Choosing, caring for, and refurbishing pruners

Anyone else doing this? So many seasons I say I’m going to buy and take care of them, and then don’t. I have some Felco ( I think 6, 8, and 9) and Fiskar.

I’m going to try to share a few pictures of my restorations. .

These first are left handed Felco 9’s, maybe 25 years old, so rusty I can’t get it apart. I’m left handed, but largely adapted. Might not be worth replacing parts

My husband bought me these at some crazy auction house in SF. I thought they were Felco, but that part you use to keep them open and closed is not like any Felco part. I really want to restore and take care of these.

Compact Felco 6. Not in terrible shape Right handed, like most.

Fiskars. Also, not in bad shape.

I am using WD 40 product, a goo gone product, and a calcium/ lime/rust product.

I also watched some salt and vinegar videos, and a baking soda video. I have so much past use buy baking soda.

And of course, the knife sharpening kitchen stuff that would help with garden tools as well.

Anyone else doing this?


For bad rust areas, sometimes wet-or-dry sandpaper is the only way to really fix it.

I don’t know what kind of job it is to sharpen this type of shears; I do know that ordinary scissors are a lot harder to do than a knife. (i.e. if you sharpen scissors exactly as you sharpen a knife, they are ruined.) So probably avoid sanding the inside surface of the blades and the cutting edges.

For rough marks caused by sandpaper, use more sandpaper :slight_smile: (with higher and higher grit numbers, until it looks & feels OK to you)

Thank you! I think I have sandpaper.

I have also seen some recommending steel wool,

and for some reason husband recently bought brillo soap pads . I can’t remember the last time I used them. I’m thinking as a child in the very early 70’s. Would the soap be a problem?

1 Like

The steel wool and/or Brillo are fine to use on rusty areas, especially if they’re small. The sandpaper is more for if the entire thing is badly rusted and pitted - don’t do it unless they’re in bad shape with not much to lose. Brillo works better when you wet it of course. As far as the soap, just make sure to rinse and dry when you’re done. After drying, wiping a very thin coat of oil onto the metal can help in preventing more rust. (Just a little, like you were going to season a pan.)

EDIT: I was unable to see the pictures before. I was imagining bigger and much rustier shears! No sandpaper needed here, that’s for sure!

And if you haven’t sharpened this kind of shears before, don’t try until you’ve seen it done by someone who knows how. I don’t know how, but I do know it’s not a knife. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I only have one pair of secateurs (as we call them in the UK). I use a blade sharpener, WD40 and “wet & dry” sandpaper. I don’t find the sharpener that effective but maybe I need to look for something different. The sharpener is something like this (and is much better on straight edge blades, like knives)

1 Like

The last photo in the Amazon gallery demonstrates a potential problem: the secateurs in this thread have a single cutting blade with one side angled and the other side flat, while the sharpener is set to cut an angle on both sides. It’s too easy, with a sharpener like that, to make the flat side of the blade not flat anymore - and when that happens, it creates a gap between the blade and the … the anvil part, whatever it’s called - and things can start to wedge into that gap instead of being cut.

1 Like

You’ve inspired me!


I’ve gotten so used to being left handed in a right handed world that using righty tools is the norm now. I used to have lefty scissors and similar things, now I don’t even worry. Do you have a saw:knife sharpening place down there?
They can sharpen specialized blades such as you describe. Of course we still have loggers and forests up here.

1 Like

I use this one to sharpen my pruners and loppers.
I also use a brillo pad to remove the gooey gunk.


Sometimes. I’d be more confident if they were around a few years. I would not trust them with my knives, but might with pruning tools. I’d rather know how to do it myself.

I am with you in the lefties in a righties world. The only stubborn rust is on a lefties pruner I must have bought in younger days. I’m thinking it is symbolic, and I might just let it go.

1 Like

I have a sharpener I use for garden tools. Don’t recall where I got it, but I’ll share a picture when I find it. I’ve been "organizing ", so i can’t find anything.

I have something like this for my garden tools.

1 Like

I suggest you judge by where the rust is located and how deep it seems to go. If the rust has deeply eaten into the cutting edge, it would be better to just not bother - but if it’s just surface rust where you can tell that the underlying metal is basically OK, or even if there is some bad rust but it isn’t in the actual cutting area, it will really be pretty easy to scrub it off with the brillo or steel wool.

Much easier than scrubbing burnt potatoes, and significantly more entertaining too. :slight_smile:

That type of sharpener should work fine, just don’t really sharpen the flat side of the blade because it works better when it stays flat. If there are bumps & burrs at the edge of the flat, you can hold the sharpener flat for knocking them off with.

1 Like

Caring for and refurbishing pruners is a regular task at the nursery here. Here are some things we do to keep pruners in good shape:

•Instead of bleach, use a different sanitizer, such as a product with quaternary ammonium salts (avoid skin contact, read directions), or even 90% alcohol. Chlorine bleach trashes metals.

•After use, rinse or wash pruners and dry them with a towel. Leave them open and in good air flow to dry as quickly as possible. Recoat with lubricant (see below) before next use.

•The easiest, fastest way to remove rust from parts is a Dremel tool, fitted with a wire wheel. Wear safety glasses, hold smaller parts with strong needle nosed pliers. A wire brush can also work. This will raise dust; best done outdoors. You have to be careful with sandpaper, it can reshape metal parts, especially the blade. As David mentioned, the “anvil” side of the blade is flat, and needs to stay that way. You can use a flat file or flat stone to remove corrosion while keeping this surface flat. If the anvil side of the blade gets badly pitted, it will not cut properly and the blade needs replacing.

•While a fine flat file can sharpen the outside edge of the pruner blade, a small triangular sharpening stone, made for the purpose, usually is all you need. Try to match the existing angle and run the stone back and forth, base to point. Do this only on the blade’s outside surface. If the inside, anvil side needs dressing up, use the stone flat against the anvil side. Burrs on the anvil side of the blade need to be removed promptly or they can abrade the anvil, (part 7/4).

•Rust removal almost always generates abrasive particles. It’s best to completely disassemble the pruners, wash the parts in water and dry them out with towels and air. Take the spring out and do the same.

•Before reassembly, coat all parts with lubricant. While standard WD40 works, it remains oily for a long time. Try a silicone spray. Wipe any lubricant off the handles.

•Really old, heavily used pruners can lose the plastic handle coating. There are liquid tool handle dips which can be used to make a new soft plastic, rubber surface.

•The anvil, on bypass type pruners like Felcos, must remain flat and not rounded or gouged. Replace the part as needed.

•It’s very important that pruners are tight at the axle. When opened, you should not feel a lot of play if you gently twist the handles back and forth. They should be as tight as possible, while still opening and closing freely. If the axle/blade to anvil space is too great, the blade can actually take on an angle and strike the anvil, rather than rub past it. This could damage both parts. Felco pruners usually come with a nifty multitool 2/30 to aid in tightening and unscrewing lock screws.

•Eventually, the axle wears out a replaceable bushing, which is pressed into the handle which has the safety lock attached (see part 7/10). If, after tightening, your pruners wobble, especially if the handles are pushed/pulled in the closed, locked position, you likely need a new bushing. One thing about Felco pruners, one can usually get parts. The links above will take you to the wonderful world of Felco parts! A lot of parts can be purchased online or at A.M. Leonard.


Amazing as always! Thanks!


Happy to share what has been learned, (often the hard way)!


I don’t know why, but using my Dremel had never occured to me. It’s an obvious choice once it’s pointed out. Many thanks


Now I’m going to need a dremel tool for Valentine’s day. I asked for a new ring, but this sounds better. How is it different from other drill accessories? We have a lot of Dewalt stuff.

I found this.

1 Like

Dremel tool is a whole world of stuff.
A precision tool.
A drill is just a drill :sweat_smile:


Drill = high-powered countertop blender

Dremel = little stick blender with 263 available attachments :slight_smile:


I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited, and apparently we already have one, but to be fair, the drill has boxes and boxes of attachments.