Hedge trimmers work best when they are sharpest. This is common logic. Since the blade of the trimmer is the essential component used to cut through excess branches and leaves on your hedges, this part of the trimmer should always be in its best condition.
When to Sharpen Your Hedge Trimmer
You shouldn’t wait to sharpen your blade when it’s completely blunt and dull. Make it a habit to sharpen your blade each month at least once, twice in seasons where growth is abundant.
No matter what type of hedge trimmer you use, be it a gas hedge trimmer, electric, or battery powered hedge trimmer, blade requirements remain the same. Only a sharpened blade will yield the best results.
Gas hedge trimmers are the strongest out of all the hedge trimmers. This is why they are higher maintenance. When you use a gas powered hedge trimmer, the machine uses more power, works faster, and wears down the blade quicker. This means that you’ll be sharpening your blade more often.
Electric hedge trimmers are second best when it comes to power. These are corded varieties that you plug into an outlet before you begin using them. They won’t require as much sharpening as gas trimmers, but once a month will do just fine.
And finally, there are battery powered trimmers. These trimmers don’t use gas, don’t need an outlet, and all you need is a battery. The battery itself demands more maintenance than the actual blade, so you can stick to sharpening the blade once a month.
Battery-powered hedge trimmers aren’t the strongest of all the trimmers, though they are most versatile. They do not wear down their blades as quickly as gas or electric hedge trimmers.
Ways to Sharpen Your Hedge Trimmer
There is more than one way for you to sharpen your hedge trimmer. You can figure out which method is most convenient for you. But first, there are some essential steps you have to take with all the different procedures.
- You have to make sure the power source cannot turn on. Your battery should be removed, corded machines should be unplugged and in the off position, and gas tanks should be emptied. If you have a pole hedge trimmer extension, then it’s better to remove this prior to your sharpening.
- Place your hedge trimmer blade on a flat, empty surface. The table or workshop you place your hedge trimmer blade on should be comfortable to navigate around. Instead of moving the hedge around, it’s safer for you to move around the blade yourself and not risk the hedge blade cutting past anything.
- Wear your protective gear at all times while sharpening your blade. Thick work gloves are ideal since your hands are at most risk in this scenario. Goggles are a good idea, long sleeves, and probably an old thick shirt or apron to wear over your shirt.
Use a File
The simplest way to sharpen your hedge trimmer blade is by using a hedge trimmer. When you use a file over each blade, you have to move in a downward motion. Before you go back up, lift the file off of the blade each time. If you go up and down on the blade, you’re most likely making it duller than it was before. You’ll also grind it until it’s thinner and weaker than before. Remember; only one direction and that is down.
This process takes time and a lot of patience. After you have filed all of your blades, use a sharpening stone to burr all of the shavings off of your trimmer blade. This method allows you to stay in complete control of how you sharpen your blade. Of course, there may be some noticeable levels of inconsistency since you can get tired doing this in the end.
Use a Power Grinder
This is a much faster process to sharpen your blades than filing each blade until it’s the right shape and sharpness. This is also a much more dangerous way to sharpen your blades. Grinders can create sparks, are much faster and powerful than a file, but can be risky to use if you’re not acquainted with them.
If you know how to use a power grinder, then you’re off to a good start. You have to clamp your blade tightly into position. You may have to change these spots ever so often to get a better view and angle of the blades. You don’t want your blade moving around while you’re sharpening the teeth.
When applying pressure to the teeth, you need to be gentle. You don’t want to shave off more than you need to, nor do you want to lose the shape of your blade. The best grinding wheel to use is a 60 or 80. Make sure when you are going down the blade, you’re complimenting the natural angle.
Keep to short strokes when streaking down the teeth. Each tooth should be done individually for the best result. There will be a lot of strokes if you want to get the best results out of your blade. For better accuracy and faster completion, power grinders are the right choice.
You can skim over the blade with a sharpening stone if you feel there is some burr along the blade, but it’s not necessary. Filing has a likelier chance of creating burr.
For a thorough and visual example on how to both file and grind your hedge trimmer blade, you can view this tutorial to get a grasp on each process. It’s not hard to sharpen your hedge trimmer. It keeps your trimmer blade living longer and you don’t need to seasonally find a new one. The extra work makes your blade better, saves you money, and the emotional and physical accomplishment cannot be beaten.
Some people are not up for the job though, which is fine. You may not enjoy the extra labor, or the idea of being in danger near your blade or the grinder might not work for you. In any case, you can always consult a specialist to sharpen up your blade for you.
So long as you have a way to maintain the edges of your blade’s teeth, you’re good to keep effectively using your hedge trimmer.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.