Lawn edging is a process used to create straight, smooth lines around the edges of a lawn to create a neat border. A lawn edger is used for this purpose and can help you to create a clear boundary between the lawn and other garden features like paths, driveways, flower beds, and patios.
To achieve a neat look for your lawn, you need to invest in a standard quality lawn edger, especially if you do not intend to hire a professional landscaper to do the edging on your behalf. Your lawn edger may also become dull and unable to make a clean cut through your lawn. Fortunately, there are several ways to fix this problem, the most common being sharpening the blades.
You can sharpen edger blades using an angle grinder, a sharpening file, or a professional edger blade sharpener. This guide takes you through the instructions for safely sharpening your lawn edger.
Different types of lawn edger blades are sharpened differently. Always check the user manual for specific instructions for your type of edger. For some electric and gas-powered edgers, you may be warned in the manual never to attempt sharpening the blades at home.
However, you can sharpen a manual lawn edger blade as often as you wish depending on how often you use it.
Clean the lawn edger blades with water before sharpening to ensure that it is free from dirt or rust. Use a scouring pad or stiff brush to remove any stuck-on grime and dirt. Dry the blades using a piece of cloth.
While sharpening the blade, take the time to identify the direction of the factory-cut bevel. Sharpening the edger at a different angle than the one used by the manufacturer can ruin the blades completely.
Using an electric grinder
Electric grinders such as the bench grinder are used to sharpen manual lawn edgers and various other gardening tools such as shovels and hoes. For the sharpening, use the fine-tuning wheel of the grinder instead of the coarse grinder to avoid damaging the blades.
If you need a grinder to use at home, consider getting the Dewalt DW758 which is good, powerful, and doesn’t vibrate as much as other grinders. On the other hand, if you are looking for a great, but cheaper alternative, go for the WEN 4280 variable speed grinder that comes with a work light.
Here are the steps you should follow:
- Wear a pair of gloves and safety glasses to protect your eyes from loose metal filings
- Clean the surface of the blade to ensure it is free from rust and dirt
- Use the grinder to sharpen the inside edge of the blade. Ensure that you keep the grinder at the same angle as the edger
- If the blade overheats during the process, immerse it in water for a few seconds
- Clean any burrs from the blade using a sharpening stone. You should be done after a couple of strokes
Here’s a video showcasing how to use an electric grinder for sharpening your tools:
Using an angle grinder
An angle grinder is easier to use than a bench grinder when sharpening edger blades because of its small size and high portability. If you don’t have one or you are looking for a replacement, go for the Dewalt DWE402, which is powerful, safe, and works smoothly. A less costly alternative is the Bosch 1375A that is powerful yet lightweight.
To sharpen your edger blade using an angle grinder:
- Start by wearing work gloves and safety glasses
- Put a grinding stone disk in the angle grinder and hold it perpendicular to the thin edge of the edger blade
- Move the grinder along the edge of the blade and from side to side to sharpen it continually until you achieve the desired sharpness
- When done, use a soft cloth to wipe the loose metal filings off the blade
Since the angle grinder removes blade material faster, ensure that you only take only a little bit of the blade off each time. Stop as soon as you attain the desired sharpness.
This video shows how to use an angle grinder to sharpen blades:
Using a sharpening file
You can also use a standard sharpening file to fix a dull lawn edger blade. In fact, using a sharpening file is the most inexpensive way of sharpening your edger. It is also safe from sparks and gives you better control over the sharpening strokes than grinders, which use fast spinning wheels.
If you don’t own a file, I recommend the Rexbeti file set, which is a collection of 16 different files designed for every tool at home. It is affordable and gives you real value for money.
To sharpen edger blades using a file, follow these steps:
- Begin by placing the edger on a vise or workbench and ensuring that it is firmly held in place.
- Place the file at the angle that is similar to the factory-cut bevel
- Sharpen along the cutting edge of the grass edger blade several times until you achieve the desired sharpness
- Finish with a few light strokes on the sloping side of the blade
Note that a file only sharpens the blade when you push it over it but not when you pull it. That is why you need to place it correctly on the cutting edge of the blade. If the blade is not uniformly shiny after several strokes, you may not be holding the file at the right angle.
This video demonstrates how you can use a file to sharpen a blade.
When to replace lawn edger blades
Your lawn edger may fail to work properly even after sharpening the blades. When there is no improvement in performance even after the sharpening process, you may need to purchase a new blade.
The replacement may also be necessary if your blade gets damaged after getting in contact with rocks, rough dirt, and other similar debris. Nevertheless, you should not be in a hurry to get new blades all the time. Smooth out any minor dents on the blade using a sharpening file and only purchase a new one if the cutting edge of the blade is beyond repair.
Now that you’ve known the three different ways to sharpen lawn edger blades, choose what you feel works best for you. No matter the method you’ve selected, ensure to wear protective equipment before you start sharpening.
IW’s Chief Editor and a lover of green spaces.