Product Information


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

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


New diamond carbide nail grinding wheel makes cardboard wheels obsolete.

Wheels 2

Introducing the last nail grinding wheel you will buy for a while.

 This is a diamond impregnated carbide wheel that replaces the paper wheels your putting on your Dremmel to grind nails. It fits on the mandrel your currently using on your Dremmel, and they don’t break apart. This wheel is washable, and you can grind nails right in the tub to keep the dust down when the nails are softer. You can use it on dogs, cats, horses, any reptile, and even birds. One unique thing about this wheel is, if the nail has rough edges after clipping, this wheel wont splinter the nail like the paper wheels do sometimes. It leaves a very smooth finish without the vibration the paper wheels are known to do that scares the animal. There is no sand to come off in your face, and they won't bust apart on big dog nails. This is the perfect wheel if your grinding cat nails. When the paws are went or covered with snow, thats not a problem. This wheel will grind nails with the pads wet or dry because water actually helps the grinding. Since they are metal, they can get warm doing big dogs. To cool, just turn the Dremmel off and stick the wheel right in a glass of water, try that with paper wheels.

Its not as expensive as you might think when you compare the wheels you use now and the time they break apart when your doing a nail. This wheel has been going over a year in our shop, and we clean it regularly. Just hold the wheel under a small stream of water in the sink and scrub with a toothbrush.

I've sold hundreds of these wheels on Facebook, my website, and while sharpening my customers all along the Gulf Coast. No one will ever use a paper wheel again, this product is that good! You can buy these wheels in a couple places. The Barter Page (pet grooming) on Facebook, my sales website, and several mobile sharpeners have them as well

The going price for this wheel is $20, and that includes the mandrel. Its always good to have an extra mandrel, I've bent a few from having the Dremmel kicked out of my hand. If you add up all the wheels you use in a year you would be shocked, close to $100 in most cases. And when your out of them, they are hard to find because other groomers in the area are looking for them as well. You can have a wheel that won't wear out, bust apart, or throw sand in your eyes anymore.

For information, you can go to my product sales website

Have a great day grooming, and most of all, read those labels and product manuals.


New things about the Wahl 5-N-1 blade


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


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.



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


Having trouble with cords shorting out all the time?

There seems to be alot of groomers with cord problems recently. Many think the cords are made of junk, but really they are not. All the twisting and pulling on the cords during a groom can break the wires on the cord right where the cord enters the clipper body. Then as you move the clipper around during a groom its starts to short out momentarily which can drive you insane. There is an "Old School" trick you can use that saved our cords from breaking and shorting out. In fact, once we did this little trick we never had a cord problem again unless a dog bit through it.

If your clipper has stiff a "hanger" on the back like Andis or Wahl your in luck. Swivel hangers like on LAube and Oster clippers aren't rigid enough to do this trick properly, but it can be done. All it takes is a zip-tie! You zip-tie your cord to your clipper hanger to prevent the cord from bending or twisting at the clipper and it won't break. Thats where the break in the cord is usually at....right where the cord enters the clipper. So when you prevent it from bending in the thick part of the cord where it goes in the clipper, and force it to bend where the cord is flexible, it won't break. We did this to all our Andis clippers a few years back and haven't had a cord problem since. Below is a picture of an Andis clipper, and a Wahl clipper with the cords "zip-tied" to the hanger.

Clipper hangers

Now your thinking "If I zip-tie the cord to my hanger, I won't be able to hang my clipper up anymore" Don't worry you still can. We use a "key ring" from the hardware store that cost less than a dollar. We thread it though the hanger like you would a key and it gives us a better hanger to hang the clipper up with. Below is a picture of a 1 1/2 inch key ring.

Key ring

Just attach this key ring on the hanger, either side of the cord that is zip-tied to it, and your good to go. Hope this helps with your breaking cords all the time.

Have a great day grooming and read those labels!

Cordless Clipper Battery Charging (Do's and Don'ts)

When we buy a new cordless clipper, most forget to read the fine print in the instruction manual, or forget to read the manual altogether. We look at the convenience of things we get for our shops and cordless clippers are at the top of the list. 

Even though the manual says you can leave the handset in the charging stand all the time, or the batteries never obtain a memory and can’t be over charged, don’t believe it!

We summerized what we’ve learned with external batteries, internal batteries, and charging techniques that saved us from experiencing dead batteries and burned up handsets over the years. Take caution over convenience and you’ll be OK. 

No matter what the manufacturer states, or what kind of battery you have, there is a chance you will have trouble with it if you over-cook the battery with charging. You will get a longer battery life and running time of your clipper by a simple technique change, It involves a little more work, but its worth it to have your clipper running when you need it.

This new technique can be applied to cordless trimmers, as well as A5 cordless clippers.


When you get your new cordless clipper chances are the batteries will have a charge in them. How much we don’t know, but I think the first initial charge of a battery is important to the life of the battery. So I ran the charge out of the battery by running the clipper until it was completely dead. You won’t hurt a thing by running your clipper without a blade on it. My clipper ran about 10 minutes and the motor slowly came to a stop. If you have external batteries, do this for each battery. Dont rely on a button on your charging stand that says it will deplete the charge in the battery. It most likely doesn’t drain it like running the clipper would. 

Now put the battery or clipper in the charging stand (or hook up the power cord) and start the intitial charging. This first charge is very important, only charge the battery(s) until the indicator says its fully charged, then stop charging the battery. Even though the manual says the charger will automatically stop charging when its fully charged, dont believe that. Take the battery completely out of the charger, you know that stops the charging. If charging continues, it can over-cook the battery causing cell damage and it may not hold a charge very long. With your batteries all charged up, your ready to start grooming. 

Running Your Clipper

You use your clipper now as you would any clipper. Lets say you’ve been running it for a while and your done with the job your using it for, What do you do now? You want to put it back on the charger like the manual says you can do, should you? I wouldn’t. Replacing the handset or battery back in the charger after short runs where the battery doesn’t have the charge depleted is what causes “memory” in your battery. That battery was designed to let that clipper run for a long time, but you can teach the battery that it only needs to run for short periods of time. I’m assuming the battery cells adjust themselves to run for short periods because they start to act that way.  This is why you think the batteries aren’t holding a charge very long or are bad. Once they get trained this way (memory), there is no training them to hold a charge longer, at least in my experience. 

Here is what I started to do with my cordless trimmer when I first got it. It has an internal battery, a charging stand, and a power cord that attaches to it so it can run on house current. In the five years I’ve used it before writing this article, I’ve have had no problems with battery life, charging, or any hot handset problems.  

•  I set up the intial charging like I stated above. I ran the clipper until the battery was dead then charged it until it was fully charged and stopped the charging process.
•  I ran the clipper for several grooms and never put it back in the charger. I wanted to run the clipper until there was no charge left in the battery. This actually took a long time to complete, I was surprised how long.
•  When the charge was gone and the clipper stopped during a groom, I hooked up the power cord and finished the job. If your using external batteries, change the battery and finish the job, then charge the dead battery. Keep the fresh battery in the clipper and use it until the charge is completely gone before changing that one.
•  I left the power cord hooked up to the clipper until it was completely charged, then disconnected it. I never leave the power cord hooked up, or the handset in the charging base when I’m not using it. I only charge the battery when there is no charge left in it, then only charge it long enought to get it fully charged again.

If you change what your doing now, and do what Im doing, you may not have battery problems anymore.

Have a great day grooming, and read those labels!


Why is there a space between the blades of my shears?

On some shears there is suppose to be a noticable space, this is called the "Set". On beveled edge shears, it enables the shear to "Slice" the hair. Without it the hair may fold. As you open and close a beveled edge shear, you can look down through this space and see the blades only touch in one place along the blade as the shear blades open and close. This gives the beveled edge shear that powerfull slicing ability which is what most groomers want. The beveled edge is the work horse of the grooming industry, you use this edge to rough in dirty dogs or general grooming. It costs less to sharpen shears with this edge. Below is a picture of the space between the blades of a beveled edge shear. Note the small angle on the cutting edge?

Bevelled gap

The next type of shear to talk about is the Convex Shear. These shears still have a space or "set", but its very very small. It would be difficult to get a piece of paper to slide between the blades.

The convex shear cuts hair completely different than the beveled edge shear, it chops rather than slices. Why? Because the convex shear edge is a razor rather than a slicing bevel. The edge is so sharp it doesnt have time to slice, so it takes all the hair off with one wack. You shouldn't feel hair cut with a convex edge its that sharp, when you do, and it starts to push the hair, its time for resharpening. Groomers get the best finish using convex shears, and you use them on clean combed out dogs only. Any dirt or knots in the coat can cause the convex shear to dull or pit the edge, then they fold.

One note about convex shears, just because they have the convex edge doesn't mean its good. Today many manufacturers are putting the convex edge on low grade cheaper shears, to me the metal isnt hard enough to hold this edge over time. Example, if you buy a shear for $50 and it has a convex edge, chances are that edge will round out in two weeks because the metal of the shear isn't top quality. A top quality shear you'll spend some good money on and the metal is good enough to hold this edge for months. I recommend that if you having trouble keeping a convex edge cutting on your $60 shears, why not have the sharpener put a small beveled edge on it next time. That edge will cut for months on these cheaper shears. Replacing a convex edge on a shear can range from $10 to $25 becuase they are honed to sharpeness rather than ground to an edge.

Below is a view of the space between the blades of a convex shear, there is barely a space. The only space it needs is for the blades to pass each other without binding, they need to be close together. If you loosen the tension of a convex shear or thinner too much, the blades will grab each other about an inch from the pivot screw. If this happens, dont keep using it, it needs to be honed again.

Convex gap

I posted this information for groomers, as well as new sharpeners, so you know the characteristics of both styles of shears. Some folks buy shears and really don't know any more about them except they cut hair. There is a big difference, beveled edge shears are for general grooming, convex are mainly for finish work. Sharpeners sometimes get calls from very mad groomers after they get thier shears back from sharpening and say "When I got my shears back from you there was a space between the blades, it wasn't there when I sent them to you". Yes ,it was there when you sent them, you just didn't know why. So now everyone knows the space between the blades of a beveled edge shear is supposed to be there and why its important to the way it cuts.

I hope this helped you in some way make decisions on shear purchases and what you'll be using them for in your shop. Another question I get asked is "Whats a good lubricant for shears"? In my opinion, you don't have to get special lube for them, you can use something you may already have.....blade wash! Good blade wash has several good uses for shears. First, its a lube, most good blade washes have liquid silicon in them, so does spray coolants. Secondly, they have a solvent in them. This solvent can break down the pet dander and small hair that accumulates around the pivot screw in your shear that can tighten the tension over time. When a shear slows down try the blade wash before loosening the pivot screw. When you loosen the screw it changes the way the shear cuts. To apply blade wash to your shear pivot do this. Get a Q-tip and stick it in the blade wash to moisten. Point the tips of your shears up and open them enough to have one blade straight out to one side. Now take the Q-tip and press it against the blade still pointing up so the blade wash drips down into the pivot. Open and close the shear rapidly and you should feel it naturally loosen up for you. If you open them wide again you may see some dark stuff moving out of your pivot area, this is the stuff that collected there and tightened your tension.

Have a great day grooming, and please read those labels :)



Why do switches on clippers go bad and/or burn up?

Switches have been upgraded from a simple toggle switch, to switches that regulate voltages and have circuit boards that are fragile.

Look at the old Oster switch of yester year, it was simple. The voltage came in at 115 volts AC, and you turned the clipper on with a simple toggle switch. The clipper came on and you were grooming.

Oster switch

 The Oster switch above was simple, you could leave it plugged in all the time with no worries of voltage surges. We used to hook boosters upto our Oster clippers and make them run faster, some of you remember these days. And if the clipper didn't run hot enough to burn the palm of your hand, you thought it wasn't running good and needed repair. Those were the days!

The Changes in the clippers today!

Today, its a whole new ballgame. Clippers don't run on normal house current anymore, most run on DC voltage and its converted right in the clipper with circuit boards on the switch.

Andis switches

As you can see by this collection of Andis switches, they consist mainly of circuit boards and wires. They take normal house current and convert it to DC voltage so the motor runs with more torque and more efficiently. All brands of clippers have circuit boards now so you can't get away from them. They can last forever, but fail if certain criteria are met. Let's look at this criteria.

Why clipper switches with circuit boards fail?

1. Dropping the clipper.

No matter what clipper you have you can crack a circuit board by dropping it on the floor. The boards are actually fragile, and can do wierd things when cracked. They can let the clipper run good until you shut if off, then it wont come on. If you break a certian capacitor off the board (Andis), you will only have the low speed. The high speed is controlled electronically with this capacitor. Some of you think its a battery when you hear something rattling around inside the clipper.

2. Voltage spikes or irregularities.

All switches have an incoming voltage range they operate successfully in, the norm is about 112 volts to 125 volts AC. Above or below this voltage range can burn up components on the switch circuit board. Here is a big example: Your clipper is plugged into the same line your dryers are plugged into. Not the same recepticle, but the same line hooked up to the same circuit breaker in your electric box. When you turn a dryer on, it uses about 20 amps to start the motor, then drops back to its operating amps of about 10-15 amps. Bigger the dryer, the more amps it takes to start. The problem is when the dryer amprage falls back from 20 amps at startup, to 10 amps running, it throws a little spike in the electricity. This spike can be 120 volts AC,  or 130 volts AC (we don't know). This little spike is what blows resistors on your switches circuit board. The resistors can take alot of punishment, but one day they won't and thats when it blows. Your clipper will probably run until you shut it off. This doesn't happen all the time, but it can.

Low voltage is just as bad on switches. A customer of mine who is a mobile groomer had problems with switches failing monthly. Her unit ran off a generator, and she had a large dryer plus an air conditioner running all the time. When she used her clipper, she said it ran slower than when she used it in the house. This is another bad thing. The circuit board has resistors that can blow if the voltage is on the low side 105 volts to 112volts AC. The switch trys to compensate the DC voltage its trying to put out that runs the clipper, and it just fails. I suggested a Universal Power Supply (UPS) so she could plug just her clipper into it. The UPS system has batteries inside that raise the voltage to 115 volts AC when its low, and cuts off the peaks when the voltage gets above 122 volts AC coming into the unit. She never had a problem with switches after that.

3. Lightning, plus surges and brownouts from your electric company.

We all know lightning can burn up about anything when it strikes, but it can also produce small surges that the electric company can't ground out before it reaches your clipper. In my shop one night we had a storm with lightning, and when we came in the next day a clipper smelled like it was burning when we turned it on. A surge had come into the shops electric line and went through the switch of the clipper and melted some windings in the armature. How that happed I can't figure out without blowing the switch in the process, but it did. I replaced the aramature and the problem was fixed, and the switch is still working good. Leaving clippers plugged into the wall overnight can have problems the next day from spikes or brownouts in the line. Even though the clipper is turned off, voltage can jump that brass slide switch and do harm to the components of that switch. We use a power strip now with a surge protector on it ($13.00 at home depot). The surge protector will blow if something comes in the line, and this disconnects any power to the recepticles of the power strip. Its worth looking into.

My suggestions to help keep your clippers running.

A. Get and use a power strip with a surge protector.If you don't know, or your not sure the status of the electrical outlets, and what circuit breaker is controlling what, get one. Corporate grooming salons have problems because they build the store first, then put the salon in a corner where they have room left. The electric circuits are already laid down and won't be changed. So if the outlets in the grooming salon are on the same circuits as the dryers in the back, you may have problems. Even in your own shop, if the clipper is changing speeds when you turn a dryer on, it can help and so could a UPS. And when you go home just turn the strip off to keep surges from the electric company doing any damage if you shut the strip off. I'd even put your shop refrigerator on a strip because the compressor can fry if a surge comes in.

B. If your mobile, get a UPS system. All generators have different voltage outputs, don't assume its perfect 115 volts AC. In my mobile sharpening unit I have a small volt meter on both the incoming voltage from the generator, and one on the output voltage of the UPS. And there is a BIG difference!! My blade machine takes 15 amps to start, and with my air running it will make the UPS beep. When this happened I got a larger generator so it wouldn't drop power so bad. As a mobile groomer you may have the same problems. If you turn your air on, then your dryer, maybe a clipper vac, and your UPS keeps beeping, your generator isn't large enough. Your UPS is telling you the voltage is too low and it will compensate until the batteries it go dead.

**** While Im on the subject of generators for mobile groomers I'll give you an example that happened to a local mobile groomer who had these problems. It's a guy, and when he got his unit it came with a generator in the back. The unit came with a Handy Vac, a HV dryer, and the unit had a Coleman top mouted air conditioner. He did get a UPS because he did his invoicing with a laptop computer, and that was a very smart move. When he turned the HV on, or the Vac system on with the air running the UPS would beep one time. This is normal I told him, mine did it as well. Thenhe bought an 850 Double K dryer so he could get faster and do more dogs per day. When he turned that thing on the UPS system started to beep and kept on beeping until he either turned the vac or the air off. I don't know the size of the onboard generator but it needed to be replaced if he kept the 850 in line. His unit was a trailer and he pulled it with a truck.

The very next time I was there sharpening we talked about generators and I told him about my problem and new generator that was in the back of my truck. He wanted to test my generator because he seen what I had running inside so we did. When I shut down, he ran a cord over to my generator, and he started all his equipment in his trailer. He was shutting down things and started them back up and his UPS never made a sound!!!!  So he went to Lowes and bought the Troy-Built 7000 XP which has 15,000 watts of cranking power. He set it in the back of his truck like I did and everything has been fine. The generator cost about $850, so not a bad deal and Lowes are everywhere. I think with an "all-in-one" unit your limited on generator space, so you have to contact your dealer for a more powerfull powersource. Enough on generators *****

C. Try not to drop your clipper.The hardest thing to do is NOT set your clippers on your table under a dog, I know this too well! The most innocent dog can accidently kick your clipper and you have a 50/50 chance of it working properly when you pick it up off the floor. Its a lifestyle change to remember to not do that, and here is what I did because I had room. I set up a little stand next to the table that held the blades I was using, oil, scissors, and a small bowl of bladewash. The first week I had to think every time I set the clipper down to actually put it on that stand. It took about a month to curb my habit, but now if I work in the shop the first thing I do is locate that stand. I don't groom without it, and its my suggestion to you if you can try that. It costs money to fix clippers and scissors, so a little prevention can really help.

Thats my take on the subject of clipper failure. I know it was long, but again my audience is not only groomers, but sharpeners as well. I get alot of phone calls about this subject and most are from sharpeners who really don't know why clippers do what they do, they just fix them. So if this information can help their clients as well as groomers who read this, its a win/win all around. NOTE: The voltages I described in the text came from several different places in my research. They all listed different voltages for the same components so I just took an approximate. They may be a little off, but my intent was the meaning behind them and the points I was trying to get across, so excuse me on that.

I hope you all have great days grooming, and read those labels