Repair

How To Prevent Cord Problems on Clippers With Voltage Converters

Some groomers have been experiencing cord problems with clippers having voltage converters on the end of the cord. These converters convert 120 volts AC to DC current that runs your clipper. DC motors have more torque and seem to hold speed better in tough coat. Because of the extra weight of some of these cords, they break and short out right behind the clipper. If the converter is pulled from the wall socket and hits the floor, components inside can break and cause the cord to fail as well. You can prevent these situations from happening with a few modifications you can do yourself.

The Cord

The cord can short where the thick part goes into the clipper. This thick part of the cord is called the “Stress Relief”. It is suppose to be stiff and make the cord do the bending out past the stress relief where the cord is thinner. But with the twisting and turning groomers do these days, that can cause this cord to start shorting right behind the clipper. I have found by using a “zip-tie”, and zip-tying the cord to the hanger in the back, it keeps the cord from twisting behind the clipper. Doing this makes the cord twist and bend out where the cord is smaller, and that’s what it was designed to do. Look at the example in the picture, and zip-tie your cord the same way. If you need the hanger to hang your clipper, get a key ring and run it through the hanger and hang your clipper from it.

IMG_20141014_113714_826

 

The Converter

Another issue with this cord, and any other clipper having a voltage converter on the end where you plug it in, is the cord becoming “Dead”. These converters, even though they are small, are packed with components. If you accidently pull this converter out of the wall and it hits the floor, the chances of one of these components breaking is great, thus the cord will become dead, and no electricity will go to the clipper. Below is a picture of the inside of the voltage converter.

IMG_20140921_111557_623

 

As you can see, there is quite a bit of electronics packed into this small box, and it doesn’t take that big of a whack to break something inside if its pulled from the wall socket and it hits the leg on your grooming table. The solution? Get a power strip, and set it on the floor, then plug your cord with the converter into the power strip. It can’t fall from the floor, and you just saved yourself the expense of a new cord and sending it off for repairs.
In conclusion, if you zip-tie your cord now before it starts to short out, and get a power strip to plug it into and set it on the floor, I think your problems will be over.


As always, read all your labels and manuals, and have a safe day grooming!

Jeff


Scissor Care That Every Groomer Can Do

When you get new shears, or shears back from the sharpener, they are adjusted to cut. We at Northern Tails service Pet Groomers only, and we adjust shears they way we want them to cut focusing on the tips and the front end of the shear.

The adjustment for tension (or balance as some call it), is a screw or thumb wheel on the pivot of the shears. Beveled edge shears are adjusted to where the blades grab about ¾ an inch from the tip. This enables the blades to slice from the pivot all the way to the tips. If tension isn’t set like this on beveled 10” shears, the blades may push apart from one another in thicker coat and fold at the tips. There is a space between the blades of beveled shears that has to be there, this gives this shear the “slicing” action it needs to get through tough coat with ease. This type of edge is the workhorse of the grooming industry and can be used on any type of coat. This edge lasts for months unless you drop them or hit something in the coat and create a nick.

Convex shears have a different edge all together. This edge is a razor, and is also sharpened differently. Convex edges are honed on both sides, first on the diamond wheel to create the edge, then honed on the interior of the blade to make that edge a razor. Convex shears have little or no space between the blades because they are so sharp they “chop” through hair rather than slicing to produce a beautiful cut used in finish work. Tension is adjusted to where the blades start to grab 1/3 to ½ way down from the tips keeping the blades as close as possible to each other. If the tension is too loose on a convex shear two things can happen: the blades may grab ¾ of an inch from the pivot creating a gouge, and they can fold hair at the tips.

Note: The tension adjustment is for adjusting the way the shear cuts, its not for the convenience or ease of the way the shear opens and closes. Tension can be adjusted a little, but if its adjusted so the shear feels loose to you because of hand or scissoring problems, thats not good because they may fold at the tips. There are shears available with ball bearings in the pivot. This type of shear feels loose no matter what the tension is adjusted at.

CLEANING YOUR SHEARS

Cleaning shears

Clean your shears daily. Wipe all the hair from the inside of the blades, this attracts moisture which can rust your shears. If the blades have grime or hairspray on them, take a Handy Wipe and rub all this off. Never leave shears dirty because it will cause problems down the road.

LUBRICATION

Lubing shears

Lubricate shears with shear lube only, it contains silicon and a light solvent. Not lubricating can cause the screw to rust and not stay tight. There is moisture in your pivot from scissoring, lube gets rid of it. Not lubing can cause tiny pieces of hair and pet dander to remain in the pivot. This will tighten the tension, slow the shear down, and may cause a binding feel when scissoring. Lube the shear, then open and close them a few times to get the lube around the pivot good. Convex shears need to be lubed more than beveled shears. Never use blade oil on a shear, it will stiffen over time. Most beauty supply stores carry shear/scissor lube.

Have a great day grooming, and read those labels.

Jeff


Spring Check-up For Your Equipment and Shop

Everyone is slow this time of year, and its a good time to go through your grooming equipment and shop equipment. This is the calm before the storm, the snowbirds are coming back and usually their pets are a mess, so our equipment has to be ready.

  • Blades – Even though your blades are cutting now, they may give out later. If you can afford it, get all your 7’s and 10’s sharpened now. Go through your drawers in the shop and look for blades you may have thrown in them for some reason or another, if they are still good get them sharpened. Start oiling them and washing them in blade wash to keep them cutting longer.
  • Clippers – Check every clipper you have for broken cords, worn hinges, and change the blade drive. Check all the screws to make sure they are tight. Now is the time to get them serviced so they don’t quit during shavedown. And don’t try to groom having  only one clipper, you need a backup. The money you loose because you can’t work may buy several clippers.
  • Shears – Same thing. If you can afford it, get them sharpened now. If you start a process of wiping them down and lubing them every night the edge will last longer. Scissor lube is very important, it lubes the pivot of your shears, and it also protects the screw so it doesnt start rusting and loosening up all the time. Shears will rust if you don’t wipe them down. You can get scissor lube from any grooming catalogue, or any beauty supply store.
  • Dryers – Some  groomers dont know how to maintain dryers properly. Dryers need to be cleaned out weekly and sometimes daily. Take the filters out and clean them by blowing them out with a second dryer, or washing the filter in warm soapy water and let dry overnight.  Another thing you can do to prevent the fusable link on the switch is to blow the dryer out. If its a canister dryer, you can take the front and back off and blow the hair out with a second dryer or an air hose. When too much hair accumulates on the inside of a dryer, the motors overheat and blow the fuse on the switch. Happened to me many times before I got smart and started to clean them out. Carbons should be changed yearly. I change them every spring whether they need it or not. Its simple to do if you follow the directions in your manual.
  • Bathing Room – This is usually a mess when I start on it. First I gather up all the nooses and get rid of the broken ones. Next, I go through the towels and toss the ones with holes or are all frayed up. We got our towels used from hospitals, yard sales, GoodWill, and flea markets.  Soaps and mixing bottles are next. I get rid of bad mixing bottles that lost their marks, and I combine soaps of the same kind so I can order new supplies. Check the tubs for leaks, and make sure the hair filters are good and still able to catch the hair. If your using fiberglass tub inserts for a bathing tub, check the bottom of the tub with your fingers and feel for holes caused by nail scratches. You can pick up fiberglass patches from a home improvement store. Fix them while they’re small or you’ll be replacing the tub.
  • Drawers & Cabinets – If you have any drawers or cabinets in your shop go through everyone and throw out stuff thats broken or unusable. If you have a box of clippers your saving for parts, remember that if they sit around in that humid environment for a year or two they may not run anymore. Moisture will ruin the armature, but cords and body parts should be OK.
  • Card Files – Most of us have regular customers that come routinely, so a large card file may be OK. If you have a big shop with multiple groomers you may want to go through the card file and see if the cards are current. If they haven’t been back in two or more years you may want to move that card out of your active files. We did that one year and got rid of 300 cards, some haven’t been back in over 5 years. A card file does need cleaned up once in a while. You can also make cold calls on the cards that are non- active and try to get their business back.
  • Mobile Groomers – You basically have the same chores to do but at a smaller scale. Vehicle maintenance, and generator maintenance are the big concerns for you. Time now to get everything checked before you get real busy.

I just wanted to get everyone aware of some things you can do to get you and your shop ready for spring and summer. You can use this list again after the kids go back to school this fall to get ready for the Christmas rush. Being proactive with your equipment and shop could prevent surprizes and untimely bills.

Hope this can help somebody. Be safe, and remember to read those labels.

Jeff

 


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 DAMAGE CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU DROP YOUR CLIPPER

We all hold our breath when we drop a clipper because we hope it still runs when we pick it off the floor. Our clipper is the most important tool we have as a groomer, so we have to do our monthly maintenance, clean the hair from it, and make sure it doesn’t hit the floor.

All clippers have the same problems when they are dropped, but we will look at the Andis AGC Ultra Edge because its the most common clipper among most groomers.

THE SWITCH

When the clipper hits the floor, it jars the insides very much. The switch has a capacitor on it that can bust loose from the curcuit board. It has two small wires that are only soldered to the board, and when the clipper hits the floor they can break.

AGC Switch_capacitor

If just one of these wires is broken, you will loose your high speed. The switch is screwed into the rear motor mounts of the clipper. The motor mounts are just two plastic posts located on the bottom clipper body that holds the rear of your motor. If either of these mounts break off when the clipper is dropped, it can cause your clipper to get hot when running. The motor vibrates because nothing is holding it at the back thus causing the heat. This ever happen to you? Lower clipper bodies are about $10.00

THE MOTOR FIELD

This is a big thing that can short out your armature, blow your switch, and possibly cause smoke to come from the clipper. Figure about $90 to fix this if the damage is this extensive.

The motor field is a round steel tube lined with two curved magnets, your armature spins inside this tube. When your clipper is turned on, your brushes cause a negative polarity to the magnets and this causes the armature to spin, which moves your blade drive back and forth making the blade cut.

Broken magnet

If you drop your clipper, and it hits hard enough, you can crack these magnets. They can fragment causing shorts which can blow the armature and switch. Also, if one the the fragments is small enough, it can lodge against the aramture inside and pin it so it doesnt move. Usually when this happens you can hear the clipper “hum” when you turn it on, but it wont run. If you experience this, don’t try to use it anymore and send it in for repair. A new motor field can cost about $25.00, armatures are about $40.00, switches are about $15.00, plus the labor charge.

Since your clipper is so important to your working or not, you need to take care of it. I learned by experience a long time ago that setting a clipper under a dog on the table can really ruin your day. I use a small table next to my grooming table, and I set shears and clippers on it when not using them. It may be a lifestyle change for you to start doing that as well if your having your equipment kicked off the table on a regular basis.

Read those labels, and have fun grooming!

jEFF


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!


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


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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!
 


Shear Conditions : How older shears may need adjusted to get them to cut properly again

Very Pointed Shears
 
When any shear gets sharpened many times they get thinner toward the front of the blade.
The effect this has on the shear is they will fold the hair, its noticeable more on 10 inch shears than 8 inch.
As you see in the comparison of the top shear to the bottom one, the blades of the top shear are a bit thinner at the tips. Both shears are the same brand and model.

 Shear_a  

When the tips get that thin the shear will sometimes fold the hair.
Tension can be adjusted to make them cut, but when going from breed to breed they may fold again.
They may work good on small dogs because the hair on most small dogs will lay flat.
The coat on bigger dogs is quit the opposite, its lays on its self or lays in "bunches". When you try to cut it folds, good example is around the feet.
Why does it fold the hair? Because the tips are too pointy and there isn't enough metal left at the tip of the shear blade to make it rigid and stable, so the blades push away from each other thus folding hair.


Fixing Pointed Shears So They Work Correctly Again

A good sharpener, especially one who uses shears in grooming, will see and anticipate a shear folding hair if it has narrow tips.
The fix is very simple and non-evasive, most times you can't tell the difference when cutting.
The tips should be ground back 1/8th inch or so to give the tips enough width and rigidity again so it will cut tough coat without folding anymore.
When I see shears that look like hypodermic needles, I call the customer and discuss options. If your shears get in this condition they become very dangerous not only to your client, but to you as well. 
If the shears are in need of something, I usually get the "OK" to do the "Fix" on them.

Below is an illustration of what has to be done to get more width at the tips of the blade.

 Shears_bb

If the tips are fixed as shown, your shears should work properly again. By looking at this shear, most good sharpeners can tell you've used them for many years and they are probably your favorite shear.
Sharpening once usually isn't the problem, shears get this way from being sharpened over many years. Let the sharpener fix them while they are being sharpened. Shears can only be fixed so many times when in this condition, so now may be a good time to just "let go" and find a good replacement.

Shear Handles

I get 1000's of shears to sharpen every year, and I see some very bad decisions made by fellow sharpeners. This condition is probably the worst that can happen to someones shears, its called "The Grinding of Handles".

 Shear_cc     

I know you've seen this on your shears sometimes and this can be avoided 99% of the time. Who ever did this to these handles doesn't know the correct way to adjust shears. Imagine someone doing this to your expensive Kenchii shears....OMG!

As shears get sharpened the tips will eventually get a "gap" over time and won't close all the way. Cutting with them like this will snag hair at the tips. You check for this by closing your shears, and if they are open a tiny bit at the tips, the handles need adjusted outward to let the blades close all the way again. The fix is very simple, you bend the handles outward enough until the tips close all the way again. Now the exception to this rule is cast iron shears. If the handles need widened, then grinding them like shown may be the only way to get them to work. If you try to bend cast handles they will snap like a potato chip.

Choose a good sharpener even if you have to mail out, there are plenty of us out there.

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