Sharpening your hedge trimmer regularly makes it easier to maintain your landscaping by keeping the blades as sharp as possible. It also helps to increase the lifespan of the blades and reduce eventual repair costs. While you can certainly pay someone to sharpen it, you can save money by sharpening the blades yourself at home.
This guide will walk you through the steps you can take to sharpen your hedge trimmer with a power grinder or a file.
Important Tips to Keep in Mind
No matter how you choose to sharpen the blades, make sure you start by aligning the blades with each other. Start by wearing heavy-duty work gloves to align the blades by hand, then use an old screwdriver or something similar to make sure the blades are aligned with each other.
Whatever tool you use, choose something that is strong enough to move the blades but soft enough to avoid damage.
Once the blades are aligned, look at them carefully to see that each tooth has six surfaces that you will need to grind or file. For each tooth, you will need to sharpen the two side edges and the point edge on the top and bottom.
Always wear safety gear before you get started. This means you should have a pair of heavy-duty work gloves to protect your hands, protective eyewear, and earwear – especially if you use a power grinder.
How to Sharpen a Hedge Trimmer with a File
To sharpen the blades manually, use a mill file that you align along the angle of each edge of the tooth. Use long and smooth downward strokes with the file and stop frequently to check your progress. You will notice the teeth start to shine as you file away oxidation and debris. Repeat this process for all six sides of each tooth, always using downward strokes.
If it’s your first time sharpening your hedge trimmer, this manual method is a good way to start because it’s harder to remove too much material. Still, be careful to avoid over-sharpening the teeth. Once the teeth edges start to shine, add no more than a couple extra strokes.
As a rule of thumb, you will need to file each tooth edge 10-20 times. Even if the blades are very dull or you need to file down a nick in the edge, it shouldn’t take more than 20 smooth strokes. Once you’re done filing, wipe the teeth clean then rub on a 3-in-1 oil to avoid rust.
How to Sharpen a Hedge Trimmer Using a Power Grinder
If you have more experience sharpening tools and are comfortable with power tools, you can make the task even easier with a power grinder. Using a power grinder will generate tons of sparks so always wear eyewear and avoid working anywhere that you can accidentally start a fire.
Start by securing the hedge trimmer in place with a clamp so it won’t move while you’re sharpening. You will need to adjust the clamp as you work.
A 60 or 80 grit grinding wheel is best for sharpening hedge trimmer blades. Once you have the right wheels installed on the grinder, hold the surface of the grinding wheel against the tooth edge at the same angle. Sharpen all of the top surfaces using a steady hand, then repeat for the bottom edges.
Remember that using a power grinder will remove a lot more material than a mill file so you’ll need to be careful that you don’t over-sharpen the teeth. A good rule of thumb is to allow the grinder wheel to have contact with each surface for just 2 or 3 seconds at the most.
Once you’re familiar with the process of using a power grinder, the entire process should take just a few minutes. Always wipe down the blades when you’re done grinding the edges and rub on 3-in-1 oil to prevent rust.