About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blade Sharpening

Blade sharpening.....what can I say.
Finding a good blade and scissor sharpener has to be one of my biggest pains.

I found my first blade sharpener through grooming school.
He was local and close by, so I would take my blades to him.
Then one time I had sent one of my employees clippers in for a new cord.
This particular sharpener took it upon himself  to give the clippers a total overhaul.
Now, I am not saying that the clippers didn't need an overhaul, but that was not what I sent them in for, and my employee was very upset when she was charged a lot more than she had planed to pay.
I called the sharpener back to ask about the extra work he did without consent and also to ask if he would resharpen a blade that he  had sharpened for me a month before, but when I took it out to use it for the first time that day it was not cutting.

He got pissed at me right off the bat.
He started lecturing me about my employees clipper, then called me a liar when I claimed that I had just started using the blade he had sharpened a month earlier.
He refused to believe that I had not been using the blade and was just trying to get a free sharpening out of him.
I explained to him that I had gotten a lot of blades sharpened at once and did not use all of them as soon as I got them back.
I have to say he was one really nasty man.
I told him not to worry about the clippers or the blade, or about me ever using him again.
He called back about 15 minutes later to apologize, and tell me that he did not want to lose me as a customer.

Too late.

I never used him again.
Even when it took me forever to find another sharpener.
 I did eventually find one.

It was another local sharpener.
He was a nice man.
He picked up and delivered the blades and scissors.
He sharpened my blades and scissors for years.
Then he got sick and passed away.

I once again was looking for a new sharpener.
A local one.
I was never crazy about sending my tools out.

I had another local sharpener recommended to me by another employee.
I had a new pair of Monks that needed to be sharpened.
I decided to use those Minks to test that sharpener out.
Big, big mistake!
Words can not express how badly he destroyed those scissors.
Those scissors never worked right again.

I also tried a few sharpeners at Groom Expo.
One would sharpen them at the Expo as long as you got them to him early enough.
He did an okay job.

Another sharpener sent all of my blades back to me in little baggies full of oil.
Yes, there was actually a little pool of oil in the bottom of each baggy.
It was a pain cleaning all of that oil off before I could use those blades on a clean dog.

I found a sharpener at Intergroom once that did a really nice job.
Then he disappeared.

I tried a couple of other local sharpeners.
I used each of them only once....

I really am not that picky of a person, i just want my blades and scissors to work the way they are supposed to.

The last local sharpener I used is a very nice man.
Very professional.
Unfortunately, the sharpening has been hit or miss.
Sometimes the blades were fine, sometimes not.
I was really having trouble with the scissors.
So many of them were not cutting right.
They were also tightening, or loosening as you scissored.

I had been hearing good things for quite a while about Northern Tails Sharpening.
But, as I said before, I was not crazy about sending my blades and scissors out in the mail.
I finally got so fed up with my blades and scissors not cutting right and decided to try Jeff at Northern Tails.
His website is full of information.
It also tells you exactly how to mail your tools.

  I mailed my blades out on a Monday, Jeff received them by Wednesday, he had them finished and mailed them back out to me by Thursday.

He mailed my blades back 2-day priority mail.

Unfortunately, because of all the snow,  bad weather and Holiday, it took the post office 7 days to get them back to me. 

 The box also came back with a couple of holes in it.

This is why Jeff tells you to wrap all of your blades and scissors individually in bubble wrap.

 I didn't bubble wrap my tools, because I truly thought that the blade box I had would protect everything.

Next time I will bubble wrap.

Yes, there will be a next time.

 Jeff, of Northern Tails also sent back some fact sheets about some of the issues he found with some of my scissors and blades.

There was also a CD for me to watch about clipper and blade care.

Jeff also personally called me to talk about some of my scissors.

I also bought a Diamond Carbide Wheel for filing nails.

I have always used the sandpaper wheel for filing, but I have always hated the way the seam in the wheel would hit the nail, making the the filing feel choppy.

This Diamond Carbide Wheel has no seam.

The grind is very smooth.

No jumping and skipping of the wheel like the sandpaper wheel did every time the seam hit the nail.

I tested every blade that I got back from Northern Tails Sharpening.
Every blade was cutting great.
Jeff also did a really great job on my scissors.
He told me that they had been sharpened at the wrong angle for a grooming shear.
I just know that they are nice and sharp and working really great.

I will most definitely continue to send my blades and scissors to Jeff.
So, if you are looking for a good sharpener for your blades and scissors, I think that you will be very happy with Jeff....I am!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

No #4F Blade

Yesterday I mentioned in my post that I had sent most of my blades and scissors out to be sharpened and fixed by a new sharpener.

I held back one long, straight shear, one short curved shear, and one of each #3F, #4F, #5F and #7F blade, that were still cutting okay.
I also had my clip combs to fall back on.

 The day after I sent out my blades, I had this little one come in for a simple #4F clip.

I picked up the only #4F blade I still had and started to clip this freshly bathed dog, only to find out that I had held back the wrong blade.

The blade that I had held back was dull!!

(Bang head on table....hard!!)

I must have mixed them up when I had all of my blades spread out on my table to package up.


No #4F blade!!

I thought about using my clip comb, but I just knew that the clip comb would leave this soft, silky coat so choppy that I would have to spend a while scissoring it just to smooth the cut out.

Even using the clip comb in reverse would have looked choppy.

Plus the fact that I am not a big fan of reverse clipping.


 So, I decided to skip the clip comb and just hand scissor the whole dog down to the 4F length, or at least close to it.

 The cut turned out okay, but it was not quite a 4F length.

Maybe somewhere in between the #4F and #3F blade length.

Well, my blades came back today.....Whoopie!!!

I enjoy scissoring, but I was so glad to have a working 4F back.

I'll be giving a review of my newly sharpened blades and scissors tomorrow.
After my last experience with the another sharpener, I am going to test out all of my returned blades tomorrow.
So far I am very pleased with the customer service that I received from Jeff at Northern Tails Sharpening. :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Tip #58...Scissor Problem

This is a quick tip if you ever have issues with your scissors loosening, or tightening up as you scissor.
For the first time ever, I actually had a pair of scissors fall apart while I was scissoring a dog.
Fell completely apart!

I was so exasperated with these scissors.
The problem was, they were the only straight pair of scissors that I had at the time.
All of my other scissors had been sent out to be sharpened.
I don't usually send all of my scissors out at once, but there had been a problem after the  last person had sharpened them, that I found myself down to only a couple scissors while I was still trying to find someone else to try.

I had heard and read many good reviews for Northern Tails Sharpening.
I had sent just about every blade and scissor that I owned to him to have them sharpened and fixed.
(I should have my blades and scissors back tomorrow and will let everyone know if I am happy with the sharpening.)

Meanwhile I needed to fix the scissors that I still had.
Jeff from Northern Tails Sharpening give me the tip that I am about to share with you.
I can't believe that I have groomed for 30 years without knowing this tip.


In this picture you can see just how loose my scissors were.

If I tightened them too much they would tighten up as I scissored, to the point that I could hardly open and close them.

If I left them a little looser, they would become so loose you could not scissor at all.

It was enough to drive me crazy.

This was Jeff's tip.

First, remove the screw from your scissors.

Cut a piece of plumbers tape about an inch, or a little more long.

Then split (cut) the piece of plumbers tap right down the middle.

It should be just the right size for the small scissor screw.

Being careful not to twist the tape, carefully wrap the tape around the threads of the screw.

I wrapped the tape one and a half times around the threads tightly, then cut off the excess tape.

Before screwing the screw back into the scissors, I made sure to press the tape (with my fingers) into the threads.

This is what the screw should look like.

The tape will help the threads grab and hold so that the scissors should not loosen or tighten while scissoring.

Now the blades are the way they should be.

This tip/trick worked like a charm.

The scissors no longer loosened or tightened while I was scissoring.

I did have to adjust the screw a couple of times until I got just the right amount of tension on them for me.

As I said before, this tip comes from Jeff at Northern Tails Sharpening.
I hope that this tip helps other groomers. :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Matted Makeover...See What I Can Do

I had a little matted Maltese in the other day.
I hate when dogs come in matted in the middle of the winter.
I really hate when they are matted, because they have been wearing a sweater.
Hair + sweater + static electricity + friction = mats!

The last thing that I want to do is shave a dog in the middle of the winter that we are having now.

This little ones hair is not really that long, but she has been wearing a sweater.

Unfortunately, the body, ears and tail are very matted.

So, in the tub we go.

I made up a mixture of shampoo and 'The Stuff' in hopes that I would be able to loosen the matting up enough to get a longer blade through the coat.

The legs were only a little matted and I was pretty sure I would be able to easily brush them out.

Her ears had been pretty long and were matted.

Her owner had also been cutting some mats out of the ears.

One ear was choppy but still long.....

.....but the other ear was really hacked  up.

So, I called the owner to see if it was okay to take both ears short and start over again.

Yes, I called the owner.

I did not just take it upon myself to make the ears look cute and uniform, she is not my dog.

Yes, I have had pet owners tell me to leave long, uneven, chopped up ears, because they did not want them short no matter how goofy they looked.

Not my dog.....I do what the owner wants.....as long as it does not hurt the dog.

This owner told me to go ahead and do what I thought was best.

The matting on the body did loosen up away from the skin enough for me to get a #3F under the mat.

Most of the matting on the legs blew out with the HV.

I did have to shave the chest and belly with a #7F blade.

The tail was a matted mess.

While not pelted tight to the bone, there were about four large chunks of mats.

I used the mat splitter to carefully split up the four large mats into much smaller mats.

 I made sure to keep the tail bone covered with my fingers so that I was sure that I was only cutting mat.

I also split the mat by putting the point of the mat splitter between the tail bone and the mat, then carefully cut down, away from the tail bone, through the mat.

I was not expecting much hair to be left on the tail after brushing out these smaller mats.

 I was pleasantly surprised.

The smaller mats brushed out quickly and easily.

I did let the owner know that dematting the tail caused the tail to lose a lot of hair and was now very thinned out.

 The cut is shorter than the owner would have liked for the winter, but I am sure that she will be wearing her sweater again.

I explained to the owner that she should brush the dog every time she takes the sweater off.

I also let owners know that it is best not to let her dog wear the sweater 24/7.

I think that she looks really cute with the shorter ears.

Maybe the owner will decided to keep them short.

Maybe......I am not holding my breath.

Pet owners love those long ears! :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Just For Fun

I have a Shih-tzu that I groom whose owner likes the hair pulled back on the top of his head.
His hair is so long.
He also loves to dig his head into his towel, in his kennel, after I finish grooming him.
I used to have to take him back and redo the top of his head.
I have learned that if I stand next to his kennel after I finish his grooming, and wait, all I have to do is say 'no' when he starts digging at the towel and he will not dig his head.
Thankfully he doesn't try again after I walk away. :)

I usually either pulled his hair up in one topknot or two.
Today I thought that I would try something a little different.

So, I thought that I would try to create a little design with the rubber bands.


  It is not as neat and straight as I would have liked but, he likes to look all around the room while I am working on him.

I topped it off with a bow.

I didn't like how so much hair was still hanging down on the sides of the face.

 I did not want to take everything down and start over again.

So, I took a small section of hair on each side of the head and pulled it back behind the bow.

That's better.
Now the hair on the sides of his face will not fall into his face when he lowers his head.

Thankfully he did not dig at the top of his head, and he still looked nice when his owner picked him up.

I really have to try and remember to ask her how long this lasted after she got him home. :)