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How to Sharpen Hedge Trimmers

The appearance of your hedge has a direct impact on not only the appearance of your property but also its value. A quality hedge trimmer will help you keep the hedges looking great round the year. However, they need to be well maintained to continue serving you. Over time, the resin and thick branches makes the blade blunt thereby making it less efficient. You will spend more time trimming the hedge if the blade is blunt.

Here are tips on how to know when it’s time to sharpen the hedge trimmer.

Trimmer Gets Jammed with Branches Repeatedly

This is one of the primary signs that you need to sharpen your trimmer. If you notice that branches get jammed between the teeth without being cut entirely, there is a high likelihood that the lower and upper blades are not coming into contact as they should. The branches will also get stuck between the teeth if the spacers are work out and need to be replaced.

Difficulty Cutting Branches

An uneven cut or a frayed edge is a clear indication that the blade needs to be sharpened. You will also use more energy cutting the branches than you would if the blade was sharp.

How to Sharpen Hedge Trimmers

Like any other DIY task, it is of paramount importance to take precaution and prep for the activity well to reduce the risk of injuries. Here is a list of the tools that you will need to sharpen your hedge trimmer at home like a professional.

  • Safety gloves
  • Safety clothing
  • Safety Glasses
  • Flat file
  • Water
  • STIHL resin solvent
  • Whetstone
  • Water

Step 1: Wear Protective Clothing and Glasses

Before you start sharpening the trimmer, wear protective clothing – the gloves, safety clothing, and glasses. The three will significantly reduce the risk of injury.

Step 2: Remove Debris from the Teeth

Over time, resin and plant sap builds up on the blades. Trying to sharpen the blades without first cleaning will make the process more complicated and time consuming. You will also not achieve the expected results in the end. Take the time to remove the debris by using the soft cloth.

Step 3: Start Sharpening the Teeth

As mentioned earlier, sharpening the teeth will increase the equipment’s efficiency and save on time and money that you would have spent on repairs and spare parts. Use the flat file to sharpen them and make sure that you apply in one specific direction to get an expertly sharpened blade. Also, make sure that you position it at the right angle when filing – check out the manual provided by the manufacturer to know the ideal angle.

Experts recommend stroking the file forward and lifting it up when moving it back to avoid sawing the surface unnecessarily. Otherwise, if you stroke the file back and forth without lifting, you will make the blade blunt again and spend endless hours on it.

More importantly, the recommended abrasion limit is 5 mm. Therefore, make sure that you don’t remove too much material from the blade to avoid reducing the strength of the hedge trimmer blade. If its too thin, it will break when trimming thick branches. You should also just stroke the cutting edge of each tooth, so be careful not to file the plastic cut protection material.

Step 4: Use Whetstone to Remove All Burrs

Whetstone will help smoothen any burrs that could have emerged on the underside of the blade when filing. You will need to turn the hedge trimmer upside down to get full access to the blades’ surfaces. To get the best results, it is recommended to moisten the blade. The whetstone should be moved a swiping motion towards the tip of the teeth.

Step 5: Taking Care of the Trimmer After Sharpening

Clearly, sharpening a hedge trimmer is not a complicated task as most people perceive it to be, you just need to have the right tools, follow the specific instructions discussed above, and be patient. The last step is removing the grinding dust that was produced during fling and use of whetstone to smoothen the burrs.

Note that most blades have a corrosion protection layer that prevents rust and increases longevity of the trimmer. Once you are satisfied with the sharpness of the blades, spray STIHL resin solvent on the blades to prevent corrosion. Make sure that the entire blade is covered with the spray and evenly spread to offer maximum protection.

Let us shift gears and briefly look at the factors you should consider when purchasing a hedge trimmer.

  • Type of blade: Hedge trimmer blades are either double or single sided. The performance of the trimmer is dependent on the spacing of the teeth. The single sided blades are easier to use and safer compared to the double-sided blades. However, the latter speeds up the process as it can cut branches much faster than the single-sided blade.
  • Power: Check out the amount of power each hedge trimmer on your list can produce. Ideally, hedge trimmers that are powered by gas are more powerful than the electric trimmers. Models that have a high voltage are ideal for complex hedge trimming projects as they can withstand thick branches without breaking down.
  • Weight: A heavy hedge trimmer is difficult to use compared to a lighter one. Its difficult to hold aloft a heavy trimmer even though most of them are more powerful than the lighter models. That said, the lighter hedge trimmers are easier to use and safer.
  • Price: The price tag is dependent on the specifications of the equipment and the brand. Compare the prices in conjunction with the features and capabilities to make the right choice.
  • Blade length: Different hedge trimmers have blades of varying lengths. The long blades are not only easy to use but also result in an even hedge. However, its challenging to use them in tight spaces. If this is your first time using a hedge trimmer, go for one that has a shorter blade to get the hang of it. Later on, you can upgrade to one that has a longer blade but this will also depend on the size of your hedge.


Sharpening your hedge trimmer often will increase its efficiency, longevity, reduce maintenance costs, and ensure that the hedges around your property are always looking great. Make sure that you check the user’s manual for specific instructions on how to use it to eliminate the risk of injury.

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