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Sharpening scissors

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by smitty0331, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. smitty0331


    Dec 5, 2006
    I'm beginning to get a lot of requests to sharpen scissors for several hair dressers. Does anyone have a good proven method? I want to be careful since they are fairly expensive. Thanks in advance.
  2. richard j

    richard j

    Apr 1, 2007
    i sharpen hair cutting scissors all the time on the paper abrasive wheel (not the buffing wheel). make sure they arent serrated since thoes need to be sent out. some companies have a guarantee that will be voided if the serrations are removed so ask the person first if they are still under warranty.
  3. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    There's also convex scissors, I sharpened some scissor and clippers blades for a dog groomer friend but was unhappy with the inconsistant results on the scissors (steel maybe?) and the clipper blades still got me scratching my head. I also did hours of searching on "How to sharpen scissors" but found nothing of any value.
  4. Dog of War

    Dog of War

    Sep 4, 2004
    A few years ago I was dating a woman who was a stylist, and wound up doing scissors for her and several friends for ... well, until we broke up. :) I quickly figured out that the secret was not to use too fine a grit on the bevel itself: you want a bevel finish that tends to hold the hair and prevent it from slipping. So I used a medium stone, roughly 180-250 grit range, and they all raved about how well their scissors cut. But put a polished bevel on there, the hair will tend to slip, and neither your customers nor their customers will be happy.

    Of course this works out nicely for the sharpener, because a medium stone will sharpen a pair of even very dull salon scissors very quickly. Looking at all the different makes and styles of scissors I was given to sharpen I concluded that sharpening angle was relatively unimportant ... just try to match the existing angle, making sure you get all the way to the edge, then chase any burr with a couple light passes with a ceramic rod (my understanding is many professional scissors sharpeners just work the scissors a few times to chase the burr, but IMO that risks damaging the edge needlessly.)

    Anyway, it ain't rocket science. But of course bear in mind that salon scissors can be very expensive, some grossly overpriced IMO, so treat them with respect and take the time to do a good job.
  5. richard j

    richard j

    Apr 1, 2007
    i just sharpened 2 pairs of convexed edge scissors which i sharpened just like a convex edge knife but with a used 19 micron belt. several years ago i had an order of 200 pairs of scissors that were dropped off on a friday night by a friend. most of them were large 12" wiss scissors with a few 5" and 6" long pairs also. i had them all sharp and ready to go by sunday afternoon. they were all done on the paper abrasive wheel. scissors are just as easy for me to do as knives. i wouldnt suggest using a ceramic stick to remove the burr since it can backcut the edge. the burrs will shear each other off. this will give you an edge that will grab the hair and is what the factories do from what i have been told.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  6. Roger999


    Mar 22, 2008
    What I do is I just sharpen the bevel till it gets a burr then I just open and close the scissors to remove the burr.
  7. smitty0331


    Dec 5, 2006
    Do you guys just sharpen them carefully on a bench stone?
  8. richard j

    richard j

    Apr 1, 2007
    get a set of wheels and you'll be able to sharpen scissors without a problem. you can sharpen a pair of scissors in less than 15 seconds and get them sharp enough to push cut cotton sheet easily.
  9. James_Terrio


    Oct 6, 2008
    I sharpen scissors on a bench stone. Usually it only take a couple minutes to clean up the bevels. Then a bit of stropping to remove any burr you might have raised on the flat surfaces. Just like any other single-bevel blade; think of a woodworker's chisel. You certainly don't want a bevel on the inside portion of the blades.

    It's worth noting, make sure the two blades are snug enough so the inside flats have good contact. Scissors don't really cut like a knife does, they pinch and shear whatever they're cutting. If you can see light between the two blades when the scissor is closed, it's not going to work worth a darn, no matter how keen each blade is.

    I've "repaired" a couple that needed only light touch-up on the edges; tightening up the joint between the two halves was much more important. Sometimes the hinge (that's probably not the right term, but you know what I mean) is a screw that can be tightened, sometimes it's like a rivet that can be gently peened.
  10. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    This article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scissors uses the term pivot.
  11. James_Terrio


    Oct 6, 2008
    Thanks Esav, that makes sense. Like the pivot in a folding knife. :thumbup:
  12. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    By the way, guys, the Sharpmaker has a setting for scissors, which I've used on some old scissors I had here. I think they were mostly barber's scissors. Worked fine.
    Bigbobg likes this.
  13. rpttrsn


    Nov 1, 2006
    I have sharpened scissors by cutting fine to very fine steel wool. Really made a difference on the cutting ability. Try it-- you might like it.
  14. Dog of War

    Dog of War

    Sep 4, 2004
    Of course you wouldn't want to go after it as if you were sharpening an old lawn mower blade with a file :) ... which is why I said "light passes." With the scissors fully open, rest the ceramic rod/file on the inner face of the blade and use a very light, edge leading stroke to chase the burr. Repeat on other blade. Not only does this chase the burr, but it helps identify any damage that may have been done to the honed edge or inner face that you may need to address, while smoothing tiny imperfections and corrosion damage. The result is a pair of scissors with as good a run as you'll ever feel.
  15. smitty0331


    Dec 5, 2006
    Thanks guys. Lots of good ideas here. More than answered my question.
  16. Nosmo


    Jul 12, 2003
    I built this attachment for the EdgePro but could be easily used with other systems. To set the angle, one loosens the Socket head bolt and revolves the scissor holder. Works great.
  17. BarrelTwist


    Apr 2, 2009
    I have tried but i can never get it just right :(
  18. chocky99


    Jun 23, 2009
    I am a keen fly tyer and i have to have my scissors sharp enough to cut very fine materials.These are small pairs of scissors and I need to sharpen them quickly with no fuss.I use a small mill file that is used by Japanese's carpenters to file the saws with.I only sharpen the bevel side.This works very well for me as there is enough grip left on the the bevel to help cut the finest hackle ends
  19. dscheidt


    Nov 24, 2007
    What about fabric cutting shears? Are they done the same way? I've got a bunch that need sharpening, and I'm wondering how best to do it. Is it necessary to flatten the backs?
  20. richard j

    richard j

    Apr 1, 2007
    you sharpen just the bevels only. you dont mess with any other part except for maybe light sanding to remove rust if necessary. i use paper wheels to sharpen on and it takes less than a minute to do a pair. you might try a flat stone held at a matching angle.

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