Clipper Blades

Mobile Sharpeners: Can Their Sharpening Equipment Get Out Of Calibration Because They Are Mobile?

Yes it can, the calibration does get off when doing mobile sharpening.  I did mobile sharpening in 5 states down here in the south before I went strictly mail-in for 15 years. Even though your equipment is solid in your van or trailer, going over bumps, hitting pot holes,  and going over railroad tracks does vibrate the calibration off. I would check my calibration weekly on my automated blade machine,  and the arm position on my scissor sharpening machines. Most times they were still dead on, sometimes they were off just a couple thousands, but that little variation can cause a scissor to fold at the tips, and blades to fail the rub test (explained later on).

In my sharpening shop, the scissor machines never move, but when I roll my two automated blade machines around to clean or when I change the sharpening plate, I check the calibration of the automated arms. Once in a while I have to adjust, but its nothing like when I was on the road bouncing around all the time. Bad calibration can really shorten the life of the cutting surface of the blade because the hollow ground of the blade isn't centered correctly.

I've taught several sharpeners who purchased the same equipment I use the importance of getting the blade centered on the hollow grind of the plate, and not assume the factory marks on the automated arms were correct. And also to check the calibration weekly of their automated machine. Bumpy roads can be certain death to an automated blade machine, but taking the time to check calibration will prevent alot of very angry customers when the blades start to have issues.

Whats “Hollow Ground” on a blade?

Blades dont have flat surfaces like it seems when you look at them. The cutting surfaces are "Pitched" a few thousands so the tips of the cutter teeth, and the very rear of cutter touch the blade underneath it. This enables the blade teeth to cut like a tiny pair of scissors as the teeth go back and forth across each other. If they were flat, they would snag in the first inch of hair you tried to cut with them. Sharpening plates aren't flat either, they are pitched as well to grind this "hollow ground" as we call it to make the blade work. When the blade is put on the plate to be sharpened, the very center of the blade must be in the center of this pitch. If its past the center, or short of the center, cutting life is shortened.This is where calibration is so important.

 Hollow ground is checked by rubbing a freshly sharpened cutter blade on a flat steel plate (test plate), sharpeners  call this "rubbing the blade out". After you rub it on the plate and turn it over you can see a small shinny area across the very tips of all the teeth, and areas on both sides of the back rail, this shows pretty good hollow ground. If the entire tooth is shinny , its out of calibration too far. If the teeth are shinny on each side but not in the middle of the blade, the calibration is too short. Sharpeners who use a manual sharpening machine (one without automated arms),  have no calibration to check. Creating a good hollow ground depends on holding the blade in their hand with a magnet, and going back and forth across the plate trying to keep the blade as straight as they can. With a manual machine, every blade is sharpened differently, and the variation can be enormous.


Here is a question to ask the sharpener your currently using : "When was the last time you checked the calibration of your equipment"? or "Do you rub blades out to check the hollow ground"? If you get a "NO" for either of these questions, that sharpener has no idea what kind of work they are putting out. The blades may cut good now, but for how long? Another reason to rub blades out is to check if the machine is indeed grinding a hollow ground blade. Sharpening too many blades on a sharpening plate will decrease the hollow ground capability of it, and the blades will be sharpened flat and will not work long  if they work at all. If a sharpener rubs out blades religiously, and sees the shinny area on the tips of the cutter teeth start to come down the tooth, its a signal to change that sharpening plate.

I know this was kinda long, but Im hoping to have some sharpeners as part of my audience, as well as interested groomers. It may actually let a few sharpeners re-evaluate what they are doing to insure they are putting out good work for their customers. Those that are doing this already know what Im talking about and will agree "Its better for YOU to catch a potential problem, and not let your customer catch it for you". Calibration is an important part of the sharpening process, and the customer perspective of our work is something we never want to get tarnished.

Now everyone knows more than me about all this, and its good to know as a groomer what it takes to ensure your blades are sharpened correctly. Knowledge is power!

Have a great day grooming, and read those labels.


What is Clipp-Aid? A Great New Product For Groomers.

Groomers all over the world are asking questions about the new product Clipp-Aid?  Does Clipp-Aid bring dull blades back to life?  Is it harmless when exposed to humans and pets?  With all the chemicals groomers use, is Clipp-Aid safe to use in my salon?  The answer to all these questions is “Yes”.  In this article, I’ll share with you the breadth and thoroughness of my testing of Clipp-Aid over the last few months.  My conclusion is that Clipp-Aid really is a fabulous new product for groomers!

Several months ago, there was a flurry of comments about Clipp-Aid on Facebook and groomer forums.  In response, Clipp-Aid contacted me to try out their product in my shop to get a groomers perspective on the product.  As an Organic Chemist, Blade Sharpener, and Pet Groomer for over 30 years, I was astounded by the results this small bag of crystals did at sharpening a blade well enough that I could continue grooming more dogs after using Clipp-Aid on my dull blades.  It is something groomers need in their kit in case of emergencies.

Clipp-Aid is intended to bring a dull blade back to life again and can be used repeatedly as needed.  Yet, at some point, I would suggest getting your blades professionally sharpened and adjusted by your local sharpener since using Clipp-Aid is not a substitute for professional sharpening.

One thing I noticed when I got the product is the instructions say to "Place the cutting point of the blade into the crystals" then "Move the blade through the crystals for 45 to 60 seconds".  This tells me that you may not be using the product correctly, and you could get discouraged at the results.  Don’t be discouraged!  Clipp-Aid is now aware of this and have revised the instructions that now accompany the sale of its products.  I fold the bag to make sure the depth of the crystals is sufficient to cover the cutter teeth during the sharpening process.

Clippaid1  FOLDED    Clippaid2   CUT OPEN

First off, you have to have the correct bag for the size blade you are going to sharpen.  Thirty years ago, groomers used salt to get by with their dull blades.  At that time, you had to push the blade into the salt (covering the cutter teeth) and let it sharpen until its looks like the salt is pulverized, then pick it out and push it into another part of the salt.  The problem was that it took the whole container of salt to sharpen one blade.  This was because as soon as you put the blade into the salt, the salt instantly pulverized.  This resulted is a slight sharpen before large amounts of salt became useless. That's why we had to keep putting it in, and taking it out to get an edge back on the blade so we could do only a few more dogs.  This was very tedious and far less effective as using Clipp-Aid. 

I believe that Clipp-Aid is a form of concrete that has been crushed and sifted down to the correct size needed to sharpen dull blades.  With Clipp-Aid, you do push the blade into the crystals (covering the cutter teeth), yet the crystals are designed not to pulverize so fast in contrast to salt.  As a result, the dull blades are brought back to life in about one to two minutes with a small amount of Clipp-Aid crystals.  For me, I was able to sharpen two blades twice using a single bag of Clipp-Aid.

Clipp-Aid is 100% safe to use in your salons.  It is an inert compound that doesn't react with anything.  I mixed it with every liquid in my shop looking for a reaction and got nothing. I even put it on a bad scrape that bled when a dog scratched me, and it didn't even burn like many medical products would. It was nice to see the product was completely safe and non-reactive.

Anyway, that's Clipp-Aid in a nutshell. It is very important to use this product correctly in order to get the best results.  Getting the cutter deep enough in the crystals, and bringing it in and out of the crystals is the key to using it properly.  Also, it is a good idea to have a dog standing by so that you can test the sharpness of your blade while using Clipp-Aid.  Check out the 4 simple steps below that I would recommend to every groomer using Clipp-Aid.

Have a great day grooming, and read those labels. 

 

Jeff’s Instructions For Using Clipp-Aid

  1. Get a dog to test your sharpness on. Its best to do it with a dog present so you can test for sharpness as you are running your blade in the crystals. If it isn't sharp on the first try, you run it again in the crystals and try it on the dog again.
  2. Get the bag and tip it on its side and get all the crystals to one side of the bag. You need the "depth" of the crystals. Now fold the bag in half, turn it right side up, and cut the top open.
  3. Get your clipper with the blade on it. Open the top of the package, and slide the folded part of the bag so the opening is large enough to get your blade into it. Hold the bag with one hand, and your clipper in the other.
  4. Make sure your blade is clean of hair or oil. Turn the clipper ON and stick the blade into the crystals making sure the cutter teeth are below the surface of the crystals. Hold it there 5 seconds, pull it out of the crystals slightly and stick it back in. Do this 5 times. (5 seconds - 5 times ). You should see the crystals turning lighter in color. You can slightly shake the bag to mix up the crystals getting more good stuff to the surface.

Conversion between Pet Grooming and Beauty/Barber blades

Have you ever had a blade dull out and you didn’t have another in the same size available? The sharpening hasn’t came back yet and purchasing a blade from a catalogue takes too much time. You start reverse cuts with other blades to accomplish the same cut, and it works but its still not the same as the right blade. There is help available in a place you would never think of and it may be only a ten minute drive from your shop....The Beauty/Barber supply store. The blades at the beauty supply store are actually the same blade your using except they have a different numbering system to their blades. They fit all the pet grooming clippers as well.

Pet Grooming Size             Barber/Beauty Size

#10                                            #0

#15                                           #0A

#30                                           #000 (Cuts like a 40)

#40                                           #0000 (Cuts like a 50)

#50                                          #00000 (For Bald Heads)

#9                                            #1A

#8 ½                                        #1

#7F                                          #1 ½

#5F                                          #2

#4F                                         #3 ½

There are no “Skip-tooth” blades with the Barber/Beauty blades, and your steel guard combs may not fit, but they should. Try them on first at the store to make sure. Their blades look just like ours except the numbers are different on the back. The barber/beauty blades have saved the groomers in our shop alot of frustration during shave down season.

Read Those Labels, anf have a great day grooming

Jeff


New things about the Wahl 5-N-1 blade

REMEMBER TO GREASE THE CUTTER NOTCH 

A customer sent me her Bravura and several blades and complained the clipper was burning up and vibrating during her last groom. On inspection of these items I discovered there was nothing wrong with the clipper, but the blades had been melting while on the clipper.

The cutter notches on both blades sent were melted and rounded out terribly.  I called and told her the clipper was fine (she was relieved), but I also fould out she cleaned the blades in soap and water. Washing them this way is fine, but most soaps will totally clean the blades of any oil and grease.

In the clipper head of your Wahl trimmer there is a round white cam with a silver post sticking out from it. This post sticks in the cutter notch, and as it spins it moves the cutter back and forth on the blade to make it cut. This silver post doesn't spin, its not on a bearing, it just pushes on the inside of that cutter notch and can create alot of friction if its not lubricated. This is what happened to these blades, the friction was so great from not greasing the cutter notch after washing that  the revolving post melted the insides of both cutter notches. Below is a picture of both cutter notches, look closely at the inside of the notches and you'll see how they are melted out.

5n1 cutter1

A 5-N-1 BLADE SPECIAL FOR VETERINARIANS

I received a different looking 5-N-1 blade recently. It had super fine teeth and had only one setting. The customer complained the blade never cut when brand new, and I could see by the tooth spacing it wouldn't go through the coat on many breeds. I called my factory rep and he said they did manufacture these blades for vets and they were for surgery.

I have a couple pictures of this blade below. You can see its not the blade you want to use in regular pet grooming. The first picture compares this vet blade to the fine blade that is commonly used. The second picture shows it has no adjustment lever, it has one setting.

IMG_20130511_135546_268

IMG_20130511_135038_150

I didn't do anything to this blade but test it. It went through my fine test hair but I had to go super slow, and it took the hair down past NOTHING LEFT! This is actually what a vet wants prior to surgery and this blade will do it no problem. If you happen to acquire one of these blades somehow, good luck, its not going to be what your used to using.

Not a long post this time but I wanted to share what can happen if you forget to grease the cutter notch. It can cause friction and hurt the cutter notch, or make you clipper run hot and vibrate. This information is also for sharpeners as well as groomers. Sharpeners can run across these problems from their customers, and now they have answers.

We have a lubrication guide for the 5-N-1 blade on our website, and we return a copy to customers who send us 5-N-1 blades for refurbishing. We refurbish these blades with new parts for $10 each, see the website for more details.

Have agreat day grooming, and please read those labels

Jeff


My Take On Ceramic Blades.

When ceramic blades come from the factory they are perfect. As they are used, the sides of the teeth of the ceramic cutter will get imperfections along the cutting edges. These imperfections tend to create a “saw tooth” on the sides of the ceramic teeth and this causes dragging, snagging, or dullness. If something like a tiny piece of sand, or a knot of hair gets in the teeth of the ceramic cutter it may cause “fragmentation” to the sides of the cutter teeth. This is harder fix. Also, if the ceramic cutter is damaged too much it may never cut properly again and may need replaced, like the tips of the teeth broken off. The best advice is to use ceramic blades on clean combed out dogs, never rough-in dirty dogs using them. The pads of a dogs feet can hold alot of dirt even after a bath, so I suggest using a #40 with a steel cutter. It only takes one grain of sand to cause problems so the blade doesn’t cut right anymore. Oil is also very important with ceramic blades. Remember, ceramic sharpens steel, so letting the ceramic cutter dry out by either not oiling or spraying coolants, will dull the cutting edges of the bottom blade. We all know they run cooler, but oiling is still very very important.

Keeping the ceramic blade clean is also very important. The ceramic cutter is designed different than steel cutters underneath. Get a ceramic blade and slide your ceramic cutter half way out to one side, then turn it over to look at the bottom. You will see behind every tooth there is a "divot", this divot can hold crud. Sometimes when the ceramic blade starts to drag its because there is a buidup of crud in these divots that push the cutter up off the bottom blade. When this happens the blade drags. A good blade care program of oiling and cleaning blades will prevent this from happening, or allow you to fix the problem when it does. Simply scrubbing these divots with a toothbrush in blade cleaner sometimes fixes the problem. There are videos on my website that will show you how to clean blades properly.

To resharpen a ceramic cutter, we have to take enough ceramic material off the bottom of the cutter and get past these imperfections and fragmentations to get the cutter to slice the hair again rather that ripping it. This is done by hand on a diamond surface, and most sharpeners charge a little extra for sharpening ceramic blades for this reason. If the fragmentation of the cutter teeth is too extreme, or the tips of the cutter teeth are broken, trying to resharpen the cutter may be useless and it will have to be replaced. Again, ceramic material is used to sharpen metals, and the ceramic cutter on your blade is no different. As it passes back and forth across the lower blade (metal), it “seats” itself to that metal blade and gets rid of any imperfections. Tension is also very important. Ceramic material is just like glass, so the tension must between 2 ½ to 3# side pressure. Any tighter and the ceramic cutter could shatter just by dropping the blade on your grooming table. We've all done that a time or two. 

Here is a suggestion to try when you get your freshly sharpened ceramic blades back from sharpening or even a new blade out of the package. Instead of running them through fur right away, oil and let them run on the clipper for 30 seconds before the first use. As the ceramic cutter moves back and forth across the metal comb I believe it gets rid of the imperfections of the blade, and the ceramic cutter will “seat” itself to the metal blade below it. Blades seem to cut perfectly when this small break–in period is done. Remember that ceramic blades will need just as much oil, or more oil than steel blades. I know most of you don't have any problems with ceramic blades, but I also know many have nothing but problems with them. So maybe this information can help some of you prevent these problems your having. 

If your having a terrible time keeping your ceramic blades running, why not change them over to steel? You don't need to buy new blades, a steel cutter can replace the ceramic cutter on the same blade no problem. They are alot cheaper than ceramic cutters. and now you will have a blade you can rough in dirty dogs with again.

I hope I didn't make this too complicated, but my audience this time is not only groomers, but a few sharpeners as well. I get many calls from sharpeners around the country who visited my website and ask questions about sharpening blades and shears for groomers. Most times new sharpeners don't have the answers to tell thier customers when ceramic blades fail too quickly. They don't have the experience yet and most have never groomed a dog with one. So maybe with this information they can help thier customers prevent problems with ceramic blades and keep them happy customers. I learned this the hard way, and I want to help so someone else doesn't learn it that way. Confusus said  "Preventing a mess, is better than fixing a mess".

Have a great day grooming, and read those labels!


Stay away from Small Flat Rate Boxes when shipping equipment.

 Small FRB

The Small Flat Rate Box was not intended to jam as many blades and shears inside and ship like the TV commercial says "If it fits-It Ships". WRONG. Let me say from experience that your not saving any money what so ever if equipment gets damaged or lost. We have received 24 blades and two pair of shears in a very over packed SFRB, and they were upset that I wasn't going to ship back to them that way. It's insane trying to save a couple bucks by risking all your equipment.

When you pack blades into any box you have to have the proper "packing" to make sure blades are safe. They can't bang into each other, or they can't bang against a pair of shears during shipment either. The SFRB is small enough where the postal worker is going to throw it into a bin rather than placing it there. If your SFRB is filled and heavy with all that metal, it may burst open when it hits the back of the bin because of the lack of proper packing. The SFRB is constructed of very thin cardboard, its not as thick as the bigger boxes. This alone will invite cracks and splits if its overpacked and dropped or thrown. Remember this, if your box bursts open during shipment, it will probably just get swept up and forgotten. It will not be forwarded in that condition.

To head off any disappointment, pack your equipment properly in a shipping box thats the appropriate size to hold the amount of stuff your sending properly packed. So its not a flat rate box, if you jam everything you can into a SFRB to save a couple dollars, you stand to loose alot more than just the savings on the shipping. Breaking one tooth on a blade during shipment will cost you $20 to replace that blade, you didn't save anything. Getting the right box, or even a blade box to secure those blades will save you money in the long run.

Bladebox_full
Here is a blade box filled with blades. They are safe and will not have broken teeth when the box is dropped or thrown.

 If you insist on using a SFRB, use this as a guide. Use a SFRB when you have 6 blades or less, wrap them real good in bubble wrap and they may be good. Fill in any spaces with packing media so you hear nothing moving when you shake the box. A couple small pair of 6 inch shears is good as well (8" shears are too long). Wrap them in bubble wrap and make sure they are small enough not to poke out the sides. They see that, the box will go no further. Fill in any spaces with packing media as well.

 The SFRB is a very needed mode of shipping for something small, without costing alot of money. Please don't missuse the SFRB by over packing it, it's just not worth it. Use the right size box. Below is the proper box containing blades in a blade box and shears wrapped in bubble wrap. The weight difference between putting this much stuff in a SFRB and the one used below was one pound, and the difference in the shipping costs was $2.70. Isn't it worth $2.70 to make sure nothing gets broke in the mail???

340_right_way_to_pack

I hope these examples will help you feel not so scared to ship equipment for sharpening.

Have a blessed day and read those labels

Jeff

 


Cleaning The Wahl 5-N-1 Trimmer Blade

 

All the Wahl trimmers (Bravura, Chromado, and Arco) use the 5-N-1 blade.  It is durable, quiet running, and can be resharpened successfully. It does have a drawback, if it isn’t cleaned properly it can seem like it dulls out very quickly. These suggestions will help.
    
 Wahl 5-1
 
To start, take the blade off the trimmer and clean the hair out of the “spring deck”. Use your HV or vacuum, but don’t submerse it in blade wash because it will turn messy. 
PIC_0592 
  
  
Many styles of trimmer blades, as well as the 5-N-1, use a wire spring to put tension on the cutter to hold it against the comb (bottom blade). These springs can trap hair between the cutter and comb. When the hair collects enough, it pushes the cutter up just enough to make the blade snag or drag. At this point you will think the blade is dull. Check for hair by looking at the blade from the side. If you can’t see all the way through the blade halves, it is packed with hair as shown. You need to clean the blade.
PIC_0594 
Hair halves 
 
Before sending this blade off to the sharpener, clean any hair trapped under the cutter first. Its simple and could save you the expense of sharpening, or worse yet, throwing the blade away and buying a new one.
Figure 1. Get a small Zip-Tie, or a pipe cleaner, or even a broom straw, Take the Zip-Tie and align it up on either side of the blade at the space between the blade halves. Now get ready to push it through and in-between the blade halves.
PIC_0597 
 
Figure 2. Pushing the Zip-Tie through the blade halves will force hair out the other side. This could be a mixture of hair, pet dander, or a solid form of hair that was melted by either heat or solvents. Cat hair melts at a lower temp than dog hair, so this can clump up real quick under the cutter. Keep plunging the Zip-Tie between the blade halves until your satisfied all the material out from there.
PIC_0595 
 
When your done cleaning the blade this way, look at it from the side again. You should see a clean space between the blade halves now. Put the blade back on the trimmer again and try using it at the fine or medium setting. If it cuts normally again your finished and you’ll know what to do next time it stops cutting. If the blade continues to snag or drag through the coat it may actually be dull. Send it out for sharpening. Several sharpeners around the country do sharpen the Wahl 5-N-1 trimmer blade along with other popular trimmer blades.
 
Another way to clean the blade during a groom is to dip it in blade wash and run it a few seconds or until you feel its clean.
Cat hair tends to melt and cause buildup at a very low temp, you see this on #10 blades if your using one of those to shave a cat. When the 5-N-1 blade starts to snag or drag during a groom, follow these few steps.
 
Step 1. Brush or blow the obvious hair from the front of the blade, it will just float in the blade wash and cause a mess. Turn the trimmer on and gently stick just the tips of blade into the wash. Don’t submerge more than the tips of the blade because its just the tip that does the cutting and gets hot enough to melt the dander on the cutting surfaces. I suggest doing this in the #40 or fine position, this will clean most of the cutting surfaces. Run it until you think its clean or you hear the rpm’s go up a little.
PIC_0599 
 
Step 2. After cleaning, stop the trimmer motor. Bring the trimmer out of the wash and make sure its pointed DOWN. If you tilt it up to take the blade off to clean it off, the wash will run down inside your trimmer and cause problems. While holding the trimmer pointed DOWN, take the blade off with a rag in your hand and wipe it dry. Put a drop of blade oil on the front teeth and try it. If it still doesn’t work make sure there isn’t any hair between the blade halves. If there is, clean it out as previously explained.

Continue reading "Cleaning The Wahl 5-N-1 Trimmer Blade" »


Fixing Clipper Blade Sockets with Bent Ears

Bent socket ears can come from several reasons. The most common is after sharpening when the socket is adjusted, trying to push it on the hinge may bend the ears. The ears are adjusted so the blade fits snug the first time on the hinge. If the blade is slightly crooked when you put it on the hinge, the ears may bend as you try to force it on.

Blade_ears51 

To start, take a pair of pliers and bend the socket back down level with the bottom of the blade. It’s probably bent from you trying to push the blade on and failing because of the bent socket ears that won’t let the blade lock on.  The blade will feel like it’s pushing away from the clipper.

Blade_ears2 

Take the pliers and grab the socket ear as shown. Ever so gently, slightly twist the ear outward as illustrated  by the arrow in the picture. Bend it too much and it will break off so be careful. Bend the other ear in the other direction outward.

Blade_ears31 

If your successful, the socket ears will look normal and the blade will lock on the clipper. These ears can bend in a number of ways, but this procedure is to help you fix the problem and use the blade.

Blade_ears4 

We have see this happen several times where a groomer will get a blade and this prevents the blade from locking on the hinge. It's OK to fix this yourself, it will save time and get you working again. One thing to remember, don't try and force any blade on your clipper until you find out what the problem is. This problem is simple and easy to fix, but you have to know what the problem is.

Be safe, and read those labels!!!
 


New Andis hinge frustrates some groomers getting blades on clipper.

What has changed on the hinge?

The Hinge that fits the AGC, AGR, Ultra Edge, or any model using the hinge/latch combination, you could notice problems getting blades to lock on. The latch is that little black steel thing you press to unlock the blade from the Andis clipper, the hook is on the end of it and it hooks onto your blade socket. To get a blade to lock on the clipper, the latch MUST hook the front part of the blade socket. If not, you can pull the blade away from the clipper which will cause it to rattle, drag, stop cutting, etc. Most groomers are used to the blades automatically locking on the clipper once the hinge is snapped shut. Sometimes, with the new hinge type, this may not happen without changing your technique a little.

Andis Hinges

(Figure #1 in picture)

This is the original Andis AGC hinge we all know and are accustom to using. When you open the hinge lip the latch hook is in the "UP" position. This enables the latch hook to lock on to the front of the blade socket automatically when the hinge is closed with the blade on it.

(Figure #2 in picture)

This is the new style of Andis AGC hinge, it is different in one way. Notice the latch hook is in the "DOWN" position when the hinge lip is open, this could cause problems in locking the blade on when you close the hinge.

The Problem

When the latch hook is always  down when the hinge is open, that hook on the end will hit the sock of your blade near the middle someplace. When it hits there it will never grab on to the front of the socket like its suppose to, it will just hit the socket body.

Latch_1 

Latch_2 

The picture right above shows the problem when the latch is "Down" when the hinge is open, it doesn't lock on automatically most times. It just hits the socket body as shown when you close the hinge and this can cause another problem. If you try to force the blade to lock on, that latch hook can bend the socket forward. If this happens that blade may never lock on any clipper properly because the front of the socket is now too low. (see picture below).

Latch_4 

To fix a socket that is bent down on the front is very easy. Just get a pair of pliers and squeeze the back of the socket until it comes down level again. (see picture below)

Latch_5 

Another problem that can happen by forcing the blade to lock on is the actual breaking of the hook off the end of the latch. (see picture below). If this happens no blade will lock on your clipper and your blades will rattle, corn row, pop off, and just stop cutting all together.

Latch_3 


The solution is simple

If the hinge on your Andis clipper gets replaced by one of these newly engineered ones, you may have to change your technique of putting blades on your clipper.  If they don't automatically lock on when you close your hinge you may have this new hinge type. To prevent any of the problems I described above, you may have to put your blades on using this technique:

1. Put blade on your open hinge

2. Push up on the latch button and hold

3. Close your hinge with the blade

4. Release the latch button, the latch should hook the socket of your blade.

This technique is used by most Laube users every time they put a blade on their Laube clipper. The latch is always in the "Down" position on a Laube hinge, and they have to use the four step method above to lock that blade tight against the clipper body so it won't rattle going 10,000 strokes per minute.

I've tried to explain the problems my customers have been having with the new Andis hinge. Maybe they are going to change back, but until then we may have to change what we do to get the blade to lock on. Hopefully, the pictures helped you understand what causes the problem so you can deal with it better. Now, if your blades have worn or rounded socket fronts, then the latch hook might just pop on by its self and the blade will lock on. If not, your going to have to push on the latch when putting the blade on, and again when you take it off your clipper.

Have Fun, Be Safe, and Read Those Labels :)


Grooming Tools - Why is caring for them more important now than ever.

Pet grooming is the most aggressive form of hair care in the world, and it takes a toll on our equipment as well as our bodies. If your an "Old School" groomer like me, your use to equipment that lasted years and not months. With this in mind, we can't take anything for granted anymore, we may have to work hard at grooming and equipment care equally.  

I don't want to sound repetitive "Blade Care, Blade Care, Blade Care", because it sounds like a broken record. And most importantly, I don't want to make anyone feel stupid, thats not the case and I apologize if I did. But equipment care will really save you money on sharpening and clipper repair. Some folks are doing a great job maintaining their equipment, and I believe that ANY maintenance is better than not doing anything at all. But some folks have no idea where to start, or why is their equipment is breaking down, and why blades stop cutting so quickly. Its an area of grooming they probably never had schooling on and had to wing it themselves. These are the groomers my video's and articles are provided for, and I will help them win the battle of equipment care once and for all. They will be more happy with the operation of their tools, and have one less thing to worry about.  

What exactly is an "Old School" groomer?

I have been making reference to this term for many years and when you break it down to understand it the term makes sense. You may be an Old School groomer and not even know it.

To start off lets go way back in time, to a time when pet grooming started its mechanical innovations, probably in the late 1960's and 1970's. This was the time when the Oster clipper was the undisputed king of the clippers. Double Ducks, Monks, Gators, Fromm, and last but not least, Oster shears were the back bone of the scissor specialists. There were very few styles offered from these shear companies, and everything was very basic. Clipper blades purchased were mainly Oster, and they had the name "Oster" engraved on the blade, and not inked on like it is today. The blades seem to tarnish somewhat, but when they were sharpened we could count on the edge lasting many months with proper care.

Old Schooler's didn't have the luxury of having a mobile sharpener stopping by every month, or doing all the clipper repair they needed. When things got dull everyone mailed out to Oster or Andis to have their stuff sharpened. In time, several other mail-in sharpening services started to open up because the demand was there, and no one wanted to wait 2 or 3 months to get blades back. When you mailed out equipment you knew it wouldn't be back for some time, so you were forced to learn how to take care of the equipment you kept to work with. You cleaned blades every night so the edge would last, sometimes a couple times a day depending on how nasty the dogs were. Shears were wiped clean between dogs and NEVER set in the way where a dog could kick them off the table. Every groomer was more aware of the condition of their equipment, and they had to learn how to fix anything that went bad or you didn't work. 

This was what an "Old School" groomer was all about, and they are still out there working in shops everywhere.  They are easy to spot also, when every other groomer in the shop gives the mobile sharpener 10 blades and 3 pairs of shears, this groomer will only give 3 blades, one shear, and will ask for the parts to fix the minor things wrong with their clipper.  Are you an Old School groomer? Old habits are hard to break!

The grooming business is getting bigger.

Today we all see the progress our industry has made over the last twenty years. It has gone from a 2 million dollar a year business, to a 2 BILLION dollar a year business and that number may be higher yet. More families who have pets are going out and getting a second and even a third pet, plus buying all the accessories. New grooming schools have been started all over the country in hopes of turning out new groomers to meet the need. Corporations have got into the business of pets with the introduction of the "Pet-Somethings" through the 80's, 90's, and 00's. 

Now that the industry has more pets to groom, everything has gone from a normal pace to a fast pace. That means more pets to groom and less time to groom them in.  No one has the time anymore or can make time for this very important part of grooming, equipment care. I feel the clippers and blades are not made as well as they were only a few years ago, and equipment care should be in there someplace everyday just to keep them working.

Going Back To Basics. 

Today we have faster clippers, faster grooms, cheaply made tools, and more dogs then we ever had in the shop at one time, this means our awareness of everything has to be heightened. I'll help you with the information you need about your equipment care, thats my job. Remember how I described an Old School groomer?, we have to be headed back that way when it comes to our blades, shears and clippers or they just wont last. 

Years ago I wrote and article about blade care basics and it surprised everyone that read it because it was filled with "Old School" techniques. These concepts were never mentioned or taught by any grooming school anyone had ever attended that I interviewed. Equipment care was dropped from the schools or time drastically reduced covering it to keep costs down. Read the article and see if it sounds like a good idea to you and if you may want to start a basic program like it mentions. Some care is better than no care.

Article: "Basic Clipper Blade Care" (click to open)

 

Be aware of clipper problems. 

Our clippers are 50% of our cutting system, its not just the blades. If blades don't cut when you get them back from sharpening, its not always the sharpening that caused the failures. So, I've made video's for popular clipper models that will allow you to follow along and check the parts on your clipper at the same time. These video's have helped many groomers who received blades back from a sharpener (me included), when some of the blades didn't cut very well or just dragged through the coat. The size of blades that bring out clipper problems after they get sharpened are #10 blades and #7 blades. If there is anything loose or worn out in your clipper, blades will not cut properly. Just because your clipper isn't that old don't assume everything is OK with it. Clippers are not made the same way they were even 5 years ago. A good rule of thumb is to change your blade drive when you get your blades sharpened. The link below will take you to the video page on my website, once there scroll down to the video that checks your brand of clipper. Get your clipper and follow along with the video and check each component along with it. The files are named :"What to check on your (brand name) clipper if the blades don't cut after they get sharpened". These video's helped many groomers indentify and replace worn clipper parts and made their blades start cutting immediately.

Video: Click here to go to the video page, then scroll down to the video needed.

Again, I'm don't want to make you feel bad if your equipment care isn't what it should be, and I apologize if I come across that way.  If you feel your doing OK with equipment care thats fine, you have a system that works for you. But if your having all sorts of problems and don't know where to start, then my website is a good place to begin. Using one or two of my suggestions could possibly stop needless sharpening and most clipper problems. With my help you can get 3, 6, 9, or even a year out of a sharpening. Those are real numbers and sometimes it takes a workstyle change to accomplish what many are doing already. I get emails regularly thanking me for having such an informative website available. You NOW have a better choice!

Be safe, have fun, and read those labels :)