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Clipper Maintenance

Learn how to uphold your clipper and blade performance.

By Cynthia McFarland | 9/16/2002

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With proper use and maintenance, your clippers can last for many years. To keep them in top condition, follow the manufacturer's instructions for that particular clipper and lubricate regularly according to instructions. It sounds obvious, but follow the directions carefully. For example, some manufacturers recommend using a cooling spray during use; others do not.

Store clippers in a dry place. A small toolbox is ideal and can also hold blades, lubricant, et cetera. Unless clippers are warranted as maintenance free, they should be cleaned and serviced once a year. 

Care of the blades is important if you want them to last and hope to get a smooth cut.    

If you only start out with two types of blades, purchase a set of #10 blades, which are most commonly used for body clipping, and a set of #30 blades for finer trimming.

When buying blades remember: Choose high grade steel which contains chromium and a high carbon content to retain sharpness longer. Ice-tempered steel blades coated with titanium are harder than average blades which translates to longer life and less sharpening. Some premium blades have an additional chromium coating to resist outer surface corrosion.

Blades can have a long life if properly stored and cared for. Ken Aldrich Of Big Sun Equine Products in Ocala, Florida, offers tips on caring for clipper blades.

  • Use a blade and wash as directed rather than use kerosene or fuel.
  • Store them properly in a blade holder with oil in it, or in a plastic bag which contains lubricant. An inexpensive way to store blades is wrapped in a sock sprayed with WD-40.
  • Always have an extra set of sharp blades on hand and switch out blades if they become hot while clipping.
  • Lubricate blades during clipping.
  • Make sure the horse is clean before you start.
  • Have blades sharpened whenever they begin to dull. (In addition to slowing the job and delivering less than quality results, dull blades tug on the hair and make clipping uncomfortable for the horse.)

Cynthia McFarland is a freelance witer based in Florida.

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Reader Comments

marie    ogden, UT

11/2/2008 9:00:21 AM

I have never clipped my horse. I was just curious.

Bonnie    Toledo, ON

6/30/2008 8:17:39 PM

This article some may find not as interesting as I do. I am a beginner at clipping my own horses and appreciate all the tips on clipping and clippers that I can find.

Heather    Rainier, WA

6/7/2008 2:25:13 PM

Great article. I found it insightful.

Ian    Budleigh Salterton, UT

1/14/2008 12:42:06 PM

Whilst WD40 is fine to spray on blades when storing them, to prevent corrosion. Never be tempted to use it to lubricate the blades whilst running the machine. Only use proper clipper lube, which is designed for the purpose

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