June 17, 2015
I guess this is intended for Jafar as Vice President (--given how active he is on the Forum), or any other HOS Directors who may be "in the know" and on the Forum. I FINALLY remembered to put my No. 8 Felco pruners into my back pocket to take to the HOS scion exchange this past spring. The presence of a pruner sharpener had once again been announced in the Pome News. Sadly, I was one of several people wandering about enquiring, and yet there was no one there who was present for sharpening our pruners. I suppose that I could have purchased a new blade or pruner, but I believed that my 18-year-old pruners really only needed a professional sharpening.
My wife and I just got our latest HOS Pome News and the purported presence of a pruner blade sharpener is once again announced (--Page 14). Dare I bring my pruners again?
Jafar -- Do you happen to know what happened at the spring scion exchange as to why there was no pruner sharpener? I don't mean to put it on your shoulders; I just thought that as Vice President you might know something. Thanks for all that you do for the HOS. You'll be getting my vote for Board of Directors ().
P.S. -- Despite my moniker, I love the russets too.
March 16, 2015
No longer near our HOS events.. so unaware of the pruner sharpening opportunity you described … I’ve derived a lot of satisfaction disassembling my Felco 8’s (or several cheap imitations I have of them) and cleaning, sharpening and lubricating them myself. I prune a lot, but have never replaced a blade due to wear. And unless you’ve been cutting fence lines, ‘touching up’ the blade is likely all you need.
With very basic tools, perhaps taking ‘phone photos’ prior to removing parts, I’d suggest doing it yourself. And what's extra nice about Felco's is that all parts are replaceable, thus removable. And if you’ve access to a simple vice, and a stone used for knife sharpening, you’re halfway there. I’ve watched folks ‘touch up’ the blades on hand pruners or larger loppers, but notice they’re not getting to or doing an adequate job nearer the throat or base of the blade...
Prior to sharpening, I use an old screwdriver to scrape any residue buildup from the cutting surface, back side of the blade, and the ‘anvil jaw’ the blade slides past. Rubbing alcohol will also dissolve this material and works well for a final clean.
It’s best to remove the blade. Then either place it’s non-cutting end in a vice and carefully run a sharpening stone across the full length of it’s (one) sharpened side. Or, carefully hold the blade and pass it across a stationary sharpening stone as you would a knife blade - again, it's sharpened side only... If there are any notches or obvious damage to the blades edge, use a courser grit stone to remove them 1st. If just refreshing an evenly worn edge, use only the finer grain stone.
Sometimes I’ll rub the ‘flat side’ of the blade against the fine grain stone to ‘shine it up’ some, but only sharpen the other side. Another thing I do ..which may not be necessary.. is gently run a round file (a chainsaw file works great) over the top of the curved jaw that the blade slides past. Keeping it ‘level,’ it’ll shine up nice ~
With the pruner disassembled, clean it well. With the blade sharpened and gook removed, I’ll add a dab of bearing grease ..or as thick a lubricant as you have to wherever moving metal meets. Wipe the excess and put it back together.
Don’t tighten the ‘main nut’ too much as it will not allow the blade to open or bypass, adjustment becomes obvious. The spring reinstalls between the handles about as easily as it pops out… And when you’re done - you can feel the difference as it slices through those waterspouts
I’ve some small flat stones, around 1 X ¼ inch that I may ‘touch up’ the blade in the orchard, especially if I’ve nicked it’s edge on something. But I’ve never watched anyone do more than that at various events … though they may do it in slow motion.. Once you’ve torn down your pruners, and I’m not all that mechanically inclined.. the satisfaction alone is worth the effort…
One more - you can do the same with loppers. In fact, they’ll likely need it more often - as they have a tendency to hit dirt/ rock, fence or trellis wire… With loppers, watch out for a ‘reverse threaded’ main bolt. Good ones may have an indicator arrow on the bolt head, but before you round it’s corners … try working it in the opposite direction... But taking both loppers or hand pruners apart allows you to better clean them, fully sharpen them (to their deepest portion), and grease or lube them. And the more familiar you are with them ... the better care and respect you show ~
June 17, 2015
Thanks very much for your input. I generally try to sharpen straight-edge tools myself, but I've always found it rather challenging to sharpen evenly along an arcuate cutting edge. My pruners go into alcohol fairly frequently because I try to avoid passing-on viruses and diseases between plants, thus it also helps with keeping down any accumulation of "gunk." Also, I normally lubricate the pruners with a 3-in-1 type oil (or what was usually Singer sowing machine oil when I was a kid). What I haven't yet done is to take it apart myself and give it the thorough, loving cleaning that you recommend. I think that this may also be related to my lack of confidence in dealing with mechanical things. I believe that you may have talked me into it though. I do need to purchase a top-quality fine honing stone -- or preferably a set with varying coarseness levels. I believe in buying top quality and then caring for it. Whenever I've been talked into buying a cheaper substitute I've invariably been disappointed.... Ya gets what ya pays fer.
Thanks also for the tips on the loppers. I'm afraid that unlike my pruners, the loppers tend to get a helluvalot of abuse. They definitely need a careful cleaning and sharpening with utmost TLC. The hint about a potential "reverse-threaded" bolt is much appreciated. Whenever I've had to remove a lawnmower blade for sharpening or replacement I can never remember if it's reverse-threaded or "normal". Nothing worse than actually tightening something further that you really want to get off.
One thing that I won't try sharpening on my own is my grafting knife. I bought a folding Victorinox grafting knife years ago and treat it more gently than anything else I own. It used to live in my pocket during late winter and into spring when I was doing grafting, but now it lives in my pocket year-round like my Swiss army knife. It comes in handy throughout the year when I'm making necessary but very delicate cuts on various plants, and it also has the thin "dorsal fin" on the back of the blade for separating the bark from the cambium when doing summer budding (--what I call T-budding). If it ever needed sharpening I can only envision sending it back to Victorinox for a professional job. A quality tool is indispensable.
Thanks again for all the info!
March 16, 2015
I'm sorry to hear about your disappointing experience this past spring.
I have verified that Lowell's tools has signed up as a vendor for this year's All About Fruit show, so I expect Lowell will be there sharpening and selling tools this year. The event is also listed on his website: http://www.lowells-tools.com/
I may have known at one point what happened in the spring, but must confess, I do not recall.
If this is the grafting knife you are talking about: http://cspforestry.com/product.....QAvD_BwE I would sharpen it myself. It should be a chisel grind which is just a simple, single angle bevel on one side of the blade. So you just have to be able to hold it at fixed angle while sweeping across a sharpening stone.
If you mess it up, the cost of a new one is equivalent to 4 or 5 professional sharpenings.
June 17, 2015
Thanks for your input! I just clicked on your reference and was surprised to find that it's now a Victorinox-Felco grafting knife. Mine has a black handle and is simply "Victorinox," and the "dorsal fin" is a little farther back on the blade than what's illustrated. It's hard to tell that mine's a Victorinox because the logo on the handle is now worn beyond recognition from living in my pocket with keys and the occasional coinage (--if I'm lucky). I'm guessing that perhaps Victorinox and Felco may have been yet one more corporate merger when I had my back turned? It would at least seem to be a merger of quality + quality, unlike most mergers these days.
I think I'd still be reluctant to sharpen my Victorinox grafting knife myself, in part because in recent years i've developed a rather unpredictable twitch that seems to especially affect my right hand. I'm a right-hander, so why couldn't it have been my left hand? Que seroo, seroo (as Archie Bunker once said). I'm afraid that I'd just screw it up and require even more professional blade grinding.
For those with a steady hand, a good eye for exact angles, and patience coupled with perfectionism, I say "have at it!" I'm afraid that at present I'd fail on the critical first criterion. I guess they call it ageing.
All my blathering aside, I can't recommend Victorinox's grafting knife more highly for those who take their grafting seriously and want a quality tool that should last a lifetime if properly cared for. (Wow. And I'm someone who hates advertising!)
OK. 'Nuff for now. Thanks again, Jafar!
March 16, 2015
A note from Lowell's tools:
Dear Friends,This coming weekend we will, once again, offer our tools and sharpen hand clippers and loppers.Here is the show schedule:Location: Clackamas County Fairgrounds, Canby, ORHours: Saturday and Sunday 10 - 4.We will have a few tools on closeout.Hope to see you there,Lowell and Sue Cordas
August 3, 2015
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