How to Sharpen Loppers with A File/Whetstone?
Loppers are quite easy-to-go pruning tools for any gardener. But just like any other cutting tools, they come with the hectic task of sharpening. And once done in a wrong way, it can ruin the entire effectiveness of your lopper by every mean.
Therefore, if you’ve never sharpening a lopper first hand, hold your horses and take a few minutes to go through the entire post. We’ve crafted a three-stage guide on how to sharpen loppers by two different cutting mediums.
Once you’ll be through every word of this 1000-words guide, sharpening loppers will be of no difficulty at all.
Let’s get going-
Pre-sharpening Stage: Preparing the Lopper
Before you step in the actual sharpening chores, it’s imperative that you prepare your lopper for it.
Cleaning it off
It starts with cleaning the blades of the lopper. And how to clean lopper blades? Well, use a stiff brush to take off the debris and wood dust from the blade surface. In case there is any stubborn kind of dirt or clumped ones, use a mix of soapy water to take them off. If there is any sap or pitch residue dip it well into any solvent like kerosene etc.
Disassembling the parts
After you’re done with cleaning the blades, disassemble the parts of the lopper. A couple of lopper blades are joined together with a screw, lied in the center. Use a wrench or screwdriver to remove it, and the blades will be apart from each other. Don’t lose track of the parts that you’ve just disassembled.
Sharpening Stage: Sharpening the Lopper
So, your lopper is now ready to get into the sharpening process. But there had been a number of ways through which you can go with the process. Usual lopper sharpener tools that are used are- files, whetstone, diamond-coated flat file, sharpening steel, grinding stones, etc.
Although the processes of sharpening with these variations of tools are different. But the most usual methods are conducted with sharpening loppers with a file or whetstones. So, we’ve crafted two different methods that involve each of these two lopper sharpening tools. With either of them, you can re-shine your loppers for pruning.
Let’s have a glimpse-
Method 1: Sharpening A Lopper with File
Step 1: Secure the lopper with a vice
In this method, we are going to keep the lopper stationary and the file will be moving on it. So, at first, you have to ensure a secure fit of the lopper blade in a vice.
While fixing the position of the blade, make sure that the sharp edge of the blade is pointed towards you.
Step 2: File the edge of the blade
This is the most happening part of the process, where you will sharpen lopper blade by filing the cutting edge of it. For that, hold the file at a shallow angle and place it along with the length of the cutting edge.
Now, push the file forward over the edge, and don’t scrape it back. Otherwise, it will decrease the sharpness of the blade instead of increasing it up.
To get the maximum sharpness of the cutting edge, you might need to put several strikes on the blade. But beware of over-sharpening, as it might act otherwise and break the blade.
Step 3: Go with the other blade
For most of the loppers, two different blades form the whole body together. Once you are done with sharpening one of them with your file, take that off from the vice and go with the second one.
Remember that, the cutting-edge alignment of the two blades will be different. So, you have to put the file on opposite angles for two of the blades. If you work with one lopper blade at one side of the table, you have to move to the opposite side to make it comfortable.
Method 2: Sharpening A Lopper with A Whetstone
Step 1: Wet the whetstone
In this method, we will use a whetstone as a lopper sharpening tool.
Before proceeding further, apply some lubricating oil on the whetstone. It will lubricate the sharpening surface and produce a minimum amount of heat and friction. It would also clean off the dirt generated throughout the process.
Step 2: Apply strokes on the blade
This is where the actual sharpening happens. If you have an anvil type lopper, you’ll have only one blade with two edges. If you have bypass loppers, there might be two.
Take the blade one by one, and figure out the beveled edge. Now, put the bevel edge on the whetstone and start applying gentle strokes. Keep applying those strokes until the shine of the cutting edge is regained. This had to be done against the concave side of the blade.
Step 3: Smoothen up the edges
Remember to move the blade towards only one direction, otherwise, it will dull the blade over again. Also, remember to apply firm pressure on the blade.
At one point of step 2, you should have achieved the proper angle and sharpness in the lopper blades. To fine-tune the cutting edges of the blades, continue sharpening on a finer grain of the whetstone until you gain a razor-sharp cutting edge.
This step will, however, make the blade more fragile and prevent any kind of damage while cutting over again.
Post-sharpening Stage: Assembling
By now, both of the blades are razor-sharp and ready to put back in action. Before that, you need to assemble them together by putting the screw back that we took off initially. Use the same screwdriver or wrench to go with the process. Don’t forget to avoid a tight finish at this stage.
Also, don’t forget to test the sharpness level of the blades before putting them back. You can do this with a simple test with a beam of light or so. Just hold up the sharp edge under a beam of light, and check whether there is a reflection of light or not.
This method of checking the sharpness is applicable whenever you’re up to sharpen garden tools like loppers.
Just like this couple of methods, the same manner is applicable for any other kind of sharpening medium. All you have to do is to keep any particular instructions from the manufacturer in mind. Otherwise, you have to look for a new lopper blade replacement.