Clipper blades if carefully cleaned after use and cared for in a sensible way will normally last for years.
Bearing in mind that a blade is an essential part of your clipper - the clipper provides the cutting power but the blade is the instrument for the cutting performance and so therefore its "welfare" and "condition" should be of major interest to you!
Before one debates blade care it is worth mentioning yet again the downside of blades that frankly can happen to any of us - professional or novice - using a clipper fitted with a cutting or shearing blade.
Often said! - Often experienced! - Very true to life - is the fact that a well made blade through no fault of the manufacturer, sharpener or the end user - may and will at some point go "dull" (the technical name is given to describe what in plain English is simply known as "blunt!" or put another way "does not cut!")
No one - least they that are honest - can predict the number of clips a blade will perform!
Whatever you may wish to suggest as the reason for non cutting - often the most likely cause is the blade has met with an area of coat containing "abrasive" material and like a sharp knife, good pair of needlework scissors, or a quality carpenter chisel - it instantly looses it cutting edge and from there on ceases to cut cleanly.
In clipping terms that may be within a few feet of your starting point!
Horses are probably the one animal most likely to blunt a blade in record time!
Therefore the advice ."NEVER CLIP WITHOUT A SPARE BLADE SET" has real merit!
The operator having completed the clipping - duly dealt with the animal in question - should then take time to both clean the clipper and clean all blades that have been used so that they are ready for the next occasion, or if the case necessitates ready to be sent for re-sharpening.
This is NOT a " "do it LATER" task - rather a "DO IT NOW" operation!
Become disciplined and it will become "second nature!"
Basically you have two types of blades.
1. TRADITION LIVESTOCK BLADES . - Fig: 1 (horse and cattle type blades) .
These comprise of two pieces - the upper plate (the cutter blade - smaller) and lower plate (the comb blade - larger) These may be fixed to the clipper head by either "blade screws" (2 in number) or a "tension bolt" (with spring and nut) depending on the clipper head design. Certain types of small animal clippers and trimmers adopt the screw fixed blade system as well.
2. DETACHABLE TYPE A5 BLADE - Fig: 2.
Such blades are commonly fitted to those clippers employed for use in the dog grooming and the veterinary world. These days however many such machines are now used with great success in other fields such as clipping nervous horses and alpacas - these often use specialist wide "detachable" blades.
When cleaning only undertake the following in an area when if you drop a part you can find it! Straw or sawdust floored stables are not recommended!
TRADITIONAL TYPE BLADES
Remove the blade from the clipper head using a suitable sized screwdriver to ensure you don't foul the screw heads if fastened by a screw fix system.
If the blades are secured by the tension nut and bolt system suitably slacken the tension nut until the bolt can be withdrawn and allow the blades to be removed.
Part both blades so you can see the inner faces of each. Clean away all the hair with either a soft brush (manufacturers often provide one - if not an old tooth brush is perfect)
Clean thoroughly and wipe dry of any previously applied oil.
Much is written and recommended about dipping, spraying and cleaning in a wide range of lubricants from diesel, white spirit, WD 40 and other favoured remedies, personally forget all of them and stick to applications of ordinary human hair clipper oil. Many of these liquid favourites can affect your clipper's or blades performance. The same can be said of coolants - use only professionally branded items.
Once your blades are cleaned and wiped, coat lightly with a covering of good quality fine hair clipper oil and wrap each blade plate separately in grease proof type paper. If not to be used for a period of time store in a dry place until needed.
The main purpose is to avoid your blades becoming subjected to any form of rust which can be often simply started with the moisture left from your fingers touching the steel plate, in no time it starts the formation of what later becomes the start of rust and in severe case in time can lead to the pitting of the blade surface and more importantly the edges of the blade teeth. To obtain and maintain a good cutting edge a smooth even surface is required for lapping (sharpening) purposes.
Be very aware should your blades become in contact with any manure content, as this can create rust in double quick time and therefore any contact requires instant cleaning of all surfaces with special reference to the spaces between blade teeth. Often a good way to reach the more difficult parts of a blade (between the teeth) is to use and old tooth brush for cleaning purposes
THE DETACHABLE BLADE
Unlike the "traditional or screw fixed type blades the detachable blade is supplied already assembled to go on the clipper head and as such does not - nor - should it be taken apart, other than by a qualified technician.
If you do - the most like situation is that you will end up with a number of pieces and these may not re-assemble in the correct order. See Fig. 3
Also one can easily render a detachable blade useless by failing to notice - for example - you have lost in the process the tension spring sleeve - which can easily dislodge from the end of the tension spring. If you lose this sleeve the blade is render useless until replaced.
The "Nylon sleeve" is a small strip of industrial nylon which is fitted over the "spring" and located to run along the groove of the "cutter" blade. See Fig. 4.
It is there for a purpose and ensures the correct working movement of the cutter blade. Remove or lose it and the blade ceases to work. Therefore should the occasion arise when it is necessary to remove the cutter blade from under the nylon sleeve and spring, care should be exercised to only undertake this operation in an area which is free from stable flooring material or any other type of foreign matter which it could become lost within.
In the event of it becoming dislodged when removing the cutter blade - replace it and ensure it fully engages with the tip of the spring so that it is correctly "countersunk"
Also, do not attempt to ever adjust the tension spring - the spring is adjusted at the factory and normally does not need further adjustment. Should for some reason adjustment be necessary this will be picked up normally at the time of re-sharpening. It is a very delicate operation and one which should only be done by an experienced engineer practised in the art.
To safely clean a detachable blade you will need to remove the cutter blade. To do this without undoing the whole blade which has previously been advised against, you need to slide the cutter (upper plate) blade across the face of the comb (larger plate) blade until it is roughly at the half way point then insert a small screw driver under the spring and sleeve and gently, so as not to damage the sleeve, prise upward a few degrees to allow the blade to be removed. Leave the screwdriver in situ and remove the blade and then clean the surface of both the cutter blade and the comb blade - both previously hidden! A small soft brush is useful. See Fig. 5
Having cleaned and oiled return the cutter blade - inserting the nylon sleeve so it slides along the "grove" in the cutter blade, duly remove the screwdriver and continue to push the cutter blade until it is in a central position.(Make certain you have not dislodged the nylon sleeve on the end of the tension spring!)
Oil and wrap if not intended for use as described with the traditional blade. Otherwise oil and reseat on the clipper "tongue" and snap back against the clipper head for future use.
When cleaning you can inspect blades for broken teeth (usually breakage occurs as the result of the clipper being dropped or kicked out of the hand.) and make an assessment of the blade life.
Blade "life" can be assessed as follows:-
On both cutter and comb blades there is a groove or indentation running across the blades width. If you rub your finger or thumb on the edge of this indentation you can gauge the life of the blade. The smoother it gets the less the life time use of the blade!
If smooth (no ridge) time to part and buy NEW!