Dog and horse hair is very coarse, and if your clipper blades are not looked after properly they will blunt very quickly. Leaving hair and dirt on the cutting edges will soon decay and corrode the blade, so its essential after every use, your clipper blades are cleaned with a Blade Wash, Oiled and stored in a dry environment.
How a clipper blade cuts There are two surfaces that make up the cutting edge, the front rail and the back rail (as seen in diagram 1). These two rails are the points that are hollowed ground to produce a new sharp edge. As the blade is used these edges start to wear and will eventually "round" off, and it is at this point when your blade causes you snagging and dragging within the coat, your blade will need re-sharpening.
If you leave a build up of hair in between the two rails, this can cause a further "rounding" off the cutting rails. So it is essential that every 5 minutes, you stop clipping and brush of any excess hair from your clipper blade.
Clipper blades do not last forever. If you find that the back and front rails have rounded off and are as smooth as the sole plate itself then it is time to replace the clipper blade.
Horse blades are made up of two separate components. A top cutter and a sole plate. They are a married pair, and you cannot replace either of them. Both components have to be replaced at the same time.
How to tell if a dog blade is blunt In diag.1 notice there is a spring that holds the top cutter and sole plate together. The function of the spring is to apply adequate tension to allow the clipper blade to cut smoothly. If that springs is too tight, the top cutter will not cut properly.
TIP With the clipper blade in your hand, try to move the top cutter from side to side. If you are finding the top cutter does not move adequately, then the tension should be released slightly.
This can be done by placing a flat head screwdriver into the side of the spring and gently releasing the tension.
Spray your clipper blade with oil, and check and test again.
If the tension is too tight, or too loose this will result in a non cutting blade.
If you are finding the clipper blade is snagging and tugging at the coat, it is time for it to be re-sharpened. A rule of thumb, if you are cleaning and oiling your blades frequently, then a dog blade will last between 10 -12 weeks based on clipping 5 dogs per day.
How to tell if a horse blade is blunt Any professional horse clipper will tell you, the way to keep your blades sharp is by clipping clean coats. Grit and dirt can take the edge of a freshly sharpened set of blades instantly. An area to be mind full with keeping your blades sharp is the tension setting on your clipper. Not all horse clippers are tensioned the same. The industry standard clipper is made by Lister Shearing and the recommended tension setting is all the way down and 1 1/2 rotations back. This does not apply for all brands of clippers. Always check the clipper instructions and remember the least amount of tension is better than too much. If you screw down the tension spring on your clipper, not only will you wear your blades quicker, but you machine and clipper blades will heat up quicker.
Cleaning your blades is a very important part to the life of your blade. To find out more on how to clean your clipper blades, read here.
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