the issue.

It is important to choose the right blade when purchasing a new saw. Although a sharp blade with delicate or fine teeth is often the optimal option, it’s crucial to consider the specific requirements of the task at hand.

Thus, the blade should be selected based on the material being cut and the project’s desired outcome.

7. Don’t Saw Wet Woods

Woods that are wet contain a significant amount of moisture. This moisture content causes the wood to enlarge; over time, it will decrease in size as it dries.

Thus, sawing wet wood can cause the saw to get stuck as the wood dries and shrinks. Wet wood is also more susceptible to cracking and damage from the saw teeth, leading to an uneven cut and making sawing more challenging.

sawing wood piece

8. Ensuring the Saw is Sharp Before Using

You can tidy up the saw teeth by sharpening them to avoid getting stuck, resulting in clean and smooth cuts.

However, sharpening a saw can be challenging, particularly for beginners when it comes to woodworking, as it requires a triangular small file that precisely matches the size and shape of the saw teeth.

Nonetheless, for those just starting in woodworking, investing in a new saw would be wiser than spending valuable time and effort mastering the art of sharpening the blade, which requires a significant amount of practice and expertise.

How to Unstick Your Saw Blade

  1. Set the saw down on the work surface.
  2. Pull the saw in the same manner as when bringing it downwards, allowing the saw teeth to grip the wood.
  3. Place the arbor nut wrench perpendicular to the saw and grasp it using one hand. Use the other hand to strike the end of the wrench with a hammer while holding onto the saw.
  4. In case the wrench becomes detached, reposition it and attempt to hammer it down once more.
  5. Arrange the saw so that the blade’s sharp side faces upward.
  6. Remove the nut that secures the blade
  7. Apply tape repeatedly to the blade until it becomes less tight, then remove it once it is loose.

How To Prevent Your Chainsaw from Sticking

To avoid your chainsaw getting stuck, you can use a flathead screwdriver to gently insert it into the gap in the wood and expand it. If you’re unable to lift the log, another approach is to focus on the top third of the log’s width. 

By cutting from underneath in this area with the chainsaw, you can reduce the likelihood of it getting stuck while working. These techniques can help maintain a smoother operation when using a chainsaw.

sticking nail on wood


What can I use to lubricate my hand saw?

To keep your hand saw in good condition and prevent it from sticking, it’s essential to lubricate it properly. You can use products like WD40, paste wax, or gun oil for this purpose. After each use and before storing the saw, apply a small amount of one of these lubricants to the blade. 

If you choose WD40 or gun oil, you can use them to clean the blade by applying them and wiping with a cloth. However, when using paste wax, it’s necessary to leave it on the blade for a few minutes to ensure thorough cleaning and lubrication. 

This regular maintenance will help your hand saw operate smoothly and prevent sticking.


Dealing with saws that stick can be both frustrating and time-consuming. However, there are several straightforward steps you can take to prevent this issue from occurring. 

By implementing these measures, you can ensure that your saw operates smoothly and efficiently, making your woodworking projects more manageable and enjoyable to complete.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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