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How to Sharpen Garden Shears

Garden shears with blue handles.

Yard chores are necessary if you like having a good-looking lawn, but they’re not always easy. Garden shears play a key role in many yard-related tasks, and they can get dull with time. When this happens, it takes a longer time for the shears to get the job done.

To minimize your time spent caring for your lawn, it’s essential to make sure your garden shears are kept in good shape. To do this, you’ll need to know how to sharpen garden shears.

Before you Begin

First, you’ll need to know when it’s time to sharpen your garden shears. If the shears are having a difficult time cutting cleanly through a branch or hedge, it’s likely time to sharpen them.Garden shears are an essential lawn care tool. To be effective, the blades of this tool need to be kept sharp.

Next, you’ll need to assemble the items required to sharpen your garden shears, including safety goggles, work gloves, a bucket of soapy water, a cleaning brush, a towel, steel wool, a wrench, a vise and 300-grit sandpaper.

You’ll likely want a rotary tool as well. Note that a rotary tool isn’t your only option. For example, you could use a file or a stone to keep the blades of your shears sharp. Still, a rotary tool is your best bet if you want a quick and easy way to sharpen your shears.

Before you start the job, be sure to don your safety gear. To avoid being injured while you’re sharpening your garden shears, it’s important to take all possible safety precautions, such as putting on safety goggles and work gloves.

Now you’re ready to begin.

Steps to Sharpening Your Shears

  1. Clean and buff the shears.
    It’ll be a lot easier to sharpen the shears if the blades are clean and buffed. Scrub the blades using a cleaning brush and soapy water, and then use a towel to dry them. Finally, use steel wool to buff the blades so they’re free of rust. After buffing your blades, give them one last rinse and dry.
  2. Unscrew the shears.
    You’ll need to unscrew your garden shears to properly sharpen them. Use a wrench to do so.
  3. Mount the first blade in the vise.
    Set up the vise and mount the first blade to be sharpened. Make sure the angled side of the blade is facing upward.
  4. Use the rotary tool.
    Power on the rotary tool and use it on the angled side of the blade that’s mounted in the vise. Keep the tool at an angle of around 10 degrees relative to the blade.
  5. Grind the blade.
    Keep going until the entire edge of the blade is sharpened. Remove the sharpened blade.
  6. Repeat.
    Follow steps 5-10 with the garden shear’s second blade.
  7. Sand and finish.
    Use sandpaper to remove roughness from the sharpened blade edges.
  8. Reassemble.
    Now that both blades have been sharpened, lubricate the pivot if desired, and fasten the two pieces back together.

If you follow the steps listed above, your shears will be sharp enough to cut through resistant twigs and branches without issue. With sharp shears, it’ll be that much easier for you to maintain your lawn and make it the talk of the neighborhood.

Check out all the tools and equipment available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to sharpen tools, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.


Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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