How long do clipper blades stay sharp for?
So exactly how long do clipper blades stay sharp for? The answer depends on many factors!
Whether you are clipping dogs, ponies, horses or even cattle, there are many causes that will rapidly dull your clipper blades. These include -
- Clipping a dirty or greasy coat
- Clipper tension set too high.
- Not enough lubrication.
- Using the wrong type of lubrication.
- Improper sharpening
- Residue in the coat left from shampoo or conditioners
With careful planning and the right tools, your clippers blades can last for many clips before finally needing to be sent away for re-sharpening. By following these tips, your blades should stay sharper for longer and you should see clipper blades carrying out clips easily into double figures.
GETTING THE BEST FROM YOUR CLIPPER BLADES
CLEANLINESS OF THE COAT
Clipping a dirty coat is the primary reason why clipper blades dull quickly. This happens as particles of dirt and grease become caught between the cutting surfaces of the blades. When the blades rub together at high speeds, the friction causes excessive wear to the cutting surfaces, dulling the blades fast. Taking the steps to ensure the coat is clean before you clip by bathing your horse or dog first can seem time consuming but it’s worthwhile to give the best clip results, give the most comfortable clip for your animal and save you money in the long run. Even a coat that looks clean on the surface can be oily and greasy closer to the skin. A poor-quality clip, clip lines, visible teeth grooves or quick dulling of the blades is often blamed on low quality blades or even the performance of the clipper itself, but it is unreasonable to expect a great clip result from a poorly prepared coat.
Below – Image from CBS Equine Services of a non-bathed coat – seemingly clean on the surface.
SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS
Whilst bathing your horse or dog is always recommended, the type of shampoo used can play a role in keeping your blades sharper for longer. Strong pet shampoos or those with added coat conditioners can leave a film on the hair shafts, even when rinsed well which will coat the clipper blades when you come to clip. Instead, it’s best to use a natural, mild shampoo and work this gently into the coat to lift the grease and dirt. Natural shampoos also help to retain the natural pH of the skin and won’t leave any kind of residue in the coat so that your clipper blades glide through easily. Conditioners, coat oils and fragrance sprays can then be applied to the coat after clipping.
Keeping the cutting surfaces well lubricated is a crucial part of reducing friction and increasing the longevity of your clipper blades and is another common reason why blades become hot and dull. Clipper oil needs to be applied regularly, every 5 minutes during clipping so that the blades glide against each other smoothly and reduces heat production. Clipper oil is a fine mineral oil, perfectly suited to keeping blades running well without becoming sticky. Avoid using any other types of oils or cooling agents as these could coat the blades and cause them to become dull.
Heavy duty clippers for horses and cattle require tensioning to ensure the right amount of pressure is applied to blades for them to cut effectively. Check you have the right tensioning as per your clipper model from the instruction booklet (or watch our YouTube guides here). As a rule of thumb, it’s better to use the least amount of tension possible. If the tension is too tight, excess pressure is placed upon the blades which increases friction and heat generation which will wear down the cutting edges more quickly, leading them to dull faster.
KEEP THEM CLEAN
After clipping, clipped hair and grease from the coat can congeal and stick to the blades if left on for a length of time. After each clip give each clipper blade a thorough clean and run a fresh line of clipper oil over the cutting surfaces before storing them carefully in the original blister packaging or an airtight plastic case to avoid damp and rusting. You can clean clipper blades with Andis cool care spray to give extra disinfection and protection from rust.
Where or how you choose to have your blades resharpened can play a significant part in how long your blades will stay sharp too. You can find more details on this in our blog here. Makes sure your clipper blades are expertly sharpened with a reputable company that has the right grinding and lapping equipment to give the best finish on your blades. An incorrectly sharpened blade may just not clip well but can also ruin the blade, costing you more to replace them in the long term.
There is nothing more frustrating than a clipper blade going blunt part way through a clip but it helps to have two or three clipper blades of the same type so should a blade go blunt you have a spare set to swap to finish the job and spare to send of for sharpening.
Other causes of blades going blunt quickly could be that the clipper has worn parts that need replacing. Regular servicing of your clippers includes the checking and replacement of wearable parts so that your clipper is always performing optimally.