Introduction: Clipper Maintenance
The following guide will help you clean your clippers like a pro. To maintain your hair clippers properly, a few tools will be necessary. You will need different tools depending on how thorough you want to be in maintaining your hair clippers. These are not instructions for professional barbers. Barbers need to constantly clean their clippers because of all the different heads of hair they maintain on a daily basis. These instructions are made for individual users who cut their own hair, or their children’s hair at home. A professional barber would’ve learned about proper clipper maintenance in barber school.
Step 1: Gather Tools
Take a look at your clippers of which there are many different types. They will likely require either a Philips or a flat head screw driver. Along with the screw driver you will also need an old tooth brush. I don’t recommend using the same toothbrush you use on your teeth unless having hair in your teeth is something you enjoy. You can also use a wire brush if necessary. If your clippers are particularly out of shape and rusty, you can use a rotary tool with a wire brush attachment. You’ll also need some blade oil for lubrication purposes. If you plan to sharpen the blades, you’ll need a honing stone. You can usually find small cheap ones at Wal-Mart in the outdoor survival section. Those are usually used for sharpening knives for cutting fish and fending off grizzlies and stuff like that. It’s unlikely you’ll be worried about cutting your hair in a survival situation, and you probably wouldn’t have anywhere to plug the clippers in anyway. Don't get the cheap one. Trust me. If you really need Sharper blades and you have no experience with honing, I recommend either buying new ones from Sally's or Amazon, or taking them to a professional. A friend of mine is a cosmetologist and she said she has a "sharpening guy". So apparently they exist.
· Screw driver
·Tooth brush/ wire brush
·Honing stone –optional
· Rotary tool - optional
Step 2: Unscrew Blades From the Clippers
This step is really straight forward. Grab your
screw driver and unscrew the blades. There are usually two screws holding the blades in place. You must unscrew both of them. Once the blades have been removed, there is no need to disassemble the entire frame of the clippers unless you are making electrical repairs or you’re just curious about what’s in there. To save you from all that extra work, I have provided a photo.
Step 3: Brush Off the Hair
Now, lets get to the fun part. Grab your tooth brush and brush the hair from the blades as if you were trying to prevent a baby alligator from getting gum disease. Be thorough, but careful. Also, be sure to use blade cleaner instead of tooth paste. You can also use a wire brush or steel wool, or a rotary tool with a wire brush attachment if your blades are extra crusty. Wipe off all the hair from the housing as well using the tooth brush and a rag. If you’re going to use a wet rag be careful not to get water inside of the clipper housing. You don’t want wet electrical components. If necessary, you can use your mouth to blow the hair out of the crevices.
Step 4: Sharpen
If you’ve noticed that your clippers are starting to get a little dull, you might consider sharpening the blades. Unless you’re a knife maker, a butcher, or a samurai you probably don’t have the tools necessary to sharpen blades. What you’ll need is a honing stone. There are many different types ranging in price from hundreds of dollars to a few bucks. If you can, get sand stones of a couple different grits. We’re not planning on carving up any tough hyena hides, or defending our honor in feudal Japan so a cheap one will work just fine.. Actually after using the cheap stone from the pictures, my clippers were as dull as a lecture on the history of green beans. They were ineffective and painful to use. Don't make my mistake.
You want to start with the rougher stone and work your way down to the fine grit stone. Apply a little water to the stone and take a look at the blades. You want to make sure that the flat parts of the blade tips are parallel with the stone’s surface. Then swipe the blade across the stone while applying light pressure. Repeat this about ten times or so. Rinse the stone and the blade and repeat the process using your finishing stone. When you’re finished, you should be able to feel a difference in the level of sharpness of the edges. Be careful, even my dull blade was sharp enough to cut my finger. Make sure you hone both blades on the sides where the blades contact each other.
Step 5: Oil and Assemble
The last step is to oil and put everything back together. Usually clippers come with oil. However, there isn’t usually a lot, and sometimes it can leak out. You can pick some up wherever they sell clippers. If you don’t have any and you need to cut your hair asap, you can use mineral oil. That’s probably not very helpful since no one has mineral oil lying around, but if you do, you can use it. Another option would be olive oil. This is not ideal and shouldn’t be used regularly. However, if you’re in a pinch, it is a decent lubricant that people usually have. Next time you go to the store just remember to pick up some oil that is designed for machines like hair clippers. Wipe off the olive oil and apply the good stuff.
Apply the oil to the blades where they meet then assemble the clippers. Leave the screws holding the blades a little loose. Now, you have an important decision to make. Whose hair will you be cutting with these clippers? How confident are you in your barbering abilities? If you’re going to be cutting kid hair, you might want to align the top blade slightly in front of the back blade to prevent nicking whoever’s head you’re cutting. If you’re looking for crisp precision, or you have bad kids you’re going to want the two plates to line up perfectly like in the photo. This will provide the closest cut, but you need to be gentle while working on your hairline otherwise you might nick yourself. Once you have the blades where you want them, tighten the screws then use the adjustment to check and make sure everything is in order. Apply more oil and run the clippers for a minute or so. Wipe off excess oil before using the clippers to cut hair.