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How to Sharpen Hedge Trimmers (2 Foolproof Methods)

close up hedge trimmer
Image Credit: Pixabay

Hedge trimmers are useless without the blades. Since they experience a lot of wear and tear from the function they provide, their blaze quickly dull, making it more difficult to create crisp cuts on your hedges. For this reason, sharpen your hedge trimmers so that they are still functional and efficient for the job.

Unlike knives and other sharp objects, though, hedge trimmers can be a bit tricky to sharpen. Their designs are much less intuitive for maintenance and sharpening purposes. For this reason, we have created this handy guide to sharpening your hedge trimmers, complete with two sharpening methods and other maintenance tips. Let’s get started.

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Before You Start

No matter what method you choose for sharpening your hedge trimmer, you need to do a few things before you start. This includes getting proper safety gear and aligning the blades on the device.

1. Get Your Safety Gear

gardening gloves
Image Credit: Pixabay

Wear proper safety gear to protect yourself while working with sharp tools. It is best to wear long sleeves so that your skin has at least a little bit of covering. Also, get a pair of thick gloves. You will need to wear gloves so that you don’t cut your fingers as they are used to sharpen the blades.

Look for gloves like these Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves to ensure that they protect your hand without inhibiting movement.


2. Align the Blades

Once you are wearing the correct protective gear, you need to align the blades before sharpening. With your gloves tightly on, press the upper and lower blades together so that they become aligned. This will get a close, though not perfect alignment.

To complete a perfect alignment, grab a tool with a plastic handle. Something like a screwdriver will do. Use the plastic handle to wedge the blades together so that they are perfectly aligned. Make sure to not use metal for this step or else you could damage the teeth on the hedge trimmer.

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Sharpen Your Hedge Trimmer with a Flat Tile (Method 1)

The first method for sharpening your hedge trimmer is by using a flat tile. This method will be more time consuming, but it will also be the easiest method. Those who have never sharpened a hedge trimmer before should opt for this method.

What You’ll Need
  • Safety gear
  • Tool with plastic handle
  • Large flat tile, 1 to 1.5 inches across

Instructions

1. Line the Tile Up to the Tooth’s Edge

With the teeth properly aligned, grab the large flat tile and line it up to the tooth’s edge. The tile should lay at the same angle as the tooth’s edge. It may be helpful to imagine the tile as lying flat on the slight angle of the hedge trimmer’s tooth.


2. Only Stroke in One Direction

Begin to stroke the tile upwards. Make sure to only stroke in one direction, or else you could clog the tool and ruin the file. Though you can stroke in either direction, stroking upwards will feel a bit more natural.


3. Flip to File on the Other Side

Once you finish filing one side, flip the hedge trimmer over so you can file on the other side. Follow instructions 1 and 2 again: line up the tile to the tooth’s edge and only stroke in one direction.


4. Repeat

After you have correctly sharpened every side of a single tooth, repeat steps 1 through 3 on every other tooth until the entire hedge trimmer has been sharpened.


5. Clean the Blade

Whenever you finish sharpening all of the teeth, clean the blade. This will give you a beautiful blade, making it easier to see if you missed any spots. Once you have cleaned your blade, you have finished sharpening your hedge trimmer.

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Sharpen Your Hedge Trimmer Using a Grinder (Method 2)

If you are a bit more experienced with power tools, you might want to use a handheld grinder to sharpen your hedge trimmer. This method will require more skill, protective equipment, and care. If you are up to the task, then this option will be much more time efficient.

What You’ll Need
  • Earplugs or earmuffs
  • ANSI-rated safety glasses
  • Heavy gloves
  • Tool with plastic handle
  • Angle grinder (preferred) or die grinder or rotary tool with correct bit
  • C-Clamp

Instructions

1. Put on Your Protective Gear

You should already have on gloves from when you aligned the blades, but you need to put on additional protective gear when sharpening your hedge trimmer with a grinder. This includes putting on earplugs or earmuffs and ANSI-rated safety glasses. Keep your gloves on, too.


2. Clamp the Hedge Trimmer

Only after you have completely protected your body and self with protective gear, clamp the hedge trimmer down using a C-Clamp. This will make the job much easier since you don’t have to worry about the hedge trimmer moving around.

If you need a C-Clamp, opt for a model like this Tekton 6-inch Malleable Iron C-Clamp. Its iron material ensures that it will last a long time, no matter how often you use it.

But when’s the best time to trim your hedges? – Click here to read our recommendations!


3. Plug in the Grinding Tool

With the hedge trimmer securely clamped down, plug in your grinding tool. An angle grinder is preferred, but you can also use a die grinder or rotary tool if you do not have access to an angle grinder. We recommend the DeWalt Angle Grinder.

As the grinding tool is plugged in, but not turned on yet, place the grinding surface on the existing angle of the hedge trimmer. Turn on the grinding tool once it is in the correct position.


4. Grind Using Light Pressure

Now that you have turned on your grinding tool, it is time to start grinding the surface to sharpen the hedge trimmer. Apply very light pressure. You only need to run the grinder over the edge two or three times before checking the surface.


5. Check the Surface

After you have run the grinder over the edge a couple of times, check the surface. Depending on the state of your hedge trimmer before, you may only need to run it two or three times to properly sharpen the tool. You may need to run the grinder over the edge a couple of times more.


6. Repeat

Once the surface is as sharp as you would like it, repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other surfaces and teeth. The way you clamped your hedge trimmer may determine if you move on to a separate tooth or surface first. Just select whichever way maximizes your time.


7. Clean the Blades

After your entire hedge trimmer has been sharpened, clean the blades. This will give you a chance to make any last-minute fixes and polish the tool.

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Other Tips for Maintaining Your Hedge Trimmer

On top of sharpening your blades, there are some other things you can do to maintain your hedge trimmer. These tips can help your hedge trimmer create beautiful cuts in your yard, but they will also help lengthen the lifespan of your tool.

1. Clean the Blades

Make sure to keep the blades clean after every use. Even if your blades look clean, take the time to wipe them down with soapy water and cloth every time you use the tool. This will ensure that no items, like small leaves or sap, remain on the blades, causing them to rust or break prematurely.


2. Lubricate the Blades

Moisture and other contaminants will erode your blade. Lubricate the blades each month to give them a protective barrier. The lubrication will also help for a smoother cutting experience. This CRC 3-36 Multi-Purpose Lubricant and Corrosion Inhibitor is easy to apply but will still protect your blades.


3. Clean the Air Filter

Gas hedge trimmers need a constant flow of air. The more you use your trimmer, the more the filters will build up with dust and other particles. Make sure to clean the air filter so that your hedge trimmer still works properly. You will need to consult your user’s manual to learn how to clean the air filter on your model.


4. Tighten Loose Screws

The more you use a hedge trimmer, the more that screws or fittings can come loose. At least once a season, look over your hedge trimmer and see if any parts are loose. Tighten them accordingly.


5. Store Correctly

Make sure to store your hedge trimmer correctly. It may be best to buy a UV resistant or waterproof canvas bag. If you don’t have one of those, select a cotton sheet or towel and place it around the hedge trimmer. Then, put the wrapped trimmer in a plastic bag or a box that is stored off the floor.

close up hedge trimmer in the garden
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Conclusion

Hedge trimmers are completely useless if their teeth are not sharp. Select either of these methods to make sure that your hedge trimmer stays sharp. Beginners should select method 1, though it does take a bit more time. More experienced users, however, should select method 2 for the time convenience.

In addition to sharpening the teeth, make sure to care for your hedge trimmer in other ways too, like cleaning the blades and storing the tool correctly. If you do these things, your hedge trimmer will last a long time and create crisp cuts.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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