Bruce's Sharpening

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My blade Sharpening Process:
Clipper blades are cleaned, sharpened, cleaned again, oiled and assembled. Blade set-back is adjusted, side to side socket play is minimized and socket rock (front-back movement) is minimized. Then each blade is tested for sharpness. After this, blade tips are coated with a pealable coating to protect the blade and make it easy to identify newly sharpened blades. Blades for grooming large animals such as horses, Llamas, Alpaca's, Donkeys or small furry creatures like dogs and cats can all be done quickly and professionally.
 
Keep scrolling down for more information about clipper blades, Handi Hones and problems with blades. If you have questions or problems  you need answers to I'd be happy to try to answer them. Email address is brucesharp1@yahoo.com phone # is (610) 683-5175. You can click on most images to get a larger size.

Vicsco Clipper Blade Sharpener
clipper_machine_resized_and_anotated.jpg

The Vicsco clipper blade grinder features an 18" aluminum double sided disk and variable speed drive. The large disk size (most clipper grinders sold are only 14" - 16") and variable speed enable a wide variety of clipper blades to be sharpened quickly and with great accuracy and repeatability. The larger disk also allows twice as many blades to be sharpened before wear becomes a factor.

Blade types sharpened
assorted_clipper_blades.jpg
t_trimmer_blades.jpg
Oster A2 Clipper Blade
a2_blade.jpg

What's the best clipper blade?  Clipper blades come in a variety of metals and coatings. The harder the metal of the blade the better assuming the blade has been properly sharpened. Hardness is measured in Rockwell units. The higher the unit the harder the metal. The best clipper blades made today come in Rockwell hardness of 92, well, that's a bit of hype as the titanium oxide (gold looking) coating is that hard but the cutting surface is not coated as that is where the blade is ground and cuts. Typical inexpensive blades have a Rockwell around 62. Master Grooming Tools Premier titanium ceramic blades are rated at 92 but that coating isn't on the cutting surface. Oster Elite cryogen X Agion blades 82+ and the Ag (silver ion) is anti microbial. Wahl competion series blades rockwell 64, Andis Ultra Edge 65. Steel blades were common year ago. Today most blades are made of stainless steel and with coatings like titanium and are very hard, at least on the back of the blade. The better quality blades can last longer between sharpenings if you take care to groom clean hair only and oil but even the hardest blades will dull quickly in dirty fur. Much more important than the price or hardness of the blade is the quality of the grinding (sharpening). Mass produced blades even from the top companies may not cut well new until they are properly precision sharpened. A good sharpener will only remove enough metal to restore a sharp cutting edge. If this is done a blade can be sharpened 15 or more times before needing to be replaced.

How long should a blade stay sharp? It depends. Dirty dogs, not cleaning your blades, not oiling, how much use and the hardness and coatings of your blades will all contribute to life. How well they are sharpened will also be a big contributor. Properly sharpened well maintained blades of good quality can last for many months. Poorly sharpened blades, not so long if at all and that can include new blades from good companies.

CERAMIC BLADES:  Blades with ceramic cutters can stay sharp longer than steel cutters due to the extreem hardness of ceramic. The biggest drawback with ceramic is, while it is very hard, it is also brittle and a fall can break the ceramic teeth or the whole blade or the teeth can get chips in the edges which means the blade will no longer cut hair well. Ceramic cutters can be sharpened but not all sharpeners have the capability to do them. If the teeth aren't too badly chipped or broken sharpening is easily done if a sharpener has the right materials and disk to do them. Ceramic replacement cutters cost about twice as much as steel replacement cutters but since they can stay sharp 3 times longer it's a toss up. I stock both. While many people call the ceramic cutters "plastic" they are made from non-metallic minerals which are fired at high temperatures in an oven. Unlike a plastic they can withstand very high temperatures, are extremely hard and rigid and can be machined to high tolerance - ideal for a clipper blade cutter if it weren't for that falling and breaking bit.

What is hollow grinding?

 Most A5 clipper blades are hollow ground. Both the comb and cutter (top) are hollow ground. Barber/Salon adjustable blades usually have the comb (bottom) blade ground flat so that no matter what position the cutter is moved to the surface it is consistent.

 The purpose of hollow grinding is to reduce the friction of cutting. Friction makes a clipper blade get hot and friction can slow the speed of the clipper - neither desirable.

 To hollow grind a clipper blade a special “hollow ground” disk is used. The disk is made on a specially lathe with a compound. The disks are made of aluminum and have to be surfaced very flat across with the crown of the disk through the center line. The clipper blade is placed on this disk with the middle of the area between the teeth and the back rail centered on this disk center line. The hollow formed is from the tip of the teeth to the back of the rear rail. It is very shallow, in the thousands of an inch.

 

The spring on top of the cutter blade applies pressure to keep the cutter and comb blades in close contact. If the hollow were too great the spring could not keep the two blades in contact and cutting would suffer. Too little hollow or flat – no hollow, just increases the friction. The spring still has to apply pressure so hair won’t wedge underneath the cutter stopping cutting. Across the width of the blade the blade must be very flat and even to very close tolerances. Any gap formed by imperfect sharpening would degrade cutting (groomers call it “dragging”) or worse allow hair to wedge between the blades stopping cutting. A gap can be created by cutting dirty hair; it’s not just how well a blade is sharpened.

 The important step to keep your blade cutting at peak performance is to have clean hair to cut and a correctly sharpened blade. The blade has to be oiled to reduce friction and cleaned with a blade wash to keep hair oils and dirt and hair particles from fusing to the surface. A buildup of this crud will increase friction and in time be the same as a dull blade. So, clean hair, cleaned and oiled blades properly sharpened is the professional way.

Clipper blades made by Oster, Andis, Wahl, Laube, Top, Performance and other brands are easily done on the Vicsco machines I use. Large animal blades are no problem either. Arco blades are done on a special disk which fits the Visco grinder.The new Laube Speed feed blades can be sharpened a few times before replacement is necessary.

I recommend you never use a Handi-Hone to sharpen your professional grooming or hair cutting blades. Proper professional clipper blade sharpening is not possible on this machine and many a blade has been ruined using one. The Vicsco grinders I use duplicates the factory "hollow grind" that the manufactures grind into their blades. The Handi-Hone flat grinds and tends to remove metal too quickly and unevenly. I have been successful in restoring handi-honed blades but it does require more sharpening time and often the cutter has to be replaced with a new cutter, which I stock. The large comb blade can often be restored to it's proper hollow grind shape if the handi-hone user hasn't gone too far. I know it would be nice to do it yourself but do you really expect a $50 machine to do what a $1,500 - $3,000 machine that a professional sharpener uses does? Come on, get real  Smile!

Some common problems such as corn-rowing are blamed on the blade but are actually cause by a worn blade drive or slow running clipper - a more common problem in Oster than Andis clippers. Over tension on a blade can cause jamming in heavier hair. A blade socket that is too high in the back may prevent the blade from latching tightly to the clipper and rattle or not stay on the clipper. A blade socket where the wings of the socket are spread apart will cause the blade to rattle. This happens most often in shops where both Oster and Andis AGC with push in type spring blade latches and Andis AG (older models) are used where you just push the blade away from the clipper. Forcing a blade off a latched model without using the spring latch as you might suspect can cause problems. 5/08

All About your clipper blade and hinge.

Clipper blades are made up of 7 pieces. A comb and cutter blade, a blade socket and spring, a plastic blade guide and two screws to hold the socket/spring tight to the blade. The cutter blade has to be positioned so that the bottom of the cutter teeth are below the bottom of the comb teeth - usually 1/64 to 1/32". See pictures of improper and proper cutter set back. The blade socket fits into the clipper hinge and the clipper hinge tongue slides between the socket and comb blade. A blade latch clamps over the blade socket to keep it tight against the clipper. The clipper hinge on Oster clippers and some Andis models has two parts (AGC), a blade latch and the spring hinge, on some Andis models (AG) the hinge has a built in latch.

There are a number of problems that can occur with these 7 pieces. The most obvious is the cutter and comb getting dull from wear or from rust. Keeping these clean and well oiled goes a long way to increasing blade life.

The spring puts tension on the cutter. The spring should lie even when placed on a flat surface. If the tension is uneven on one side hair may get underneath on the weaker side and cause the blade to stop cutting. Bend one spring leg until the spring lies flat all across its width. Too loose a blade tension will cause hair to get between the blades and cutting stops immediately. If the tension is too high, the blade friction is greatly increased and can cause the clipper to run too slow, too hot or excessively wear or break internal clipper parts. Excessive tension increases blade friction causing the blade to heat and dulling the blades more rapidly. With proper tension you should be able to move the cutter blade with some resistance from side to side but not have to push it hard. The plastic guide minimizes friction and protects the end of the spring that rides in the cutter grove. These can dry out with Kool lube and other sprays and must be kept well oiled as should the rubbing surfaces of the cutter and comb. The blade guide should be checked for cracks or digs and be replaced if either is found. Rust pitting in the cutter grove can cause increased friction and excessive wear on the blade guide.

An important part that can cause problems is the blade socket. This little piece has two “ears” that should fit tightly into the clipper’s hinge. Often the ears get bent outward and the blade becomes loose and rattles. If you can move the blade side to side with your fingers when it’s installed on the clipper you have this problem. The ears have to be brought back together just enough to provide a tight fit but not too much where the blade can’t lock into the hinge. Sometimes too much bending can cause an ear to break off, and then your blade will really “rattle.” The back of the socket sometimes gets raised upward and causes another problem. The blade won’t latch and hold the blade tight against the hinge/clipper and cause the blade to be loose and the cut may suffer. If you can push the blade forward when it is latched then the socket may be tilted high in the back and low where the blade latch is suppose to hold it tight, or the hook on the blade latch may be broken off. Use pliers to press the back end down parallel to the comb blade. Don’t use too much pressure or you may not be able to insert the blade onto the hinge tongue. Use a flat tip screwdriver to lever the back of the socket up just enough to clear the tongue.

The hinge on the clipper can have problems too. The spring inside can become weak and the blade may not be held tight enough to the clipper. With the blade off close the tongue. If you can move the tongue up with a screwdriver without resistance or little resistance then the spring is becoming weak or broken. On models with a hook type blade latch two springs ends underneath the hinge hold latch to the hinge - the spring ends fit in holes in the latch. Sometimes a spring end will break off and the blade latch won’t work. Sometimes the spring ends become too weak or bent to pull the blade latch back. Sometimes the hook on the blade latch breaks off and the blade won’t be held. The hinge or blade latch or both needs to be replaced if you find any of these problems.

Lastly the blade screws must be tight. If they loosen the tension becomes weak and the cutter can move around or even fall out. Vibration from use can sometimes loosen these. Re-tighten.

Now wasn’t this a fun read? I check for and repair all these blade problems when you send your blades for sharpening and check your clipper for them when they are sent in for service.

A5 Size

Barber Size

Cut (“)

Cut (MM)

# 50

# 00000

1/125

0.2

# 40

# 0000

1/100

0.25

# 30

# 000

1/50

0.5

# 15

# 0A

3/64

1.2

 

# 1

3/32

1.6

# 10

 

1/16

1.6

# 9

 

3/32

2.0

# 8 1/2

# 1 ½

5/32

2.8

# 7

# 1A

1/8

3.0

# 5

# 2

¼

6.3

 

# 2 ¾

 

7.9

# 4

# 3 ½

3/8

9.0

# 3

# 3 3/4

½

13

# 2 (5/8)

 

5/8

16

 

 

 

 

Note: cut sizes above can vary between manufacturers blade size

Pet Grooming blade chart – from Andis Web site Description: http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/images/dotwh.gif  DESCRIPTION OF BLADES

 

Blade Size

Cut

Usage

50

1/125"

Surgical prep, Show Poodle feet, face, sometimes pattern.

50SS

1/125"

Stainless steel—harder, holds edge longer, rust-resistant.

40

1/100"

Surgical prep, Show Poodle feet, face and pattern, Pet Poodle feet. Excellent for using under Snap-on combs.

30

1/50"

Pet Poodle feet, between pads of some dogs. Good for using under Snap-on combs.

15

3/64"

Sensitive Poodle feet, pads, face on Poodles, Cockers and Terriers.

10

1/16"

Sanitary trim (tummy & genital area), face on Poodles, Cockers and Terriers, most cat clippings. A very short, but safe blade.

Wide 10

3/32"

Similar to the size 10 blade, but with a wider blade sweep. Good for full-body shavedowns and large breeds.

T-84

3/16"

Stripping heavy coats, medium length, wider cutting surface than standard blades.

9

5/64"

Sporting Breed's necks and sometimes bodies, very smooth finish. Popular on Cockers, Springers and Schnauzer bodies.

8 1/2

7/64"

Head, face, neck and sometimes body on Sporting Breeds and Terriers.

7

1/8"

Skip tooth— body work on Sporting Breeds and Terriers, Pet Poodles, excellent for clipping matted dogs where blending is required.

7F/7FC

1/8"

Finish blade for 7 Skip Tooth, unmatted cats.

5

1/4"

Skip Tooth, body work on Sporting Breeds and Terriers, Pet Poodles, body work on short trims on Lhasa Apsos and Shih-Tzus.

5F/5FC

1/4"

Finish blade for 5 Skip Tooth.

4

3/8"

Body work on the low-slung Terriers (West Highland White, Scottish, Cairn, etc.), Pet Poodles, short trims on Lhasa Apsos and Shih-Tzus.

4F/4FC

3/8"

Finish blade for 4 Skip Tooth— also used against the lie of the coat of thick-coated Springers or Cockers for a very short but very smooth look.

3 or
3 3/4

1/2"

Skip Tooth, good for a plush, almost puppy look on Lhasas, Shih-Tzus, Old English Sheep Dogs— anything that you want to give a short, but not shaved look.

3 or
3 3/4FC

1/2"

Finish Blade for 3¾ Skip Tooth— can also be used against the grain as with the 4F and 4FC.

5/8 HT

5/8"

Finish Blade— good for slightly longer puppy cut. Longest blade cut available.

7/8

1/32"

Cutting surface is 7/8" across. For small areas. Ideal for setting patterns such as the Dutch Clip on Miniature Poodles, great for small Poodle feet.

5/8 or 5/8 NC

1/32"

Cutting surface is 5/8" across. For small areas. Ideal for setting patterns such as the Dutch Clip on Toy Poodles, great for small Poodle feet.

 

 

 

Description: http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/images/dotwh.gifLIST OF BLADES

 

In general, uses for each blade can be categorized in three areas. They are Body Cutting, All Purpose Cutting and Specialty Cutting. Below you will find a list of popular blades, but there are additional ones not listed here. 

 

BODY CUTTING

Size

Cut

Description

4

3/8" / 9.5 mm

Skip Tooth blade ideal for short legged dogs - Westies, Scotties, Cairn etc.

4F

3/8" / 9.5 mm

Full Tooth finishing blade version of the Size 4.

5

1/4" / 6.4 mm

Skip Tooth blade for body work leaving a shorter cut than Size 4.

5F

1/4" / 6.4 mm

Full Tooth finishing blade version of the Size 5.

7

1/8" / 3.2 mm

Skip Tooth blade popularly used on many breeds. Ideal for matted coats.

7F

1/8" / 3.2 mm

Full Tooth finishing blade version of the Size 7.

ALL PURPOSE CUTTING

Size

Cut

Description

8

7/64" / 2.2 mm

Head, face and neck, commonly used on some Terriers and Sporting Breeds.

8 1/2

5/64" / 2.0 mm

Ideal for various uses on Terriers.

9

1/16" / 1.6 mm

Smooth finish commonly used on Spaniels and Schnauzers.

T-84

3/16"

Wide cutting surface for medium length. Large dogs and dense coats.

10

1/16" / 1.6 mm

Underbody areas such as the stomach and genital areas. Short, popular blade.

15

3/64" / 1.2 mm

Poodle feet and pads, face, as well as Terrier and Cocker faces. Close cut.

30

1/100" / .25 mm

Closer than Size 15, often used in show trimming. Can use under Snap-Ons

SPECIALTY CUTTING

Size

Cut

Description

5/8

1/32" / 0.8 mm

Only 5/8 inch wide cutting surface. Usually used for setting patterns. Very close cut

7/8

1/32" / 0.8 mm

Only 7/8 inch wide cutting surface. Usually used for setting patterns. Very close cut

From Pet Groomer

 

 

Description: http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/images/dotwh.gifBREEDS CLIPPER BLADES CHART

 

All Breeds & Mixed Breeds

Sanitary Prep

#10

Very Heavy Coats

#7 or #T84

Pads

#15

Legs

AC* or scissor

Slightly Matted

#5 & #5FC

Feet (except poodle)

scissor

Very Matted

#7 & #7FC

   

Airedale Terrier

Body, sides & tail

#7 or #5

Ears

#10 or #15

Head, throat

#9 or #7 & #7FC

Underbody

scissor

Bearded Collie

Puppy Trim - Body

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC  or

1-1/4" AC*

 

Bedlington Terrier

Body

#5 & #5FC

Head, ears, tail

#10 or #15

Bichon Frise

Plush Look - Body

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Pet Trim, Short - Body

#4 & #4FC or #5 & #5FC

Bouvier Des Flandres

Body, sides

#3-3/4 or 1" AC*

Cheeks & Throat

#4

Legs, underbody, face

scissor or 1-1/2" AC*

   

Briard

Puppy Trim - Body

1" AC*

Face, legs, underbody

scissor or 1-1/2" AC*

Cairn Terrier

Head, face, legs, underbody  Body

scissor
#4 or #3-3/4

Ears

#10 or #15

Cats

Very Matted

#10

Some Matting

#7FC

Cocker Spaniel

Body, sides, back, tail

#7 & #7FC or    #5 & #5FC

Underbody, feet, legs

scissor

Face, ears, throat, head

#10 or #15

   

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Body, sides, back

#4

Legs, underbody

scissor

Head, tail, feet

scissor

Top of ears

#10 or #15

English Cocker Spaniel

Body, back, sides

#7 & #7FC

Head, neck, ears, face

#15

Front of forelegs

#7 & #7FC

Underbody, legs

scissor

English Setter

Body, sides, back

#7 & #7FC or   #5 & #5FC

Top of Ears

#10 or #15

Head

#9

Underbody, tail, legs

scissor

English Springer Spaniel

Body, sides, back, tail

#7 & #7FC or    #5 & #5FC

Underbody & legs

scissor

Head, neck, ear tops, throat

#10

   

Irish Setter

Body, sides, back

#7 & #7FC or   #5 & #5FC

Underbody, tail, legs

scissor

Head, ears, throat

#10

   

Irish Terrier

Body, sides, back, tail

#5

Head, ears, throat

#10

Kerry Blue Terrier

Body, sides, back, tail

#4 & #4FC or
#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Neck, ears
Head

#10 or #15
#8-1/2

Lakeland Terrier

Body, sides, back, tail

#4 or #5

Neck, ears

#10

Head

#8-1/2

   

Lhasa Apso & Maltese

Puppy Trim

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Head, face, tail, underbody

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim

#5 & #5FC or   #4 & #4FC

   

Old English Sheepdog

Puppy Trim

1-1/4" AC*

Head, face

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim

#4 & #4FC or
#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

   

Pekingese

Short Pet Trim - Body

#5 & #5FC or   #4 & #4FC

or #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

 

Poodle

Face, feet, base of tail

#10 or #15

Body

#7 & #7FC or #5 & #5FC

Top knot, tail piece

scissor

 

or #4 & #4FC   or

     

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Portuguese Water Dog

Body

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Head, tail

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim

#4 & #4FC

   

Schnauzer

Body, back, sides

#7 & #7FC

Head, ears, cheeks

#10

Legs, underbody

scissor

   

Scottish Terrier & Sealyham Terrier

Body, back, sides of face

#5 or #4

Top of head

#8-1/2

Ears, throat

#10

Tail

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Shih Tzu

Puppy Trim

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Head, tail & ears

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim

#4 & #4FC

   

Silky Terrier

Puppy Trim

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Head, underbody

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim

#4 & #4FC

Ears

#10

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Body, tail

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Legs, underbody

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim
(body, throat)

#4 & #4FC

Head, ears

scissor

Welsh Terrier

Body, back, sides, tail

#5

Head, ears, throat

#10

West Highland White Terrier

Body, back & sides

#4 or #3-3/4

Ear tips

#10 or #15

Head, tail, underbody

scissor

   

Yorkshire Terrier

       

Puppy Trim

#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Face, head

scissor

Shorter Pet Trim

#4 & #4FC

Ears

#10

 

I stock blade boxes to fit either regular blades or wide blades. The standard cardboard box holds 15 blades - $5.00. I make wooden inserts to increase the typical 14 cardboard blade box to hold 20 blades ($7.00). I also have boxes like those pictured below that hold both 20 blades and room for many scissors. These cost $7.00.

combinationbladeNscissor_box_resized.jpg
clipperbladeparts2.jpg

Cleaning your blades in blade wash will keep them cutting longer. If during cutting you clipper slows down it's probably time to clean the blade and re-oil. This is especially true with Arco blades. Arco blades need to run at high speed to cut effectively. Keeping the blade clean and oiled as well as using fully charged batteries is important.
Do not get blade wash or any other liquid inside your clipper. Keep the clipper pointed down so fluids can't get inside and short out your clipper or degrade the plastics. Most groomers have a small container of blade cleaner/wash and run the blade in this container. Don't submerge more than the blade tip where the cutter is.  Use a cloth to dry the blade, don't use paper towels they won't absorb blade wash or oil as well and leaves fibrous material. If varnish (combination of skin flakes, oil and heat) builds up, the blade will have to be sharpened again, it cannot be cleaned off.Oil your blades frequently during use. Oil the front and back land areas as well as the plastic guide Run the blade and use a cloth to dry before you start clipping, you won't get oil in the pets fur this way.
If you use Kool Lube,  spay only the back side of the blade, the part that touches the pets skin. Despite its name, Kool Lube is not a lubricant. Oil after using Kool Lube. At the end of the day take the time to clean your blades in blade wash and re-oil. Wipe off with a clean cloth. You'll be ready for the next day and keep your blades in running condition and extend their life. Don't leave hair inside the blade - it will absorb the oil and can cause problems like rust.

Where to Oil your blade
blade_1_oil_locations_resized.jpg

What happens when rust is allowed
rust_pitted_blade.jpg
Makes for bad cutting edges on your blade

adjsocket1resized.jpg
Incorrect cutter set back
bladewithproperset.jpg
Correct cutter set back
bladewithproperset.jpg
Wahl adjustable blade platform -replaceable
Arco_platform_resized.jpg
Wahl Arco clippers and blades
wahl_adj_bat_clip_info.jpg

The Wahl (Arco, Bravura) 5:1 blades can be sharpened many times. Both the cutter and the larger comb blade can be done although many sharpeners have difficulty doing the small cutter blade correctly. Those that can't usually just replace the cutter and sharpen the comb part. Replacing the cutter is much more expensive than just sharpening the cutter. The thin metal of the cutter limits the number of times it can be sharpened compared to the larger comb part but 3-4 or more times is feasible. Once the cutter is worn out then a new cutter can be installed.The Wahl Arco blades use unusual screws so you need a special tools to remove the screws. The mounting tabs (2 on the sides and one in the rear) are prone to breakage. The black plastic platform can simply be replaced by your sharpener with a replacement platform.  If your adjusting tab gets broken  you can move the adjuster with a thin screwdriver pushing on the tab inside the shell if you need to change it's position. Unfortunately the adjusting tabs are not sold as a replacement part. Your sharpener may have some from discarded blades.  The Arco blades rely on high speed to cut efficiency so you need to keep the blade clean and lubricated and the battery fully charged. I find that H-42 is a good choice for cleaning and lubricating the Arco blades. Like all battery operated clippers the battery will eventually go bad. Replacement batteries are available. 

Laube Speed Feed clipper
laube_speedfeed_clipper.jpg
Laube Speed Feed adjustable blade
laube_speed_feed_blade_front.jpg
laube_speedfeed_clipper.jpg
T Barber clipper
andis_t_liner.jpg
Wahl Barber clipper, Oster Trimmer
andis_t_liner.jpg
Oster_51_blade.jpg

Adjustable clipper blades such as Andis, Whal, Oster brands need to be sharpened differently than fixed blade clipper blades due to the changing adjusting position. Usually the larger comb blade is flat ground and the cutter is hollow. Having a uniform flat comb surface means that no matter what position the cutter is in it will make the best contact and cut reliably. Finisher blades such as the T-liners and Outliners and similar require both good sharpening and be correctly set so the tips of the cutters are just behind the tips of the comb blade. If they extend even a tiny amount the customers skin can be cut and not just the hair. If set too far back then you can't get that sharp clean outline. For T and other finisher blades the Pro-Mate brand (Gold color) seems to perform better than the manufactures blades for sharpness of the cut-line and less irritation.