Only bad clippers get hot? Fact or fiction
One of the gripes of using clippers and shears, especially heavy-duty clippers is that the clipper blades can become hot or the handle gets overly warm with continued use. Does a hot clipper mean it’s a bad clipper? Can all clippers get hot? What about the handle? Here’s our guide to clipping and heat generation.
Chances are, it’s not the clipper itself getting hot, but the clipper blades. ALL metal clipper blades will generate heat when used without adequate lubrication. Clipper blades are essentially made up of two sheets of metal (the comb and cutter) that slide against each other in a similar action to scissors, to create the cutting action to clip the hair. They need to do this at speed to be able to manage larger areas of thick fur. The high speed of the two parts of the blades rubbing against each other causes friction which in turn, generates heat. To minimise the clipper blades heating up, they need regular lubrication in the form of specialist clipper oil so that they glide against each other to produce the least amount of friction.
HOW TO APPLY CLIPPER OIL
Clipper oil should be applied to your clipper blades before, during and after clipping (once they have been cleaned). Simply apply a few drops of oil along the teeth of the clipper blades and down each side of the blades. For A5 clippers blades, you can move the cutter sideways to apply a couple of drops of oil directly to the cutting surfaces. During clipping, regularly apply a few drops of clipper oil every 5 minutes to keep the blades cool and flush out any trapped hair caught between the cutting surfaces.
Take regular breaks during clipping to check that the temperature of the blades are still comfortable for your animal by switching the clipper off and touching them against the back of your hand. It’s also a good idea to take short breaks to remove the clipper blades and clean out any hair trapped between the cutting surfaces. Hot blades will not only by uncomfortable for your animal but may also cause skin reactions that may appear after the clip. When clipping horses, wipe over the coat with a damp cloth or hot cloth the coat to remove any loose hair and clipper oil residue from the coat and to make it shine.
TIP - Clipper oil not only lubricates the blades but also prevent rust forming too.
WHAT CAN I USE TO LUBRICATE THE BLADES?
The best lubricant for your clipper blades is clipper oil. This is a fine grade oil that is specially designed for the job and doesn’t react to heat. Don’t be tempted to use WD40, engine oil, cooking oil, or oil products that are applied directly to the coat before clipping to remove the need to oil the clipper blades - we’ve heard all sorts! Different products have a different grade or viscosity so may not be as good as reducing friction or cooling the blades. In fact, some products may even cause more heat generation or burn your animals skin. Using anything other than specialist clipper oil runs the risk of damaging the clipper and voiding your warranty, ruining your blades or causing a skin reaction. If you have a lot of clipping to do and are finding clipper oil isn’t keeping the blades as cool as you’d like, then we recommend using the Andis 5-in-1 cool care to spray the blades and provide an immediate cooling action.
WHY ARE MY BLADES GETTING WARMER THAN USUAL?
If you’re finding your blades are generating excess heat, there are several reasons why this might happen -
- Not enough oil – Make sure clipper oil is applied to the clipper blades regularly, every 5 minutes.
- Too much tension – Check the tension on your clipper is set as loosely as possible. If your blades are starting to go blunt or your tension set is worn, you may find you are having to use more tension to get them to cut and in turn creating more heat.
- Dealing with a challenging or dirty coat – Ideally the animal you are clipping should be bathed and dried before clipping to provide them with the most comfortable clip and best finished result. Dirt, grease or any other residue left in the coat from sprays (such as coat conditioners) creates a film on the hair shafts which will transfer and build up on the clipper blades creating more friction. Excess hair from a very thick coat may also get trapped between the cutting surfaces of the blades, so take a break to ensure the surfaces of the blades are brushed clear and well lubricated. Perhaps try a coarse blade instead if the coat is very thick.
- Wear to the components of the clipper head – Check the vital components such as the blade cushions and metal blade runners are present and in good condition. Missing or worn parts may lead to the tension needing to be increased or extra movement of the blades.
OILING THE CLIPPER HEAD
Heat generation from the clipper head can be caused by not enough lubrication in the inner components of the clipper head itself. Heavy duty clippers and shears have holes on top of the head to apply clipper oil to the internal workings that run at high speed to drive the clipper blades from the motor. Don’t forget to regularly apply oil down the head vents to allow the oil to coat the workings inside. Heat from the head can travel down the handle of the clipper and can be mistaken for the motor getting warm.
HEAT IN THE CLIPPER HANDLE
Heat felt in the body of the clipper can be caused by heat travelling down the handle from with the clipper blades or clipper head so check both of these areas first with the tips above.
In other instances, heat can be generated in the clipper handle due to a lack of air circulation inside the handset. Check and regularly clear the air vents of clipped hair using a brush during clipping. When you’ve finished clipping for the day, take the time to remove the vents and give them a thorough clean.
Even with great care, clipped hair will get everywhere and inevitably work it’s way inside the clipper body. When enough hair is trapped inside, it will prevent the air circulating to keep the motor cool. Sending your clippers to be serviced regularly will ensure the inner components will be cleared and cleaned and wear to any components will be replaced. If you have a lot of clipping to do, make sure you choose a clipper that is heavy duty enough to cope with prolonged periods of use. At Masterclip, our experienced customer service team are happy to recommend the best clipper model from our range to suit your individual needs.