How to make your garden shears sharp again

Disassemble and clean the garden shears
Sharpen the blades of your garden shears
Sharp garden shears are better for your plants and kinder to your muscles too

  • Difficulty
    Medium

It happens to us all. Come springtime, we get the hedge shears out, only to find them rusty and blunt. Using them in this neglected state will leave your greenery with damaged branches, making them more susceptible to pests and diseases. Luckily, making them shiny and like new again is easy with Dremel. This clear, concise sharpening manual will show you all the necessary steps to get your tired trimmers ready for action. Each step will bring you closer to a happy hedge! Added bonus: well-maintained garden shears are much easier on your muscles too. Time to get shear sharpening.

You need
Utilities
  • Combination spanner or adjustable spanner
  • Steel brush
  • Safety gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety Glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Grease brush
Materials
  • Hedge shears with straight blades
  • Dry cleaning cloth
  • (Copper) grease
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Video instructions

Step 1 6

Disassemble and clean the garden shears

Disassemble and clean the garden shears

Start your shear sharpening project by inspecting the hedge shears. Are they rusted through or broken beyond repair? Then you’re better off buying new ones.

Take the shears apart: unscrew the pivot nut using either a combination spanner or an adjustable spanner, and remove the pivot bolt. Put bolt, nut and washer somewhere safe for later, when you’re putting the shears back together again. Now scrub the worst of the dirt and rust from the blades using a steel brush. Wipe them with a dry cleaning cloth to dislodge any remaining bits of grime and dirt. That’s looking a lot better already.

Step 2 6

Clamp your Dremel into the Multi-Vise

Clamp your Dremel Rotary-Tool into the Multi-Vise

Secure the Dremel Multi-Vise (2500) to your workbench or tabletop. Insert the metal ring attachment, which is part of the Multi-Vise kit, into the vice and tighten it. Unscrew the Dremel’s nose cap and insert the Rotary-Tool into the ring. You can now secure the tool by screwing the nose cap back on or using the blue (threaded) ring. Position the tool horizontally – this way you will be able to move the garden shears along the top to sharpen them. Insert the Aluminium Oxide Grinding Stone (8193) into the shaft and tighten it.

Step 3 6

Sharpen the blades

Sharpen the blades of your garden shears

As with all rotary tool action, it’s vital to protect yourself when grinding or sharpening. So, wear a dust mask and protect your eyes with safety glasses, your ears with ear defenders and your hands with gloves.

Try and work out the original factory bevel on your blade: this is the angle you want to follow with the grinding stone. Now switch on your Dremel. Sharpen the tip first, then sharpen the blade in a long, controlled motion from tip to hinge. Pass the blade along the grinding stone a few times while being careful not to damage the tip. Repeat for the other blade.

Step 4 6

Deburr the edges

Deburr the edges of the garden shears for a smooth result

Each time you cut or sharpen metal, you’re left with ragged edges called burrs. By deburring these edges, you create a smoother, safer end result. Sounds like a hassle? Don’t worry, it will only take a few seconds. An easy way of deburring metal is to use your Dremel Rotary-Tool and a polishing or sanding accessory, such as a Flap Wheel 9.5mm (502) – a few long strokes along the wheel is all it takes. Using an abrasive pad will work wonders too. Just pass the sharpened edge lightly along the abrasive surface and you’re ready for the next step.

Step 5 6

Grease the pivot point and reassemble the shears

Grease the pivot point and reassemble the sharpened shears

It’s time to reassemble your sharpened garden shears. But first, grease the pivot bolt holes using, for instance, copper grease. Dip a brush into the grease and brush both the square and the round bolt hole liberally. This will ensure smooth snipping once the shears are put back together again.

Now reassemble the shears by dropping the bolt head into the blade with the round hole, turning it over and placing the opposite blade on top. Tighten the nut using the combination or adjustable spanner. Wipe away any excess grease with your dry cleaning cloth.

Step 6 6

Fine-tune the garden shears

Test your sharpened garden shears

Adjust the pivot bolt to perfection. Here’s how:

• Tighten the nut snugly. If it’s too loose, the blades will drift apart slightly while cutting, causing twigs to be torn rather than cut. Too tight and you’ll have to work unnecessarily hard to pull the blades apart. You’re aiming for smooth snipping, without having to use too much force.

• See if the tip closes fully. If not, grind the metal above the pivot point using an Aluminium Oxide Grinding Stone (8193).

• Test if your shears are razor-sharp with the ‘paper cutting test’ – even the professionals use this testing method, so you’re in good company.