Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of this article, let’s have a chat about which pruning shears are best. The answer to that is simple, it really depends on what you like. I will give you my opinion and why, but others will argue telling that they like another brand for a lot of different reasons. In short, you have to decide which ones you like the best.
I just turned 60 and I’ve been doing this stuff since the age of 16, so it’s fair to say that I’ve held and used a lot of different kinds of pruning shears. Different sizes, different shapes, different brands. Without a doubt, the pair that I am absolutely the most comfortable with are the ones pictured above. They are the Corona BP 3130. They usually cost about $18.00 per pair.
Why do I like them so much?
- They are relatively small and easy to handle. 7½” long is a nice comfortable size.
- They are the perfect size for carrying in the Front Pocket of My bibs as You Can See Here.
- They are a by-pass type of shear, not an anvil shear.
- They are sharp and stay sharp for a long time.
- They put up with a lot of abuse. Since they are the only tool I have in my pocket all of the time I end up using them for all kinds of things that I shouldn’t. But they hold up to it quite well.
- They are affordable. Some shears cost two, three, or four times as much And quite honestly? I’ve tried them and I don’t like them as well as the Corona BP 3130.
- They are perfect for the type of pruning that I do and for making cuttings which I do a lot of.
- After all of these years, and many, many pairs of shears, these are my favorite Any other shears feels like a “foreign object” in my hand.
- If I lose them or accidentally leave them outside, or somebody else leaves them outside, I’m out $18.00, not $75.00 or $100.00.
Keep in mind, these are my “everyday shears”. If I’m going to spend a lot of time pruning trees or something like that I might opt for a pair of Coronas that are larger. I do have some larger Cornona’s but I rarely use them because I just don’t like them. What model? I don’t know, I don’t have them handy at the moment. I think they are 8″ or 8½”.
What are Anvil Shears?
Anvil shears only have one sharp blade that closes flat against a metal anvil pinching the wood you are cutting. Anvil shears can do a lot of damage simply because of the way they work, they can crush the plant stem. But more importantly than that, the blade gets a lot of abuse because it’s constantly hitting the metal anvil. With by-pass shears, the blades bypass one another like scissors, so they are never metal on metal. Only plant tissue against the metal blade. Big, big difference.
Keeping Your Pruning Shears Sharp.
The secret to keeping your pruning shears nice and sharp is one, make sure they don’t have a chance to get rusty. If they do get rusty I think you can soak them in white vinegar to clean them up, somebody please verify that for me please. I’ve never actually tried it myself. The other thing that I do with my shears is to spray them with WD40 anytime they start to get a little sticky.
Next, keep the blade sharp. These shears only have one sharp blade and one by-pass blade. The sharp blade is only tapered on one side, so please keep that in mind as you sharpen your shears. You’ll make a few passes (five to six) with the handheld sharpener on the tapered edge of the blade and only one pass on the non-tapered edge of the blade.
Sharpen the tapered edge first, then make that single pass on the non-tapered edge to remove any burrs on the blade.
Corona makes a handy, dandy sharpening tool that works really, really well.
Okay, first thing, let’s get this out of the way. Everybody look at Pam’s awesome fingernails. She just had them done when I asked her to model these two tools for me. You can tell it’s February because she has her nails done. It’s kind of a waste of time during potting season to try and keep your nails nice if you have your hands in potting soil all day.
Using this sharpening tool is really easy. Just work it back and forth across the tapered edge of the blade, being careful to maintain the same angle that the shears had when they were new. All you are doing is “dressing the edge”, removing any burrs, any damage that might have happened to the blade. Remember, just a few passes is all you need, four to six passes should be enough.
Then turn the blade over and notice that the back edge of the blade does not have any taper at all. On the backside all you are going to do is hold the tool flat against the back edge, no angle at all, and make one or two passes at the most, removing any burrs that might be present on the blade.
That’s it! Do that a few times during the gardening season, use WD40 or another lubricant to keep the shears working smoothly and to remove any sap that has built up on the blades. If you do those two things, your pruning shears will last you a long, long time.
One of our members found a “how to video” for using this tool. I love our members, they are awesome!
She hates it when I do this!
I busted into her sewing room with my camera, a pair of “not so clean” pruning shears, and some crazy-looking tool that I want her to “pose” with so I could snap a few photos. But first I took this photo of her and she really wasn’t crazy about that either!
For years she’s had a closet full of baby blankets that she made, but in the past year we’ve welcomed 6 new babies into the family, two of them grandchildren, and she finally got to give away some of those blankets. Actually, the second new grandchild isn’t due for another few weeks.
So now she’s back at it, stocking up the closet!
Questions or comments about anything? Post them below and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.