How to Sharpen a Tree Lopper

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  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Old towel
Dry cloth
Warm, soapy water
Stiff brush
Cleaning solvent
Sand paper
Lubricating spray oil
Medium grain whet stone

A tree lopper is an excellent tool to help you keep your trees in shape. It resembles a hand pruner but has longer handles. This gives you the leverage necessary to reach and clip larger branches. Loppers enable you to prune quickly and efficiently.

Good quality loppers can last you several years. Most of them have replacement parts which add to their longevity. However, with frequent use, the sharpness of the lopper declines. Fortunately, you can remedy this situation if you know how to sharpen the loppers. Follow the simple steps below.

Step 1 - Disassemble the Loppers

Lay an old towel on top of a counter or table where you intend to work. It’ll help hold the various components of the loppers when you pull apart. The two blades of the loppers are joined together with a screw, usually in the center. Use a wrench to remove the screw and put the blades apart. Be sure to note the total number of components to make your job easier when you assemble later.

Step 2 - Clean the Loppers

pruning a tree with loppers

Take each component separately and wash in a bucket of warm, soapy water. Use the brush to remove dirt. Pay extra attention to nooks and edges of holes where dirt tends to get trapped. Wipe all components with a dry cloth.

Step 3 - Remove Stubborn Dirt and Grit

Some resistant dirt, sand, rust or tree sap may remain on the blades. Dip the blades into a cleaning solvent to remove hardened sap. Rust and other particles can be removed with sandpaper.

Step 4 - Wet the Stone

Spray some lubricating oil onto the stone. The oil acts as a lubricant when you sharpen to enable a smooth process. It also clears dirt generated by the process. Be sure to wet the stone a couple of times as you sharpen so it doesn’t dry.

Step 5 - Restore the Blade Edges

Locate the beveled edge. If yours is an anvil-type lopper that has a single blade, you’ll have to sharpen both sides of the blade. Lay the beveled side of the blade beside the whet stone. File the blade with several smooth strokes. Move the blade in one direction, away from you. Do not apply too much pressure on the blade.

Step 6 - Test the Blades

lopping a tree limb

When the blade edge looks sharp enough with a shine to it, it’s probably adequately sharpened. Hold it up to a source of light. If light reflects off the edge, it requires further sharpening. If the blades pass the light reflection test, you may proceed to assemble.

Step 7 - Assemble the Loppers

Slide the two main parts of the loppers together. Fit in the spring and screws. Secure the screw firmly but avoid a tight finish. Test the loppers to ensure they move smoothly. Spray some lubricating oil onto the blades to prevent rust.


Clean your loppers at least once each season. It makes it easier when you sharpen. It also helps keep the loppers in good condition.