How to Sharpen Pruning Shears

A shear is a tool used in woodworking which cuts sheets of timber. They are generally made from different materials with blades ranging anywhere between 10 and 40mm, though more modern designs can have blades that go up to 100mm in length. Pruning shears will never need sharpening because the blade gap remains uniform due to manufacturing tolerances.

Pruning shears are a great tool for homeowners to use in order to maintain their trees. However, the blades on these tools can get dull and need sharpening. Here is how you can sharpen them at home. Read more in detail here: how to sharpen pruning shears at home.

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If you’re looking for a quick method to sharpen your pruning shears, look no further. In this post, I’ll go over the fundamentals of how to maintain your pruning shears sharp so you can garden more easily.

What you’ll require:

  • Gloves for protection
  • Eye Protection or a Safety Mask
  • Pruning Shears that are dull (but not for long)
  • Sap Remover
  • Rag
  • Steel Wool is a kind of wool that is made
  • Sharpener (file or other)
  • Vice on the Bench (Optional)
  • Sponge or Damp Towel





Step-by-Step Procedures:

1. Gather your supplies and choose your tools.

The first step is to acquire the things on the list above that you’ll need for this project. Choosing the correct sharpening or file for your shears is perhaps the most critical step.

When it comes to sharpening a pruning blade, you have a few alternatives. You can use a grinder, but this requires particular expertise and costly equipment, so if you’ve never worked with a grinder before or don’t possess one, it’s better to select another alternative.

You can purchase pruning shear sharpeners, but they may be costly, and if you choose the incorrect one, you risk putting pressure on the wrong section of your blade, compromising the overall integrity and efficacy of your shears.

A medium or coarse diamond hand file is the best option. When compared to the other accessible solutions, this will provide you greater control over how and where the pressure is administered while still being very affordable.

2. Clear and Prepare Your Workspace

Pruning shears that have been sharpened will create little metal bits and shavings. It’s critical not to eat these shavings, and you’ll want to make sure they don’t wind up in anything fragile, such as electronics, where they may cause problems.


To prevent this, choose a workspace that isn’t an eating surface and remove away any plates, food, or other anything that may be messed up by the shavings or otherwise get in the way.

You may make cleanup simpler by laying down a towel or something similar, but you can easily wipe up any shavings with a moist cloth or sponge.

If you’re going to use a bench vice, which I strongly suggest, put it up now and make sure it’s securely fastened so it doesn’t slide or fall while you’re working on your shears.

3. Put on your personal protective equipment (PPE).

When working with sharp blades (which you will have at the end of this!) you should always be careful and take precautions to avoid cutting yourself.

Thick, cut-resistant gloves are the finest option since they will protect your hands and wrists while still allowing you to use your hands and wrists freely. If you don’t have cut-resistant gloves, you may use thick gardening gloves or thick leather gloves to reduce the risk of an accident.


Safety goggles and a mask are also recommended to avoid inhaling metal shavings and to protect your eyes from stray metal shards or rust particles that may fly off when you clean and sharpen your shears.

4. Make Sure Your Shears Are Clean

A bench vice will come in help in this situation. It will be much simpler to use both hands if you use a vise to hold and stable your shears while working on them. You will also considerably reduce the chances of losing the shears or cutting yourself on them.

When placing the shears in the vice, open them as wide as possible to provide full access to the blade, then clamp the shears’ handles securely in place to make the vice as sturdy as possible.

It’s critical to clean your shears properly before sharpening them. If you don’t, sap and other debris will get into your file, reducing its efficacy and making it much more difficult to utilize.

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A Sap Remover is a good way to get any particularly stubborn residue off your shears, but you can also use various household products like nail polish remover, vinegar, or baking soda. Did you also know these same household products can be used the remove rust from your fire pit?

If there is any rust on your shears, you will need to remove this as well before sharpening. Medium-course Steel Wool is a kind of wool that is made is a great way to buff off rust spots. Be sure to rinse any cleaning residue and loose rust off your shears and dry them thoroughly before you start sharpening them.

5. Make the Angle Sharper


Despite the fact that by-pass pruning shears have two sides that move over one another, only the biggest side has a blade. This is the side you’ll need to sharpen first, beginning with the angled or beveled side. You’ll need to sharpen both blades if you’re using non-bypass shears.

It’s critical to sharpen a blade while keeping the angle in mind. Sharpening against the angle or right on the edge of the blade could harm the structure of the blade, perhaps requiring you to replace the shears entirely.

Begin by drawing the file along the blade’s cutting edge with a medium amount of pressure, being careful to keep the file at the angle previously placed into the blade.

Only file in one direction, beginning at the interior of the blade closest to the shear’s hinge and moving the file along the blade in one continuous stroke to the tip.

Always keep your files apart from yourself. Pulling the blade closer to your body increases your chances of harming yourself.

Continue to sharpen your blade in this manner until it is suitably sharp. Depending on the quality of your blade and the sharpness you’re aiming for, this may take 10 to 20 strokes.

It’s time to put your shears to the test after you’ve finished filing them. Never use your finger to assess the sharpness. Instead, test the blade’s slicing ability using a piece of paper or something comparable.

If it doesn’t cut as well as you’d like, keep filing until you’re satisfied with the blade’s sharpness. However, be cautious not to over-sharpen. The sharpest edge is a razor thin edge, but it is incredibly fragile and won’t last long.

You don’t need to be able to shave with your shears; just make sure they’re sharp enough to cut through the plants you’ll be working on without exerting too much effort.

6. Make the Back Smooth

You’ll need to smooth the burrs off the rear side of the blade after you’ve got it to the correct degree of sharpness. These burrs are created by the removal of material on the other side, and if they aren’t removed, they might grab and snag on items when you’re trying to use the shears.

It’s also likely that you’ll scratch your skin against any residual burrs, injuring yourself.

Turn the shears over to smooth down the rear side of the blade – if you’re using a bench clamp, you’ll need to remove it and re-clamp it so the other side of the blade is facing you.

Draw your file down the rear side of the blade in powerful, even strokes after you’ve positioned them precisely. It should only take a few strokes to smooth everything out, but you may use your finger to double-check that the spurs are gone.

Make sure you don’t cut your finger on the blade’s sharp side by doing this too quickly. The surface should be silky and smooth. If it isn’t, file the rear of the cutting blade until it feels smooth.

7. Apply a sealant to the surface.

Applying an anti-rust sealer or protection to your shears at the end of your sharpening process is critical. This will assist to maintain the shears’ quality and safeguard them from the weather.

Even if you keep your shears inside, as you should, they might pick up moisture while cutting through biomaterials. If you’re not cautious, this moisture might develop into rust later.

You may purchase a variety of commercial treatments to help prevent your shears against rust, but linseed oil can also be used. Simply put some on a cloth, clean your blades with it, and let it dry. Use extreme caution while discarding the linseed cloth. Before tossing it away, hang it over a bar in a well-ventilated location to dry thoroughly. Linseed oil is a very flammable substance.

8. Tidy Up


When you’re through with this project, don’t forget to tidy up your workspace. As previously stated, the act of sharpening your blade will leave microscopic metal shavings behind.

These may be dangerous if consumed or breathed, so make sure you clean up after yourself. To ensure that all of these tiny shavings are eliminated, just wipe the area clean with a moist cloth or sponge.


Your shears should be nice and sharp after following these instructions, and ready to begin on your next job! These shears may be used to make a do-it-yourself gazebo cover, for example.


Pruning shears are used to cut branches and stems from plants. They can be cleaned in a number of ways, but the easiest way is to use a wire brush. Reference: how to clean and sharpen pruning shears.

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