Hedge trimmers work by a shearing action similar to scissors. The important
thing to remember is not to mess with the flat side of the bars (sides that are
in contact with each other). The cutting edges may be too hard to file and will
likely require grinding. Just follow the original cutting edge angle and avoid
hitting the back side of the edge.
Hedge trimmers are somewhat self-sharpening, are you sure that they are dull?
The fact that it doesn't trim very well may not be caused by dull edges. Other
causes are excessive gap between the blades, loose or worn linkage to the crank.
If it just stalls when cutting then the motor may be the culprit (brushes,
burned commutator, shorted windings, bad bearings).
Check the cutting edges directly by inspection in bright sunlight. Look down
the bar with the sun over your shoulder and you should easily see sunlight
reflected off the edge of a dull cutting edge. This works for any knife edge.
A really sharp edge will be invisible. Compare what you see to knife edges that
you know are sharp.
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