Almost every groomer these days uses comb attachments everyday, most don’t have any problems or issues, and again others have many issues and problems. The most common problems are jamming, skimming, choppy cuts, ect. , so they blame the blade or the sharpening. But there are other reasons these issues happen, its not always the blade or the sharpening.

There is no blade manufacturer out there that is going to warranty a 30 blade to work on a comb attachment, they will manufacture a blade for the height you want to cut. Groomers use combs as a shortcut because they don’t want to spend the money on a blade of the appropriate size because it can be expensive, and a comb is much easier. They are taught this in most grooming schools that I’ve been to.

 Pic of blade     

Example: Lets take a one inch blade. The teeth are spread apart just

perfect to guide coat into the cutting area,

and it feeds perfect because of this tooth space.

 No jamming, no skimming (unless the coat isn’t

tall enough), and the coat is stood up perfectly for

 cutting because of the space between the teeth.

 The long narrow teeth of the blade help feed it

into the single cutting teeth of the cutter.

Now lets look at the 30 blade on a comb.


Pic of blade and comb


 Now lets look at the 30 blade on a comb. The teeth on the comb are spread apart too

 wide which doesn’t guide the coat properly. This can make the coat flop around and bend

 over on the way to the cutting surfaces.  And, the 30 blade doesn’t offer space

 between the teeth wide enough for proper feeding of the coat. This is why they get

  skims, choppy cuts, ect. Also, the chemicals in the coat at the time along with how dry

  the coat is makes a difference on the feeding into the 30 blade. A vac system may help stand

  the coat up and hold it as the blade is pushed through the coat. Those that have vac systems

don’t seem to have the issues as those that don’t have them.

As you can see by the picture above, a 30 blade on a comb could have problems waiting to happen. When a problem does happen, the groomer blames the blade, the sharpening, and I've seen them send a new blade back because it didn’t cut on a comb. What I suggest to anyone is to test a new or sharpened blade on the body, then put the comb on. If it cuts without a comb, and doesn’t with the comb, its not the blade.

The 30 blade, whether is regular or wide, is suppose to leave the coat 1/16th to 1/8th inch in length, that’s all. It wasn’t made to cut high in the coat because it doesn’t feed properly that way. Its made to cut coat low where the hair follicles are thick and stiff and it can feed properly. Cutting high in the coat where the hair is thin and can flop around is what causes issues. The people who make the combs are telling you to use a 30 blade, and they usually endorse the brand of 30 blade of the same name brand as the comb set. Blades will never say OK to use on a comb.

Most grooming schools don’t teach much more about grooming tools than how to use them. There is a lot more to their tools they should know, and that’s the mechanics of the tools themselves, this is how they work. And because of not knowing the mechanics,  groomers don’t understand things that can happen  and how to figure things out and what to look for, they just call the sharpener. But if they knew the simple mechanics and how to look for things that can affect how the system works, they might be able to fix simple problems and get back to work.

“When you use a blade for a reason it wasn’t meant to be used for, you can have issues. If your going to use a blade on a comb, test it on the body someplace the  first time to make sure it cuts (like skim on the belly). If it cuts without a comb on, but doesn’t cut with a comb on, its not the blade. Its something else completely.”  

Now I will say this from over 35 years experience beating my head against the wall over this same issue in my own grooming shop, the blade may play a small part in the issues. When a blade gets sharpened, or is new, or has been in service a while, or is not taken care of well, that blade can have a different tension to it. When a blade is sharpened, its adjust to 2 ½ to 3.0 pounds side pressure. Sharpeners have a gauge, but that’s a wide spec, and the difference within that spec could make a big difference in how that 30 blade cuts on a comb. The 30 blade will cut great by its self, but with a comb, the difference in tension may not let it cut well in that coat with a comb attached to it. Suggestion: Change 30 blades until you find one that cuts in that particular coat on a comb. Remember, your using a 30 blade for something it wasn’t designed to be used for, so there are no rules on how its suppose to cut. Hopefully, it cut before you put that comb on it.

Here are some other reasons that could influence a 30 blade not cutting on a comb. These happened to me using plastic combs years ago.

- Clipper issues. Worn out blade drives or levers, loose hinge screws, wrong speed.

- Thick curley  or fluffy coats. Remember the comb teeth are too wide to direct coat

- No Vac system. The vac system can stand fluffy or curley coats straight up more.

- Damp coats. If there is any moisture in the coat, some coats won’t feed right.

- Chemicals. Mat busting stuff, combination conditioners can make the coat slick

- Pushing too hard can make the coat skim or jam. Coat has nowhere to go!.

You can go to another blade if you still have issues. A #9 blade, and a # 8 ½ will fit the comb, try these. They have larger space between the teeth and can help feed. Remember, you can use any blade on a comb that fits it, there is no law says you have to use a #30 blades, its just a suggestion. These blades will fit and I've used them all on a comb. #30, #15, #10, #9, and # 8 1/2




There a misconception about D series blades cutting for 6 months no matter how you take care of them...WRONG! The D series blades are no different than your regular A series blades that fit your regular clipper, if you don’t clean and oil them properly they will dull prematurely.

The biggest problem with D series blades not cutting is the clipper themselves and you don’t even realize it. There are D series cordless clippers on the market that use NiCAD/NiMH batteries as a power source. These batteries could be questionable batteries to use in a cordless clipper for several reasons.

1. These batteries could get a power memory very easy. Once this memory is reached, the power starts to go down in the battery quickly. The torque could go down as well, torque is what holds speed up.

2. Keeping the clipper with these batteries in the charger when not in use could damage the cells of the battery. Its best to use the clipper until the battery depletes all the power, then put it in the charger, and take it out when fully charged. WHY? Because some can’t take continuous charging, it can melt the cell membranes and lower the life of the battery. This is how the memory is put in these types of batteries.

The best rule of thumb is, no matter what your manual says, if its a NiCAD or NiMH battery don’t leave it cooking in the charger all the time when your not using it. Don’t use it for a short time and put it back in the charger, charge it only when its goes dead and don’t overcharge.  Some chargers for these batteries are very cheap and most only have a red and green light on them. When the green light comes on it may not shut the charging completely off, current can still trickle into the battery causing cell wall damage.

When the power in the battery starts to go down, the speed of some clippers goes down. This can cause problems with the blades cutting. They can go through coat fine for a short time and then start to drag or snag.  With cordless clippers using NiCad/NiMH batteries, the speed  and torque of the clipper could slow down ever so slowly that you may never notice it until blades start having issues. You may have sent blades off for sharpening because you thought they were dull or dulling, but it could have been the clipper.

How do we fix this problem?

Most problems with batteries are caused by the customer overcharging them. They can last years if charged properly, but most manuals do not cover good charging practices. In my opinion, Lithium batteries should follow good charging practices also.

You can also buy a corded D series clipper. Northern Tails sells a corded D series clipper.

If your set on a cordless D series clipper, our advice is to wait until a Lithium based unit is available. Lithium batteries are more forgiving and usually can power the cordless clipper longer before recharging is needed.

Here at Northern Tails Sharpening, we have been resharpening D series blades since the late 90’s when they were first introduced. We test each blade on actual fur to make sure it cuts, and we use a CORDED D series clipper. WHY? Because the speed is steady and doesn’t fluctuate like it does on some cordless models.

So, if you just got D series blades back from us and they drag or snag, the problem most likely is on your end because they cut on our corded clipper through fur.  They may keep having issues until you get new batteries or a new charger for them. Remember there are corded models that run so much better.

This is just our opinion from years of dealing with D series equipment.

We also have a YouTube page with video's on how to take care of your D series equipment and many other video's on equipment care. Click on or copy/paste this link:…/UCo7huJ-_v8TkAzxeklk-YtQ/videos 

Have a great day grooming and stay healthy