How to Sharpen Cutting Pliers

Are you tired of dull cutting pliers that can’t get the job done? If so, don’t worry – with these simple steps, you can easily sharpen those pliers to make them as good as new!

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to cut something and having your cutting pliers slip and slide all over the place. That’s why it’s important to know how to sharpen them so they can do their job properly. 

If you use cutting pliers regularly, it’s important to keep them sharp. Not only will this make the job easier, but it will also help to prevent wear and tear on the tool. Luckily, it’s easy to sharpen them yourself with just a few simple tools. 

How to Sharpen Cutting Pliers

This post will show you how to sharpen cutting pliers using a few simple steps. Stay productive and safe by keeping your tools in top condition!

What Can Make Pliers Dull?

A few factors can cause your pliers to become dull, including heavy use and exposure to certain chemicals. If you frequently cut through tough materials like metal or wire, this will also wear down the blades of your pliers over time and make them less effective.

Additionally, if your pliers come into contact with harsh chemicals like rust removers or degreasers, this can dull their blades and make them less effective. Another factor that can cause your pliers to become dull is simply how you store them. If your pliers are kept in a damp environment for long periods, this can cause them to rust, making them difficult – and potentially dangerous – to use.

Overall, the key to keeping your pliers sharp is to take good care of them. While it may seem tedious, spending the time to sharpen or replace your pliers regularly will save you time and frustration in the long run.

What Will You Need?

To sharpen your pliers, you will need a few basic tools. These include:

1. An Electric or Manual Grinder:

An electric or manual grinder is the most efficient tool to use for sharpening your pliers. If you don’t have access to a grinder, you can also use a metal file as an alternative.

2. Safety Gear:

As with any task involving tools, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Make sure to wear protective gear such as gloves and eyewear to protect yourself from any sharp edges or metal particles.

3. Lubricating Oil:

Using lubricating oil while sharpening your pliers can help prevent them from rusting and make the sharpening process smoother. It’s a good idea to have some on hand before you begin. 

4. A Vice or Clamp:

To keep your pliers steady while sharpening them, you will need a vice or clamp to hold them in place. If you don’t have access to these tools, you can use a firm grip and secure the pliers against a solid surface.

With these tools, you can easily sharpen your pliers to make them as effective as new. Let’s take a closer look at how to do it!

10 Easy Steps on How to Sharpen Cutting Pliers:

Step 1. Remove Any Rust or Debris:

Before you begin sharpening your pliers, it’s important to remove any rust or debris that may be on the blades. This can usually be done with a soft brush or cloth. Be careful not to use anything too abrasive, as this can damage the blade or leave scratches. You can also use a rust remover if the blades are heavily corroded. It’s important to start with a clean surface before sharpening.

Step 2. Secure the Plier Blades:

To ensure that you get an even and consistent grind, use an angle guide to secure each blade of your pliers. You can do this by clamping them down into a vice or other sturdy object that will hold them steady while you sharpen them. Don’t worry – this step should only take a minute or two and will make your job much easier. It’s essential to have a firm grip on your pliers throughout the sharpening process. The last thing you want is for them to slip and cause an injury.

Secure Each Blade
Of Your Pliers

Step 3. Begin Grinding:

Once your plier blades are securely held in place, turn on your grinder. And start grinding away at any rough edges or nicks along the blades. Be sure to apply only light pressure, as you want to remove the copper from the blades, not grind down all of the metal. Take your time and go slowly to ensure you get a smooth, even grind. It may take a few minutes to get the desired sharpness, but don’t rush – patience is key. It’s better to take your time and get it right than to rush and potentially damage the blades. It’s also a good idea to take breaks every few minutes to allow the blades and grinder to cool down.

Step 4. Move on to Finer Grinding:

After a few passes over your pliers with the grinder, switch to a finer grit of sandpaper (such as 400). Then, continue grinding until you’re satisfied with how sharp your pliers are. Again, be sure to apply only light pressure, as you don’t want to grind away too much metal. You can also use a metal file at this stage to refine the edges further. The goal is to get a smooth and sharp edge on each blade. You may need to switch back and forth between the grinder and sandpaper a few times to achieve this.

Step 5. Check for Consistency:

Now that you have sharpened your plier blades using the grinder, it’s time to double check their consistency. Do this by holding them up against another pair of pliers that are in good condition and checking for any unevenness or visible nicks. Remember – you can always remove more metal, but it’s difficult to add more once the blade is too thin. So, err on the side of caution and make sure you don’t over-sharpen your pliers.

Step 6. Clean Up Any Excess Metal:

Once you’re satisfied with how sharp your pliers are, use a soft brush or cloth to remove any excess metal dust from their blades. This will help prevent rusting or other damage down the line. Make sure to also wipe away any metal dust from your workstation or other surfaces. It’s essential to keep your work area clean and free of any debris. You can also use compressed air to blow away any remaining dust.

Prevent Rust or
Damage From Occurring

Step 7. Buff Your Plier Blades:  

Next, grab your electric grinder again and buff each blade of your pliers until they have a nice, smooth finish. This step is optional, but it can be helpful if you want to give your pliers a nice shine once you’re finished sharpening them. So feel free to take a few extra seconds and buff away any small imperfections. It’s all about making your pliers as sharp and effective as possible. It’s a labor of love!

Step 8. Test Out Your Sharpened Pliers:

Finally, it’s time to test out how sharp your pliers are. Hold them up against another pair of pliers that you know are in good condition and see how they compare. If your plier blades seem a little dull or uneven, continue grinding and/or sanding until you’re satisfied with how sharp they are. Once you’ve achieved the desired sharpness, your pliers are ready to be put back into action! The next time you need to cut through wire or any other material, your sharpened pliers will be there for the job.

Step 9. Store Your Pliers:

Once you’ve finished sharpening your pliers, it’s important to store them properly to prevent rust or damage from occurring down the line. Ideally, this should be done in a cool, dry environment that is protected from harsh chemicals and other damaging elements. If you take care of your pliers, they will take care of all your cutting and gripping needs for years to come! So, store them in a safe place – either in your toolbox or on a secure and stable hook.

Step 10. Check Your Pliers Regularly:

Finally, to ensure that your pliers stay sharp over time, be sure to check them regularly for any signs of wear or damage. Use your grinder or sandpaper to sharpen the blades if you notice any nicks or uneven spots along the blades. With regular maintenance and care, your pliers will continue working well for years to come!

Keep the Pliers
Properly Lubricated

Follow these simple steps, and you can easily sharpen your pliers to make them as effective as new. Whether you’re a professional mechanic or just looking to DIY around the house, these tips will help you get the job done quickly and easily!

5 Additional Tips and Tricks:

1. Always ensure that the pliers are clean, dry, and free of dirt or debris before you begin sharpening.

2. If the cutting edges are already dull or worn down, you may need to use a fine-grit sandpaper or sharpening stone to remove any burrs or rough edges.

3. Use angle guide tools and jigs to help you get the sharpening angle just right. These tools can also help ensure that both sides of the cutting edge are equally sharp.

4. If you are using a whetstone or grinding wheel, be sure to keep the pliers properly lubricated with oil to prevent overheating and warping of the metal.

5. Once you are done sharpening, use a high-quality steel or ceramic rod to remove any burrs or imperfections from the newly sharpened edges. This will help ensure that your pliers can cut through materials with ease and precision.

At this point, you should feel confident in your ability to sharpen cutting pliers like a pro! With these simple tips and tricks, you can easily keep your tools in top condition and enjoy years of reliable performance. Good luck!

Keep the Pliers Lubricated
With a Small Amount of Oil

Can You Sharpen Cutting Pliers With Tin Foil?

There are many different ways to sharpen cutting pliers, and one option is to use tin foil. This can be a relatively quick and easy process, as all you need is a piece of tin foil and a sharpening stone or whetstone.

To begin, clean the pliers thoroughly and dry them completely. Next, take your piece of tin foil and firmly fold it over so that it forms a flat surface with several layers. Carefully place the sharpening stone or whetstone over the folded tin foil, ensuring that it covers the entire cutting edge of the pliers.

Then, gently run your pliers back and forth across the sharpening stone or whetstone until the edges are nice and sharp. Be sure to keep the pliers lubricated with a small amount of oil during this process to prevent them from overheating or warping.

Once you have sharpened your cutting pliers using tin foil, use a high-quality steel or ceramic rod to remove any burrs or imperfections from the edges. This will help ensure that your pliers can cut through materials easily and precisely, allowing you to get the most out of your tools. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How Often Should I Sharpen My Cutting Pliers?

A: Sharpen your cutting pliers after every use or at least once a month if you use them frequently. This will help maintain their sharpness and effectiveness. It is always better to sharpen them more often rather than waiting until they are extremely dull. You may also want to consider sharpening them more frequently if you are working with tougher or thicker materials. It’s important to regularly check the sharpness of your pliers and sharpen them as needed to ensure they are always ready for use.

Q: Can I Sharpen My Pliers With a Dremel Tool?

A: Yes, a Dremel tool can be used to sharpen pliers. However, it is important to use the correct attachment and technique to avoid damaging the pliers. It is recommended to use a grinding stone or a sanding drum attachment, and to carefully follow the angle of the cutting edge while sharpening. Be sure to regularly check the sharpness and make adjustments as needed. Otherwise, you can end up over-grinding or damaging the cutting edges.

Q: Can I Use WD-40 or Other Household Lubricants While Sharpening My Pliers?

A: It is not recommended to use household lubricants like WD-40 while sharpening pliers. These products are not designed for use on metal and may cause damage to the pliers or affect their effectiveness. It is best to use a high-quality oil specifically designed for sharpening tools, such as mineral oil or honing oil. You can also use water as a lubricant if you are using a sharpening stone or whetstone.

Q: Can I Sharpen Other Types of Pliers Using These Methods?

A: Yes, these methods can be used to sharpen a variety of pliers, such as needle-nose pliers, angling pliers, and locking pliers. However, some types may require additional tools or techniques for sharpening, so it’s important to research the specific type of pliers you have and the best method for sharpening them. It’s also important to regularly check the sharpness and condition of your pliers, regardless of type, to ensure the best performance.

Q: Can I Sharpen Rusty Pliers?

A: It is possible to sharpen rusted pliers, but it may require more effort and time. Before sharpening, be sure to thoroughly clean and remove any rust from the pliers using a wire brush or sandpaper. If there is extensive rust or damage, it may be best to replace the pliers instead of trying to sharpen them. Prevention is key – always store your pliers properly in a dry environment to avoid rust and damage.  Overall, regular maintenance and proper storage can help extend the life of your cutting pliers and keep them sharp for all your cutting and gripping needs!  So, take good care of your pliers and they will take good care of you. Happy sharpening! 


It’s important to have sharp-cutting pliers for many reasons. When your cutting pliers are dull, it can cause the metal to pinch and deform, making cuts more difficult. It can also cause bad cuts that might not be able to be used in further projects. With these tips, you should be able to get your cutting pliers nice and sharp so that you can make smooth, clean cuts with ease!

Now that you know how to sharpen cutting pliers, you can keep them in top condition and extend their lifespan. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your tools working like new ones for years to come.

Hopefully, you will find these tips and tricks helpful in sharpening your cutting pliers. Whether you are using a whetstone or tin foil, always be sure to follow the proper techniques and take your time. Good luck!

You Can Check It Out Use Dritz Plastic Snap Pliers

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Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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