Plucking is a grooming technique that is essential if you really want to make a wire-haired coat or any other type of coat that needs to be plucked shine. This technique can be done with stripping knives. Our team of grooming experts is often asked how to blunt a stripping knife. Today we answer this question, and you will also learn why some stripping knives need to be blunted.


Stripping ≠ cutting

When you strip the coat, the idea is to pluck the hairs from root to tip. By pulling out the hairs completely and thoroughly, you make room for new hairs. The coat will have beautiful, natural colours and a wire-haired texture. Plucking, also known as hand stripping, creates space in the hair follicle for new hairs. If you don't hand strip the coat, it can become as it were 'suffocated'. Too many hairs will grow in the same hair follicle, and it will become clogged. To allow the coat to breathe, it is important to strip it regularly.

Besides timely stripping, it is also crucial to pluck correctly. This can only be done with the right technique and with the right equipment. A stripping knife that is too sharp will not remove the hairs entirely and will also damage the coat! If your stripping knife is sharp, the hairs will be cut instead of plucked. That is, of course, not what you want at all. But how can you tell if your stripping knife is too sharp?

Kitty's tip: Do the sharpness test. Strip a few hairs using the stripping knife and let the hairs fall onto a sheet in a contrasting colour. Then take a closer look at the hairs. Can you clearly see a hair root? Then you have plucked the hairs correctly. However, if you see many short hairs without a hair root, then you are probably using a stripping knife that is too sharp.

If you see many short hairs without a hair root, it could be that you are using the wrong stripping technique. If you twist your wrist too much, for instance, you are working a little too straight at the hairs. If you make a quick pull in that case, you can damage the hairs. Keep your wrist straight and preferably as low as possible. Below you can see the do’s and don’ts:


Blunting a sharp stripping knife

Fortunately, you can easily blunt the sharp stripping knife yourself. A first way is to use a scrubbing or cleaning brush with stiff, hard bristles and then comb through the bristles or hand strip the bristles with the blade part. Another way to make the blade less sharp is to use it to strip a wire-haired coat in poor condition or the coat of a spayed dog. A third way is to draw lines with the stripping knife in a tray or box filled with sand. Normally, you cannot damage the blade in this way. However, we recommend you to be careful not to bend or crack the metal of the teeth.


Preventing it is better than... blunting

As a dog groomer, you naturally want to be able to work smoothly. I myself am a dog groomer with years of experience. I can confirm that dog grooming is a wonderful but at times tough job. My motto is therefore: work smarter, not harder. And you can only work smarter with the best equipment.

Some stripping knives on the market are mass-produced without sufficient knowledge and attention to detail. A machine-made stripping knife is generally too sharp. Producers of too-sharp knives assume that a stripping knife is a knife and knives must cut. They do not know enough about the importance of stripping, the right techniques and high-quality stripping material. People with experience in the grooming world know that it is not that simple and that the correct finishing of the teeth is crucial!

Not all newly purchased stripping knives need blunting. By working with high-quality, handmade stripping knives such as those from The Sentinel, you know that you have non-sharp, quality material in your hands. These knives were designed by Rony De Munter, a well-known and experienced groomer and breeder of fox terriers. He knows better than anyone what qualities an optimal stripping knife should have. The stripping knives from The Sentinel have a flat, metal blade with a blunt and serrated edge and will help you create a beautiful grooming result.

The Yento, Show Tech and Diama stripping knives are also particularly interesting for stripping.

You may still wonder whether a stripping knife can wear out. Quality plays an important role in wear and tear. A good knife is like wine: it gets better with age. The same goes for your stripping techniques. The key is practicing... with the right material. Need more advice? We are your helpline!

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