Linda M., South Burlington, Vermont
Among items that benefit from occasional sharpening are scissors, knives, garbage disposals, lawn mower blades, pruners, hedge shears, shovels, hoes, grass clippers and machetes.
Tool sharpening is usually a good value. Top-rated pros told our team that their charges are often $10 or less per item. One said that a new turbo saw blade costs $55, but he can sharpen one for $7.
A sharp tool provides a cleaner cut, while a blunt or dull one may rip or tear. This is important for pruning and shearing; a clean cut helps a plant heal faster. Also, keeping your lawn mower blade sharp will prevent grass from ripping or tearing, which can stress your lawn and make it harder for it to bounce back from pest infestations or drought.
How often you should sharpen implements and blades depends on how often you use them, experts say. Many tools are fine with annual sharpening. Lawn mower blades should be sharpened at the start of the mowing season, but more frequent sharpening — as often as every eight to 10 mows — is even better. Hedge trimmers ideally should be sharpened a couple times a year.
There are three basic types of blade maintenance techniques:
To help tools and blades keep their edge:
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