Bad Sharpening or Worn Clipper Parts?

By: Bob Schiessl


At Nebraska Blades, we test cut every blade when we sharpen. We use a single-speed Oster Clipper with a somewhat worn out gear, link and lever. This is so we know our blades will cut in the real world, but all blades will cut better on a clipper in good working order.


When you start to sharpen blades, it is smart to take a good look at it before you sharpen. Slide the cutter out about half way. Take a look at the marks on the bottom comb. If the marks are on every tooth from side-to-side, the blade is more than likely cutting well and is just dull. If the marks are only in the center, this means the top cutter may not be making a full pass. This could indicate that there is some play in the lever in an Oster or Andis drive.


The Oster has three parts in its drive; the lever, link and gear. You will want to start with the lever. If you can move it like a loose tooth, or if the corners are rounded off that is bad. The lever engages the slot in the top cutter. If there is too much play it is not moving the top cutter from side-to-side completely. The link connects the gear to the lever, and if you can move it while the clipper is off, that is bad. The gear moves the link and the lever; if it is loose on the shaft it is not good.


So you have three parts. If each is worn by only 20% they can add up. The clipper could be running at only 75% or less. If these three parts are all bad, you can bet that the clipper has been running hard for some time.


The Andis has a blade drive that will go bad in about three months or less. The clipper may be working fine, but when the drive goes bad, it won’t move the cutter back and forth enough, which will effect how the blade cuts negatively.


If you are having very few re-sharpenings, but one customer is having trouble, try taking a good clipper in to them and let them try their problem blades on it. Don’t cut yourself short, sometimes it’s not the blade, it’s the clipper.