Electric shavers are as popular as ever, and the technology behind them provides incredibly close shaves while saving time. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and safe handling will extend the life of the razor and the blades. Even with the best of care blades eventually become dull, requiring expensive replacements.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could save money by sharpening those blades yourself? You can, and this article hopes to show you how to sharpen electric razor blades. We will take a look at five steps that you can follow that will help to keep your blades sharp. Let's s(h)ave some money!
Know When It Is Time to Sharpen Electric Razor Blades
Before we can discuss how to sharpen electric razor blades it is important to understand when it is necessary. Manufacturers will recommend a blade replacement timeline, but this time period should only be used as a general guideline. Cheap blades or foils will often cause an electric razor to dull prematurely. Other factors include razor care, the frequency of use, the thickness of your hair, and the use of mineral-based products.
The performance of the electric shaver indicates when it is time to sharpen the blades. A first indicator is that the closeness of the shave begins to suffer, requiring more passes than it used to. Another indication would be that the razor begins to yank on the facial hair instead of cutting it. If the shaving head becomes hot it often indicates wear on the moving blades and the foil.
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Foil Style Electric Razor Blades Cannot Be Sharpened
This is the major difference between Foil and Rotary razors when discussing how to sharpen electric razor blades. Foil razors make use of rows of oscillating blades that are tightly packed together. The limited space found between each blade prevents the access needed to sharpen each blade's edge. Another issue is that each machined blade is ultra-thin and will bend easily when worked upon.
Due to these factors, it is necessary to replace dull foil style blades. The foil itself is also made from thin metal that bends and makes contact with the blades while shaving. This will cause wear with each shave, and we recommended that you replace the foil when the blades are changed.
Using Sharpening Heads to Sharpen Rotary Blades
Sharpening heads can be inserted over the rotary blades while mounted to the razor. Once installed, the rotary blades are polished sharp by running the razor for a set time period. This process is more time efficient than sharpening the rotary blades individually by hand. It is important that the sharpening blades are matched to the rotary razor that is being worked on.
The process begins by unplugging the razor and switching it to the "off" position. A frame is used to hold the razor heads in place and must be removed to gain access. Each cutter is removed from the holder, followed by the removal of the screens. The sharpening heads are then inserted in place of the screens, and the cutters are then installed.
Once the electric razor is reassembled, it is turned "on" for a prescribed amount of time. Once the cycle is complete, the shaver is turned off and broken down as before. The sharpening blades are replaced with the screens, and the razor is put back together. This is how to sharpen electric razor blades using sharpening blade attachments.
Sharpening Rotary Blades by Hand
Learning how to sharpen electric razor blades manually is fairly simple. It is also the method that provides the greatest control. Each rotary blade is sharpened individually using a few simple items. This is also the only method that can be used on some rotary shavers.
To start the process the electric razor is switched to "off" and is unplugged. The frame that holds the rotary heads in place is removed from the shaver body. Each cutter is then removed from the housing. The cutters should be thoroughly cleaned, removing any debris and hair.
Next, place a piece of glass or a mirror upon the surface you're working on. Place a small amount of metal polishing paste on the glass and smear it around with your finger. Take a cutter and lay it on top of the polish with the blades facedown. Apply light pressure upon the cutter and begin to move it through the polish in circular motions.
The paste will begin to change colors as the cutter is polished, changing into an ever darker grey tone. This is caused by the metal that is removed from the circular motions. Continue the process until the desired edge is achieved. Make sure to completely remove the paste before repeating this process for each cutter.
When you are finished, reassemble the electric razor. This is how to sharpen electric razor blades manually.
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Methods to Avoid
There are other methods for sharpening rotary blades that are less effective, and they may even cause more issues. One such method to avoid is using sandpaper instead of a glass or mirror surface. The paper will become snagged on the blade and rip, offering an unusable surface. The grit may also cause more dulling or gouges along the edge.
Another method to avoid is placing polishing compounds on the razor and turning it on. The grit in the paste will scratch and pit interior surfaces.
Understanding how to sharpen electric razor blades can save you a lot of money. While foil blades cannot be sharpened, rotary blades can. The simplest option would be the use of a third party sharpening blade. If these products are not available for your rotary shaver, polishing compound and a smooth surface will work just fine.
While proper care and cleaning can slow dulling, at some point the blades will lose their edge. We recommend trying one of the methods above. If you use one of these methods, how are they working for you?