What causes clipper blades to go blunt?

What causes clipper blades to go blunt?

We frequently get asked why blades can go blunt so quickly.  Sometimes this can happen with just one sweep of the clipper, causing frustration and inconvenience, especially if there are no spare blades available to change over to.

So why does this happen and how can I prevent having this problem?

Several reasons, but the most usual one is due to a build up of dirt and grit in the coat.  If a tiny particle of grit is in contact with any of the teeth, this will send the blades blunt in a moment.

If the coat is clean and the blades still appear to be chewing the coat, then check the tension, this is the second most common reason.  Although you may be tensioning it correctly for the machine, if this is still not working, look at renewing the tension set.  The spring within the set will distort over time, particularly if it is left done up, and will then give an incorrect setting when the usual tension is applied.

If the clipper has been incorrectly tensioned in the first instance, and been run with the tension too tight, again this will immediately take the edge off the blades.  Each brand of clipper generally is tensioned in a different way, so it would not be correct to assume all can be tensioned the same.  Check the manufacturer’s instructions or check out our Learning Portal to learn how to tension all the types of clippers before using.

Lack of oil on blades will also contribute to blades not working efficiently as well as getting hot.  Metal against metal will always create heat but the more oil used the less heat generated, and this will also preserve the integrity of the cutting edge of the blade before needing to be re-sharpened.

Sharpening systems can also be the cause of inconsistent cutting.  Consider how the blades may have been sharpened.  Clipper blades that are used on what we term full size clippers, will benefit by being lapped.  This is a very gentle, but precise way of sharpening, and removes a miniscule amount of metal each time and is by the far the most accurate way of sharpening ensuring consistent cutting.

A lapping machine needs to be calibrated each day, which will then ensure it is lapping to the correct level.  If the blades are sharpened using a grinder, this method is done by eye, and is not as accurate and can give an unlevel cutting edge, causing the blades to work ineffectively.

Other areas to consider within the clipper and relating to cutting issues are the wear and tear within the head of the clipper.  If the head appears to be giving some movement, then this in turn will affect the performance of the blades.  We would recommend referring the clipper back to a clipper specialist to assess further.

Points to help:

  • Keep at least one spare set of the same grade of blade.
  • Oil regularly with clipper oil.  Only use oil that is appropriate for clippers as they need fine oil.  WD40, cooking oil and other heavier grades of oil are not suitable.
  • Ensure the coat and skin of the animal to be clipped is pre-washed and dry, or at least, well brushed.
  • Service clippers on an annual basis if used regularly during the clipping season, or if you have any concerns on excess heat being generated through the handpiece or on blades, or are experiencing movement in the head.
8th July 2020

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