How does one go about sharpening the blade of a board shear? Well it is not a simple matter of pulling out your whetstone, oiling it up, and having at it! The blade of our board shear is 45” long and is curved. Not only that, there is a 4 foot long metal plate that aligns with the blade that must also be sharpened.
In early July, Hugh Brown came by and helped me remove the blade from the cast iron cutting arm. I needed Hugh’s hefty 5/8” hex wrench to remove the screws that held the blade onto the cutting arm. Once the blade was removed, I triple-wrapped it and sent it via UPS to Mid-Atlantic Knife Co. in Ashland, VA. A few days later, Mid-Atlantic called and asked me why I hadn’t sent the metal plate along with the blade. I replied:”What metal plate?” Apparently, the metal plate the board shear blade slides past on its way through binder board must be sharpened at the same time as the blade. Once again, two kind fellows from Facilities helped me remove the metal plate. Then, I triple-wrapped it and sent it UPS to Mid-Atlantic Knife Co. in Ashland, VA.
This week, both the metal plate and the blade returned to me screwed onto a wooden board. With the help of my student assistant, Trey Godwin, we re-attached both the plate and the blade to the board shear and returned it to good working order. Re-attaching a 45” long metal blade was a tricky operation requiring aligning 8 screws and the holes on the cutting arm. This was akin to standing on one leg, rubbing your stomach, patting your head, and reciting the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. Not to worry, the blade is back where it belongs and the board shear is cutting through paper and boards of all kinds–like butter.