Sharpening Clippers

Not woodworking, per se, but steel is steel and sharp is sharp.
My Wahl electric hair clippers were dull. I tried sharpening them with waterstones; that didn't work, they then cut horribly (sound and fury, very little cutting). I tried again, this time remembering to first flatten the stones. The result was probably worse. After using the finish stone, the center of the blades were noticeably shinier than the edges, indicating the surfaces were now ground convex. Presumably this was a result of the first sharpening, with a stone that was concave.
I tried once more, this time starting with a flattening iron and grit. Progressed through the grits, then again used the water stones, paying more attention to first getting them flat. After the finish stone, the surfaces were nearly uniformly shiny, but one corner was sligtly dull. This time the blades cut better; not ideal, but enough to do the job (fortunately cutting my hair isn't much of a job).
I measured the diameter of a strand of hair, it is approximately 1.5 mil. That suggests the desired flatness for each surface should be about 0.5 mil or better. A problem with using stones, etc, is that there is no real indication of flatness until the final step, that is, I can only observe a difference after there is a near mirror finish.
A few questions. Would I do better with sandpaper on a glass surface? Is there a reasonable way to determine whether the initial grinding (at the coarsest grit) yields a flat surface (on average)? What's the best way to flatten a water stone? I generally just abrade it against a reasonably flat section of concrete, check with a straight edge, and finish by rubbing two stones against each other. That works fine for chisel and plane blades.
--
Joe Riel


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On 7/25/2013 10:32 PM, Joe Riel wrote:

That depends on the coarseness of the stone. For coarse stones the conctete is fine.
I would use glass, or granite and sandpaper.
--
Jeff

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Joe Riel wrote:

My dad used to sharpen his on a flat india stone. He sharpened his straight razor on the same stone. I would say "ask a barber", but I'm sure they all send them out to be sharpened. So ask Wahl.
--
 GW Ross 

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I'd get an Arkansas stone myself. Very fine and can be very flat. Grinding something like that maybe beyond most people in metal working.
Martin
On 7/25/2013 9:32 PM, Joe Riel wrote:

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<snip>

1.5mm? That's kinda scary. You might be better of with a petrol hedge trimmer or an angle grinder ;))
Nick.
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On 7/30/2013 8:48 AM, Nick wrote:

mil, not mm, there are 59 mil in 1.5mm
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mil = inch/1000 = 0.0254 mm
--
Joe Riel

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Mea culpa. Read it wrong.
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No problemo. That (imagining really thick hair) made me reconsider my "estimation" of the necessary flatness. Because the hair is orthogonal to the cutting edges, it seems like the required minimum gap (flatness) is independent of hair thickness. So what dictates the required gap/flatness for a scissors action to be effective?
--
Joe Riel

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Joe Riel wrote:

Clippers do not use a scissor action as such. Scissors have a flexible curved surface so that only at the point of crossing are the edges touching with pressure. Clippers are not flexible so have to be touching tightly together everywhere. Talking very flat. The sharpening stone has to be very flat so that it wears away the metal everywhere at the same rate. Thus my father's India stone--flat as glass but slow cutting. A new hard Arkansas stone would probably cut faster and still stay flat.
--
 GW Ross 

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G. Ross wrote:

Another way would be to take the blades and clean them well, Add a little honing compound, put them back together and run the clippers until they will cut well. Then take them apart and clean the honing material off and add a little light oil. You used to be able to buy a small tube of this stuff to use on electric shavers to sharpen them.
--
 GW Ross 

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No worries. Visit me any time you like and I'll be more than glad to buy you a pint. BTW, that would be an imperial pint, not US:) Which gets me to thinking that I shouldn't think. However, over in the more civilised part of the world a mil is a shortened version of millimetre thus 1.5mil = pretty much barbed wire. To me inch/1000 = thou (or thousandth of an inch). Just call me old fashioned. How has mil become a ft/ins term? Oh well, we live and learn. Good luck, Nick.
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"Joe Riel" wrote in message
Not woodworking, per se, but steel is steel and sharp is sharp.
My Wahl electric hair clippers were dull. I tried sharpening them with waterstones; that didn't work, they then cut horribly (sound and fury, very little cutting). I tried again, this time remembering to first flatten the stones. The result was probably worse. After using the finish stone, the center of the blades were noticeably shinier than the edges, indicating the surfaces were now ground convex. Presumably this was a result of the first sharpening, with a stone that was concave.
I tried once more, this time starting with a flattening iron and grit. Progressed through the grits, then again used the water stones, paying more attention to first getting them flat. After the finish stone, the surfaces were nearly uniformly shiny, but one corner was sligtly dull. This time the blades cut better; not ideal, but enough to do the job (fortunately cutting my hair isn't much of a job).
I measured the diameter of a strand of hair, it is approximately 1.5 mil. That suggests the desired flatness for each surface should be about 0.5 mil or better. A problem with using stones, etc, is that there is no real indication of flatness until the final step, that is, I can only observe a difference after there is a near mirror finish.
A few questions. Would I do better with sandpaper on a glass surface? Is there a reasonable way to determine whether the initial grinding (at the coarsest grit) yields a flat surface (on average)? What's the best way to flatten a water stone? I generally just abrade it against a reasonably flat section of concrete, check with a straight edge, and finish by rubbing two stones against each other. That works fine for chisel and plane blades.
--
Joe Riel


OK, I've been watching here for a few days and no one's mentioned the real
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"Joe Riel" wrote:

<snip> -------------------------------------------- Lapping compound.
Apply it and let the motor do the work.
Clean and oil.
You are good to go.
Lew
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