Choosing, caring for, and refurbishing pruners

I was researching why one might prefer carbide, and found this.

Tools they sharpened.

  • Hori horis / digging knives
  • Shovels and spades
  • Lawnmower blades
  • Machetes
  • Hatchets and axes
  • Hoes
  • Bill Hook (Fiskars)
  • Loppers (both bypass and anvil)
  • Hedge shears
  • Hand pruners (both bypass and anvil)
  • Stick pruners
  • Landscape bars
  • Scissors
  • Knives
  • Multi-Tools
  • Box cutters
  • Wire cutters


“17 questions to Consider When Choosing a Sharpening Tool” .

A man after my own heart!

Wow! Thanks for posting a link to that article! There is excellent coverage of different methods, pros and cons. It’s good they covered file maintenance, especially file cards.

One useful method not covered: “Draw filing” is a method of using a file to sharpen by running the file along the edge of a tool without much or any forward push. The angle needs to be found where the file “bites” into the metal. A very sharp edge can be put on machetes, shovels, etc.

So far, I’ve not used carbide sharpeners, opting for fine or coarse files, if a lot of metal needs removal, or many different stones, from super coarse, to 8,000 grit or Arkansas Surgical Black stones, for straight razors, scalpels and grafting knives. (The scalpels get used when I graft seedling tomatoes under magnification.) Both files and carbide cutters need additional finishing with stones to remove burrs and ragged edges.

When I worked at a vineyard, the work crew which pruned countless grape vines used those little pocket stones, which looked like the Felco 903 diamond stones. They would prune all day, so touched up the blades many times throughout the day.


Submitted! I’m practically a “writer”!

Thank you! I didn’t try any “file” trials. I read somewhere that a “flat file” wasn’t hard enough for “tool steel”. Not sure if thats the same as “hardened steel”.

This one has more “file” stuff.

FYI I just bought this. It’s a carbide sharpener. We have some loppers and korean hoes (stop laughing) that could really use sharpening. I liked the look and price of it.

felcocarbide tool
sorry about the photo quality, I wanted to post it before I forgot. The holiday season generally turns my brain into a Nerf Ball for the duration.

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Oh crud- looks like it didn’t make it
felcocarbide tool

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Files are one of the hardest steels out there. I’ve used them to mark tools, made of tool/hardened steel, with marks to identify them as mine. There is a limit as to what they can “bite” into, but very few tools have blades close to as hard as a file; the blades would be brittle and prone to snapping. As the metal being filed gets harder, the file takes out less metal, the process is slower. Draw filing works very well on machetes, axes, brush hooks, hoes and shovels/spades.

Files do wear out, and this happens faster with harder steels. They are relatively cheap. I go through a bunch of files sharpening chainsaws. There are few things which rust quicker than a file! Keep them dry, and oiled in humid climates.

When the steel gets very hard, stones and carbide are often easier to use and put a much keener edge on the tool. I use stones on knives, pruners, loppers, etc.


Please let us know how you like the new sharpener!


I’m published!


Congratulations! Are you thinking you may like to write more articles? Or, are you happy to relax, LOL!

I am also scheduled to write something for the blog in a few months. :star_struck:



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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr