By Jeff Andrews
Gritty blades are the result of the sharpener not taking the time to clean the blade thoroughly after it’s sharpened. Grit sticks to a blade after it’s taken off the sharpening wheel, because it’s “magnetized” from the metal-to-metal contact on the spinning wheel. The majority of sharpeners just use a paint brush to clean away the grit from both sides of the blade and call it good. That is far from good enough!
Grit hangs up in the spaces between the teeth and along the inside of the cutter blade and the rails. Just using a paint brush to brush it away quickly will not get it all, especially if the blade hasn’t been “demagnetized.” Everything will seem okay until some form of liquid is applied to the blade like oil, blade wash, disinfectant, or coolant. The grit then starts to break away from its hiding places and gets on your cutting surfaces and contact points to make a black mess. If you see it, it can be cleaned off, but the real problem is this: “The same grit that
sharpened your blades could dull them in seconds.”
We use a completely different process to clean blades after sharpening.
First brush, demagnetize, air blow, and then blade wash.
First, we brush the obvious grit from the blade, run the unassembled blade over a demagnetizer, then finally take an air gun to blow away any grit that may be left on the blade. We pay special attention between the teeth, along the rails, and the underside of the cutter. When we are done, there is no black grit left on the blade to make a mess later, or worse yet, quickly dull your blade or cause a black streak on the dog. It takes a little more time, but like groomers, we want clean blades too!
Jeff Andrews is a World Class Sharpener and owner of Northern Tails Sharpening, Inc. He is an author and pioneer of many equipment maintenance videos and how-to articles that are appreciated by groomers worldwide at no cost. Jeff is a member of NDGAA, IPG, and NAPCG, and still grooms at his shop in Mobile, AL. 251-232-5353 www.northerntails.com