When to Replace Sockets

Greetings from the heartland! The winter months are almost over!

Today, I will explain when it’s time to replace sockets on clipper blades. At Nebraska Blades, when a new customer calls and asks for prices, we tell them the price and that we replace all bad parts. If they agree to this, fine. If not, we tell them they should look for a different sharpener. It’s like asking for a tune-up, but not replacing bad plugs or wires; it’s going to come back and bite you.

The first thing to look at is the ears of the socket; they may be missing or bent. If they are missing, replace the socket. If they’re bent, use Nebraska Blades Socket Setter to repair them. The setter will bend them back without over bending, plus square them again. For some new customers, we have replaced as many as 50 percent of their sockets. After the first time, we rarely have to replace them again. We find that 100 percent of blades come for sharpening need to be bent in, which is a quick job with the socket setter.

Nebraska Blades Deluxe Socket Setter

The second thing you find is the socket may be bent down at the place where the latch engages the socket. This is mostly caused by the customer using two clippers, one with a trigger to release the blade and one without; then they forget and try to pull the blade off without using the trigger. You can square it up by using the other end of the deluxe socket setter.

The last thing that can go wrong is that the socket is damaged at the point where the latch hits the socket. You may not be able to see it, but it will not engage the blade. Replace this socket. We use all Andis sockets, but it may be a good idea to use the correct one for your blade be it Andis, Oster or Wahl. You can see all this up close on our “Clipper Blade Sharpening” DVD.

Check Your Tension?

One way to speedup clipper blade sharpening is to set the tension of the blade with the Nebraska Blades’ Clipper Blade Scale before you sharpen. To do this, slide the top cutter out about half way. Look at the ware pattern; it should be clear, very shiny and on every tooth. If so, this blade was cutting well; it’s just dull. You more than likely will not have to do anything with the tension, even if it feels too light.

Nebraska Blades' Clipper Blade Scale $29.95

If the blade does not have a good pattern, maybe the blade was given to you by mistake; make a test cut to see. If it does not cut, check the tension, it should be about 2.5-3.5 pounds. Are the screws loose? Is the glide shot? If not, now is the time to add tension to the spring. I have used different tools to do this, but Nebraska Blades’ Tension Set Pliers have a special grind with red markings that align with the spring (Figure 2). Also, do not forget to set the sockets at this time. The Tension Set Pliers are also useful for setting the Deluxe Socket Setter, as seen in Figure 3.

Now do all of your sharpening, demagnetizing, cleaning and reassembling of your blades; 97 percent to 99 percent should cut well. Take care of the few that do not by adjusting the tension or re-sharpen if need be, but re-sharpening should be very few.

Applying pressure to the spring with the Nebraska Blades' Tension Set Pliers $17.95

Remember, the range is 2.5-3.5 pounds of tension. This is just a rule of thumb though, I have had blades at three pounds that were iffy, but cut great at 3.5 pounds. Also, some blades were at two pounds or less, but cut very well. Use as little tension as possible, as long as the blade still cuts well. Too much tension will dull the blade, and it may heat up too much (it is also bad for the clipper). If you need to take tension off, you can do this with a screwdriver at the end of the process.

If this is not clear to you, you may want to take a look at the

Another useful trick to setting the socket with the Tension Set Pliers

Nebraska Blades’ Clipper Blade Sharpening DVD. The instructional DVD is just over an hour and half that breaks down clipper blade sharpening. The DVD is $49.95 (plus shipping), or can be purchased as a combo with the Clipper Blade Repair DVD for $89.00 (plus shipping). To order any of our Nebraska Blades products, please call 1-877-643-4885.