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Some sharpening and repair or service articles I've written about various topics. 

Note: Unfortunately you have to scroll down to each numbered article as I haven't been able to link the list below with the correct paragraph.

1.  Maintenance Of Your Clipper
2.  All About Your Clipper Blades & Hinge
3.  Clipper Blade Care
4.  Taking Care Of Your Scissors
5.   Preventing rusty blades and scissors
6.   #7 Blades Jamming
7.   Laube problems (noisey, or blades rattling or not latching)
8.   The Wahl Arco clipper

1. Maintenance Part 2    May 2006

Many groomers maintain their own Oster clippers by blowing out the accumulated hair inside the clipper and doing gear shaft, gear and link/lever greasing, oiling of the lever felts (never put grease on the felts) and bearing, changing of levers, links, gears, and brushes.  This is wonderful if you can do this but not everyone is comfortable with this and there are other services that your clipper should have periodically besides the ones mentioned above to prevent failure.

 One test that will help you determine if the lever and link needs to be changed is to grab the lever with two fingers and see if it moves back and forth. If it moves more than 1/32” inch replace the lever and link. If it still wiggles excessively then the gear needs to be replaced also. Play in the lever means that your cutter blade won't be driven side to side as far as it should and the cut may suffer.

The Oster clippers use bronze sleeve bearings that the armature shaft (the motor part that rotates and turns the gear which pushes the link which moves the lever back and forth) rides in. These bronze bearings need oiling to keep the friction between the armature and bearing low and keep the speed of your clipper at maximum. Older Osters have a front bearing oiling port, which should be given a drop or two of oil every few weeks of constant use. The rear bearing however requires that the rear switch cap be removed and the field coil and armature be pulled in order to service this bearing. Not a do-it-yourself job. It doesn’t require oil nearly as often as the front bearing as it doesn’t carry the load like the front bearing does, but it is necessary to oil this bearing periodically. Due to over-oiling by customers in the past (burns them out) Oster eliminated a rear external oil port some time ago and in the newer Osters has eliminated the front oil port too. In these the armature has to be pulled to oil.The bronze sleeve bearings can get out of alignment, especially if you drop your Oster. If your clipper seems to be running slow after a drop, it's probably the bearings have become out of alignment. Tap your case with a screwdriver while the clipper is running. A tap in the right spot will speed up your clipper. Or the tap may slow it down more. You have to try the opposite side if that happens. One bearing is toward the front, the other toward the year. In the shop the bearings are aligned by measuring the current draw, but sound works too.

The front thrust plate should be inspected routinely and rotated or replaced if a hole has been worn in it. The rear thrust plate will usually last for the life of the clipper. The armature should be inspected for shaft wear and the commutator cleaned and each segment measured for resistance – they should measure within 10% of each other from one segment to another. In Osters the brushes wear pretty rapidly so check them periodically. Replace when they get down to 3/16" of an inch or less. Turbo models with their higher speeds will wear brushes more rapidly and also need more frequent oiling and gear greasing.


If your clipper starts to run intermittent this is usually a sign of a broken wire in the clipper cord. As it is bent/flexed during use the wires inside the cord will make or break contact and the clipper will run while the wires inside the cord touch or stop running if the broken wire separates.


If you have any questions about your clippers please feel free to call or email me anytime. You should know parts for some clippers are not sold to service shops and newer models often require considerable time to get parts. Andis, Oster and Laube are very behind in supplying many parts during inventory or tooling changeover during the year.  Bruce

Clipper Blade Parts

2.  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 hinge tongue on the clipper fits into the blade socket. On  clippers with a blade latch the 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 pressure latch rather than a latch hook of the AGC, Oster.

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 also 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. If that happens use a screwdriver to pry up the back of the socket a tad, test and redo if necessary.

The hinge on the clipper can have problems too. The spring inside can become weak and the blade may not be held tight enough - common in AG's. 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. 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.

3.  Clipper Blade Care

Clipper blade care: Oil, oil, and oil - before, during – but not in excess, and after use. Clean hair from blades – blade wash has been designed to help do this, hair will retain moisture and draw away any oil from the bearing surfaces and cause rust to form on these critical surfaces! Rust forms on iron by the action of oxygen and moisture. Keep either one away and your blades won’t rust. Rust causes pits and deep pits cannot be ground out and your blades won’t cut right. Even light rust can require excessive grinding to remove costing you blade life.

Oil also keeps blade friction low – means less heat generated and less blade wear and increases the cutting life of your blade. Ideally store your blades cleaned and oiled in a dry environment. This can be an airtight box with a desiccant or store them  in a controlled environment where the humidity is limited. Blades can also be wrapped in an oily rag or placed in a can of kerosene or oil or similar petroleum product. 


 KOOL LUBE does  not, despite its name, lubricate. It only cools and should only be used on the backside of the blade, not the tooth side ever. It cools by rapid evaporation drawing the heat away in the process. The side of the blade that touches the skin of the animal you're grooming is the larger blade, the comb blade. This is the part you want to cool. You must oil your blades for lubrication. Getting Kool Lube in your clipper can lead to problems with your clipper. Don't spray into the clipper. Kool lube is especially bad for Laube clipper housing. You may see small cracks forming along the sides by the two screws that hold the top cap on. Laube says this cracking is from the use of Kool Lube spray getting onto the plastic body.

Placing your blades on cooled ceramic floor tile pieces can cool your blades quickly as an alternative to using a spray or on a metal block. Kool lube can also cause a hard varnish to build up, another reason to only spray the large comb blade. Once varnish is build up (redish looking) the blade will not clean with blade wash and it will have to be sharpened to clean it up.


If your blade starts to rattle it may be the blade's socket wings has spread apart. Gently squeezing them back  with pump pliers can restore a tight fit. The blade socket may also become tilted upward where the clipper tongue slides into the socket. This often happens when you have both AG (no blade latch) and AGC with a blade type clippers in your shop. Gently squeeze these back down to keep the blade from moving forward when latched. I check for these two problems when servicing your blades and correct them.

Don’t routinely run your clipper at high speed – your blades will heat up rapidly from friction increase blade wear and require more frequent lubrication. Your blade spring tension has been set for normal speed use. For constant high-speed use you may need to reduce the spring tension on your blade and definitely you need to oil more frequently.

4.  Taking care of your scissors.

Scissors don't generally need a lot of care like a clipper blade or clipper but there are a few things you should be aware of. Some groomers and stylists use an oil based lubricant on the pivot point of their shears. While this certainly works, it does have two drawbacks - mainly that hair sticks to the oil and can accumulate between the two scissor blades causing problems. I use a Teflon based non-sticking lubricant when I do your scissors that is sold specifically for scissors and recommended by scissor manufacturers. Hair doesn't stick to this lubricant and you will get a lot less hair between the two blades by the pivot.

The Scissor screws hold your two scissor blades together and provide the proper tension. A screw that is oiled can loosen if the screw threads and hole threads become oiled, there won't be enough friction to hold the screw in place.  Split end screws have come in popular use to help keep screws from rotating when the scissor is open/closed. If the split becomes too closed then it too can fail to hold the proper tension. A screw that sticks out from the blade very far can be a hazard. Some replacement screws are too long and need to be ground back. This will not affect the screw as generally only 1/8 of a turn can make a scissor too loose or too tight and having 8 threads outside the scissor serves no purpose. Underneath the screw head is usually a plastic washer to reduce friction and make for a smoother open/close. A missing metal or plastic screw washer can cause problems with the ease of open/closing or with the screw loosing. If you take your scissors apart be sure you don't loose the washers.
Scissors that are used to cut wet hair should be dried with a soft cloth or paper towel being careful not to cut yourself when doing that. Water and chemicals left on the blades can cause rust which is never a good thing.
Convex edge scissors are literally razor sharp when sharpened and you can shave the hair off your arm - which some do as a test for sharpness! The standard test for sharpness is cutting a single layer of tissue which has been wetted. A clean cut without tearing the tissue indicates a good clean edge.
Proper "fall" or "tension" of a scissor is critical for consistent cutting. According to the manufacturers proper fall is when a blade closes 1/2 the length of a scissor blade when the points are held vertical and one handle is moved 90 degrees from vertical and released. Properly adjusted scissors will fall 1/2 to 1/3 (extra loose) down the blade length. Anything looser than that will cause hair to fold instead of cut or will force the user to use their hand to force the blades together. This can cause hand problems over time and wear the edge faster too. Dull scissors are no fun, get them sharpened!
If a scissor is dropped the edge may become nicked. Once nicked, scissors will seldom cut until the edge is reground. Dropping can also cause a blade to become bent. This will require a special tool to re-bend to the proper curve. Using a rubberized mat where you work can reduce scissor problems if dropped as well as blade and clipper damage. An inexpensive aid to your business and easier on your feet and legs too!

Scissor bumpers (A.K.A. silencers) (on models that use them) keep the scissor from closing too far or too little at the tips. It also provides some cushioning for your hand. These become broken or brittle at times and can be replaced by your sharpener. Sizing rings can become rotted and can be replaced.
As scissors are sharpened the scissor tips can become too pointed (sometimes called dagger points.) These should be ground back and rounded by your sharpener. Let him know if you are having problems because of pointy scissor tip points.
You've invested a lot of money in your tools of the trade. Take good care of them and you will get many years of service out of them.

Not What You Want To See

5.  Rusted blades and how to prevent this happening. Article by Bruce Oakes 05/05

Basically rust forms on iron containing metals (like your clipper blades and carbon steel scissors) due to the combination of excessive moisture and air (specifically the oxygen in our air). Keep excessive moisture away, or harder, oxygen, and your metal iron containing tools won’t rust. Oil on the surface of metal can keep moisture away. Hair wedged between the teeth of your clipper blades and between them can wick away the oil leaving the metal exposed to moisture and oxygen. Storing blades in zip bags that have little or no oil and having hair in them can result in a lot of rusted blades as one groomer found out. She sent 36 dirty oil-less blades each stored in its own zip bag and all rusted to one degree or another. The zip bags had become mini-rust chambers. Some were too bad to grind out and had to be tossed.

Solutions – Chose 1 or more

Clean blades of hair and scale and oil your blades before storing them – best all around solution no matter if you have a problem or not.

Add a dehumidifier to your shop or storage location – helps all your grooming equipment from clippers to tables preventing rust.

Store in a sealed container with desiccant (moisture adsorbing bag).  A new product from a company called Zrust has several solutions to preventing rust. One is a drawer liner which can protect your blades and scissors for up to 5 years and as a rubber liner protect your items with a soft liner. - see photo below. Another item they carry is a vapor corrosion bar that you place in a closed container. below is some information about their product from their website

How Zerust® Consumer Products Work

All Zerust®Products work by releasing an invisible, odorless, and non-toxic rust and corrosion inhibiting vapor into the air via proprietary chemical formulations impregnated into the host material (bag, liner or capsule). The molecules of this vapor will settle on all exposed metal surfaces and form an invisible molecular corrosion inhibiting shield. This shield then protects any metal and electrical parts from rust and corrosion for 2 to 5 years depending on product.

Zerust® products have no negative effects on the operation or appearance of a part or unit they are protecting and leaves no residue. Not for use to protect paper or documents. Over an extended period of time, Zerust® products will “yellow” paper. Do not use in close proximity of antique books, valuable documents, etc.


Other ideas store in a container of blade wash (common form is charcoal lighter fluid), kerosene or the like. Oxygen and moisture can’t get to the iron and the blades won’t rust. Andis and Oster make products as do other companies that can protect your blades if you don't mind spending more money.

If you see the beginnings of rust don’t panic. Early rust will clean off easily with an oily rag. WD40 can be used to clean off the rust and give minimal protection. Advanced rust selectively eats at the metal of your blades and scissors causing pits and a rough edge. Pitted rough edges mean the blade may not cut or cut well or long which is why it is important to prevent rust. Sometimes I can grind a rusted comb blade back to usefulness and replace the cutter with a new one if the rust is too deep salvaging your blade.



Zrust dwr liner and Zrust container packet

6.  Problems with a particular # blade (most often #7’s) but not others is a complaint I hear from time to time, usually in the early Spring. This is usually a cleaning problem.

Stripping of thick dog hair can produce more hair than the comb blade (bottom larger blade) can handle and the hair packs between the teeth and cutting stops because the hair can no longer get into the cutter blade. The purpose of the comb blades is to feed the hair into the cutter but clog the comb and cutting stops or slows. Brush the hair out of the blade (with the Clipper OFF!) then run it in blade wash and re-oil when this happens. If the blade doesn’t cut at all after this then the blade needs to be serviced by your friendly sharpener. Slow the feed rate down or use a faster clipper. Bruce



7. Some Laube Clipper problems.

Blades that won't latch or rattle on Laube clipper. Some models of blades have too much set-back of the cutter blade and the drive lever hits the spring instead of dropping into the notch in the cutter. This problem I've seen on the larger blades of Oster. If you are having problems with the blades rattling or not latching it may not be a bad (weak hinge spring) hinge or a broken latch hook, just a blade with a cutter set-back issue. Cutter blades are suppose to be set back so there is about 1/64" overlap of the cutter and comb teeth at the bottom of the teeth. Some blades when properly set won't work on the Laube. Try another manufacture or blade model. Mark the ones that fit on the Laube properly or mark the ones that don't, whichever is easier for your shop.

Noise in a laube  clipper is usually a bearing going bad. Some groomers replace the lever themselves when it goes bad but after a while the bearing the lever presses onto goes bad and has to be replaced. If you can rock the lever or having a lot of noise when the clipper is running even without a blade on it your bearing is probably going bad. Laube sells a Enduro kit with a new cover, bearing and lever and a replacement bearing for the drive lever at the notched end + red grease to be put in the notched end to keep friction low.


8.   The Wahl Arco Clipper.

Yes, the blades can be sharpened and made to cut like new but it does require some extra work. There are a few replacement parts for the Arco recently released by Wahl such as the black plastic platform where the rear mount or side supports tabs beak off. Before this you had to toss an otherwise perfectly good blade. Also available from Wahl are replacement cutters.

Arco clipper care and feeding

The Arco clipper is a wonderfully lightweight clipper that you need to remember two things about. The Arco relies on high speed, not power to cut well so ……

1.    Keep your Arco battery well charged – have spare batteries on charger and swap out when clipper slows.

2.    Keep your Arco blades clean and lubricated


I use H-42 in my shop to clean and lube the Arco blades while running – this seems to work well and you can hear the speed increase immediately.


Use a soft cloth (not paper towels) to dry off blade after cleaning/lubricating to keep lube off of fur. Squeeze cloth over cutting end while the blade is running to soak up any excess fluid.




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