How To Sharpen Hedge Trimmer Blades

One of the most common questions regarding a hedge trimmer is “How do I sharpen my hedge trimmer blades myself?”. Sharpening the trimmer blades yourself will not only help you learn more about your tool, it will also spare you some money. It is not that difficult of a task that should require professional help.

To begin, familiarize yourself with the make and model of your trimmer. Read the manual carefully and go through some videos first to get a detailed idea about your specific tool and the safety measures surrounding it. You can also take a look at our review articles of some of the top gas, electric, cordless and pole hedge trimmers to learn more.

There are two ways with which you can sharpen the blades; read along to know about them and choose either that you find convenient.

1) Check and Align

Always make sure the trimmer is removed from the power source; unplug it / remove the battery / remove the fuel tank, whichever your tool calls for. Then check whether the two blades of the trimmer are aligned or not; the upper and lower blades have to be in the correct position so that you can access them properly. Do so by lightly squeezing the blades together in a stance where the top blade lies exactly over the lower one. If using your hands isn’t enough, insert the handle of a screwdriver on a tooth gap and slide the blades accordingly.

2) Sharpen with a file

Secure the tool on your worktop and wear protective gears. Check the manual for specific instructions regarding the filing angle of the blades. Then start filing the first tooth at the correct angle using downward motion; as you are about to go up lift the file so that no upward filing takes place. Going up and down the blade will make it dull and thinner instead. Stick to a certain number of times you file so that all the blade teeth are filed uniformly. As the blade sharpens, the surface will become shinier where you have filed.

Take each side of a tooth at a time and repeat the process exactly on the rest, with downward strokes at the same angle as the tooth edge with the file. Turn the trimmer the other way up to complete working on the bottom blades as well. A blade is correctly sharpened when the meeting point of the two blades forms a sharp cutting edge. For this reason, aligning the blades is necessary; achieving this razor edge would have been impossible otherwise. This method can be lengthy but is fully efficient.

​After filing, use a sharpening stone to buff out any remaining bumps or shavings on the trimmer blade. This step is important as it gives a smooth finish and thus ensures that the two opposing blades do not catch on each other.

3) Sharpen using a power grinder

Wear hearing and eye protections as power grinders tend to generate sparks. Make sure nothing flammable is in the vicinity and that a water source is present nearby. Secure the trimmer to avoid potential hazards and keep the sharp end of the blade away from your body.

Using a 60 or 80 general purpose grinding wheel, sharpen the hedge trimmer blades by holding the grinding wheel against a tooth surface, and move down at an angle consistent with the natural one. Put in light pressure occasionally to obtain a good edge and use short strokes to prevent over sharpening. Long strokes yield unevenly sharpened blades most of the time. Repeat the process for all three sides of every tooth and for the bottom blade as well.

For this process, following up with a sharpening stone is optional. If you feel there is uneven surfaces that needs buffing, go ahead and use the stone. But usually this method doesn’t leave anything like that; filing has higher chances of leaving bumps and kinks.

​4) ​Clean and lubricate

Like all other standard procedures regarding blades, finish up your sharpening with cleaning and lubricating. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the blades to remove any residual shavings and apply the lubricant of your choice to prevent rusting.

As lengthy as the process is, you will get a hang of it the more you do it. Like all other tasks, doing it regularly will prevent it from becoming overwhelming and ensure that your trimmer is running smooth and competent. See the following video to get a demo:

Did you find this article useful? How do you usually sharpen your trimmer blades?  Let us know in the comments!

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