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How to use edging shears

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How do they work?

Diagram showing how edging shears work Edging shears are basically two levers working in opposite directions around a central pivot, like scissors.

Force placed on one handle by pushing it against the other is multiplied several times by the pivot point and channelled through the blades to cut the grass.

Getting a handle on it

Using edging shears in wrong way like scissors Many people try to use edging shears by opening and closing both handles at once, as if they were loppers.

However, this can lead to jerky movements and an untidy cut because the bottom blade is being constantly moved up and down, instead of remaining level with the ground.

Using edging shears correctly, keeping one handle upright For the best results, keep the shears as upright as possible and only move the handle attached to the upper blade. The handle connected to the lower blade should remain in the vertical position.

This method is less tiring because you’re only using one arm to cut with. You’ll also find the cutting motion is smoother this way, as just the upper blade is moving.

Cutting lawn border with edging shears Keeping the shears level with the edge of the lawn, start cutting from left to right (unless you have a left-handed pair of shears – but these are very hard to get hold of).

Try to work at a steady but brisk pace, as shears cut best when the blades come together quickly. Don’t rush too much though, or your edges may end up wobbly!

Donkee says don't use edging shears to trim shrubs or hedges

Maintenance and care

Donkee tip If the blades keep getting clogged up or start bending the grass instead of cutting it, you may need to adjust the tension.

Can you see daylight between the blades when they’re closed? If so, they’re probably too loose. Are they scraping together? Too tight. Do they meet only at the tip? Then they’re out of alignment.

Three different retaining bolts You can adjust the tension on most, although not all, edging shears by twisting the retaining bolt, also called the pivot bolt, that holds the blades together – clockwise to tighten, anti-clockwise to loosen. Some bolts require a spanner, while others can be turned by hand.
Wonkee Donkee with cleaning cloth Before putting the edging shears away, wipe off any grass, mud or moisture with a cloth.

This is particularly important with telescopic shears, which might start to rust if dampness is trapped for a long time in the retractable handles. Dried-on dirt can also make it difficult to slide the handles open again next time.

Wiping down edging shear blades with cloth Run an oily cloth over the blades once a month to protect from corrosion, and lightly oil the pivot point to keep it working smoothly.

You may also need to sharpen the blades every now and then if you’ve been using them a lot. For more information see: How to sharpen edging shears.

Wiping edging shear handles with cloth If your edging shears have wooden handles, rub them down with medium grit sandpaper at the end of the season to smooth over any nicks or splinters.
Bottle of boiled linseed oil After that, brushing the handles with boiled linseed oil will protect the wood and help prevent cracks and further splintering.