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Hedge trimmer tearing leaves, ect.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Island Lawn, Jun 14, 2001.

  1. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    Practically brand new and I suspect they bades need sharpening already. They probably weren't sharp to begin with!

    My dealer is the largest around, has always done me right, and has a good reputation. But, I get laughs every time I mention the word "sharp" and they give me a look like I'm an ignorant green newbie. Whether talking mowers or hedge trimmers.

    The guys @ Lesco have told me the same about mower blades. "They dont need to be too sharp"

    It just dosen't seem to be a priority to anyone I have talked to about it except the pros @ lawnsite.

    I'm of a different mindset.
    I used to know this old wood carver. For fun, he would carve figures out of matchsticks using an old exacto knife. It looked well used, but he claimed it was sharper than when he took it out of the packaging.
    There seems to be an art to the science of sharpening!

    I searhed for sharpening hed trimmers and didn't come up with much.
    My owners manual suggest a flat crosscut file.
    Anybody got any experience with doing this by hand?

    What I'm trying to accomplish is to be able to trim this particular Confederate Jessamine without tearing it and causing unsightly leaf scaring. I had to do it with manual shears today.
    Please help.
  2. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    Dear Island Lawn,
    You didn't mention what brand of hedge trimmers you have,gas or
    electric etc.. Let me know and I can possibly help you out.
    Later, ED
  3. eskals

    eskals LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    I am not real sure on the sharpness thing, but common sense would dictate that the sharper the better. However, it seems like it would take quite a bit to dull those blades. I usually go pretty slow when doing the trimming, and don't seem to tear the leaves and such.

  4. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    If you are just doing privit or other woody generic shrubs then you can get away with dull blades. I do mainly formal Boxwood hedges and dull blades will damage the fine leaf surface causing them to have a brown appearance, this is true of any fine leaf shrub.

    I use a set of small meatal files to keep the blades sharp. I touch them up about twice a week.

    Jim L
  5. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    Thanks for the replys!

    Gas. Stihl commercial unit (Dont have the model in front of me)

    What kind of files are using? I'm thinking a little touch up will do wonders. All the manual says is keep a 45 degree angle. Do you (or anyone else)have any tips or special technique/tools?

    Thanks for the help!
  6. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    The files I use came in a set of 5, I purchased them in a hobby store. Any small file set should do though. The trick is to make certain that your half-round file matches the radius on the rounded portion of the cutting edge.

    Good Luck,
    Jim L
  7. bam

    bam LawnSite Senior Member
    from .
    Messages: 261

    We maintain 8 to 10 sets of hedge shears. We put them on a work bench and use a 4" angle grinder to sharpen the blades. Its quick and effective. Just this week a laborer used the file method, but with little luck. After using the grinder he was alot more satisfied with the cut of the shears.

    $2 file or $80 grinder? I guess it depends on the amount of shrub pruning you have. Also, to lubricate the blades we have found horticultural oil to be very effective. It doesn't damage the leaf as wd40 or grease would.
  8. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    Dear Island Lawn,
    I sharpen with a 4&1/2" grinder w/ a 36 grit grinding disc.
    The disc mounts in place of the grinding wheel & was purchased
    from an industrial tool supply company. Also be sure to check
    the clearance between the blades. It should be approx. .005
    inches. Keep them well oiled and you should be in good shape.
    Later, ED
  9. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    Thanks again for all the help.

    My dealer told me wd-40!
    "You don't need the special stuff mentioned in your owners manual"

    Now I hear wd-40 can damage the leaves!

    Tell me more about this horticulture oil...
  10. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    You can use hort oil, aka dormant or summer oil, to lube the blades. I also spray them with methanol, wood burning alchohol, after each customers cutting. It only takes a minute and it will kill most disease spore and prevent spreading disease.

    Jim L

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