How to sharpen wire cutters?

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Original Post

fantasian says

Hi there! The wire cutter I've been using has gotten so dull I can hardly use it anymore. I've read that you can use a file to carefully sharpen them again, but I'm not sure how "fine" a grain to get or what shape. Does anyone have any recommendations on what to use? Thanks! :)

Posted at 3:50pm Jun 30, 2010 EDT


dlpom says

My experience has been that when wire cutters get dull, they also have small nicks in them. I've never considered sharpening because I figured the nicks would be extremely difficult to remove. I've always replaced instead of sharpened...but this is an interesting idea.

I suppose not knowing any better, I'd try my kitchen knife sharpeners first...if any of them can physically contact your wire cutter edges. Or maybe a whetstone...??

Posted at 3:59pm Jun 30, 2010 EDT

fantasian says

hi dlpom! I have a couple small whetstones I've used for sharpening knives, but they're a little too big to get at a good angle for sharpening my wire cutters. :-/

Posted at 4:06pm Jun 30, 2010 EDT

I sharpen mine with an aluminum oxide stone - works great!

Posted at 4:15pm Jun 30, 2010 EDT

woolenmore says

A trick I used on some sewing scissors was to cut through some sandpaper, worth a try before you replace them.

Posted at 4:27pm Jun 30, 2010 EDT

I sharpen regular scissors by cutting aluminum foil...though I don't know if that would be as effective on wire cutters...

Posted at 11:27pm Jun 30, 2010 EDT

AppleJar says

Hi Fantasian -- Around here, the meat department of one of our local grocery stores will sharpen knives and scissors for free. They come back stunningly sharp in a few days. Maybe your grocer or a knife shop could help you.

I've never had my nippers go dull, so I've never sharpened them. If I had to though, I'd start by painting the edge and then use a large, heavy, flat, very fine flat file, get the degree right by angling the file until I could remove all the paint all the way across the jaw in one swipe and then lock that position and slowly repeat the strokes until I felt I had reached a new edge -- then I'd repeat the same on the opposite side. Slow and careful...

Trick would be keeping the right angle. Change that and the edge might be sharp -- but they might not cut well anymore.

Good luck!

Posted at 1:07am Jul 1, 2010 EDT

uncljohn says

Really fine, where fine = quality will be hard to sharpen by any means. I have 2 pairs of those. I have never needed to sharpen them because I have been careful with them.
Mediocre nippers that are dull and nicked are also hard to sharpen if you really do not have the right tools. If for no other reason it is difficult to get the blades lined up with the pivot point of the pliers once sharpend if you can.
There not worth it. I use my dull ones to pull nails and hold things with and buy new ones to cut with.

Posted at 1:21am Jul 1, 2010 EDT

mmemagpie says

It sounds like you're cutting wire that's harder or thicker than what your cutters are designed for. Maybe it's time for tougher cutters :) Try some from the electrical tools at the hardware or home improvement store. I got a decent pair for $6 and they're worlds better than the carp I got at the craft store. I've been using the same two pairs of Xuron cutters for ten years on sterling and they're still in great shape. I use the hardware store cheapies for anything harder.

Posted at 1:30am Jul 1, 2010 EDT

JustWire says

You can use a dremel with a small diamond bit, but I would probably harden them afterwards, you can do that by heating them up ( after sharpened) and then immediately dunking them in oil, Dave

Posted at 1:49pm Jul 4, 2010 EDT