The Importance of Testing Every Blade

One of the best ways to become a better sharpener is to test each and every blade you sharpen. If your blades cut each and every time, customers will seek you out to do there sharpening. Think of the time you will save if they call you instead of you making cold calls or looking for business other ways. We feel this was the number one reason for the success of Nebraska Blades.

Testing will slow you down, but the payback makes up for the time spent. So how do we test? I know of about five ways to test. We have used all five ways at one time or the other.

1. Rub Block

2. Fake Fur

3. Test String

4. Rabbit Fur

5. Live Animals.

I will try to talk about all five ways. First, the rub block. I have a block right by the sharpening machine. If a blade does not pass the fur test, we will put it on the block and discover we must re-sharpen the top or bottom or both blades. We do not use the rub block first because number one, we know that 95 percent of the blades are going to cut the first time so rubbing every blade would slow us down needlessly. The second reason why we do not start with the rub block is because it will leave a pattern on the blade similar to used blades. In the past, I have had at least two eagle eye customers spot it and ask if we did indeed sharpened them.

Rabbit fur works very well but in the last years have become very high priced and of poor quality so we gave up on this test, and do not sell it any longer. Also, rabbit fur does not work well on larger blades.

Next, many sharpeners, as well as the Oster Factory use test cotton string. I personally do not do this method for two reasons. First, you only check three places on the blade. Secondly, you put no pressure on the clipper like a dog would. Think of it this way: If you had a dull hedge cutter, it will not go through the hedge very well but would cut one branch with little effort.

Live animals only work if the sharpener is also a groomer or kennel, but in my very early days I did try blades out on my pet cat and dog. I only got away with that for a very short time.

Nebraska Blades has, and uses all the known ways to test, but we prefer to use the testing fake fur. The strands of the fur must come straight up out of the mat without loop weaves, otherwise your clipper teeth will snag. The ways we do it is as follows: Inspect and disassemble the blades. Fix tension and your sockets with the right tools. Sharpen, demagnetize, wash, blow dry, oil and re-assemble. Test the blade on the fur. This will set the blade and show any potential issues with the blades. Please refer to our training DVD for more complete details. We have the string, fur and rub blocks in stock. We are here to serve the clipper blade sharpeners. Bob