Basic maintenance is essential if you need to improve the performance and lifespan of any tool. Your hedge clippers are no different.
After continuous use, hedge clippers will become dull and inefficient. They will no longer trim plants neatly. In fact, they may damage your hedge. Besides, you will find it difficult to trim using blunt hedge clippers.
Although most people use professional services to sharpen their clippers, you can easily do the sharpening from the comfort of your home if you have the right tools. This guide takes you through the various methods you can use for this purpose:
First, identify a flat surface with enough room to move around as you sharpen your clippers. Depending on the tool you intend to use, you can do it on a large bench, floor, or a flat area outside your home.
Next, put the necessary tools in one place and ensure that the required accessories for these tools are within reach. If you intend to sharpen an electric hedge trimmer, disconnect it from the power source and take the batteries out if necessary. For a gas trimmer, disconnect the spark plug before you start the process.
How to sharpen a hedge clipper using a mill file
The cheapest and by far the easiest way to sharpen your hedge trimmer is using a mill file. One benefit of using a file is that it is easy to turn in various angles, reducing the chances of injury.
- If the hedge trimmer blades are still attached to their main body, start by aligning them using your fingers. Tighten the bolts if necessary. You can also detach blades from the clipper and clamp them to a workbench before sharpening.
- Put the file at the same angle as the first cutting edge of the clippers.
- Use long, light strokes to move the file forward towards the cutting edge and back to the starting position. Repeat the process until the tooth is sharp enough
- Sharpen both sides of each blade while ensuring that you do not file away too much material since most hedge clippers have a wear threshold of about 5mm.
- If you have several other blades, replace the sharpened one then repeat the process.
- When done, wipe each blade with a wet cloth to remove any loose particles.
How to sharpen a hedge trimmer with a Dremel
You can also sharpen your hedge clipper at home using the Dremel rotary tool, which is specifically customized for sharpening most gardening tools. Before you start, ensure that the power cord is long enough to allow it to reach all areas of your clipper.
- Clean the blades of the hedge clipper and prepare the Dremel kit by attaching the screws and nuts correctly.
- Get some protective gear for your hands, eyes, and ears if necessary. If you are not careful, sparks and noise from the process may result in permanent injury.
- Secure the clipper on a flat surface such as a workbench and ensure that you clamp the hedge trimmer tightly so that it does not keep moving as you sharpen
- Turn the Dremel tool on and move it over the blades of the clipper using light pressure. Maintain short strokes so that you do not end up with unevenly sharpened blades. Keep your hands away from the Dremel to avoid injuring yourself.
- Repeat the process for all the blades.
Sharpening a hedge clipper using a power grinder
The third hedge trimmer sharpening tool that you can use at home is a power grinder. Most people love using a power grinder because it works faster than a mill file. However, it is not recommended for beginners since it tends to grind off too much blade.
A power grinder may be quite loud because of the friction it creates with the blades. Be sure to wear protective gear, as suggested in its instruction manual. You can use this tool to grind each blade separately or when clamping several of them together.
To sharpen your hedge clipper using a grinder:
- Clamp the handle of the hedge clipper to a workbench or any convenient flat surface. Ensure that it is held tight enough so that it doesn’t keep moving as you grind.
- Place the power grinder at the same angle as the blade and start moving it forward, then back to the same position. Since a grinder works faster than any other home-based hedge trimmer sharpening tool, be careful that you do not take off too much material from the blade.
- Repeat the same procedure for opposite sides of the blade
- Once you are satisfied with the results, clean the blade with a wet cloth to remove loose blade particles
Your hedge clipper may fail to work correctly due to various reasons, one being dull blades. Taking a closer look at the blades can help you establish if they have become too blunt.
By sharpening your clippers at home, your gardening work won’t be interrupted for long since you don’t have to wait for professionals to do it for you.
One thing to always remember is to maintain the correct cutting angle while sharpening your blades. If branches or twigs keep getting stuck on the clippers during gardening, the upper and lower blades have become detached due to worn out spacers. Therefore, consider replacing them.
The easiest way to align your hedge clipper blades before sharpening is by using your hands. Try pressing the blades together before using a screwdriver handle or pry bar to perfect the alignment.
With the steps above, you should be able to sharpen your hedge clipper blades using any of these three tools. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing first. Besides, you should do the sharpening in a safe place to avoid injury to those around you.
IW’s Chief Editor and a lover of green spaces.