Tree loppers are usually a trusty and dependable tool that will help you trim your hedges and trees. With its long handles, it gives you an extra advantage to clip higher and larger branches more efficiently.
This type of tool can last for several years. The more you use them, the faster it is for the blades to get dull. However, if you know how to sharpen loppers properly, you can restore them and make them last longer.
A rough and dull pair of loppers will create a bigger wound on your plants that will affect their overall health. You wouldn’t want your hard work to be in vain just because you’re using a less-than-decent tool, now would you?
Besides making your work faster and more efficient, the quality of the loppers you use can also impact your plants’ health.
So, without further ado, here’s the foolproof step-by-step of how you can do that:
- 1 Prepare the Loppers for Sharpening
- 2 Sharpening Stage
- 3 Finishing Touches
- 4 Conclusion
Prepare the Loppers for Sharpening
You should know that there are some preparations you need to do before you sharpen your lopper.
Step 1 – Understand Your Tool
The first thing you need to do to maintain your tools is to understand and learn more about them. To get the most optimal result, you need to do more than just clean and sharpen your loppers once and then forgetting about it in the next several years.
Examine the type of loppers that you have. You might need to check the blade edge in order to determine the correct angle to sharpen it.
One thing you can do is check the manufacturer’s guideline, so you’ll understand more how to correctly care for the specific type of loppers you have.
Step 2 – Disassemble the Parts
Start off with disassembling your lopper. It will make the next step a lot easier as it will be a lot more manageable. Make sure to dismantle your loppers on top of a towel.
Not only will it make the space a lot tidier, but the towel will also help in holding the various parts and components of the lopper.
Use a wrench or a screwdriver to pull apart the screw that holds the two blades together. Don’t forget to count and save all the parts. You’ll thank yourself for this because it will definitely help when you’re going to assemble the tool back.
Step 3 – Clean the Lopper
Prepare a bucket of warm soapy water and start cleaning each component of your lopper. Use a hard bristle brush and scrub each nook and cranny to clean the whole part thoroughly.
Getting the parts entirely clean is an essential part of the process. All those dust and debris are like cancer for your tools. The cleaner your loppers are, the easier it is to sharpen them. Not only that, but you will also be able to get it a lot sharper, hence a better result.
Step 4 – Remove Stubborn Dirt
Even if you scrubbed hard enough, sometimes there are still some stubborn grimes, dirt, and rust on the blades.
If so, you might need to the blades in a cleaning solvent to further clean your tool. You can also use sandpaper to remove rust and other debris that can’t be cleaned with the solvent.
Now that your loppers are clean, it is ready to get into the next stage: the sharpening process. There are many ways you can do this with, such as using files, whetstones, grinding stones, etc.
The method of choice depends on your matter of preference. However, the two most common methods of sharpening a gardening tool are by using whetstones or a file.
Both can be used to create the same outcome, which is to revamp your old tool and make it new again.
Here is how you can do that:
Method 1: Using A Whetstone
Using a whetstone is the most common way to sharpen any kind of tool. For this method, you might need whetstones with different grains as it will help you get a sharper outcome.
Step 1 – Wet the Stone
Before grinding your blades, make sure your stone is evenly coated with a lubricant such as water or oil. Water usually evaporates a lot quicker than oil. Therefore, people would prefer to use lubricating oil instead of water.
Not only will it enable a smooth process, but it will also create a smooth and shiny finish. The oil will also carry away any grits created during the sharpening process, making the process a lot easier.
Step 2 – Sharpen the Blades
Before sharpening, check again the type of loppers that you have. Once you know, you can start grinding the blade accordingly. You might need to start with a medium-grain whetstone before moving to a finer one.
Lay your blade, beveled side down on top of the whetstone. Make sure that the edge of the blade is facing away from you to prevent any accidents. Start filing the blade with smooth and consistent strokes, moving in one direction away from you.
When sharpening the blade, move it to bottom towards the tip, so you don’t slice any part of the stone. To maintain a correct angle, apply one stroke to the inner angle after every ten strokes to the outer bevel.
If you find that your blade has nicks, you might need to start with a coarser whetstone or use sandpaper to smooth it first.
Step 3 – Smooth the Edges
When you have achieved the desired sharpness, you can continue further with a finer grain whetstone. It will create a razor-sharp blade.
One thing you should note: make sure that your blade edge is not thinner than 1 mm as it will make your blade more brittle and fragile.
Method 2: Using A File
Step 1 – Secure the Lopper
For this method, you need to secure your loppers with a vice to ensure that they won’t be moving around while you’re filing it. Not only will it make the process a lot easier, but also make it safer for you.
Make sure that the blade edge is facing upwards as it will be the part that you’ll focus on sharpening.
Step 2 – Sharpen the Blade
To sharpen the blade in an effective way, you need to hold the file at a shallow angle. Place the file along the edge of the blade that’s been secured with a vice. Once you’ve done it, you can start filing it towards the edge.
Remember to do this on a one direction motion. You need to continuously check on the blade’s sharpness to prevent over-sharpening it as it will cause the blade to be fragile and break.
Once you’ve achieved the desired sharpness, you can then do the same thing to the other blade. You might need to change position since you need to sharpen the opposite side of the blade.
The main steps are now complete! The only thing you need to do is to do the finishing touches to your lopper.
Step 1 – Testing the Blade
To check if you’ve sharpened the blades enough, you can do a light reflection test. To do this, hold up your blade to any source of light.
If the light still reflects on the edge of the blade, your loppers are not adequately sharpened. You might need to do a couple more strokes until it passes the light reflection test.
Step 2 – Assemble the Lopper
Now your razor-sharp loppers are ready to be assembled. Start assembling the loppers back with the parts that we’ve taken out the first time using a wrench or a screwdriver. Secure everything back in place, but make sure you don’t screw them too tightly.
Step 3 – Add A Coat of Oil
Finish off the whole process with a light coat of oil to the blade. Not only will it prevent the formation of rust on the blade, but it will also give a great shine that can make your loppers look brand new.
Managing a garden means that you have to manage your gardening tools as well (because you know what): they go hand in hand. If the tools are not right, then doing your task can be a lot more complicated than it should be.
Now your loppers are ready to get back in action and make your job a lot easier. Now that you know, make sure to always keep your tools away from dust and dirt when they are not in use. It should also be stored in a dry place to prevent rust.
Maintaining your garden can be a lot of work. But with the right kind of tools, you can do it more effectively and efficiently. Because an excellent tool improves the way you work.