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How to sharpen diagonal cutting pliers blades?

The blades of diagonal cutting pliers will eventually get blunt however well you look after them. You could buy a new pair or you can sharpen the old ones yourself and save the pennies!

Guide to Sharpening Diagonal Cutting Pliers

Step 1 - Choose a File

You will need a hand file with a fine grain (called ‘smooth’ or ‘dead smooth’ files) to sharpen the blades of diagonal cutting pliers. A coarse file removes too much material with less precision which will damage such a small blade.

Step 2 - Clean the Pliers Blades

Clean tools to keep them in prime condition.

Each blade has a single bevelled edge, which means it is slightly angled to form a sharp ridge. It’s important to follow this angle when sharpening, otherwise you could spoil the cutting edge. The other side of the blade is flat and should not be sharpened.

Step 3 - Secure the Pliers in a Vice

Place the handles of the diagonal cutting pliers in a vice with the jaws pointing upwards. Securing the pliers like this will make it easier to use the hand file without damaging the blades further. Make sure you have a good light source so you can see the blades clearly.

Step 4 - Rub the Blade with a File

Choose one side of one blade to start with and rub the file along the angle of the blade in quick, short movements. You need to apply some pressure but not too much as you will remove too much metal and misalign the blades. The aim is to remove kinks and burrs (little bobbles of metal) from the blade.

Step 5 - Repeat

Sharpen both sides of each blade as in Step 4. Repeat this until the blades are once again sharp.

Step 6 - Test the Pliers

When you think you are done, test the pliers by cutting a piece of wire. You should be able to tell if they are sharpened properly by how easy it is to cut the wire. If they are still blunt, repeat Steps 3 to 5.

Step 7 - Apply Oil

Wash the blades of the pliers again in soapy water to remove the metal filings. Once they are thoroughly dry, coat the pliers in a thin layer of oil. You can also apply rubbing alcohol to the blades and allow them to dry before use or storage.