How to Sharpen Hand Pruner Blades

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  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Steel wool
Fine-grit sandpaper
Sharpening file or whet stone
Mild detergent or soap
Lubricating oil

A hand pruner is an essential tool in the garden. It is useful for deadheading flowers, trimming vines, or removing small branches. It is easier to control than shears or lopers. It can also be more gentle on the plant. After a while your pruners may need to be sharpened in order to keep making clean cuts. You can easily do this yourself.

Step 1 - Take Apart the Pruners

Pruners are fastened together with a bolt or screws. To separate the blades simply remove the main bolt or screw and then the spring oil will come off and the blade will come apart. Be sure to keep track of the parts so you will be able to reassemble the pruners.

Step 2 - Clean the Pruners

hand pruners

Before you sharpen your blades you need to clean them thoroughly. Wash them in warm water with some detergent added to it. You can use a brush to brush away any dirt. If there is any resistant debris such as rust or sap you can use steel wool or fine grit sandpaper to remove it. Once you have finished cleaning them rinse them in clear water and dry with a cloth.

Step 3 - Examine the Edges

Look for the beveled edge. There are a couple of different kinds of pruners. The anvil pruners have a blade that is beveled on both sides and it needs to be sharpened on both sides. Bypass pruners have a blade that is beveled only one side.

Step 4 - Sharpen the Blade

Using your file lay it parallel to the bevel angle of the blade. Pressing on the outer edge of the blade file in one direction. Then lift it up and take it back to the beginning point and repeat. It is important not to use a sawing motion. Check the blade to see if it is sharp enough (don’t use your fingers for this). Now move onto the beveled edge on the other side (if there is one).

Step 5 - Reassemble the Pruners

person trimming a branch with a pruner

Put the pruners back together. Put the spring back between the handles. Now put in the fastener and tighten it securely. Open and close the pruners several times to see if it is too tight. If so then simply loosen the bolt or screw slightly and test again.

Step 6 - Apply Lubrication

Put lubricating oil on the mechanism of the pruners. This will keep them working smoothly and prevent corrosion. Remove any excess.

Maintaining your pruners will make gardening more enjoyable and it will take less time to get those gardening chores done.