Ace Sharpening & Co
How To Sharpen Clipper Blades
To start with you need to know a
few things. First what is grit? Grit is
an abrasive powder. The type of
grit used to sharpen clipper blades
on an aluminum clipper sharpening
wheel is called ‘brown fused
aluminum oxide powder’ it is the
same material used to make
grinding wheels for bench grinders,
also it can be used as a medium for
sand blasting to blast the paint off
of metal parts.
 Clipper blade
sharpening is just
another use for this
material. I use what is
called ‘wheel quality’
brown fused
aluminum oxide.
What this means is
that all of the
impurities have been
removed so all there
is left is pure brown
fused aluminum oxide.
 This is the quality
that is required to
make grinding
wheels for bench
grinders. If the
impurities were not
removed, then as
soon as the grinding
wheel heats up it
could explode
causing bodily
injuries to who ever
is standing by.
 Not that this could happen
while using powdered grit to
sharpen clipper blades, (The
aluminum oxide must be bonded
together like it is in a grinding
wheel to explode.) but I am
thinking why not get the kind of
abrasives that have the impurities
already taken out, the impurities
don’t sharpen anything, so it is
best to get grit that doesn’t have
any in the first place.
 Anyway, the next thing is what type
of cleaner do you use to clean the grit
off of a sharpening wheel? That would
be ‘mineral spirits!’ Mineral spirits
does a good job of cleaning the wheel.
I have tried most everything, but now I
have found another product that
works even better and that is
Sunnyside odorless paint thinner. It is
like mineral spirits, but it is truly
odorless and you can get it at any True
Value hardware store.
 You can purchase mineral spirits
or Sunnyside odorless paint
thinner from your local True
Value hardware store for cheap,
or you can purchase ‘clipper
wheel cleaner’ online for big
bucks that has some coloring in it
to make it look good and confuse
you as to what it is, but all you
are going to get when you open
up the package is colored paint
thinner.
 Some groomers use a product called
‘blade wash’ this stuff is very expensive
also. What’s in it?  It is 3 parts paint
thinner, and 1 part clipper oil. If groomers
really want to clean their blades tell them to
use Sunnyside Odorless Paint Thinner
without the oil. The oil is not necessary, it
serves no purpose in cleaning a clipper
blade and there is not enough oil in the mix
to lubricate the blades. All you want this
stuff to do is clean the blades lubrication is
a separate process.
 If a groomer leaves their blades in
commercial blade wash over night the
blades will rust. If they think the blade wash
is all they need to lubricate their blades for
the next days grooming they are in for a
rude surprise. Even though there is oil in the
commercial blade wash there is still enough
solvent in it to take most all of the oil
off of
their blades. Blades must be oiled before
using them if they have been in contact with
commercial blade wash. This applies to
paint thinner too.
 Spray lard oil. What is it? Lard oil is an old
plumbers cutting oil mostly used by plumbers
in the old days to cut threads on pipe. I
understand that plumbers don’t use it much
nowadays so you can’t find it at your local
hardware store anymore. (Check out my list
of suppliers on my home page to find out
where you can purchase lard oil and other
items.) www.mcmastercarr.com has lard oil
for cheap just call them and tell them what
you want. Their lard oil comes in a one gallon
jug for around $25.00.
 To make spray
lard oil all you have
to do is mix it one
part lard oil, and
one part paint
thinner, and put this
mixture in a spray
bottle, or you can
buy it pre-mixed for
big bucks on the
internet. It might
even have some
cool coloring in it!
 The round ‘hardwood rubbing
block’ has a handle coming up
through the center of it. What is it?  It
is pretty much what it sounds like. It
is a round 3/4” thick X 3” diameter
hardwood block of wood with a
dowel rod coming up through the
center of it. It is used to spread, and
rub the grit into the aluminum
sharpening wheel. (You will get a
couple of these when you buy one of
my clipper sharpening machines.)
 OK, now that we have all
of that out of the way, let’s
get started sharpening clipper
blades! But first, let me break
this down into and easy
format. If you just read
everything below it will seem
like wow this is harder than I
thought, but remember I am
telling you how to sharpen
clipper blades in
great detail,
and it takes a lot of writing to
do that.
 In practice all of this is very easy and it goes very fast. It
only takes 5 minutes to sharpen one clipper blade, and
you will make over $1.00 per minute or $6.00 per blade.
Of course at first it will take you somewhat longer than
five minutes to complete a blade, but speed comes
quickly once you become familiar with this process. I now
do my blades at a rate of 3 minutes each for $2.00 a
minute and you will too if you learn a good process and
stick with it. The key to speed is to learn to do each step
the same way every time with as little “fumbling” as
possible then speed will naturally kick in as you your skills
increase.
Here
is
how
it
goes;
  1. Take the blades apart & lay them out in order on a cloth on top of your work bench.
  2. Tighten or pre-adjust the
    tension on all of the springs, and then adjust the sockets on each blade.
  3. Place all of the cutters of each blade in
    order onto a tray, (Mine is a ¾” X 9” wide X 3ft long pine wood tray with raised edges and a raised divider strip
    long ways down the center of the tray) and take them over to a fine wire wheel (Mine is a 3” fine wire wheel
    attached to a small Harbor Freight mini drill press.) and then clean all of the big stuff off of each cutter using this
    spinning wire wheel.  
  4. Take the tray full of wire wheel cleaned cutters over to your clipper sharpening machine
    and sharpen each cutter keeping all of them in order on the tray.
  5. Run the tray of sharpened cutters over the
    top of your demagnetizer a couple of times to demagnetize all of the cutters that are in the tray.
  6. Round over
    the sharp tips of the lower comb cutters on all of the number #40, #15, or #30 blades. If you leave these tips sharp
    on these blades when the groomers use them they will razor burn or cut the dogs and they will not be
    happy.
  7. Take the tray of cutters over to the parts washer, and clean each cutter in a soapy solvent, then rinse
    with water, and dry each of them on a dry towel. Note: I use a 20 gallon Harbor Freight “parts washer” filled with
    their best non-flammable biodegradable parts washing solution.
  8.  After towel drying place them all back into a
    different “clean” tray and take them back to your work bench Spray all of the newly sharpened cutters with a 50/50
    mixture of paint thinner and mineral oil and then lay them all out in order on the same cloth you dissembled them on.
    Re-assemble, and adjust each blade.
  9. Package each blade (2 each) in a paper coin envelope that is marked as
    to which blades are in each envelop.
  10. Fill out your sales receipt, return the blades to your customer, and collect
    your fee.
 After you read everything below, then come back to this 10
step format and put it all into the correct perspective. Here is
something to think about. Once you get your speed up to 20
blades per hour which is 3 min per blade you will have made
$120.00 in just one hour sharpening just 20 blades, but even
if you take a little longer you still make $120.00 for
sharpening just 20 clipper blades. Speed comes with
experience and the only way you are going to get experience
is to sharpen clipper blades, but you need to learn a method
that can get you there. Using the method below that goal is
well within your reach so let’s get down to business.
 If you have a new machine you will have to break in the
wheel before it will work to its full potential. Usually
sharpening four or five blades will get it working great or if
you have a broken comb cutter use it to break in your
new clipper wheel then sharpen your customer’s clipper
blades after the wheel is broken in. The grit will make
some little grooves in the aluminum that look like the small
groves on an old vinyl 45 rpm record like Jailhouse rock.
This grooving is done as you sharpen cutters by causing
the grit to roll across the top face of the wheel. This is
what you want. These little grooves help the grit stay on
the wheel better.
 Once these grooves
are made, it will be
working normal, and
your sharpened blades
should cut like butter.
Even the first four or
five blades will cut fine,
but until the wheel is
broken in, you won't get
as many blades
sharpened from the first
few charges on the
wheel.
 When you see that the girt is
almost gone from the wheel
don’t clean the wheel, just
recharge the wheel with more
lard oil and grit, in my opinion
there is no need to clean the
wheel every time you charge it
with lard oil and grit, I clean
my wheel every other charge,
but if you prefer you can clean
your wheel every time you
apply grit it’s up to you.
 Most important you don't
want to try to sharpen a blade
if there is no rolling grit on the
wheel as this will cause the
steel cutter to rub on the bare
aluminum, and this will cause
unnecessary wear on the
wheel. Never sharpen if there is
no rolling grit left on the wheel.
You can do it and the blade
will cut, but you will wear out
your wheel prematurely if you
do.
 When charging a plate don’t use
too much of the spray lard oil, using
too much oil will cause the oil and
grit mixture to get too wet. If the grit
is too wet it will rub off of the wheel
to easy when you try to sharpen a
cutter and you will need to recharge
the wheel again. Use just enough
spray oil to hold the grit to the wheel
and no more. Try keeping it on the
dry side of this equation and you will
get the best results.
Here is the bottom line, for an
18” clipper wheel I only sharpen
four to five blade sets max per
charge, I then re-charge the wheel
again. I have found on any brand
clipper wheel of this size that after
four or five blade sets there is very
little rolling grit left, so before the
rolling grit is gone completely I re-
charge the wheel.  Re-charging
only takes about 30 to 35
seconds if you do it like this:
 After sharpening four or five sets of clipper blades using a spray bottle
filled with 50/50 lard oil and paint thinner, and while the wheel is still
spinning full speed spray about ¼ of a full spray onto the aluminum
wheel.  (Any more, and you will have too much oil on the wheel and the
grit will rub off too easy.) You will see the lard oil quickly spread from
the center of the wheel to the outer edge of the wheel. Turn off the
machine, then take a wood stick (I use a piece of two by four cut about
½” (or more) thick by 1 ½” wide and 2ft long and put it between the
edge of the clipper machine wheel enclosure and the edge of the spinning
clipper wheel and press the stick onto the edge of the clipper wheel to
stop the wheel, stopping the wheel using this method only takes a couple
of seconds.
After you have stopped the wheel sprinkle on
your grit using a large salt shaker (with all but the
center strip of holes taped shut with duct tape so
you don’t apply too much grit.) I use 180 grit for
all of my blades except for the smaller blades like
#40, #50, T-Outliners etc I use 220 grit.
Everything else I use 180 grit only (except for
sheep blades you can use 110 grit to sharpen
them quicker.) Sprinkle a little grit all around the
wheel, then using light pressure on the wooden
rubbing block; spread the grit all around the wheel
with a circular motion.
 Now using the same circular motion
you used to spread the grit on the
wheel, using the heal of your hand, put
fairly
heavy pressure on the wooden
rubbing block while you are rubbing
the grit into the wheel till the wheel is
evenly coated with the grit and oil
mixture. Don’t miss any spots; rub it till
every part of the wheel is coated. This
step takes a little more effort, but when
you are done the wheel it will look like
fine sandpaper.
 The wooden rubbing block takes a little breaking in
too, just keep using it until the bottom is black with
grit, and it will start working great. Try not to
rock
the rubbing block while you are rubbing the grit into
the wheel, always keep the rubbing block flat on the
surface of the wheel, and again, don’t let one side of
the rubbing block lift up while you are doing this step
as it will leave a mark on your even coat of grit, and
you will have to go over it again to smooth it out.
Using the wood stick to stop the clipper wheel you
can re-charge an 18” clipper wheel like we just did in
about half a minute.
To dissemble the blades I use a
small block of ¾” plywood with
one end cut out in the shape of a
horse shoe. The width of the
cutout is the same as the width of
a blade which is about 2”. With
the blades laying in a row on a
cloth on the work bench I put the
cutout portion of the block over
the blade so as to enclose the
blade inside of the U shape
cutout.
 Then while holding the
block of plywood with my
left hand, with my right
hand I use a 6 volt hand
drill with a Phillips screw
driver bit inserted into the
chuck to take out each of
the two screws in each
blade. Just move the block
around to each blade until
you have removed all of
the screws.
 After dissembling all of the blades, and laying all of
the parts out in order on a cloth on my workbench, I
then place all of the cutters & combs on a tray. As I
said I use a ¾” X 9” X 3ft. long board with a 1/2”
trim around the edges to keep the blades from falling
off the edges and there is a divider down the middle
of the board so I can move the blades from the lower
section to the top section as I clean or sharpen each
cutter.  I then clean all of the cutters and combs (as
needed) with a small 3” (fine wire) wire wheel
spinning on a small drill press to get the big stuff off
the blades before I sharpen them.
 When you are finished cleaning the cutters & combs on the fine wire wheel, take the board with the cutters on it over to
the clipper machine and turn it on.  If you are right handed the wheel should turn clockwise at about 1725 rpm to 1800
rpm, (for left hand people the wheel should turn counterclockwise.) Point the tips of the cutters, and or the combs in the
direction that the wheel is spinning. You will need a small 12 pound pull magnet to help you hold the cutters. You will also
need a small scale to measure how much pressure you are applying to the magnet as you sharpen each cutter. Only use
about two pounds of downward pressure when sharpening a cutter. To test this place the magnet onto the cutter then place
the magnet and the cutter onto the top of the scale and press down till the scale reads 2 pounds. When you can do this with
your eyes closed you are ready to start sharpening your first cutter. Test your downward pressure periodically (like every
day) to make sure you are staying within this range for sharpening cutters and combs. The reason for just two pounds of
downward pressure while sharpening a cutter is that you don’t want to “spread the cutter” by pressing down too hard and
then change the profile of the hollow that is ground into the cutter. The profile of the clipper wheel should match the profile
of the hollow in the cutter; too much pressure will again spread the cutter and distort the profile in the cutter and also rub off
too much grit while sharpening.
 While holding the cutter (or comb) with the magnet lightly touch the backside
of the cutter onto the wheel first, then let the tips come down keeping the cutter
perfectly flat on the wheel. Use enough pressure to get a good shower of
sparks (about 2 pounds.) If you press too hard, you will rub the grit off too
soon, and you will have to recharge the wheel again with more grit. The key to
this step is to relax! Do like Bruce lee said; “Be like water.” maintain control,
but keep your whole body
relaxed. If there is any tension in your hand or arm
you will cut a second face on the face of the cutter and there will be a dividing
line showing the two faces that have been cut. To avoid this mistake you have
to relax your hand, your arm, and your whole body, and let the dead weight of
your arm put the downward pressure on the cutter and not your muscles.
 Keeping everything perfectly
flat, put a little forward pressure
on the front side of the cutter by
pressing on the front of the
magnet closest to the tips of the
cutter. I use my index finger for
this job, and my thumb, and
middle finger to hold the outer
sides of the magnet. Don't rotate
the cutter forward, (keep it flat
on the wheel) just apply forward
pressure with your index finger.
  Remember, it is important to keep the cutters, and combs flat on the wheel at
all times. In other words while you are relaxed and being like water let the cutter
relax onto the face of the clipper wheel as well, do not allow any vibrations or
chatter between the cutter and the face of the clipper wheel, keep it smooth, feel
it. Start towards the center of the wheel, and move the cutter in a
straight line
(this is important) from the center of the wheel to the outer edge of the wheel
using about two pounds of downward pressure to get a good shower of sparks
with out rubbing the grit off the wheel. When sharpening do not allow any
vibrations, chatter, or hopping between the cutter and the face of the spinning
clipper wheel. If you get any just press of hold the cutter a little firmer till you get
a smooth grind. (I have a complete write up called “The Touch” that you can
read later after absorbing all of this first.)
 With two pounds of downward pressure I do about 12 to 14 passes to take off between 1 ½ thousandths to 2
thousandths of metal from each cutter.  To give you an idea as to how much metal needs to be removed a human hair is
about 3 thousandths thick so you are not removing all that much metal, but if you remove less than that your blades will
not last as long as they should and may not even cut very well after you are finished sharpening. To measure how much
metal you have removed you need a gage with a dial indicator. You can purchase said gage from Treyco for $150.00 or
you can get one from Ace Sharpening for $100.00 with instructions on how to use it. The nice thing about having one of
these gages is that you can count how many passes it takes for you to remove 1 ½ to 2 thousandths of metal, again for
me it takes about 12 to 14 passes, but for you it may take more or less depending on just how much pressure you are
actually using and how fast you move across the face of the clipper wheel for each pass. I have found that each person is
a little different in how many passes they need to get the correct amount of metal removed, but to start with 12 to 14
passes should get you there more or less.
After you have done 12 to 14 passes on the clipper wheel at two pounds of downward pressure move the cutter
closer to the outside edge of the wheel, stop for a moment making sure the cutter is perfectly flat, lined up on the
wheel, (using a laser or string to line the cutter up on) and maintaining your same two pounds of downward
pressure, move the cutter back and forth ¼” each way several times to make sure everything is lined up correctly
then lift the cutter straight up off the wheel. (Don’t pull the cutter off sideways or you will grind a bad spot into
your cutter always lift the cutter off the wheel straight up after you have stopped moving back and forth ¼”.)The
laser or string should line up across the center of the clipper wheel and the comb cutter should be lined up on the
laser line half way between the front rail of the cutter and the back rail of the cutter. Most sharpeners use this
same method to sharpen the top cutter as well, but I like to move the front teeth of the top cutter back towards
the center line of the wheel to about ¼” from the tips of the teeth and sharpen there. What this does is strengthen
the look of the rub pattern to where more of the tips of the teeth on the rub pattern show stronger in the center of
the cutter.
 If you don’t know what the rails
are when you turn the cutter over
you will see that the teeth are raised
and also there is a back strip of
metal that is also raised as high as
the front teeth. The front teeth are
the front rail and the back raised
strip is called the back rail. On a
comb cutter center the two rails
over the center line of the wheel
using either a laser light or a string
to mark the center of the clipper
wheel.
Rub patterns: You can buy an Andis rubbing block from a place
called “The Edge Pro” it is made of a certain type of cast iron
and it extremely flat and smooth on both sides. After you have
sharpened a top cutter place the cutter onto the flat side of the
rubbing block and with even pressure rub the cutter back and
forth using about 1 pound of downward pressure to simulate the
sharpening pressure. If the cutter has been sharpened correctly
you will see that the tips of the cutter have been rubbed on the
rubbing block and the pattern of the rubbed tips will look like a
rainbow or straight across the tips with a slight arch which is not
quite as pronounced as the arch in a rainbow.
 OK, the outer edge of the clipper
wheel is where your cutters will get
sharper quicker because the outside
edge of the wheel is moving faster than
the center of the wheel. That is why I
have you stop on the outer edge going
back and forth ¼” a few times for a
moment holding the cutter perfectly flat
just to make sure the grind is a good
one before lifting the cutter off the
wheel. The bigger the wheel the faster
the outside edge moves.
 Using a
magnifying glass,
check the grind
lines on the
bottom of the
cutter to make
sure they go all
the way from the
back of the cutter
to the tips of the
cutter, and all the
way across the
full length of the
cutter.
 If you see that the grind lines do not cover the
bottom of the cutter completely, then sharpen it
again until you see that it is sharpened all the
way across, and all the way from the back to
the tips. Always check each cutter before you
put it back into the tray. This will save you from
having to re-sharpen it later after you have
re-assembled the blades. A cutter that does not
have grind lines across the full face of the cutter
will not cut and will have to be re-sharpened
until you get grind lines all the way to the tips of
each tooth.
 When you
get done
sharpening all
of the blades,
while they
are still on
the tray, run
the tray back
and forth
across the
demagnetizer
a couple of
times.
 On #40, #15, and #30 blades, the grind lines will go all the way
to the tips of the comb. When sharpened, these blades will
develop a sharp edge on the tips of the combs that must be
rounded over. (Note; on #15 blades this only happens after the
blade has been sharpened a few times,) If you don’t round these
sharp tips over your customers will complain that the tips of the
blades are too sharp, and or causing razor burn, or even cutting
the dogs. I use a flint hard felt buffing wheel on a 6 inch bench
grinder with some Okami gold or green compound (your choice)
on the felt wheel to round off the sharp tips of the combs. (Do
these sharp comb edges
before you clean and dry the blades.)
  #40 blade combs are the worst for
cutting a dog if you do not round over
the tips of each comb. You can also use
the Okami Gold buffing wheel, or my
fiber buffing wheel to do this job, but it
is kind of hard on these particular
buffing wheels and that is why I now use
a diamond hard felt buffing wheel to do
this job followed up with a flint hard felt
buffing wheel. You can get diamond
hard, and flint hard buffing wheels from
Ace sharpening & Co.
 To clean the blades, I use a 20
gallon parts washer that I
purchased from Harbor Freight
Tools. I also purchased a flow
through parts cleaning brush that
has a hose attached to the handle.
The cleaning fluid is pumped
through this handle by the parts
washer and out through the bristles
of the brush making it very easy
and fast to clean the freshly
sharpened cutters.
 I use Harbor Freights
non-flammable biodegradable
soapy cleaning fluid in my parts
washer to clean each of the
cutters. Then I lay each of the
cutters out in a row, and in
order in the bottom of a
laundry sink. (The laundry sink
already has about 3 inches of
water in it.) I then rinse each
cutter back and forth in the
water to get the cleaning fluid
off.
 Then I lay all of my cleaned,
and rinsed blades in order, in
a row, on a dry towel. While
they are still lying on the
towel, I blot them dry with
another dry towel then put
them all back into the
“Clean” tray and carry them
back to my work bench for
re-assembly. I only use my
clean tray for clean blades,
and my dirty tray to carry
dirty blades.
To sharpen ceramic blades all you have to
do is clean the ceramic cutter and sharpen
the lower metal comb blade. The ceramic
top cutter will stay sharp for about two
years. Once it gets dull you can replace it
with another ceramic cutter or a metal cutter,
either way it will work well. You can
sharpen a ceramic cutter using a 600 grit
diamond flat bench stone, but the result vary
from OK to not OK so that is why I never
try to sharpen a ceramic cutter anymore as it
is more trouble than it is worth.
 The 600 grit diamond hone is good to
sharpen the Wahl Arco blades. To sharpen
Arco blades use water and don’t use too
much pressure when sharpening on a
diamond hone. Let the diamonds do the
cutting. If you press too hard, it is like
forcing a saw blade to cut through wood
faster than it wants to, and you won’t get as
good a job, but the very best way to
sharpen Arco 5 in 1 clipper blades is to
sharpen them on a true flat clipper wheel
using 240 grit.
 After all of your blades have been
sharpened, and cleaned it is time to
re-assemble them.  I have several
tools to help me complete this job
easily, and quickly. First I have a
special pair of pliers that have been
ground to fit the contour of the
blades springs. I use this tool to
pre-tighten each spring back close
to its original factory tightness
without changing the actual shape of
the spring.
 This is an important step
because if the spring is too
loose it will not press the top
cutter down onto the comb
hard enough for the blade to
cut hair properly. To test the
spring for correct tension you
will need a food scale or some
type of similar scale that reads
from 0 to about 10 pounds.
(The weight scale needs to read
up to at least 5 pounds.)
 To test a blade, slide the top
cutter over to one side of the
comb, (but not all the way out of
the comb) then holding just the
edge of the comb place the
opposite edge of the top cutter
onto the top of the scale. Press
down on the edge of the comb
forcing the top cutter back into
the blade causing the scale to read
the pressure of forcing the top
cutter back into the blade.
 This pressure should read
between 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ (3 ¼ lbs
tops.) If it reads less than 2 ¼
pounds then the spring is too loose,
and if it reads any more than 3 ¼
pounds then it is too tight for a
normal blade. If a spring is too
loose then it
must be tightened.
Remember, 90% of blades that
don’t cut is because the spring
tension is too loose so it is very
important that the spring pressure
is correct.
 For additional spring tightening I use a
pair of vice grip pliers. The top cutter has
to be completely removed from the blade
before this adjustment can be made. The
place where you tighten the spring is the
back end of the spring right where the
spring makes a half circle from the top of
the spring down to where the screw goes
into the bottom of the spring.  Each
spring has two of these rounded ends,
and they both must be tightened evenly.
 Adjust the vice grip pliers down
to where they just touch the top of
this half circle, and the bottom of
the same half circle.  Next tighten
the vice grip pliers just enough to
get the pliers to close a little more.
Now place the pliers back onto
the spring and close them till they
lock closed. Do this same thing to
the other side of the spring, and
you are ready to check the spring
tension.
 If after you have
checked the spring
tension you find that you
did not tighten the spring
enough to get the spring
tension in range then
tighten the vice grip
pliers a little more and
do it again to both sides
of the spring until you
have reached the proper
spring tension.
If after testing the spring tension you find
that you have over tightened the spring
then you need to loosen it a little by lifting
the top part of the spring with a small
screw driver until the blade tests
correctly. I slip the small screw driver
under the top part of the spring and over
where the screw comes up under the
spring and twist, test then twist again till
you get the proper reading on the spring
tension. After a little practice you will get
this step down as it is very easy to do.
 When I lay my blade parts out
on the table I leave the spring,
and the socket together, I don’t
separate them. I just pick up
this assembly and tighten the
spring, then I lay that spring  
down and tighten the next
spring till they are all done, then
I go back and pick each one up
one at a time, and tighten each
socket, and then lay them back
down.
 To tighten the sockets I
have a small bar of cold
rolled steel that measures
¼” thick X 5/8” wide X
1” long. All you do is lay
this bar into the socket,
then using a large pair of
pliers pinch the ears of
the socket against the
5/8” width of the bar.
This will tighten the
socket just barely too
tight.  
 This is good because then
when you put the blade onto
the clipper the hinge of the
clipper will spread the socket
to its proper adjustment, and
the blades will not rattle. This
is how to fix blades that rattle,
just tighten them with this bar
and then put them back on the
clipper. This little trick makes
your customers very happy to
say the least.
 Re-assembly; Before you re-
assemble each blade, squeeze a thin
line of clipper oil on the bearing
surface of each cutter and comb using
an oil bottle like the one that comes
with a new pair of clippers. For the
top cutters put a line of oil on the
sharpened side of the teeth and also on
the two back bearing surfaces of the
top cutter that mate with the back rail
of the comb. Do the same to the comb’
s teeth, and back rail.
 Next align the top
cutter of each blade
back onto the top of
each comb. Apply a
thin line of oil into the
groove of each top
cutter that the spring
Teflon guide rides in.
This groove is a place
where there is a lot of
friction so be sure you
don’t forget to oil it.
 Next pick up each of the blade
assemblies one at a time and place
the screws back into their screw
holes and tighten each one with a
Phillips screw driver rather snugly.
You don’t want to fully tighten the
screws at this point because you
still need to be able to move the
top cutter forwards or backwards
so you can adjust the blade for
proper setback of the top cutter.
The screws do
however need to
be tightened
enough to hold
the top cutter in
place and not slip
out of adjustment
when you adjust
the top cutter
forward or back
for the setback
adjustment.
 “Set back” is the distance of the
tips of the top cutter set back from
the tips of the comb. If there is no
set back of the top cutter, the blade
will not cut hair, and could even cut
the dog. To adjust the setback of
the top cutter I use two small flat
screw drivers. The blade width of
the first one is 3/32” and the blade
width of the second one is 1/8”.
You can get these small screw
drivers at you local hardware store.
 I start with the first smaller 3/32”
screw driver to move the top cutter
back. To move the top cutter back
using the small screw driver I insert
the screw driver just behind the
back edge of the socket where the
screw goes through it. This
sandwiches the tip of the screw
driver between the inside back side
profile of the spring that is shaped
like a “C” and the back edge of the
sockets screw hole.
 Then by twisting the
screw driver I force
the spring to move
backwards thus
forcing the top cutter
to move back with it.
Do this to the other
side of the spring
making sure you only
move the top cutter
back the same
distance you moved
the first side.
 For small thin blades
like the #40, #30, # 10,
#15, # 9 etc the set
back of the top cutter
should be about 1/16”.
If you set the top cutter
back too far on these
blades it could cause
them to leave corduroy
like lines in the dog’s fur
while the groomer is
grooming the dog.
 For the larger thicker blades
like the #7F, #5F, #3F, #4F
etc the set back should be just
under 1/8”, but it can be
slightly more than that and still
not be a problem. On some of
these larger blades the 3/32”
screw driver may be too small
to get the setback you need.
That’s when I use the 1/8”
wide screw driver tip to make
the final adjustment.
  If you happen to set the top cutter back
too far, and you need to move it forward a
little, use a small pair of bent nose needle
nose pliers to pinch the back curved end of
the spring where it curves around the
socket screw hole (like a “C”), and at the
same time pinch the
front edge of the
sockets screw hole. This will force the top
cutter to move forward. You may then
need to re-adjust the top cutter to get it to
where you want it again using one of the
small tip screw drivers.
 This takes
a little
practice at
first, but if
you take the
small
amount of
time it takes
to learn it
now in the
long run this
method will
save you a
lot of time
later on.
 After you finish adjusting all of the blades it is time
to do the final tightening of each of the blades two
screws. I made a small horse shoe shaped fixture
out of plywood mounted on the top of my work
bench. The cutout in the fixture is the width of a
#3F blade. The closed end of the fixture is pointing
away from me on my workbench, and the open end
of the fixture is pointing right at me on my
workbench. This fixture is permanently attached to
my work bench and is used to hold clipper blades
in place while they are being tightened to their final
tightness.
 I place each blade into this cutout with the tips of each blade
pointing in the direction of the closed end of the fixture, (tips pointed
away from me) and then using a large Phillips screw driver I use
both
hands to tighten each screw. This is so much easier on your hands! It
takes very little effort, and is much faster compared to trying to hold
the blade with one hand while you try to tighten the screw with the
other hand.  Or, you can do like I do now and use an adjustable
battery drill and set it to the maximum tightness you want to tighten
your blade screws (mine is set on 9, but different drills will have
different settings) When the screw is fully tight the drill will “ratchet”
and with not tighten the screw any further. The drill is much quicker
than using a manual screwdriver.
 Once all of the blades have been tightened, it is now time to
package the blades for transport back to the customers. I use #
3 - 2 ½”X 4 ¼” coin envelopes to package my blades two per
package. The first blade goes tips down into the package, and
the second blade goes tips up into the package. This keeps the
tips from bumping into each other and possibly causing damage
to the blades tips. But before I put the blades into the envelopes
I mark each envelope as to which blades are inside so the
customer can see at a glance which envelops have the blades
they are looking for. You can purchase these envelops at Office
Max, or Office Depot.
 All of this no doubt
seems like a lot to
remember and do, but
in practice it is very
simple and quick.
Trust me! It is
much
harder to write, or
read this than it is to
do it. On average it
takes only 3 to five
minutes to completely
sharpen and package
one blade.
 If you would like free personal
hands on, 1 on 1 training to learn
how to sharpen clipper blades,
just for purchasing one of my
clipper blade sharpening
machines if you are able, you are
welcome to come to Kansas
City, MO, and I will be happy
to teach you. Remember to
bring your old clipper blades,
and you can sharpen them while
you learn!
 I hope
this
information
has been a
help to
you. My
greatest
joy is your
success!
James A
Hammons
Ace
Sharpening
& Co
Notes; I will add
new information
to these notes as
new questions
arise.
1.      Here is a tip from one of my customers Jesus Hernandez. After sharpening clipper blades in hot and cold
temperatures inside his garage workshop Jesus found that the colder it is inside his workshop the better his
blades sharpened. His shop was cool in the morning and hot in the afternoon. In the cool of the morning the grit
lasted much longer on his wheel and he was able to sharpen more blades before he had to re-charge his wheel.
In the hot afternoon he had to re-charge his wheel much more often and the grit did not seem to stay on the
wheel as well as it did in the morning. After talking this over with Jesus we concluded that the cooler it is in your
shop the harder the lard oil sets up on your wheel causing the grit to stay on the wheel longer. I personally never
thought of this because my shop has always been air conditioned and it never gets hot while I am sharpening
clipper blades, but it makes perfect sense. What happens to lard oil when you put it in the refrigerator? It
hardens up! The best way to keep grit on your wheel longer is to cool your work area! Jesus says he is going to
go out and buy an air conditioner for his shop. Thanks Jesus for a great tip!