Knowing how to sharpen clipper blades with a stone can save your clipper blades from doom.
If you’re looking for a guide on how to do so, well you are in the right place.
In the article, I’ll provide you with the steps on how to sharpen your clipper blades with a stone.
We’ll go through flat blades and hollow blades and the main differences you MUST know between both.
We’ll also go through the signs you need to look out for before sharpening your blades… and the complete process of sharpening (tools included)
So with that said, let’s get into it.
How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With a Stone
This method focuses on sharpening your hair clippers using a grindstone, however, I also provide a guide on sharpening your hair clipper blades with sandpaper below:
Now I will outline a quick process of how to sharpen clipper blades with a stone.
How to Sharpen Hair Clipper Blades
For this process, you will need:
- Stainless steel blades
Watch the Full Process
This is only a quick overview of sharpening hair clippers but did you know this is only a small part of the clipper maintenance process?
Why not cover, cleaning, oiling, troubleshooting, and even how to use your clippers to fade… using the 1-minute, Clipphub cheatsheets from the New Clipper Mastery Bundle?
Fast-track your clipper mastery by grabbing them below:
The steps I outlined were for a flat-ground method of sharpening, later on, I’ll go into detail on hollow-ground proffesional sharpening and why your clippers may eventually need to be looked at by a proffesional.
I go through this later on in this article.
Can You Sharpen Hair Clippers
The type of blades on a hair clipper is an important factor in determining whether they can be sharpened or not.
Generally speaking, blades that are made of high-quality materials and have a certain level of thickness can be sharpened effectively, while cheaper, thinner blades may not sharpen well or can’t be sharpened at all.
For example, high-quality clipper blades are typically made of stainless steel (most clipper blades are made of out of these) which is durable and resistant to corrosion.
These blades can be flat-sharpened a few times before needing hollow ground sharpening. On the other hand, low-quality blades like ceramic blades aren’t as durable.
These types of blades may not be able to be sharpened effectively, or may only be able to be sharpened a few times before they need to be replaced completely!
So you may be better off getting a new blade if you own a ceramic blade clipper.
you have regular 2-blade clippers (guard blade + cutting blade) that are dull and pull hair, you should be fine to give them a sharpen.
Now, you must also be aware that the state of the blade is also important in determining whether it can be sharpened or not.
We go through this next.
Do Hair Clippers Need To Be Sharpened
Do not sharpen your hair clippers too often.
Your blades can be sharpened 3-5 times maximum before they will begin to wear out. You don’t want this to happen, especially if it can be easily avoided.
Oversharpening your clippers or just sharpening for no good reason, can lead to your blades blunting. You must avoid wearing your blades out.
To help you avoid over-sharpening your clippers, below I provide a guide for when you should look to sharpen your blades.
Do not sharpen if your clippers are dirty. Yes, sometimes, people think just because their blades are a bit grimy they need sharpening. This is not the case.
Don’t confuse a dirty blade with one that is blunt. Yes, both can affect performance but how you fix it is key. If you just sharpen them at the slightest inconvenience, all you doing is thinning your blade further unnecessarily.
Look to clean and maintain your clippers, then if any of the real sign below appears it’s justified for you to sharpen your blades.
If you can see that the blades of your hair clippers are chipped, or have severe rust, then avoid sharpening them.
If your blades look anything like the image above, you’ll want to avoid sharpening your blades, it’s too damaged, and sharpening them for the first time may make it worse, Either resolve them or get them sharpened professionally as they need more than just sharpening.
The hollow ground is Completely Worn out
If your blades have flat-sharpened too much (over many years), then they may look like this when you take them off.
If that’s the case you want to avoid sharpening..simply because there’s not much to sharpening. Your blade has been worn down as much as it could possibly go.
At this point, replacement if you only move.
Check the charge
Also, look into the plug and battery of your clippers. If you have a cordless hair clipper you most likely have a battery.
Batteries over a long period wear out. The constant recharges over months and years mean that the clippers can lose their power output too.
Check your batteries are in top condition. A shortage of power can mean your clipper blades do not move as quickly. This is especially the case with Rotary motor hair clippers.
With corded clippers, make sure your hair clippers are all the way plugged in. You’d be surprised how many times this has tricked people into thinking their blades are done for.
Always make sure the socket you plug your blades in outputs enough power to move your blades correctly.
Do your blades still pull hair? If your clippers still pull hair even after all of these checks, then you can get them sharpened. I will guide you in detail on how to do this later on by yourself, at home.
But why do I recommend you sharpen your blades instead of a ‘professional’? I’ll tell you why below.
The #1 sign your hair clippers need sharpening.
Hair clippers need sharpening when they pull hair.
Pulled hair is a sign that your blades are struggling to cut. From this point, you can look into it further and decide whether your blades need cleaning or sharpening.
Always clean and oil your clippers first. When you have done this and still notice hair pulling, then you can take your blades to a grindstone.
Ideally, when you remove your blades you want most of your blade to look clean, but still show certain signs of dulling and wearing like below:
If your blades look somewhat like this, then they’re good to be sharpened (Yes, it may vary but just make sure there isn’t too much damage on the blades).
Hollow Ground Sharpening
The method of sharpening I outline above and below in more detail is flat surface sharpening.
Flat blade sharpening is a boost you can give to your clippers at home when they show the #1 sign of a blade of trimmers in need of sharpening (We’ll get to this later).
But there’s a reason professional blade sharpening is important, that’s because flat blade sharpening doesn’t give blades a natural hollow that’s needed to really make them sharp and highly effective.
In order to do hollow blade sharpening, you’ll need to do a grinding wheel. These wheels are expensive but they have a unique property that allows them to create a “hollow” in a blade.
It’s the slight curve in the wheel.
That curve is a “hollow”. The plastic is exaggerated, it’s not as obvious as this but if you were to look at your baldes with a microscope, they’d have this shape.
The degree to which this hollow is formed depends on the:
- Sharpening angle
- Pressure applied while sharpening
- The duration of sharpening
What are the benefits of this?
This intentional unevenness serves a purpose. When the edges of your blade(the lowest point of the blade), make direct contact with the hair or fur being cut, the sloping effect helps guide the cut material to the center of the blade(the “highest” point of the blade).
The unevenness of the hollow ground blade helps with efficient hair or fur capture and cutting. The unevenness of the hollow ground blade helps with efficient hair capture and cutting. As the clipper moves through the hair, the center of the blade, which is the sharpest and highest point, does the bulk of the cutting.
The sloping sides of the blade guide the hair towards the center, ensuring a smooth cutting action and preventing the hair from getting caught or pulled.
Flat sharpening which is the method outlined in this guide, is more of temporary blade sharpening that will definitely sharpen up your blades, but if you keep doing it over many years, your blades will lose their natural hollow.
But don’t do it more than 3 times before visiting a professional blade sharpener to get hollow back in your blades.
Proffesional blade sharpeners will know the right hollow for your blades and are a good investment for your blades’ longevity.
Search for one in your local area once you’ve flat-sharpened your blades a few times.
But again… don’t panic if can find a blade sharpener. Flat blade sharpening is effective enough to get your blades cutting better but if you want the best treatment for your blades visit a proffesional for hollow ground sharpening when you can.
How To Sharpen Hair Clippers At Home
You need the right tools to sharpen your clippers correctly.
Approaching this half-heartedly will lead you to well… mediocre results. We don’t want that.
Below I have a quick list of tools you will need to begin sharpening your clippers correctly.
- A small stiff bristle brush ( It can be a toothbrush)
- Clipper Blade Sharpening Stone ( 400 – 1000 grit )
- A screwdriver
- Blade wash
- Magnet (optional)
With these items, your clipper blades will be brand new. Now you are equipped, you can begin sharpening your clippers with a grindstone.
Hair Clipper Sharpening
Sharpening hair clippers with a grindstone needs concentration. It may not be as mentally taxing as sharpening a clipper with sandpaper, but still, you need to focus.
However, don’t let this put you off. Below I have a simple guide you can follow that I guarantee you will breeze through to a new pair of shiny, sharp blades.
Step 1: Remove your hair clipper blades.
Using your screwdriver, unscrew the two bolts that hold your hair clipper blades together.
Take your time with this step and be careful when taking the blades out. Make sure not to hit or move the other components of your hair clipper.
Not all hair clippers have screws. Some cordless clippers especially may not have screws, in that case, they may have a different way on which you can remove the clippers.
Be sure to check your hair clipper manual before attempting to remove your clipper blades, especially if they are screwless.
Step 2: Clean your blades
Always clean your clippers before you sharpen them.
I provide a guide on how you can quickly clean your hair clippers using some vinegar
Dirty clippers may be the reason your blades are not performing well, so deep clean your clippers, check how they perform, and then look to sharpen.
Using your brush make sure to brush away any dirt and hair that is on your clipper blades. Then you water the blades and dry them off with a cloth.
- Makes it easier for you to sharpen
- Makes it clear when your blade is sharp
This step cannot be ignored it makes things a lot easier and it may solve your hair clipper problem all in one.
Step 3: Get your Clipper Blade Sharpening Stone ready
You’ll want to submerge your grindstone in water for 10-15 minutes.
This does one or two things:
- Gets the air bubbles out of the stone
- Makes the stone less rough.
Afterward, Place your grindstone on a flat surface with the 400 grit side up, facing up.
This is key as you want to avoid sharpening your blade at an angle, it can damage the teeth and ruin your blades overall.
Step 4: How to sharpen clipper blades with a stone
Make sure your blade is perpendicular to the grindstone then place your blade on the stone flat.
Make sure it is the interior of the blade facing the stone. THE FLAT SIDE!!
and do it again. Do this while applying reasonable pressure(You should hear a scraping noise as you sharpen).
Move your blade back and forth on the stone about ten times ( make sure you’re always keeping count of the amount if passes you do on this side).
If you are struggling for grip, splash a bit of water on your grindstone to help with lubrication or use a magnet to hold your hair clipper blade.
After these 10 passes, check your blade. You should see that the marker has gone and your blade is very shiny, compared to when you started.
The second you see the wearing or sign of un-evenness removed from your blades, STOP!
This will buff out the blade.
If still nothing, stop, forcing it any more will do more damage to your blades.
This video is of a lever-based clipper but shows the sweeping motion, the up-down motion you should be after:
Do this process for both the cutting blade and the guard blade.
Step 4: Clean your blades and put them back together
When you are satisfied with how sharp your blades are you can now put them back together.
But first, use a cloth to wipe down your blades, just to get rid of any dust, and add some extra shine to your blades.
Now just do the opposite of step one and screw your blades back onto your clipper blades.
Just like that, you have new, sharp blades ready to cut.
You can even go one step further and zero-gap your clipper blades as you put them back on your clippers.
This video goes through the whole process of zero-gapping clippers.
However this next step is overlooked and if you want your blades to last a long time, you cannot avoid this…
Step 5: Oil your hair clippers
Now that your blades are sharpened, you must keep them that way and that begins with oiling.
I have an article on how to properly oil your hair clippers.
But if you are in a rush, here is a quick image of where to drop your oil:
After dropping the oil in these spots, turn on your clippers to work the oil around the blades and then wipe away any excess oil.
Make Your Blades Last
The hard part is done. Now you just have to keep your clipper blades in good condition so you don’t have to buy a new pair.
You should always look to be constantly cleaning your blades when you can. Ideally, you should be looking to deeply clean and sterilize your hair clippers every 2-3 uses if you use them casually.
If you are a barber and you use your blades constantly, you should be cleaning your blades every 1-2 uses.
Not only does this keep your blades hygienic but it also helps your clipper blades to last as long as possible.
Oil your clippers regularly:
You should be looking to oil your clippers every 2-3 uses.
On top of cleaning, you must oil your blades too. If you do not have hair clipper oil, you can use other great alternatives such as mineral oil and baby oil.
However, these oils along with gun oil and sewing machine oil should be used as a stopgap as these oils can build up in your clippers. This dirt can blunt your hair clipper blades.
Store your hair clippers away correctly
Putting your hair clippers away in the wrong location can kill your blades.
You must be storing your clippers in the right location to avoid rust. A barber bag or clipper bag would be your best option.
Store your clippers in a moisture-free area. If you leave your clippers in a damp location the moisture can work on the blade eventually leaving it to rust.
A rusty hair clipper is almost pointless. Even sharpening it would do more harm than good. Avoid rusty clippers with correct placement.
If you follow these steps, not only will your hair clippers perform to their best but will also last you a very long time.
Now you have been through this article, you will now have a better understanding of how to sharpen your hair clippers at home using a grindstone.
It a simple which I quickly outline with these steps:
- Unscrew and remove your clippers so you are left with Top cutting and front clipper
- Clean the blade, brushing away any hair or debris, and make sure both blade surfaces are ready for sharpening
Take a highlighter and make the inside of both blades (where they touch)
- Then take your grindstone and apply a bit of water
- Go over the grindstone 10 times for both edges separately
- After 10 passes you should see the inside of both blades are shiny and the highlighter has faded. This is an indication that your hair clipper blades are now sharpened and ready to be used.
While I do have this quick outline, the detailed walkthrough will show that anyone can easily sharpen their blades and you do not have to be a professional to do so.
On top of sharpening, you must be sure to maintain your clippers through cleaning and to make sure they stay sharp for as long as possible.
If you have found this article on How to Sharpen Clipper Blades With a Stone please like a comment about your experience and be sure to check out other articles on this topic below: