How to Sharpen Pruning Tools
By: Julie Day
Types of Sharpening Tools
If you have the proper sharpening tools, putting an edge on your clippers and shears only take a few minutes. You have some options when choosing sharpening tools:
- Grinders: While power grinders remove a lot of metal in a hurry, they can easily overheat the steel, causing the metal to soften and the blade to dull quickly. Though necessary for major reshaping, grinders require practice and a gentle touch to keep from damaging tools.
- Files: Files remove steel quickly without overheating, but can leave a rough edge, making them perfect for hoes, shovels, lawn mower blades, and other tools that don’t require a razor sharp edge. For best results, choose a medium or fine mill file with a “bastard cut.”
- Sharpening Stones: Available in grits ranging from coarse (120 grit) to extra fine (1000 or higher grit), sharpening stones may be made from natural stone (Arkansas, Washita) or manmade materials (silicon carbide, aluminum oxide). As the name implies, oilstones use honing oil as a lubricant while Japanese waterstones require water. Diamond plate and ceramic stones may be used dry or with water. While removing less steel than a file, the finer grits of honing stones can produce a very sharp edge, making them great for tools that need to be extra sharp.