Sharpening scissors with aluminum foil

Feb 19, 2010
I've seen this all over the Internet on DIY sites and such. Apparently you take a sheet of aluminum foil fold it in half four times or so, and then cut through it several times and whalla, your scissors are sharp again.

Can someone out there explain to me how this works? If it works. Just wanted to here others thoughts on this.
Urban legend/myth type thing. There is no way that aluminum will sharpen a steel blade, unless it has grit embedded in it and acts as a lap. In short, anyone who believes this will work doesn't understand how sharpening works.
Urban legend/myth type thing. There is no way that aluminum will sharpen a steel blade, unless it has grit embedded in it and acts as a lap. In short, anyone who believes this will work doesn't understand how sharpening works.
I like your certainty. I agree, with the added disclaimer, that of course, aluminium will have an effect if you cut it long enough. But the effect will undoubtly make it duller
I'm curious about this, too. There seems no shortage of testimonials that insist this method does work. Yet the mechanism by which it would work seems elusive and not obvious to me. Has anyone here actually tried it out? I gave it a quick go with some cheap scissors that were moderately sharp. The results were difficult for me to evaluate one way or another. There simply seemed no significant change in the sharpness. Maybe I'll purposefully dull some scissors and try it again.
well, scissor are sharpened at a large angle. and there might be some deburring involved between the two parts of the scissor edges, but that's not necessarily sharpening
I tried it with an old pair I had on the bench. It did seem to help them.
Just how do you sharpen scissors? Of course they don't cost much on the average so I can throw them away. I usually have the ones my wife has used in the kitchen and is getting rid of.

Her sewing scissors do not seem to dull.
I sharpen scissors with benchstones, the same way I do knives. Just grind the bevel, get a burr, and then use care to knock it off on the other side (you don't want a really big bevel on the other side.)
This won't help... and also, sharpening scissors and sheers has to be one of the easiest tasks ever: just figure out the final edge bevel, push your stone towards the center-line whilst keeping a constant angle until you raise a small burr, repeat on the other blade and simply open and close the scissors to de-burr. Also remember that it's not the edge itself that cuts, but the clipping action made by the two edges sliding against each other. You can have two edges that are sharp enough to shave, but unless they make proper contact with one another, it will probably just push over what you're trying to cut..
The scissors I've sharpened have all been relatively soft. I wonder if the effect isn't more akin to steeling an edge by the aluminum grabbing the rolled spots and pulling them back to where they had been. I can't imagine this would happen unless there was some slip involved, but who knows. Maybe the opposing edges have some force interaction on each other via the aluminum. I'll have to try it on my wife's beater scissors and see if it makes a difference.
One popular abrasive is aluminum oxide, aluminum rust. The surface of any aluminum you have ever seen (unless you've been in some very specialized laboratories) is covered with aluminum oxide. It's a myth that aluminum doesn't rust. It rusts virtually instantly on contact with air. It's just that aluminum rust, aluminum oxide, is different than the rust you see on iron and steel. While the rust you see on iron and steel is weak, powdery, and redish-brown, aluminum rust is tough, solid, and crystal clear. Aluminum oxide forms such a tight crystal structure that once a layer only a few molecules thick forms, it seals the surface airtight so no more air can get in and the rusting process stops. In fact, there is another name for Aluminum Oxide, and that name is sapphire. Sapphire gemstones are just big pieces of aluminum rust.

What I'm wondering is if maybe the aluminum oxide layer on the foil acts and an abrasive and there might be some sharpening effect.
If you are really lending credence to this theory, maybe you should try cutting up some sandpaper with your very best If there were any effect on scissor edges from cutting aluminum oxide on the foil, it would have the tendency to dull the edge, not sharpen it. At best, it could clean off a gunked up blade maybe. Are you planning on cutting up some aluminum foil with your sharpest knives to see if it makes them sharper? This is silly. If your scissors are truly dull this will do nothing to help. If they are just in need of a little help maybe it might slightly affect the edge.

These "shortcuts" that people always perpetuate are almost always things to try to get around doing the work properly, because most people don't have the knowledge or skill to do so.
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