It’s that time of year when hedges are starting to overgrow and trees look untidy but if you haven’t used your garden shears recently you might go to the shed only to find they are blunt, dull, and possibly even rusty.
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Whether you are using pruning shears, or longer hedge shears, the blades can get worn out very quickly, particularly if you use them frequently. But if they are dulled and not sharp enough to do the task at hand, don’t rush to the garden center for a new pair.
It’s perfectly simple to sharpen your own garden shears safely and effectively at home if you have the right tools and the right techniques. So, follow our tips and guide to sharpening garden shears and you will be trimming hedges again in no time.
Before You Sharpen Garden Shears – What You Need To Know
Sharpening the wrong part of the blade on shears won’t make any difference to the way the tool performs. You need to know that garden shears have two edges which are both beveled.
Both the top and the bottom beveled edges must be sharpened, not any other part of the shear blade, otherwise, the tools still won’t cut a thing when you come to use them again.
Shears are also susceptible to rust and dirt. If they are used frequently and not cleaned, or left outside exposed to the elements, rust and dirt are liable to build upon the blades.
There is no point in trying to sharpen dirty and rusty shear blades. You need to put in some elbow grease first to remove all the rust and dirt first before you begin to think about sharpening.
The best way to do this easily is by using rough sandpaper to clear the dirt and rust away first. Only once the blades are clean and shining again should you start the sharpening process.
If you notice the blades are bent or damaged in any way during the cleaning process, then you will be better off discarding them and buying new ones.
What Will You Need?
Once you are ready to begin sharpening your now clean garden shears, you will need to assemble a few tools that you will need to get the job done to a good standard.
Here is our list of tools you will need to sharpen your garden shears:
- The garden shears to be sharpened
- A set of spanners
- A wire brush
- Some clean cloth
- Gloves for your hands
- A face mask/goggles
- A vice or clamp
- A file
Benefits of Sharpening Garden Shears
Before we get started on the sharpening techniques it’s worth looking at the benefits of sharpening them in the first place. Firstly, if you try to trim hedges or trees with rusty, dirty shears, you will be damaging your plants, which could leave them vulnerable to disease.
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Secondly, the sharper your blades are the less hard work it is for you to get the trimming and cutting completed, putting less strain on your muscles and your back and shoulders.
Watch this video on how to sharpen your garden shears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD8BVZ15C6E
How To Sharpen Your Garden Shears
Take Them Apart
Having already removed any dirt and rust now is the time to take your shears apart ready to be sharpened. Simply use a spanner to loosen and remove the nut, bolt, and washer from the center of the blades.
Make sure to put them somewhere safe as you will need them to put the blades back together again later on. Make sure the blades are clean and wipe over with a dry cloth before starting any sharpening process.
Use Your Clamp
Next, you need to clamp your chosen metal file into your vice or clamp on your workbench, to hold it securely in place. You will need to put on your goggles/face mask and gloves to protect yourself from metal filings at this stage. Once it is securely in place and you are suitably protected, you can start.
As mentioned earlier, you need to sharpen at the existing bevel sites on the two blades or the whole exercise will be pointless, so start sharpening using controlled movements. Start at the tip of the blade and move upwards. Complete the process until both blades have been sharpened.
Watch Out For Ragged Edges
Sharpening metal can sometimes leave ragged sharp edges so check for these and make sure to file off any edges using an abrasive pad, to make sure you won’t cut your fingers on any nasty burrs when you come to use the shears.
Put the Shears Back Together
Now you can put the shears back together by using the washer, nut, and bolt which you removed earlier. Simply put them back into place and tighten up so the two blades are back in the right positions again.