February 2012 Newsletter (vol.4)   >>   Get Your Pruners Ready For Spring

Different Pruners
Different pruners have the same basic parts.



  • Steel wool; medium to fine sand paper; rat tail or mill bastard file or honing or whet stone; warm, soapy water and a small brush; clean cloths; screwdriver, wrench; cleaning solvent (optional); lubricating oil or spray.


Different Pruners
Different pruners have the same basic parts.


There are many different makes and styles, but they are all basically assembled, cleaned and sharpened the same way. The blades of both of these pruners are held together by a screw or bolt.


  1. To do the job properly, you'll need to separate the blades of your pruners. It's just a bolt or a couple of screws. The actual process will vary depending on the type of your pruner.

    Pruner Disassembly
    Disassembling your pruner with a wrench.

  2. Remove the nut or screw holding the two blades together and separate the two pieces. There may be multiple screws on the pruner, but you only need concern yourself now with the one in the center of the two blades. Once the blades are separated, the spring coil between the handles will slip off.

    Disassembled Pruner
    A disassembled F-7 Felco pruner.

  3. There are not that many pieces to work with, so put them on a towel or in a bucket so you don’t lose any.

    Cleaning Parts
    Cleaning the parts with warm soapy water and steel wool

  4. The next step is a good cleaning. Wash the pruners with warm soapy water and a steel wool or a small, stiff brush. An old toothbrush works well. Pay particular attention to the nooks where dirt can be trapped.
  5. When you're satisfied they are clean, wipe them well with a dry cloth.
  6. Any resistant soil, rust or plant sap on the blades can be removed with some steel wool or sand paper. You can also use a cleaning solvent, if necessary, to remove any hardened plant sap. Just make sure your tools are clean of all dirt and plant sap before you move on to sharpening.

    Sharpening Blade
    Sharpening blade with a mill bastard file.

  7. Don’t let the sharpening step intimidate you. A less than perfect sharpening is better than a dull & nicked blade. Practice makes perfect. First thing that you will need to do is find the beveled or angled edge. Anvil pruners, with a single blade that comes down on a flat plate, have bevels on both sides and will need both sides sharpened.
  8. By-pass pruners have only one beveled edge that slides over the solid bottom half of the pruners. To sharpen, take your file or stone and lay it almost parallel to the blade, on the beveled side. With pressure on the outer edge of the blade, file all the way around the blade in one direction, away from you, lift and repeat. Don't go back and forth.
  9. Do this a couple of times and you'll start to notice the edge getting nice and shiny and you'll be able to see the cutting edge has been restored.


Now that your pruners are cleaned and sharpened, reassemble them and you are ready for the spring season.
This is a great project to do with your down time in winter, so when spring arrives you are ready to jump into your garden.



Daily Sharpening Technique

  • Clean the blade with a dry cloth after each day's pruning.
  • Oil the spring and revolving handle shaft after each use.
  • Sharpen the blade when cutting needs more effort.

Felco F-7

Felco F-7 and sharpening tool.


Filing the Blade

Position pruner in hand as above and file edge towards
body and to the tip of the blade. Use six to eight strokes.


Blade Finishing

Use corner edge of sharpener finish edge.


Remove Excess Metal

Flip pruner to position above and use edge of sharpening tool to remove excess metal