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Sharpening Pruners and Loppers

Martha Stewart Living, October 1997

Sharp blades on pruners and loppers help to cut branches cleanly, allowing plants to heal more quickly. Seasonal cleanup and pruning take a toll on blades. Keep pruners, secateurs (shears), and loppers working smoothly by periodically regrinding the edges with a sharpener like the English-made Multi-Sharp.

1. Open the tool wide, and secure it to your workbench with bungee cords or clamps.

2. Screw the sharpener's base onto the back of the blade. The sharpening stone is attached to a long arm that slides through any of four holes in the base; to select the correct hole, eyeball the angle of the blade’s cutting edge, and place the arm in whichever hole allows the stone to be inclined at the same angle as that edge.

3. To regrind the edge, slide the stone back and forth across the blade so that the arm slides in and out of the hole; keep the stone wet as you work. After a few minutes, you will notice a little burr of shirred metal developing along the underside of the blade.

4. When you are finished (it will take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on the dullness of the edge), turn the tool over, and quickly slide the stone over the edge to remove the burr.