What are carbon brushes February 03 2016
Hi Groomers. I guess we must have been running low on words when these things were named, because they look nothing like what we all think of when we hear the word "brush". Come on people in charge of naming things...you should have called them a "glorper" or a "zelzeroid" or something to avoid confusion!!
Anyway, these little beauties are called carbon brushes, and they are a vital component of most dryers and even some clippers (the tiny ones are used in Oster clippers).
Carbon brushes are essentially a contact point for transmitting electrical energy to the rotating components of the dryer (or clipper). Eventually the carbon material wears away and can no longer provide a good contact. The dryer will provide less air, and sometimes no air as a result.
The carbon brushes can be replaced with varying degrees of difficulty. Let us know if you are having problems with your dryer, and we'll do our best to get it blowing again!
What are blade drives good for? February 02 2016
Hi Groomer's. What the heck are these things? If you answered "assorted blade drives for commonly available clippers", you are SUPER SMART.
The fact is that blade drives are often an underappreciated and sometimes overlooked part of your clipper. Your clipper is only as good as the blade drive, and it can take a seemingly small amount of wear to prevent your clipper from working it's best.
Admittedly it is sometimes difficult to determine it cutting problems should be blamed on the blade or the clipper, but if you are starting to experience vibration and poor performance from many of your blades, the culprit is very likely the blade drive.
(if I ever think I'm "losing my touch" when it comes to blade sharpening, I replace the blade drive tip on my Wahl clipper...it's amazing the difference that is made to blade performance).
The good news is that blade drives are reasonably inexpensive. You can generally install them yourself without too much cursing, or we can certainly do it for you.
What to do if blades don't fit on the clipper February 01 2016
Hi Groomer's. Oh oh....confession time.
I've been contacted by a few valued clients who reported that several newly sharpened blades are not fitting onto their clippers.
This seemed odd to me because all blades fit well on the clipper that I use for testing the blades after I sharpen them....but I believe I've solved the problem.
The last step in the sharpening process is to make sure that the blades do not rattle on the clipper. I do this by slightly crimping the ears on the blade socket if required. The problem seems to be that the tabs on the hinge assembly of my clipper have worn over time (I often put blades off and on this clipper for 8 hours a day). Essentially I was making blades fit great on my clipper....but maybe not yours.
The obvious lesson (for me) is that blade rattle can be the result of excessive socket gap, OR a worn hinge assembly, and I've now replaced the hinge assembly on my clipper.
If you have been plagued by blades that don't snap easily onto your clipper, you can generally solve the problem by slightly spreading the ears on the blade socket with pliers, or gently forcing the blade onto your clipper so that your hinge assembly spreads the ears. If you are still having problems I would be pleased to adjust the socket gap...just send the blade back to us.
Whew...long post, congratulations to all who made it to the end ....Andy.
How to tell blades that are not usable anymore January 29 2016
Hi Groomers. All good things must come to an end, and that unfortunately includes your blades.
In general, a blade has come to the end of its useful life when there is not enough metal remaining to effectively sharpen.
The top blade in the first picture is still in great shape, and there is plenty of sharpenable material. However, the bottom blade is fully worn out, and the raised rails that the cutter blade would normally travel on have been worn smooth.
Missing teeth and extreme corrosion can also signal the end of the road for a blade. The blade in the second picture looks like it was recovered from the Titanic!
If I encounter any blades that are at the end of their life, I'll let you know (some of you are probably familiar with the "fortune cookie" notes that I include with your sharpening if I have something to report). Now if I could only find a use for old blades...hmm...jewellery , fishing weights, bookmarks, doorstops.....
Take care.....your friendly neighbourhood sharpener, Andy.
How to prep new shears for their first use January 28 2016
Hi Groomers. Well...you finally splurged and bought a shiny new pair of shears, and you can't wait to use them. Sloooow down turbo!
It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but new shears do not always work perfectly right out of the package. Many manufacturers package their shears with excessive closure tension, and the packaging and shipping process can sometimes negatively affect the set of the shears.
Before you use your new shears it is important to clean any shipping grease from the shears, and to check and adjust the closure tension and set. This will help to prevent premature wear or possible damage to the shear.
You can do these tests and adjustments yourself, or ask your sharpener to look at the shears for you. The good news is that Cutting Edge Grooming Supplies has now started testing and adjusting each pair of shears prior to sale, so you can be confident that your new shear will perform perfectly.
Have fun....your friendly neighbourhood sharpener.
How to fix blades that rattle January 27 2016
Hello to all you "Canine Coiffurist's" out there. Everyone seems to be getting quite busy, and hopefully all of your grooming is going smoothly.
I know that blades can sometimes "rattle your nerves" when they get excessively loud and rattley...it must be hard to concentrate on creating the perfect cut when your clipper is driving you crazy!
Luckily there is usually an easy fix for this problem. On the back of every blade is a component called the socket. This part has two little tabs that engage with the hinge assembly on your clipper, and if these tabs spread apart enough it will create free play, and a lot of noise.
I have a tool that creates the perfect gap, but you can try slightly crimping these tabs with pliers to close the gap as indicated in the picture. Crimp just a bit, and then test on the clipper until the blade fits snuggly on your clipper and does not rattle. Be careful not to bend these tabs too much though, or you won't be able to get the blade onto the clipper.
Have fun out there.....Andy.
How to refurbish the 5in1 blade January 26 2016
Howdy Groomers. I have noticed how popular the 5in1 blades are in the grooming world, and I can see why. When these blades are working well they work REALLY well, and are a pleasure to use. I've heard that some folks consider these blades to be somewhat disposable, but in reality these blades can usually be "brought back to life ".
One common issue with this blade is that if it is ever dropped, there is a high likelihood of breaking off one or more of the plastic retention tabs on the black backing of the blade. This part of the blade is called the chassis, and there are 3 plastic tabs that must be in place in order for the blade to secure to the clipper (see the photo). If you find that your 5in1 blade is missing tabs, and not staying on the clipper, it is not necessary to discard the blade. We can replace the chassis with a new unit for a fraction of the price of a new blade.
Also, we can fully refurbish these blades by sharpening the comb blade and replacing the cutter blade. This brings the 5in1 blade back to "as new" condition.
Take care everyone......Andy
How to adjust spring tension January 25 2016
Hi Groomers. I talked last time about the importance of tension between the cutter and comb blades.
Even freshly sharpened blades will not cut properly unless there is sufficient blade tension. As I mentioned, the spring should be applying enough tension on the cutter blade that it will take 3-4 lbs of pressure to move the cutter blade.
If you suspect that a blade isn't working due to inadequate spring tension, the following technique may help make the blade usable again.
1)First Picture: very carefully push the cutter blade out of the blade assembly.
2)Second and Third Pictures: using locking pliers to ensure that both sides are even, gently bend the spring to increase downwards pressure. Press down in the area indicated in the pictures...crimping in the wrong area can actually loosen the blade or destroy the spring.
3)Fourth Picture: using a flat blade screwdriver, gently lift up in the centre of the spring to provide enough of a gap to re-insert the cutter blade.
This may help you get some more use out of a blade that has stopped working. Although, when in doubt, your "friendly neighbourhood sharpener" always adjusts spring tension as part of the sharpening process.
Happy grooming, and may all your blades be sharp....Andy. :)
How to check cutter blade tension January 22 2016
Hello to all of you hard working professional Groomers out there. It's your smokey neighbourhood sharpener again. Are you all tired of the smoke? It's been like living beside a campfire for the last few days in the Calgary area , and it would sure be nice to be able to see the horizon again.
Oh well, things will get better soon, there's no point getting tense about it. It's a good practise to try to avoid tension, but in the sharpening world tension is very important (whew-that was a bit of a long winded segue :-)).
Last time I talked about shear closure tension, and cutter blade tension is equally important. In fact, a perfectly sharpened blade will not cut at all if the spring is not applying enough tension to the cutter blade.
I use a small kitchen scale, and press the cutter blade into the blade as indicated in the picture. I aim for 3-4 lbs of pressure. Too little pressure and the blade won't cut properly, and too much pressure and the blade will heat up during use. It takes a bit of practice to get a feel for the proper pressure, but it should take some effort to move the cutter blade on your blades. A poorly functioning blade can simply be a matter of inadequate spring tension. I'll talk about adjusting spring tension next time.
Spring tension is just one of the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of your blades. In fact, the difference between a blade that works perfectly, and one that doesn't work at all can be somewhat mystifying at times. There are a variety of factors that must be perfect, and I will admit to spending a heck of a lot of time on a single blade trying to "unlock the mystery".
Anyway, all for now. I have a bunch of blades that need sharpening, and hopefully I have no tension related tension...Andy.
How to drop check shears January 21 2016
Hi Groomers, it's your friendly neighbourhood sharpener again. I'm just finishing up some shears as the snow falls...weird Southern Alberta weather for sure.
My very last step in the sharpening process is to adjust the closure tension of the shears. Correct tension is quite important to the proper functioning of shears, and I have noticed that many of the shears that come to me are either very loose or too tight.
It is a good idea to periodically check shear closure tension. I do what is called a drop test (I know, you all try very hard to not "drop test" your shears...this is different. :-)).
What I do is hold the shears in one hand with the blade that I am holding facing straight up, and the free blade is then lifted up, and dropped.
The shears should close as shown in the second picture, with the shear tips closed only to approximately 80% of the length of the shear. If the shears close all the way to the tips they are too loose, and if they stop lower then the shears are too tight. Adjust the set screw as required.
Take care, and I hope it's not snowing wherever you are....Andy.
Does it SING? July 16 2015
YES it does!
If you don't know our wonderful sharpening tech, let me introduce you to Andy. When he's not being awesome at sharpening, he's being awesome at making us laugh.