-- Why its better to use our service than any other --
You NOW have a better choice!
Northern Tails Sharpening was started by Jeff Andrews as a sideline to his grooming and boarding facility in Michigan. Sharpening was very bad in Michigan, and whenever they got equipment back from the sharpener it didn't work very long if it worked at all. This inspired Jeff to find a way to sharpen his own equipment so their equipment wasn't at the mercy of sharpeners that didn't know what they were doing.
He was trained by the best sharpeners in the United States. He went to Kansas and Nebraska for training in sharpening clipper blades, then to Illinois and Ohio for training in sharpening regular and high dollar convex grooming and beauty shears. It seemed like overkill for a groomer just trying to find a way to sharpen his own equipment, but it was the starting point for someone who turned out to be "One of America's Favorite Sharpeners".
After dealing with some family issues, Jeff wanted to move south where his roots are. So after Hurricane Katrina, Jeff moved his very well known mail-in sharpening service to the Alabama Gulf Coast region, where local groomers had no help with their sharpening and repair needs. The "on-site" service area went from Pensacola FL to as far as Lake Charles LA. It seemed everyone was mailing out to someplace and were now very happy that a "World Class Sharpener" had finally come here.
Today, Northern Tails Sharpening has evolved from a groomer sharpening his own equipment in the back room of his grooming shop, to sharpening and helping groomers from all over the U.S and the world. Here are some of our accomplishments and goals to be mentioned, because it took years of hard work to get the trust and confidence of groomers from just about everywhere.
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* We advertise in three major pet grooming magazines that go world-wide.
* We advise and advertise on three major pet grooming bulletin boards. This gives groomers with problems immediate help with their equipment. There are several great sharpeners on these BBS's so help is always available anytime 24/7.
* Jeff gives equipment care seminars to several grooming schools, corporate salons, vet colleges, and at Sharpening Seminars for sharpeners. He is also a published author, and pioneered self-help video's for equipment care for groomers. He has uploaded his video's to other sharpener's websites so groomers everywhere can benefit from this instruction.
* We're on Facebook. Search for "Jeff Andrews" or "Northern Tails".
* We are an Andis Distributor and Repair Center
* We are a Furzone Distributor and Service Center
* We are a Wahl Distributor
* We are a Laube Distributor and Authorized Service Center
* We are a Heiniger Saphir (and Oster Volt) Authorized Service Center
* We are a certified sharpening center for many shear manufacturers (call)
* We insist on being the most affordable sharpening service in the United States. This is Jeff's way of taking care of fellow groomers that helped and inspired him so much in his life. Its not always about money, its about service and doing the right thing.
* Our employees are groomers presently working in the grooming industry. This makes Northern Tails Sharpening a "Groomer Based" sharpening service.
* The "Mail-in" service has grown to where one person can not handle it alone. Jeff trained some very focused individuals who know the grooming industry. What better employees to have because they know everything there is about the tools they are working with. When we get equipment in that isn't quite right we call you, we just don't try to fix junk and mail it back to you. We always do the right thing.
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Jeff's experience started at a time when there wasn't any mobile sharpeners, everything had to be mailed out and you waited weeks to get it back. During this time, YOU had to maintain what equipment you kept so you were able to groom until your blades came back in the mail. If something didn't work YOU had to figure out what was wrong and fix it. This is what an "Old School" groomer is.
The articles and videos Jeff has written and filmed are from his years as a groomer keeping his equipment in top shape and running. This media is for YOU, so you don't have to figure things out and make the mistakes he did over the years. No other sharpener in the world will do that for you.
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My Grooming Certification, 1981
We also have authority to sharpen these shears:
Northern Tails Shears
The Flat Hone Shear Sharpener
This machine is used exclusively on high dollar convex shears that have a razor type edge along the cutting blade. We can put a normal polished razor edge on a blade using different micron disks. For high polished edges we use a diamond spray or paste and buff on a leather plate.
Most convex shears are finishing shears and are used on the head and body only because they "chop" the hair cleanly, and not used from the knees down and around the feet. Hair is thicker in these areas and dirt can still be present here as well. This can possibly dull a convex edge prematurely.
Twice As Sharp Shear Sharpener
The Twice As Sharp machine is used to put a beveled edge, or a micro-bevel on beveled shears. We use a 600 grit diamond wheel to produce a crisp edge along the shear blade. This edge will last a long time if applied properly to the shear.
The bevel edge is the work horse of the grooming industry because it "Slices" the hair. Its used for cutting through mats, below the knees, around the feet, inside of the pads, or just about anywhere on the dog because its the strongest edge. Note: Its not good to put a bevel edge on a shear that requires a convex edge, your convex shear has a function that requires that razor edge.
Clipper Blade Tension Scale This scale should be part of every sharpeners toolbox. It accurately measures the tension of the cutter blade spring with consistancy each time. Now put the correct tension on blades as determined by the manufacturer. This tool is great for groomers as well to check tension on blades.
Watch the video for information, then call "Sharp Edges" at 217-422-0911 and order yours today!
Who Works at Northern Tails Sharpening
-- What "optimizes" the sharpening process for the "Mail-in Service" -- -- Why we can maintain a 48 hour turnaround with the volumes we do --
You NOW have a better choice!
Blade Technician / 5-N-1 Refurbishing
Chase does everything, All clipper blades, 5-N-1 refurbishing, ect. Worked here for 3 years and learned the business from the ground up. He is our grandson and just graduated high school this year.
He never worked the grooming shop, but knows everything about the "Shop Machine" which is the automated blade sysytems we use to sharpen clipper blades.
Blade Technician / 5-N-1 Refurbishing
Chris is our newest team member, been here since the beginning of 2017. His wife is a groomer in the grooming shop, so he has plenty of experience working there.
When our daughter Amber moved to Arkansas because her husband got a job there, we needed a replacement with some grooming backround, and Chris was it.
He does all the regular blades, as well as refurbishes the 5-N-1 blades. In time he will learn all the jobs here in the sharpening center.
Amber does everything, blades, shears, shipping, clipper repair, 5-N-1 refurbishing, ect. Worked here for years and learned the business from the ground up.
She makes phone calls and is big on customer service. She actually manages the business now where Jeff can take a break now and then. She has a Masters Degree, and is a clinical psychologist, and does that part time for veterans. She was also in the US Coast Guard for some time. She is our daughter, and worked in the sharpening center and grooming shop over ten years. She knows everything about this business.
Amber owns and operates her own sharpening service in central Arkansas called "Round Rock Sharpening" In Russellvile AR. She helps us when we get overloaded with orders, and our customers mail to her shop at those times. In 2017, Mobile was involved in three hurricanes within seven weeks "Harvey", "Irma", and "Nate". Irma and Nate knocked the power out and we couldn't work for several days each time, and orders backed up. We advertised, and Round Rock Sharpeneing took many orders from us and got them out very quickly.
Mariana is a part-time sub-contractor and is a high school student. She started out by helping break down blades and getting them ready to sharpen. She works when she can after school, and then goes home and studies.
Jeff (Groomer, NDGAA, IPG, NAPCG, NBTSG)
Master Sharpener / Master Groomer
Jeff has worked in his own grooming shops and knows how equipment is suppose to cut. He is a trainer and lecturer, and has produced "How-To" videos to help a groomer help themselves with equipment care. These same videos can be seen on other sharpening websites to help those customers as well. He also talks to all the groomers who call about the sharpening service, and calls those groomers who sent in questionable or damaged equipment with recommendations. He gives advice on "Old School" methods of grooming and equipment care on several grooming BBS's. He is a published author, and submits articles pertaining to equipment care to Groomer To Groomer Magazine, Grooming Business, Petgroomer.com, and his blog on GroomWise. He still grooms a little during holiday seasons.
The Complete Sharpening Process at a Glance
This flowchart shows how we can sharpen alot of equipment in a short time without rushing the work, rushing causes equipment failures. This process enables us to be consistent, precise, and a dependable sharpening service.
Clipper and Trimmer Blade Sharpening
We are one of a few sharpeners that have a dedicated wheel for sharpening and repairing ceramic cutters. Ceramic cutters are flat on the bottom and so is this wheel. The wheel is diamond coated and spins at 1700 rpms, we hold the cutters with a clamp and not a magnet. This system makes the cutters like new unless they are fragmented beyond repair.
Clipper Blade Machine Calibration
First, you need the correct measuring device. I use the
WESTCOTT 18 inch 8THs Graphic Ruler (clear)
You can Goggle this ruler and it is sold in many places. Cost is about $6.00 US
Finding the center of the hollow ground on manual machines is easy. setting up your guide string or lazer is the hard part.
First, center your graphics ruler on the middle pin of the wheel and extend it out to both sides of the plate. Its best to set up your guide in a comfortable angle for sharpening, it doesn't have to be from corner to corner. Drill holes in the side of the machine to hold your string or lazer. The ruler is set at a comfortable position for holding the magnet and moving back and forth across the plate (see picture)
The middle line of the graphics ruler is the center of the hollow ground, and directly in the middle of the front and rear rails of the blade. The outside line of the graphics ruler is where the fron of the rail on either the cutter or comb should be guided along. This will grind a good hollow grind. Guiding the tips of the blade along the CENTER of the hollow grind could shorten the cutting life of the blade. Don't follow a string or lazer mounted over the CENTER of the hollow grind.
Calibrate the string or lazor using the graphics ruler positioning the center of the hollow grind on the center line of the ruler.
When running a cutter, the tips of the cutter should move along the string or lazor
When running the bottom blade of #40, #30, #15, #10, #9, & #8 1/2, you move the tips of the blade along the string or lazor.
When doing the bottom blade of #7, #5, #4, #3, or larger, dont not run the tips of the blade along the string or lazor. Run the tips of the cutting surface along the string or lazor by estimation. Notice the tips of the bottom blade are extended past the lazor, but the tips of the cutting surface (on the plate) are following the string or lazor. Failure to do this will cause the blade to not cut at all.
Automated machines take more work because of adjusting the magnets in position, but this is the best way I've found. You can't go by the factory marks on the rods, sometimes they don't fit all the way down the holes, and this can throw off your calibration alot.
Make sure the plate you calibrate on is fresh, don't use a plate you've been sharpening on for a while.
Clean your plate real good. Turn off the motor to the automated arms and wheel, or unplug it. Then stretch the ruler across the plate as shown, you may have to cut the ruler down a few inches to fit inside your machine. If you have a brake of some kind to hold the wheel in one place so it doesn't move, apply it.
Its important to keep the ruler across the the center nut as shown. To help, tape the ruler down to the plate INSIDE of automated arms to keep it from sliding around.
Next, get both parts of a clipper blade, a comb and cutter, use a #10 or a #7F blade. Take the comb and put a line with a magic marker directly in the middle of both rails as shown. Do this to both sides of the comb. You dont have to do anything to the cutter, the rails are the very front and back. We want the middle of the hollow grind to be in the middle of both rails on these blade parts.
Attach the comb to your comb arm, and the cutter to the cutter arm and gently lower them both on to the plate.
Eyeball the ruler as being square across the plate and square to the arms. Imagine the ruler and one of the arms form a "L". Look and see where the mark on the comb blade is in reference to the middle line on the ruler, do the same with the middle of the cutter.
If your wheel is locked so it doesn't move, and the ruler is square as good as you can get it to the arms, the rest is easy.
See where that line you drew on the side of the comb sits on the middle line of the ruler. If its off, lift your arm and adjust the magnet head so that line sits directly on the middle line of the ruler. It shouldn't be that far off to begin with.
After you move it, verify the squareness of the arm and ruler and see where it sits again.
Leave your comb magnet laying on the ruler, it will help keep you square.
Now do the cutter side the same way. See where the cutter lays on the ruler, if its off adjust it. Lift the arm up and adjust the cutter magnet so the middle of the cutter lays on the middle line of the ruler. Also, this ruler has to outside lines as seen in the photo, the width between them is almost as wide as the cutter. You can also adjust the cutter magnet so the tips of the cutter teeth ride along the outside line as shown in the picture.
After you've calibrated both arms, check to see if the blades lay on the ruler the way you want them to. Readjust if necessary.
Now run a few blades. Take the cutter from these blades and rub them out on your test plate. You should see a shiney line across the very tips of the cutter, and shiny parts on the corners of the back rail. This is good hollow ground. The comb will be OK, but you can rub it out if you want to. Its hard to see hollow ground on the comb blade.
If you don't see shiny on the middle teeth of the cutter, it has to be moved back a little. If you see shiny down the teeth and not along the tips, it has to be moved forward a little.
Back in 2007, I did a study to determine the differences in varaition between a manual clipper blade machine, and an automatic clipper blade machine. I was told by both the manufacturers of the Treyco and Shop Machine, the the variation between sharpening blades manually and using the automatic machine was around 30% difference in favor of the automatic machine.
I was retired from Georgia Pacific, and my job was a process improvement engineer. I used my statistical tools that I was taught and did a small study because I owned both the Nebraska Blades machine, and the Shop Machine.
So I set the study up, got sample sizes of three blades per data point, and started to sharpen. I sharpend 90 blades for each machine and measured the metal taken off the comb blades with a caliper. It took a long time. I think I did the study correctly as Ive never tried to do a statistical analysis of blade sharpening. Here is the data and results, and they were much better than I expected.