Sheep Shearing Tools
Producers interested in learning to shear their own sheep, or those who may just need a refresher to brush up on their skills, can now look at this video for help on shearing sheep. Finding someone to shear your sheep is becoming more difficult and expensive every year.
♪ Music ♪ Ok. We're going to talk about our shearing equipment today, and how to set it up properly and how to maintain it.
We've been using electric shears.
There are other methods.
There are shaft machines, but we use the electric shears.
They come in many different makes and models.
It's a matter of personal preference which one you want to use.
The basic blades are a comb and a cutter.
Now, the comb is used just as the name says: to comb the wool up, so that the cutter will move across, and cut that wool off; shear it off.
They come in basically two sizes: a two-and-a-half inch comb and cutter, and a three-inch comb and cutter.
I prefer the three-inch. It covers more ground.
You get through your sheep a little faster, but the two-and-a-half works well on lambs, and on legs, and perhaps in your shearing box, when you're going to the show ring.
The most important part of shearing is getting your blades setup properly.
And when I teach my shearing classes, I instill in the students that if it takes you 30 minutes to set these blades up properly, take the time.
Otherwise, your shearing experience is gonna be miserable, if your blades aren't setup properly.
On the comb, at the very end of the teeth, you'll see a small bevel.
And that's meant to rake up that wool as the comb moves through.
It is critical, that when you set your blades up, that the points of the cutter stay behind that bevel.
If not, it's gonna make for difficult shearing, so when we set the blades up in the yoke - and this is called the yoke - we put the cutter in on the yoke.
And back here are what we call the comb screws, and we set our comb in there, and tighten these comb screws down.
And we keep adjusting the comb up and down, until we get to the point where the points of the cutter are below the bevel.
It's also critical that the cutter moves back and forth across the comb, equidistant.
We don't want the cutter hanging out over the side, on one side, and only getting three quarters of the way on the final tooth on that side.
And the way we test that, once we get it set up, is we use our screwdriver - this is a shepherd's screwdriver that you can get at any sheep men's supply - and we move the flywheel back and forth manually, to look at two things.
We want to look to see if the points of our cutter are behind the bevel of the comb, and we also want to make sure that it's moving equidistant from one side to the other.
Now, if when we do this manual movement, and we find that the comb is not positioned correctly left to right, we will turn the shears over; we will loosen these slightly, just adjust our comb a little bit, tighten them down and do it again until we get it right.
So, it's very critical that we keep the points of the cutter behind the bevel of the comb, and that the cutter moves equal distance from one side to the other.
When you have that set up, you wanna make sure you use your screwdriver, and tighten down these comb screws, very tightly, so the blades don't fly off.
The other part of controlling the tension on the comb and cutter is the tension nut, which is this nut that moves back and forth here.
If you have too loose a tension on your equipment, when you start up, that cutter will fly off, and you'll have to start all over again.
So, what you want to do is you turn this down until you feel some tension, then, when you plug in, you'll hear the singing of the blades.
And if you loosen it, and they start singing at a very high pitch, you want to tighten it down, just until you hear the change in sound, and that's where you're going to start with your shearing.
And then, as you need to, as you do more sheep, you'll have to tighten these blades down, because they will get dull.
You never want to start with the blades too tight.
When you do that, two things happen.
One is you dull your blades very quickly.
And then, the second thing is your motor heats up too much, because it's working too hard.
And the blades cost a few bucks to get them sharpened, but it's important to try and get as many sheep out of a set of blades as you can.
Ok. In looking at the shearing head, it also needs oil, in order to keep it lubricated.
We use a 30-weight oil.
And you'll see that there are 3 ports on this shearing head.
It's critical that, when you're starting out, that you put your oil in all three ports, between every sheep, when you're a beginner.
As you get more experienced, you don't need to do it between every sheep, but in the beginning, make sure that you put in oil every time.
The other part of the shearing machine is the motor, and on that motor we have an on and off switch, which you can see here.
We also have an air filter screen that must be kept clean.
If you take that screen out, you can just run it under some hot water and that'll clean it, but you must keep it clean.
You also want to make sure when you're shearing that you do not cover that flywheel port - those flywheel ports - because that restricts the airflow, and then your motor will heat up.
The shearing head itself needs grease.
And you need to use the proper grease.
Don't get grease off of an old axle or some other grease.
You want to use clipper grease.
Pay the money. Buy that grease.
You need to make sure your gearbox is well greased.
What I like to do is check it at the beginning of each season.
And if it needs grease, you'll take this screw off and this screw off. This plate will pop off.
You can add grease.
Make sure your blades are well greased.
If you're shearing a lot of sheep, partway through the season, you want to keep checking this gearbox to make sure it has proper grease.
Then, at the end of the year, if you want to, you can take this off.
You can clean that gearbox out with gasoline or kerosene, and then you put your grease back in, run your machine just a little bit, to make sure the gears are well lubed for winter storage.
If you have a problem with the motor, or with the cord, you can buy replacement parts.
If you're somewhat handy, they are fairly easy to work on.
If not, you can send these off to a sheep men's supply or a livestock supply house, and they'll generally do the repairs for you.
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