How to Sharpen Garden Shears [Different Methods]

Gardening is all about passion. But it’s shocking how 2-3 rookie mistakes can ruin your lovely garden. And what’s more frustrating is that even expert gardeners make mistakes that result in plant massacres.

One of the common mistakes happens during weed management. Some mess up pruning time while some mess up on the tool side. One of the most common tool-related mistakes is using dull shears while managing weed.

Dull shears can result in many destructions. But we’re not here to explore the consequences of that.

How to sharpen garden shears? – Around 1300 people per month ask this question on Google. But you can find only a few places where all the sharpening methods are discussed.

We’re here to provide you exactly that. We will cover almost all the ways to sharpen garden shears in here.

Now, let’s not waste any more time and cut our way into the details-

Step 1: Preparation Time

Don’t get all excited and jump onto the shears with a tool on your hand. Hold up for a minute and prepare yourself. It’s super important that you prepare yourself without any flaws.

So, let’s look at what sort of preparation you need for shear blade sharpening-

  • Put on goggles and protective gloves. You’ll be working with shears and some sort of abrasive tools here. A slight touch might result in severe damages.
  • Scrub those blades with some soapy water(warm). Make sure you clean the shears from all the dirt and dust through this process. It’s better if you use a brush for scrubbing in this process.
  • Wash off the soap and dry the blades. Use a towel or a microfiber cloth for drying.
  • Use steel wool to buff off the rust from the shears. This is instrumental for sharpening gardening shears. After buffing, rinse and dry the blades again.

Once you’re done with all these, it’s time to get introduced with the sharpening methods.

Step 2: Blade Sharpening Methods

From here we’ll start the actual answer to ‘how do you sharpen gardening shears?’

There are 4 methods of blade sharpening. 2 of those are hand based and two are power tool based.

So, let’s dive deeper into the methods-

Method 1: How to Sharpen garden Shears with a Stone

If you’re wondering how to sharpen garden tools like shears with hand, then this is your answer.

Here, your hands will do most of the work. The sharpening stone is just a medium between your hand-drawn force and the blades. So, this can be addressed as a hand-based sharpening method.

Here’s the thing-

In all these 4 methods, you’ll need different types of sharpening garden tools. So, we will provide a list with each method here.

Items Needed

  • Medium grain sharpening stone
  • 600 grit sandpaper
  • Paraffin oil
  • A rag
  • Silicone-based lubricant

Once you’ve gathered up these items, get ready to move on to the next steps.

Process

Now, let’s go through the process in a step by step manner-

  • Dampen the medium-grain sharpening stone with some paraffin oil.
  • Secure your shears in a bench vise or hold those firmly onto the ground.
  • Grip the stone tightly with one hand. Make sure you have gloves on.
  • Determine the curved blade angle. Generally, it’d be around 10-15 degrees.
  • Hold the stone at the curved blade angle.
  • Start working your stone toward the blades’ edges.
  • Keep working until the blades get uniformly sharpened.
  • Use the 600-grit sandpaper on the blades. Make sure that you remove all the uneven edges.
  • Dampen up that rag with the silicone-based lubricant.
  • Start wiping down the blades. This will prevent rust formation.

This is the simplest method of sharpening pruning shears. Though it takes a lot of hand works, it’s the easiest one available.

Method 2: How to Sharpen Garden Shears with a File

This is the 2nd hand-based sharpening method. This method is for you if you think-

  • It’s a bit inefficient to use so much hand power while sharpening grass shears.
  • Using power tools for this purpose is too much of a risk.

So, let’s not waste any more time here. Let’s peek right into the process.

Items Needed

  • 10” long mill file
  • A wrench
  • A vise
  • 300 grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Gloves
  • Goggles

Process

The process can be explained in a line, to be honest. Just remove any burrs with the file and give a finishing touch with the sandpaper.

But it’s not enough to guide someone new. So, we will explain the whole thing in a step by step guide-

  • Loosen the pivot nut of your gardening shears. Use a wrench for this purpose.
  • Look for bents in the blade after cutting. If you don’t find any, then tighten the pivot nut and put the blades together. If not, then use your hand to tweak the blades into position.
  • Clamp one of the blades on a vise up next. Make sure that the factory bevel edge is upwards.
  • Hold the file using both of your hands.
  • Examine the factory bevel edge.
  • Start stroking the file on the blade while mimicking the bevel direction.
  • Move the file to a new position on the cutting angle. Make sure that you move it one broad stroke away.
  • Don’t use small and jerky strokes. Doing that might ruin the factory edge.
  • Keep on repeating this process until clean metal gets exposed.
  • Lay down the sandpaper flat and secure it with duct tape.
  • Sand the backside of your blade. Lay it flat on the paper and move in circles.
  • Use that wrench again to tighten up those blades. But make sure that you don’t tighten it too much. Or else the blades won’t close.

This is one of the safest methods out there for other similar chores like to sharpen loppers, sharpen hoes etc. However, try oiling the parts after assembling those together.

Method 3: How to Sharpen Garden Shears with a Dremel

If you don’t want to use your energy for cleaning those shears, then this might interest you.

Items Needed

  • Wrench
  • Vise
  • Dremel with bit
  • 300 grit Sandpaper

Process

Now, let’s explore the steps-

  • Use your wrench to unscrew the shears.
  • Set up your vise and put one of your blades into the vise. Don’t forget to put the angled side of the blade upwards.
  • Turn on the Dremel.
  • Identify the beveled edge angle and put the Dremel on it. The angle should be somewhere around 10 degrees.
  • Start grinding. Don’t stop till the whole edge is sharpened.
  • Put on the other blade on the vise and go through the same process.
  • Sand the blade that had a beveled edge.
  • Reassemble the pruners.

Be careful while using the Dremel.

Method 4: How to Sharpen Garden Shears with Angle Grinder

This is considered as the most dangerous yet the quickest method. Using an Angle grinder requires experience and everything.

Items Needed

  • Angle grinder
  • Vise
  • Wrench
  • 300 grit Sandpaper
  • Silicone-based Oils

Process

The process is just like the other methods.

  • At first, unscrew the shears.
  • Put one of the blades on the vise.
  • Determine the blade angle.
  • Turn on the angle grinder.
  • Start grinding at the blade angle.
  • Grind the other blade once you’re done with the first one.
  • Sand the graveled blade with the sandpaper.
  • Screw those blades back together.
  • Apply some oil.

Although this method is almost similar to the previous method, it’s pretty dangerous. If your blades are not secured on the vise, then severe accidents might happen.

Method 5: How to Sharpen a Garden Shears by Using Shear Sharpeners

This is probably the easiest method around here. You just have to get a shear or scissor sharpener.

Set your sharpener on a table or on your workbench. Now, close your shear and put it through the middle of the sharpener.

When we are saying close it, we are suggesting that you keep it a little open. It’s because the abrasive carbide of the sharpener is in the middle. You have to slide each blade alongside the carbide bar.

It’s better if you watch a video about this.

However, the sharpener can’t help you with a bent blade. Also, in the case of heavy burrs, you have to rely on other methods.

Still, the best pruning shears sharpener can make your work a lot easier.

Bottom Line

The latest shear blade technology helps a shear to stay sharp for a longer period of time. But you will only get this technology only in the best hedge shears

So, choose your shear carefully.

However, keeping the best garden shear sharpener is super helpful sometimes. You can even sharpen up scissors with those.

The bottom line is, there are a lot of answers to – ‘How to sharpen garden shears?’. But you have to choose the one that’s best for you.

Good luck!

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