About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blade Sharpening

Blade sharpening.....what can I say.
Finding a good blade and scissor sharpener has to be one of my biggest pains.

I found my first blade sharpener through grooming school.
He was local and close by, so I would take my blades to him.
Then one time I had sent one of my employees clippers in for a new cord.
This particular sharpener took it upon himself  to give the clippers a total overhaul.
Now, I am not saying that the clippers didn't need an overhaul, but that was not what I sent them in for, and my employee was very upset when she was charged a lot more than she had planed to pay.
I called the sharpener back to ask about the extra work he did without consent and also to ask if he would resharpen a blade that he  had sharpened for me a month before, but when I took it out to use it for the first time that day it was not cutting.

He got pissed at me right off the bat.
He started lecturing me about my employees clipper, then called me a liar when I claimed that I had just started using the blade he had sharpened a month earlier.
He refused to believe that I had not been using the blade and was just trying to get a free sharpening out of him.
I explained to him that I had gotten a lot of blades sharpened at once and did not use all of them as soon as I got them back.
I have to say he was one really nasty man.
I told him not to worry about the clippers or the blade, or about me ever using him again.
He called back about 15 minutes later to apologize, and tell me that he did not want to lose me as a customer.

Too late.

I never used him again.
Even when it took me forever to find another sharpener.
 I did eventually find one.

It was another local sharpener.
He was a nice man.
He picked up and delivered the blades and scissors.
He sharpened my blades and scissors for years.
Then he got sick and passed away.

I once again was looking for a new sharpener.
A local one.
I was never crazy about sending my tools out.

I had another local sharpener recommended to me by another employee.
I had a new pair of Monks that needed to be sharpened.
I decided to use those Minks to test that sharpener out.
Big, big mistake!
Words can not express how badly he destroyed those scissors.
Those scissors never worked right again.

I also tried a few sharpeners at Groom Expo.
One would sharpen them at the Expo as long as you got them to him early enough.
He did an okay job.

Another sharpener sent all of my blades back to me in little baggies full of oil.
Yes, there was actually a little pool of oil in the bottom of each baggy.
It was a pain cleaning all of that oil off before I could use those blades on a clean dog.

I found a sharpener at Intergroom once that did a really nice job.
Then he disappeared.

I tried a couple of other local sharpeners.
I used each of them only once....

I really am not that picky of a person, i just want my blades and scissors to work the way they are supposed to.

The last local sharpener I used is a very nice man.
Very professional.
Unfortunately, the sharpening has been hit or miss.
Sometimes the blades were fine, sometimes not.
I was really having trouble with the scissors.
So many of them were not cutting right.
They were also tightening, or loosening as you scissored.

I had been hearing good things for quite a while about Northern Tails Sharpening.
But, as I said before, I was not crazy about sending my blades and scissors out in the mail.
I finally got so fed up with my blades and scissors not cutting right and decided to try Jeff at Northern Tails.
His website is full of information.
It also tells you exactly how to mail your tools.

  I mailed my blades out on a Monday, Jeff received them by Wednesday, he had them finished and mailed them back out to me by Thursday.

He mailed my blades back 2-day priority mail.

Unfortunately, because of all the snow,  bad weather and Holiday, it took the post office 7 days to get them back to me. 

 The box also came back with a couple of holes in it.

This is why Jeff tells you to wrap all of your blades and scissors individually in bubble wrap.

 I didn't bubble wrap my tools, because I truly thought that the blade box I had would protect everything.

Next time I will bubble wrap.

Yes, there will be a next time.

 Jeff, of Northern Tails also sent back some fact sheets about some of the issues he found with some of my scissors and blades.

There was also a CD for me to watch about clipper and blade care.

Jeff also personally called me to talk about some of my scissors.

I also bought a Diamond Carbide Wheel for filing nails.

I have always used the sandpaper wheel for filing, but I have always hated the way the seam in the wheel would hit the nail, making the the filing feel choppy.

This Diamond Carbide Wheel has no seam.

The grind is very smooth.

No jumping and skipping of the wheel like the sandpaper wheel did every time the seam hit the nail.

I tested every blade that I got back from Northern Tails Sharpening.
Every blade was cutting great.
Jeff also did a really great job on my scissors.
He told me that they had been sharpened at the wrong angle for a grooming shear.
I just know that they are nice and sharp and working really great.

I will most definitely continue to send my blades and scissors to Jeff.
So, if you are looking for a good sharpener for your blades and scissors, I think that you will be very happy with Jeff....I am!


  1. I have wanted to send my stuff to him too, I am just nervous about sending them out. As soon as I get enough blades to have a replacement set, they will be sent out! Thanks for the awesome review!


  2. He does great work! He used to be mobile in my area and would sharpen in the parking lot in his trailer. Now I have to mail in, but I haven't needed anything sharpened in several months. Last time I used him was at a local dog show where he was sharpening. Glad you found a good one!

  3. Thank you for the info about Nothern Tails's sharpening. It's good to know that he does a professional job. I've never gone wrong with your advice. I also purchased two Diamond Carbide Wheels from Northern Tails several months ago on Jeff's recommendation. They are expensive but I've not regretted it. It is much better than that paper wheels and show no sign of wear. I've learned a lot about blade care from his blog. Thanks again for sharing your experience. Kathy Brogan from Orlando.

  4. Have you ever used Bruce's Sharpening? I just sent two blades to him and got them back and I don't know whether they aren't sharp or something else is wrong...

    1. Hi Miss Marie,
      No, I have not. If the blades are not cutting, you should call him and ask him about it. When blades come back from a sharpener they should be ready to use and should cut like new.
      Lisa, MFF

  5. Have you had any problems with the diamond carbide wheel? I was told never to use a grinding stone of any kind because of heat build up. I've always just used the sandpaper wheel. I don't really have a problem with the sandpaper, I get a nice finish, but I've been curious about the different stones.

    1. Hi Tristyn42,
      I have not had the diamond carbide wheel very long. I have not had it heat up on me, but I tend to do nails a little differently than most groomers. Because I do everything after the bath, I clip and file the nails on one foot then scissor it before I move on and clip and file the nails on the next foot. So the file is not on long enough to heat up.
      Jeff did say that the carbide wheel can heat up when filing a large dogs nails, but that all you needed to do was dip the wheel in cold water and it would cool immediately. He also suggested filing nails in the tub during the bath. I have never tried that. Not sure I want to.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. I use Jeff as well, HE IS AMAZING!! yippeeeeeeee