How to Sharpen Hedge Trimmer Blades Using Mill File, Power Grinder, and Dremel

The blades of a hedge trimmers are the most important parts of the tool, which means they should always be sharp.

The best way to refine blades is by using a mill file, a power grinder, or a Dremel rotary tool.

A hedge trimmer is more efficient when it has sharp blades. As a result, it can cut through excess leaves and branches on your hedges.

The most common mistake gardeners make with hedge clipper is that they leave the blade dull. A weak blade makes uneven cuts that will leave grass vulnerable to disease.

In contrast, a sharpened hedge cutter makes the task easier because there are no hindrances when working. Hence, you get to finish trimming faster. Likewise, you get to keep your trimmer blade for a longer period.

If you don’t want constant interruption when trimming, better try three of the most effective and simple methods on how to sharpen hedge trimmers.

Regardless of which technique you pick, you will surely be able to keep your blades running smoothly.

Why Is Your Hedge Trimmer Not Cutting Properly?

Hedge Trimmer Not Cutting ProperlyPin

Yes, it’s possible that blades will become blunt due to frequent usage. The key is to know how a hedge trimmer utilizes its blades.

If you notice that your cut on the branch is uneven and frayed, then it is high time to re-sharpen your hedge cutter blades.

Most of the time, the branches get trapped between the blades. Those twigs can detach the upper and lower blades. When this happens, your blades are blocked from cutting branches and leaves.

Having said that, you must first learn how to align the blades before sharpening them.

How to Align the Upper and Lower Blades?

Use your thumb and pointer finger to press the lower and upper blades of your hedge trimmer together. In this way, the teeth of the upper blade will rest atop the lower blade’s teeth.

To further align the blades, use a screwdriver’s handle as a pry bar. Use the handle to align the blades perfectly.

Depending on the type of blade, you would have different surfaces to sharpen.

The 3 Most Effective Ways on How to Sharpen Hedge Trimmers

A mill file is the cheapest, yet the slowest option. Meanwhile, a power grinder is the fastest, but riskiest way. Alternatively, using a Dremel rotatory tool is a great method if you are after precision and accuracy.

They all have the capacity to make your hedge trimmer as if it was brand new. The key is to weigh on your options and situation before polishing the blades.

Related post: Guide On How To Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

To guarantee long-lasting trimming performance, you can try one of these methods or all of them. The endgame is that you’ll have refined blades in no time.

But to be honest, a simple handheld mill file is all you need. If you’re looking for one, we recommend this grinding mill file. It’s has a handle, cheap, and super useful for other sharpening tasks like sharpening your reel mower.

Corona FE405512BC0CD Mill Bastard Cut File Carded, 12-Inch
  • Superior Hardness - Carbon combined with precise heat treatment increases...
  • Superior Resistance to Abrasion and Corrosion - Chromium added to increase...
  • Superior Cutting Performance - More effective tooth angle and precise...

How To Sharpen Hedge Trimmer With Dremel?

How To Sharpen Hedge Trimmer With Dremel_Pin

Most gardeners are familiar with using a Dremel rotatory tool. It is somehow similar to a power grinder.

However, a Dremel tool is specially developed for refining the blades of outdoor gardening equipment.

Furthermore, a Dremel tool has smaller bits than a power grinder’s disc. Thus, it provides a more precise and smooth movement.

The first step is to ensure your hedge cutter is clean – there’s no grass or stone jammed on the blades.

Then, make sure to attach all the screws and nuts in the Dremel sharpening kit.

Next, lock the hedge trimmer to a bench vise. Clamp the trimmer firmly so it won’t move while you are sharpening the blade. The is very similar when you are trying to sharpen reel mower blades.

Afterward, power up the Dremel and move it slowly to the hedge trimmer’s blades. Apply light pressure to avoid oversharpening the blades.

I suggest using short strokes since long strokes can create disproportionately whetted blades.

Continue doing this process for all of your blades’ teeth. Do not stop until you see that your hedge trimmer is as good as new.

sharpening hedge trimmers with a Power Grinder

Sharpening Hedge Trimmers With A Power GrinderPin

Utilizing a power grinder is the fastest way to sharpen the blades of a hedge clipper. However, it is a dangerous method because the grinder can create sparks.

This powerful approach could be harmful if you are not familiar with how the machine works. So, better learn how to properly handle the tool before using it.

Once you are familiar with how a power grinder works, you can then clamp the blades firmly into position.

Find the right angle before applying pressure to the teeth of the blades. Remember to maintain that angle throughout the process.

I recommend using 60 to 80 grit grinding wheels. Be gentle in applying pressure to the teeth.

Moreover, you should only spend 2 to 3 seconds when pressing the grinder wheel to the blades.

Sharpen the top surfaces using a steady hand, then do the same for the bottom edges. Make short strokes when streaking down each tooth.

Repeat this process for every blade side. Continue this until the blades get shiny.

Wipe down the blades when you are done. Additionally, rub on 3-in-1 oil to avoid the formation of rust.

On the flipside, this method is not advisable for beginners. It’s easy to grind off too much material from the blade, so if you are not careful, you will end up breaking the blade.

Yet, a power grinder is the best option if you want an accurate and fast process.

sharpen hedge trimmers with a file

The power grinder method is fast, yet somehow complicated. If this is your first time polishing a hedge trimmer’s blades, then it is wise to veer to the side of caution.

Using a mill file to improve your hedge trimmer’s sharpness is the simplest and safest technique you could ever hope for. In addition, this method is inexpensive and gives you better control.

First, you have to unfasten the bolts that hold the blades together. Then, lock the blades into a bench vise.

Secondly, place a 10 to 12-inch file at the same angle as the cutting edge. Afterward, you can run the mill file down each cutting edge.

Next, push the mill file toward the cutting edge. Do this slowly, but with enough pressure.

Remember not to push the mill file back and forth. If you do an up and down motion, you’ll end up making the blade duller than it was before.

Sharpen all teeth from each side of the blade. I advise making 10 to 15 strokes on each tooth, so you won’t remove much material.

Continue doing this until you achieve a shiny look. Lastly, use a sharpening stone to burr the shavings off the blades.

Know that this technique takes time and effort. The results could be inconsistent if you get exhausted in the process. Nonetheless, this method gives you total control of the way you want to polish your blades.

When is the Right Time to Sharpen Blades?

Having difficulty in cutting branches or even twigs is a good indicator that it’s time to do the maintenance. However, it is advisable not to wait until your blades are dull and blunt.

Make it a habit to polish your blades at least once a month, especially when you are frequently using the hedge trimmer.

But as a general rule of thumb, you can sharpen the blades after 50 to 60 hours of operation to maintain excellent trimming power.

Whether you use a rechargeable hedge trimmer, a gas powered model, or an electric one, a refined blade will yield the best outcomes.

Cordless hedge trimmers use batteries, which would actually need more attention than the blades. They are the strongest and most versatile of all types.

Rechargeable hedge trimmers do not wear down blades as easily or quickly as the other types. Hence, you could stick to the once a month rule.

On the other hand, gas operated units are the most powerful, which means they work faster and can wear down blades quicker. This also leads to frequent sharpening.

Meanwhile, the electric ones won’t need as much sharpening as gas powered models, so once a month sharpening should suffice.

Tips and Reminders

Now that you’ve discovered the best techniques to sharpen your hedge trimmer blades, here are some key takeaways to remember.

Before sharpening:

  • If you have an electric hedge trimmer, make sure to unplug the unit first.
  • If it is a rechargeable model, remove the batteries.
  • If you have a gas operated trimmer, empty out the fuel tank.
  • If you have a gas operated trimmer, empty out the fuel tank.
  • Use a wire brush or steel wool pad to get rid of any rust from your blade before sharpening.
  • Put your Hedge Clipper blade on a flat, empty surface. Use a workshop or table where you can comfortably move around. It’s safer to lock the trimmer in place before you begin the polishing process.
  • Most blades have a wear threshold of 5 mm. Therefore, you have to make sure not to file or grind away too much of the blade. The blade’s material may lose strength, and subsequently, break the blade.
  • Once you are done, use a wet rag to wipe down each blade. Lightly coat the blades with linseed or lubricating oil before reassembling. This will protect the blades against corrosion. Similarly, it will preserve the hedge trimmer’s lifespan.
  • Always wear protective gear or clothing whenever you are handling outdoor gardening equipment. Likewise, don’t forget to use thick work gloves because your hands are the most at risk.
  • A power grinder and a Dremel tool can produce sparks of light and grinding noise. Therefore, it’s wise to wear goggles and protective ear gear.
  • Make sure you are working on a well-ventilated space.
  • It should only take less than 60 minutes to finish the job.
  • If you think the labor is time-consuming or dangerous for you, then it is acceptable to seek the help of maintenance specialists.

​​​Final Thoughts

As mentioned, do not wait until your blades get rusty or dull. Take the initiative and polish your hedge trimmer blades on a regular basis. Remember sharpening your blades is the same process for other lawn equipment like grass shears or reel mowers.

Make it a habit to do maintenance work, so you won’t have to spend extra cash on buying replacement parts. If you learn how to care for your tools, they can serve you for several years.

As long as you are able to keep the edges of your blades’ teeth sharp, you can effectively utilize the cutting abilities of your Hedge Clipper.

As a side note, if you are looking for shrubs that are great for the front of the house check our post that lists the best shrubs and trees for landscaping.


How To Sharpen Hedge Trimmer BladesPin

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