We all know that taking care of your garden is a passion and a pleasure, as it is a weekly routine to keep it clean and beautiful. In order for you to cultivate beautiful flowers, to mow the grass properly, to shred wood and keep all the dirt from your garden away, you are going to need the necessary tools.
After doing all the necessary tasks that keep your garden well maintained, the most important thing is to take care of your tools. In other words, it is important to keep your tools clean. One of the many tools that you may use in your garden are the loppers. As one of the objects used for pruning, loppers are useful for cutting and cleaning tree branches, leaf blades, bushes, that aid us in keeping a tidy and aesthetic garden.
There are two types of loppers, the bypass and the anvil one. Bypass loppers are the common kind that anyone may have in his set of tools. They can cut any hard and thick objects thanks to their single-edged blade. The second type of loppers, the anvil, gives more strength to the user thanks to their longer structure. This kind of loppers allows anyone to gain more cutting power for wider branches, but lack precision compared to the first type of loppers.
Loppers are made of metal and from time to time, at least once in a season, you have to sharpen them. Otherwise, your loppers may end up losing their efficiency and cutting ability. Have you ever thought about how to properly sharpen loppers? To answer your query, below you will find all the necessary steps to sharpen your garden loppers accurately and easily.
Table of Contents
Steps on How to Sharpen Loppers
1. Take You Loppers Blades Apart
The first thing that you need to do when sharpening your loppers is taking the two blades that form the structure apart. As you can notice by the model that you have in your set of tools, two blades assemble in one piece through a screw and a bolt. What you need to do is to dismantle this link by using two wrenches.
It would be easy if you have the same wrench as the unit of the screw. Otherwise you can use two universal wrenches, which can adapt to any size that the bolt has. You need to put the first wrench at the screw by holding it tight and, with the other wrench turn the bolt counterclockwise.
After a certain point the screw and bolt will fall apart. Keep them aside and remove the lopper’s blades from each other. This way, you can simplify the sharpening process by taking care of each blade one at a time.
2. Clean the Blades
Before starting with the sharpening process, you need to thoroughly clean the blades of your loppers. It is normal that your loppers have collected much dust and dirt due to their usual workload. In fact, you may have even left them dirty, which also reduces the cutting ability and makes them less smooth.
Consequently, it is difficult to sharpen the blades without removing all the dirt. Cleaning is a simple activity that you can start by using a piece of cloth and a certain spray that you can buy in different stores. Water is also an option, but we would not recommend it, as it tends to speed up the rusting of the metal.
Furthermore, a chemical spray is more effective to wipe out all the dirt that has surrounded the blades. So, apply it all over the surface of the metal and rub it with a sponge or delicate cloth till all the dirt is gone.
3. Using the Right Stone
Usually there are several types of stones that you can use to sharpen cutting materials. For example, you can use water stones, diamond stones or oil stones. These kinds of stones have their own specifications.
What we would recommend for your loppers is the oil stone, as it is not just a traditional stone, but also a very usual and accessible one. These stones are easy to find, as they come whether in a nature composure, also in a synthetic one. Before starting to sharpen your loppers on the stone, you need to oil them.
So, you can take a certain sponge or piece of cloth and by wetting it with oil, rub the stone for a few second until you reach the moment the stone is shining. On the other hand, water stones are not as hard as oil stones but, like oil stones they need to be soaked in water before you start to use them.
4. Begin to Sharpen the Blades
After you have oiled the stone, until you reach the perfect moment to use it, start by moving the stone in a circular motion, up and down the blade by sharpening the tool carefully. The movement that you apply is by sliding the stone on the surface of the blade. It is important to keep the angle whether up or down, depending on the way you are keeping the blade.
This simultaneous movement between the stone and the blade helps creating sharp edges. It is important to move the stone in the direction that starts from the end of the blade to the highest point of it. Once you have finished with one blade, repeat the process with the other one. Thus, you have to sharpen the stone up and down at that part of the surface, where the blade tends to become thinner and, as a result honed.
5. Put Together And Cut
Finally, after you are finished with the cleaning, oiling and sharpening your blades, leave them aside for a few minutes, until the oil on the blades dries up. After that, take the screw and the bolt that you left aside and assemble the blades again.
Put one blade up against the other in a crossed position and put the screw between the two holes. Then, start to turn the bolt clockwise, using your fingers. After that, use the power of the wrench to buckle the screw so that the blades hold fast to each other. Now that you have sharpened the loppers, the only thing that you need to do is test whether the sharpening process has been completed properly.
Advisable, especially if you have used water stone, would be to put some lubricant on the blades as it will make them even sharper and faster. After that, test your loppers by cutting leaves, bushes and trees braches. If you still notice that your loppers are not as sharp as you would want, you can repeat the whole process until you reach the level you find suitable.
Tips on How to Sharpen Other Types of Loppers
You may also use bypass hand pruners which also, help you cut leaf blades or thin tree branches. In this case you might use another technique on how to sharpen this kind of lopper. For the hand prune we will need to use a carbide tool.
You have to take this tool and start with the top cutting blade and follow the direction from the point where the blades meet to the extreme point of each blade. Remember not to tilt your carbide tool too much as all it takes is a repeated move, starting down and reaching the peak of the blade.
After doing the same move for several times (usually 4 to 5 is recommended) you will start to notice that the dirt or rust has begun to disappear from the blades. You can also keep rubbing your carbide with the blade, until you see that sharp shine of the steel lopper.
Also, you need to do the same operation as you are going to take the carbide tool and make one pass that covers all the surface of the back side of the blade. You have to hold the carbide flat to the back of the blade and you have to slide the carbide from the starting point to the highest point of the blade.
Now, you will have to use the carbide on the inner surface of this blade, the one known as counter blade. The carbide action is still the same, as you move the tool from one point and move it up to the peak of the blade. You will repeat the action with the back part of the counter blade to sharpen it the same way you did with the bigger blade.
Tips to Help
Loppers will not help you a lot to cut all the unnecessary things in your garden. However, they will serve to cut those brushes and branches that other machines will not. So, take care of them, keep them cleaned and oiled and, do not forget to sharpen them. This way, they will efficiently do the dirty work for you.