Unfortunately, as with all things in life, repeatedly doing something can make that thing awfully dull. This is even more true for the blades of clippers, and when it comes to keeping your loyal companion neat and trimmed. It is crucial to make sure your clippers are clean and sharp before you use them.
Otherwise, they can snag and pull on hair, causing a great deal of pain and discomfort. So should you have a dull blade that needs sharpening, here is how to sharpen dog clippers to get you back in action.
What You’ll Need
The list of what you need is really basic and short, as sharpening your clippers is a rather simple task. Take note that the method of sharpening blades can vary based on manufacturer and model. However, most follow a generalized process which incorporates the following:
- The clippers themselves
- Two whetstones, one 4000 grit, and another 8000 grit
- (Optional) For ceramic blades, you’ll need a diamond sharpening stone
- Spray bottle of water
- Lubricating oil
- Clipper cleaning solution
- Screwdriver, more often than not a Philips
- A small brush, such as an old toothbrush
- Small cloth or rag
The screwdriver and clippers are for obvious reasons. You want the clippers because you want to sharpen the blades, and the screwdriver will allow you to remove the blades for cleaning and sharpening. The whetstones will help you here, with the water being used to wet the whetstones.
Keep in mind that whetstones will do nothing but damage ceramic blades, so you’ll need a diamond sharpening stone for those. The solution and oil serve to keep the blade clean and stop rust from forming.
Maintenance And Prep
Before you actually sharpen the blades, you’ll need to check their condition. If you haven’t been taking care of and sharpening the blades regularly, it won’t be worth sharpening them. They might be too far gone, and you’ll need to either get professional help sharpening or get new blades.
However, if you have been taking care of them every so often, and they aren’t so hopelessly dull, you’ll need to get ready for the sharpening.
To start with the prep, use the screwdriver to remove the screws and the blades from the clippers. Make sure to hang onto those screws for reattaching the blade. With the blades now in hand, lightly brush any hair off with the brush.
You need to make sure nothing remains stuck to or between the blades, as this can affect the quality of the sharpening. Once brushed, you can dab the cloth in the cleaning solution and give the blades a good rubbing to remove any rust and dirt that didn’t come off with the brush.
If something still remains and refuses to come off, try soaking the blades in the solution for a few hours to let it soak deep and remove the gunk.
Leave the blades to dry, and use this time to wet the whetstones. Squirt water using the spray bottle, from a moderate distance, until you have a thin sheen of water over the top, and not a soaking whetstone. Once the blades are dry, and the whetstones are ready, you can begin sharpening them.
Place a blade against the 4000 grit whetstone at roughly 35°. The angle is meant to follow the angle of the blade so that you sharpen it without changing its shape and potentially rendering it useless. Different blades will each need different angles, but this is generally a safe starting point.
Gently apply pressure, and slide the blade along the length of the whetstone, being careful to maintain the same amount of pressure throughout. Once you’ve crossed the full length, repeat the process from the opposite end, the one you finished at.
Repeat this process of alternating from side to side for about 10 strokes. Keep checking for a shine or glimmer in the edge of the blade, as this is the indicator that you’ve got it sharp. Keep going with the whetstone until you get this result.
As you use the whetstone, make sure to keep wetting it as it dries. This is to maintain the grip and “activate” the whetstone. Once you’ve got that glimmer you want, gently wipe off any metal shavings on the blade, making sure it’s entirely clean and sharp.
Now repeat the whole process, but with the finer 8000 grit whetstone, to provide a cleaner, finer edge that looks polished.
Now that you’ve cleaned and sharpened all your blades, you can begin applying the finishing touches and reassembling the clippers. Firstly, you’ll want to use the lubricating oil as per the directions of the particular oil.
The goal is to get a thin sheen that is barely noticeable unless put under light. The oil is to minimize rust and gunk from forming, to make subsequent cleanings and sharpenings easier.
Now all you need to do is screw the blades back onto the clippers. With the blades reattached and the clippers reassembled, you’ve successfully sharpened the blades of your clippers and, if you’ve done an excellent job, should get clean cuts with no snags or pulls from trims.