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How to Sharpen Clipper Blades: Simple Steps to Keep Them Sharp and Effective (2024)

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how to sharpen clipper bladesTo sharpen clipper blades, you’ll need the right tools like a sharpening stone, electric sharpener, or honing rod.

First, remove and clean the blades thoroughly.

For a stone, position the blades at the recommended angle and sharpen both cutting edges evenly.

With an electric sharpener, set it up per instructions, then guide the blades through.

Honing rods let you maintain a keen edge weekly by stroking the blades along the rod.

Proper sharpening technique is key – keep reading to learn how to get razor-sharp results every time.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper sharpening techniques, such as using a sharpening stone, electric sharpener, or honing rod, are crucial for maintaining razor-sharp clipper blades.
  • Common causes of dull clipper blades include hair and debris buildup, metal fatigue from excessive use, improper cleaning and maintenance, and cutting wet or thick hair.
  • Different sharpening tools like handheld sharpeners, electric sharpeners, honing rods, sharpening stones, and files each have their own advantages and techniques.
  • Regular cleaning, oiling, and sharpening of clipper blades are essential for extending their lifespan and ensuring optimal performance.

Causes of Clipper Blade Dullness

Causes of Clipper Blade Dullness
Your clipper blades can become dull over time due to hair and debris buildup, metal fatigue from excessive use, improper cleaning and maintenance, or cutting wet or thick hair. Identifying the cause of dullness will help you determine the best approach to sharpening and properly caring for your blades.

Hair and Debris Buildup

Hair and debris buildup is a common culprit behind dull clipper blades.

Over time, these tiny particles can accumulate on the blade’s surface, preventing the sharp edges from making clean cuts.

To prevent this, be diligent about cleaning your blades after each use.

Use a soft brush to remove any visible hair and debris, then wipe them down with a clean cloth.

Regular maintenance like this will help keep your clipper blades in top shape.

Metal Fatigue From Excessive Use

Over time, the constant friction and heat buildup from excessive use can cause metal fatigue in your clipper blades, leading to dullness. To combat this, sharpen your blades regularly using a honing rod or whetstone, and consider professional sharpening services when needed. Proper lubrication with clipper blade oil also helps extend their lifespan.

Improper Cleaning and Maintenance

Improper cleaning and maintenance can quickly dull your clipper blades. Neglecting to remove hair and debris buildup can lead to blade rust and chemical damage. Using the wrong lubricants or operating in a corrosive environment accelerates wear. Applying excessive force when sharpening also takes a toll. Keep your blades clean, oiled, and gently sharpened to extend their lifespan.

Cutting Wet Hair

Trimming wet hair is a certain method to impair your clipper blades. The wetness precipitates expedited blade exhaustion, resulting in compromised efficiency and an unsatisfactory encounter for your horse. To forestall this, ensure to:

  1. Completely desiccate the coat prior to trimming.
  2. Cleanse and lubricate your blades with regularity.
  3. Envision professional sharpening for peerless outcomes.

Appropriate clipper blade upkeep is pivotal for an unruffled, proficient body trimming session.

Cutting Thick or Coarse Hair

Cutting thick or coarse hair can really dull your clipper blades.

To keep them sharp, use the right settings – lower numbers work best for dense fur.

And don’t forget regular maintenance like cleaning, oiling, and sharpening.

The type of sharpening tool you choose, like a stone or electric sharpener, can make a big difference too.

Stay on top of blade care to power through even the toughest coats.

Types of Sharpening Tools

Types of Sharpening Tools
There are various tools you can use to sharpen your clipper blades, including handheld sharpeners, electric sharpeners, honing rods, sharpening stones, and files. Each tool has its own advantages and techniques, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Handheld Sharpener

A handheld sharpener is a cost-effective and portable option for keeping your clipper blades in top shape. Simply run the blades through the sharpening slots, and you’re good to go. These durable tools work with a variety of blade sizes, making them a versatile choice for home use. Get the job done quickly and easily with a handheld sharpener.

Electric Sharpener

Using an electric sharpener is a quick and convenient way to keep your clipper blades in top shape.

Just remove the blades, set up the sharpener, and let it do the work.

While not as precise as professional sharpening, electric sharpeners are affordable and let you sharpen blades at home as needed.

Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Honing Rod

Next up, let’s talk about using a honing rod to sharpen your clipper blades.

Honing rods are great for quickly touching up the edge between full sharpenings.

Just remove the blades, clean them, and run the honing rod along the edge at the proper sharpening angles.

This helps maintain the blade tension and setting for professional-level performance.

No need to disassemble – just a few quick swipes and you’re good to go!

Sharpening Stone

Next up, let’s talk about sharpening with a stone. First, you’ll want to submerge your whetstone in water until the bubbles stop – this helps prep the surface. Then, position the blade at the right sharpening angle and start rubbing it back and forth on the coarse 1000-grit side. Finish on the fine 6000-grit side for a razor-sharp edge.

Grit Use
1000 Coarse sharpening
6000 Fine honing
– –


If a stone or electric sharpener is not available, a file can get the job done.

Files come in various shapes and sizes, so choose one that fits your clipper blades.

Gently file the blades, taking care not to overheat the metal.

Clean and oil the blades after filing to maintain their edge.

Replace files when they become worn or damaged for safe, effective sharpening.

How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With a Stone

How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With a Stone
To sharpen clipper blades with a sharpening stone, first remove and thoroughly clean the blades to guarantee proper sharpening. Next, position the blades on the stone at the recommended angle and methodically sharpen them, applying uniform pressure until the desired sharpness is achieved.

Remove Blades

Firstly, you’ll need to detach the blades from your clipper. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to gently unscrew the blades. Take a snapshot of the blades prior to disassembly so you can refer to it later. With the blades removed, you’re ready to give them a thorough cleaning. This will assist in guaranteeing a smooth, effective sharpening process.

Clean Blades

To clean your clipper blades, start by removing any hair or debris with a soft-bristled brush. You can also use a cleaning agent like isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the blades. Be sure to clean the blades regularly, at least after every use, to prevent buildup and maintain their sharpness. Use a clean, dry cloth to thoroughly dry the blades before reassembling.

  1. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove hair and debris.
  2. Wipe down blades with isopropyl alcohol to disinfect.
  3. Clean blades after every use to prevent buildup.

Position Blades

Next, place the clipper blades face-down on the orange (1000-grit) side of the whetstone. Maintain a consistent 15-20 degree sharpening angle as you rub the blades back and forth or in circular motions, applying light pressure. This critical blade placement and whetstone orientation will result in a uniform, effective sharpening.

Sharpen Blades

Now that your blades are properly positioned, it’s time to start sharpening. Grab your whetstone and get to work. Use light, even strokes to sharpen the blades, focusing on the cutting edge. Alternate between the coarse and fine sides of the stone to achieve a razor-sharp edge. Proper sharpening techniques are key for maintaining your clipper blades.

Test Sharpness

To test the sharpness of your freshly sharpened clipper blades**, try these techniques.

Run your fingertip along the edge – a sharp blade should feel smooth and burr-free.

Next, try cutting a piece of paper – a sharp blade will slice through cleanly.

Finally, check the blades’ ability to cut hair – they should glide through effortlessly.

Evaluate the sharpness regularly and re-sharpen as needed to maintain ideal performance.

How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With an Electric Sharpener

How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With an Electric Sharpener
Sharpening clipper blades with an electric sharpener is effortless. First, remove the blades and clean them thoroughly. Then, set up your electric sharpener according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Position the blades at the recommended sharpening angle to guarantee a precise edge.
  • Adjust the blade tension to the ideal 2 lbs setting for a smooth, even cut.
  • Allow the sharpening wheel to work its wonders, ensuring you lubricate the blades afterward.

If the blades are beyond repair, it may be time to invest in a replacement set.

How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With a Honing Rod

How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With a Honing Rod
Next, let’s explore sharpening your clipper blades with a honing rod. This handy tool allows you to quickly touch up the edges between more thorough sharpenings.

Start by thoroughly cleaning the blades to remove any hair or debris.

Then, hold the honing rod at a 30-45 degree angle and gently run the blade’s edge along the rod in short, smooth strokes. Repeat on both sides until the blade feels sharp and smooth.

Honing rods made of high-quality materials like ceramic or diamond will provide the best results and longest-lasting sharpness.

Aim to hone your blades weekly to maintain peak performance.

Disassembly and Cleaning

Disassembly and Cleaning
Begin the disassembly process by removing the screws that hold the clipper blades in place. Next, thoroughly clean the blades with a rag or brush, ensuring all hair and debris are removed before proceeding with sharpening.

Remove Screws to Disassemble Blades

First, grab a Phillips head screwdriver to disassemble the clipper blades. Carefully remove the screws, taking note of the blade orientation for reassembly later. With the blades separated, use a clean rag to wipe away any hair or debris that has accumulated. This disassembly process is key to properly sharpening and maintaining your clipper blades.

Clean Blades With Rags or Brush

Now that you’ve disassembled your clipper blades, it’s time to give them a thorough cleaning. Grab a soft, lint-free rag and gently wipe away any accumulated hair and debris. For tougher grime, use a stiff-bristled brush and a mild cleaning solution. Be sure to dry the blades completely to prevent rust and protect their delicate edges.

  1. Select a soft, lint-free rag for gentle cleaning.
  2. Use a stiff-bristled brush and mild solution for stubborn dirt.
  3. Thoroughly dry the blades to prevent rust and damage.

Take Picture of Blades Before Disassembly

Before disassembling your clipper blades, snap a quick photo. This visual reference will make reassembly a breeze. With the blades disassembled, thoroughly clean them using rags or a brush to remove any built-up hair and debris. Proper maintenance, like regular oiling, will keep your blades in tip-top shape between sharpenings.

Whetstone Preparation

Whetstone Preparation
Before you start sharpening, you’ll need to properly prepare your whetstone**.

First, submerge the stone in water until the bubbles stop. This helps the stone absorb moisture and work more effectively.

When the stone is fully saturated, you’re ready to start sharpening.

Be sure to store the whetstone in a dry place when not in use. This will prevent rusting or damage.

With a little prep work, your whetstone will serve you well for years to come.

Reassembly and Maintenance

Reassembly and Maintenance
After sharpening your clipper blades on the whetstone, carefully reassemble them using the screws, ensuring a tight fit. Once reassembled, apply a few drops of clipper oil to the blades and run the clippers briefly to evenly distribute the oil and verify proper reassembly.

Use Screws to Reassemble Blades

Now it’s time to put those blades back together. Use the screws to carefully reassemble the blades, making sure they’re aligned properly. Pay close attention to the tension and angle – you want just the right amount of pressure for a smooth, clean cut. Take your time and double-check everything before firing up those clippers.

Oil Blades and Run Clippers Briefly

After reassembling the blades, apply a few drops of clipper oil and run the clippers briefly. This helps guarantee proper assembly and distributes the oil equally across the blades. Avoid leaving the blades without oil, as this can lead to rust and further dulling. Store the blades in a dry place when not in use.

Oil Blades Regularly to Extend Life

To extend the life of your clipper blades, be sure to oil them regularly. A few drops of clipper oil after each use will keep the blades lubricated and prevent rust. Aim to sharpen your blades every 4-6 weeks, depending on usage. When not in use, store the blades in a dry place to prevent corrosion and minimize sharpening costs.

Avoid Jabbing Horse With Blades

When reassembling your clipper blades, be extra careful not to jab or poke the horse with the sharp edges.

Dull blades can cause nicks and cuts, so keep them well-maintained.

Always clean the blades thoroughly before use and oil them regularly to extend their lifespan.

Proper clipper handling and blade sharpness are vital for the safety and comfort of your horse.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I know when my clipper blades need sharpening?

You’ll know it’s time to sharpen your clipper blades when they start tugging or leaving tracks on the hair instead of cutting cleanly. Dull blades make grooming more difficult for you and uncomfortable for your pet.

Can I sharpen ceramic clipper blades at home?

No, you can’t sharpen ceramic clipper blades at home. Ceramic blades are extremely hard and can only be sharpened by professionals using specialized equipment. Attempting to sharpen them yourself will likely damage or ruin the blades.

What is the best way to store clipper blades?

You’ll want to store your clipper blades in a dry, safe place. Keep them away from moisture and potential drops or impacts to avoid dulling or damaging the blades. A labeled container or drawer works well for easy access and organized storage.

How often should I replace my clipper blades?

You’ll want to replace your clipper blades every 4-6 months, depending on usage. Dull blades tug and cause discomfort, so stay on top of sharpening or replacing them for the best results.

Can I sharpen clipper blades with a regular file?

A dull clipper blade is a frustrating foe, but fear not, my friend. While a regular file may seem tempting, it risks damaging the delicate teeth, leaving your blades in disarray. Seek specialized tools for clipper sharpening to guarantee a clean, precise cut every time.


Maintaining your clipper blades’ sharpness is essential for pristine, accurate cuts. With the proper tools and methods for sharpening, you’ll prolong their lifespan and guarantee peak performance. Don’t allow blunt blades to hinder you – regular honing and sharpening will maintain your clippers operating smoothly and efficiently.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.