Pruner and Lopper Use and Care

Positioning yourself correctly
Pruning is hard work, so take a comfortable stance with your feet apart. Don't work directly overhead — that way a cut branch can't fall on you. Keep your wrists straight (if you wear a brace for sports, you should also wear it for pruning), and don gloves to protect your hands from blisters and thorns.



Lopping a branch
Hook the branch with the bill of the bypass lopper, maneuver it as deep into the jaws as you can, then close the handles. (Cutting with the tips of the blades can bend them.) Take a similar approach with an anvil lopper: Catch the branch on the anvil, get it as deep into the jaws as possible, then crunch the handles together.



Adjusting a bypass mechanism
If your bypass tools are catching and jamming, the jaws have probably loosened from overuse. Lock the tool in a vise and adjust the passing clearance of the blades by tightening the blade nut, using two wrenches on opposite sides of the nut. A bent blade might require a few taps with a hammer to straighten it.


Sharpening
Sharpen pruners and loppers at the start of the workday using a fine file. Holding the tool steady (preferably in a vise), remove any burrs from the flat side of the blade, then restore the sharp edge by touching up the original shape and angle. During a full day of pruning, resharpen at lunchtime.


Cleaning
Clean pruners, loppers, and saws at the end of the day by wiping off sawdust and sap with a rag and a squirt of solvent like WD-40. This will also remove rust on an old tool that's been out of use for a while. Don't try to resharpen a dull saw — remove the blade screw and replace the blade.
Ask TOH users about Yard and Garden Tools

Contribute to This Story Below