This time of year always signals lots of tidying up and pruning in the garden. The trick to pruning is not only to have the right tool, but a sharp tool, and this is where your favourite pair of secateurs will really come in handy.

But what’s the best way to sharpen your secateurs?

Our friends at Pots & Trowels have lots of hints and tips for keeping your secateurs sharp and in tip top condition. Read on to find out more and watch the video below where Martin Fish of Pots & Trowels breaks it all down in a step-by-step guide.

Why Should You Sharpen Secateurs?

Sharpening our tools can sometimes feel like an onerous job, but there are many reasons why you should sharpen your secateurs. Firstly, a sharp pair of secateurs will ensure your pruning looks neat and tidy. It also means any cuts you make on stems whilst pruning will be clean and crisp. This means they will heal faster, helping to prevent diseases from damaging the plant.

Sharpening your secateurs can be a simple job, and as you can see, it will be well worth it.

What Tools Do I Need to Sharpen My Secateurs?

There are a few pieces of equipment that will help you to sharpen your secateurs, safely and efficiently. You might be surprised to find you already own this equipment, and it’s hidden in the back of your garden shed!

You’ll need:

The best part about this sharpening technique is that it can be used on all of your tools and you won’t need any additional equipment.

In the video Martin Fish recommends the Darlac sharpening blades. They come in two different levels of coarseness, fine and coarse. The coarse sharpening blade has approximately 52 billion Diamond particles per square inch, so this sharpener will keep your tools sharp even after lots of use.

Now you’ve got your equipment, it’s time to follow the step-by-step guide to sharpening your secateurs. 

How To Sharpen Your Secateurs: Your Step-By-Step Guide

1. Clean your secateurs.

Spray a small amount of oil onto your secateurs. Then using the sandpaper, give them a really good clean by rubbing the oil into the blades. You’ll find this process gets rid of any black discolouring. This is usually dried sap; it builds up over time and takes the edge of your blade off. Make sure you do both sides of the blade.

If you’d like to read more about cleaning tools, you can watch another Pots & Trowels video here.

2. Prepare the blades.

Next wipe the secateurs with a dry cloth, you’ll see a good shine on them. They are now ready to sharpen.

3. Sharpen the blade.

When sharpening secateurs, sharpen the bevel or ‘curved’ edge. There is no need to sharpen the flat edge. Following the angle on the blade, move along the whole blade with the file. You can use circular motions or a sweeping motion over the edge of the blade. Remember, you are honing the edge.

Always follow the bevel of the blade, you’ll hear a grinding noise when you’ve got the angle correct. For the best results, repeat this process twice.

4. Testing the blade.

Then wipe your blade with the cloth, removing any debris or residue. You can test the sharpness of your blade on a branch from the garden. Never run your finger across the blade to test it.

5. Coat the blade. 

To finish the process, add some clean engine oil to coat your tool. Work it down into the mechanism to keep it lubricated. You’ll now have a nearly new pair of secateurs, sharp and ready to use!

Remember: This process is the same for loppers or garden knives, it’s just on a bigger scale.

Top Tips For Sharpening Your Secateurs

Looking after your tools means they’ll last you longer and they’ll be safer to use. We’ve listed our top tips to help you get the job finished.

  1. It’s important to sharpen your secateurs with care. Be safe. Follow the instructions on your sharpening blade.  
  2. Don’t try to change the angle or bevel of the blade. Be sure to follow the existing one.
  3. For flat blades, sharpening stones are often best. Starting with the coarse and then moving to the finer blade.
  4. With a curved blade the Darlac Diamond Tool is best, it helps you to follow the curve of the blade as closely as possible, giving you a really clean edge.
  5. Always finish your sharpening with a drop of oil.

Sharpening your secateurs is a simple job, but take your time. Don’t rush. Add this to your list of garden jobs and keep on top of sharpening. Your sharp secateurs will mean neat and clean stems in no time.

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