Can You Sharpen Garden Shears With a Dremel?

Many gardening tools need maintenance and sharpening over their lifetime, and garden shears are no exception. But, can you sharpen garden shears with a Dremel?

You can sharpen garden shears with a Dremel and angle and bench grinders, hand files, and sharpening stones. However, using a Dremel requires less effort and allows you to create a sharper, cleaner edge when used right.

In this article, I’ll explore the reasons why you should sharpen your garden shears with a Dremel. I’ll explain how to do so and explore other sharpening methods. Then, I’ll go over how to clean rust off your shears and briefly discuss when you should replace them. Keep reading to learn more!

Why You Sharpen Garden Shears With a Dremel

So, it’s possible to sharpen your garden shears with a Dremel. But why should you choose this method over others? What are the pros and cons of sharpening your shears using a Dremel?

The foremost benefit of sharpening garden shears with a Dremel is that it requires less effort to do so. However, using one also helps create a sharper, cleaner edge—as long as it’s used correctly.

Angle and bench grinders are also used to sharpen garden shears and are less precise. Sharpening stones require more effort, and a hand file requires great amounts of effort and is imprecise, creating a dull, messy edge. Most methods have their pros and cons, whether they be convenience, ease of use or a better edge.

Sharpening your garden shears properly and to an adequate sharpness helps prevent injuries to your plants and trees and prevent the spread of disease. It’s worth taking the time to make sure your tools have a good, clean edge.

How To Sharpen Garden Shears Using a Dremel

Here are instructions on how to sharpen your garden shears using a Dremel.

  1. Disassemble your garden shears. Remove the pivot bolt and separate the blades so you can work on them one at a time. You don’t want the other blade to impede your movements, never mind scratch or cut you—especially if your blades are rusty.
  2. Clean your garden shears with a steel brush. You don’t want dirt or thick rust to gum up your Dremel, so try to get as much of it off as you can beforehand. If you need to, use a rust remover or abrasive handblock. Remember to rinse rust remover off afterward.
  3. Clamp your Dremel into a multi-vise. The multi-vise will hold the Dremel still while you run your shear blades along its head to sharpen them. You want to make sure that it fits tightly and does not move when you push on it with your hand.
  4. Don your dust mask and safety goggles. Like with any rotary tool, it’s important to protect your eyes, face, and lungs. If you don’t have the proper equipment, don’t continue. Please wait until you have time to buy them from your local hardware store.
  5. Find your shear blades’ original edges. You want to sharpen along where they were originally sharpened the first time. This helps create a clean edge and will give you a guide to help prevent you from damaging your shears with the Dremel.
  6. Sharpen the blades using the Dremel. Run the blades on their side along the Dremel, following the original edges. You want to make smooth strokes so that you don’t create bumps or chips along the blades.
  7. Deburr the blades. Run your blades’ edges down your Dremel a few times to remove sharp burrs and slivers. They’re a natural byproduct of sharpening metal and need to be removed.
  8. Reassemble your shears. You’ve finished sharpening them. Don’t forget to grease the pivot bolt!

And that’s how you sharpen a pair of garden shears!

Other Methods for Sharpening Garden Shears

There are several other methods for sharpening garden shears, which I mentioned above—using an angle or bench grinder or manually sharpening your shears using a hand file or sharpening stone.

Angle and Bench Grinders

Like using a Dremel, using an angle or bench grinder will save you the effort of sharpening your garden shears by hand. They are less precise and harder to use than a Dremel; however, if you don’t own a Dremel, they can be a convenient alternative.

If you’re going to use an angle or bench grinder, be sure to practice control in your movements. Wear the proper equipment—a dust mask and eye or face protection. Most of all, make sure to follow the safety procedures necessary to use these tools. You can’t care for your plants if you injure yourself.

A Hand File

A hand file is easy to find and will do an alright job in a pinch. However, it’s less precise than an angle or bench grinder and creates fuller, messier edges than a sharpening stone.

If you must use a hand file, place your garden shears in a vice or some other tool to hold them still while you work on them. You will have to use a lot of force, so ensure they’re held securely.

Finally, wear protective gloves, so you don’t accidentally cut yourself on your shears’ blades while sharpening them or scrape of your skin with the file if you miss.

A Sharpening Stone

Sharpening stones have fine grit and require the most effort. However, that fine grit allows you to create sharp, clean edges. Also, they can be very precise in the hands of someone well-experienced in using them.

Sharpening stones are typically seen as artisan’s tools, and will take more time to use and get used to using. However, they can be rewarding to get the hang of and can be used in many different tasks.

How To Clean Rust off Your Garden Shears

It’s always better to prevent rust from building up in the first place. But, if that fails, gardeners use many methods to remove rust from their tools.

Preventing Rust Buildup

Preventing rust from building up on your garden tools starts at purchase. Not all tools are made equal, and purchasing weatherproofed tools prevents you from having to clean rust off them. Don’t cheap out on your tools—choose ones that will last.

Cleaning, oiling, and drying your tools properly after each use is also important for preventing rust. As you know, rust forms easier when metal is damp. So, after you use your tool, clean it, oil it, and then dry it thoroughly before hanging it up in a dry, cool place for storage.

Removing Rust Buildup

To clean rust from your tools, you have some options. The first is to use a rust removal compound, such as Evapo-rust or Bull Frog Rust Remover. You can also scrub the rust off your tool with an abrasive, such as a Sandflex Rust Eraser.

How To Care for Your Garden Shears

So, you can remove rust from your garden shears. But how do you best care for them? Do they need oil? Is there anything else you need to know?

To best care for your garden shears, clean them after every use and keep them well-oiled. When using them, hang them on the wall in a dry place to prevent rust buildup.

Keeping your garden shears dry prevents rust, as does keeping them well-oiled. However, oiling your shears will also help keep them working optimally, so it’s an important step.

If you don’t know how to lubricate or oil your gardening shears, check out this article I wrote on the subject: How to Properly Lubricate Garden Shears (DIY Guide)

When Should You Replace Your Garden Shears?

What if maintenance isn’t helping anymore. How do you know when your shears are too far gone and need to be replaced?

You should replace your garden shears when proper maintenance is no longer maintaining them. If oil no longer helps, or they’re covered in a layer of rust too thick to be removed, it’s time for a new pair of shears.

Rust remover can only do so much. When your shears’ blades are completely rusted over, rust removers might not work, and using abrasives can be time and energy-consuming. Not to mention, they might not get it all. So it’s always best to prevent rust before it can begin instead of trying to repair your tools afterward.


You can sharpen garden shears with a Dremel, angle and bench grinders, hand files, and sharpening stones. Prevent rust by drying and oiling your tools, and remove it with rust removers and abrasives. 

You should replace your garden shears when maintenance no longer maintains them.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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