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A cutting tool will work it's best when it's kept clean, lubricated and most importantly, sharp. In order to sharpen shears that are made of low-carbon steel, use a fine or medium fine single cut flat file. For hardened steel blade shears, use a file or small flat sharpening stone. (see description of how to use sharpening stone below) First, you need to determine just what type of shears you are using.

Types of Shears

1. Pruning Shears: They have a curved cutting blade and a curved square-edged hook.
2. Anvil type Pruning Shears: They have a straight cutting blade and a flat anvil blade
3. Hedge Shears: They have two cutting blades
4. Grass Shears: similar to hedge shears.

How to Use a Sharpening Stone

1. Disassemble shears. One blade at a time, draw it across a flat stone. Make sure to follow the angle of the original bevel. Repeat with second blade. If blades can't be disassembled, see "How to Restore a Damaged Cutting Edge", point 2.
2. Reassemble shears. Make sure to lighten pivot bolt until blades close with a slight drag. If bolt has a spring attached, tighten bolt until best cutting is achieved.

How to Restore a Damaged Cutting Edge

Pruning Shears:
1. Separate blades if possible. Remove pivot bolt, pry off lock switch with screwdriver, remove pin. Secure cutting blade handle in vise. File along blade, following the original bevel. If hook has burrs, remove them.
2. If blades cannot be separated, secure handle of cutting blade in vise. Use a file to sharpen the cutting blade, moving it from the throat toward the tip of the blade in a single motion.
3. Gently file off burrs, if there are any, by using the curved hook.

Anvil Type Pruning Shears:
1. Since they can't be taken apart, secure he cutting blade handle in a vise. Let blades spring open.
2. Move file in a sweeping motion along the bevel of the cutting blade, maintaining the original angle of the bevel.

Hedge Clippers:
1. Secure handle in vise.
2. Lay file flat against the bevel and move it it from throat to blade tip in a single motion. It may be necessary to support tip to keep clippers from moving.
3. Repeat process for opposite blade.

Grass Shears:
1. Disassemble shears. Use sharpening stone one blade at a time. See directions above in "How to Use a Sharpening Stone."
2. If your grass shears can't be disassembled, grip one blade at a time
in a vise. Remember to use cardboard or a rag to protect the blade. 3. Sharpen along the original bevel with a file or small stone. Pull file or stone across the blade away from throat.

With these directions, you should be able to always
maintain sharp, usable shear blades. Happy cutting!