When inexpensive scissors start getting dull, you can choose to take the time to sharpen them or do what most people do and simply get another pair. But for professional scissors and shears that can cost hundreds of dollars, it is essential that you know how to sharpen them to maintain an optimal cutting edge.
Sharpening scissors is an exacting process which is why it may be best to use a high-quality knife sharpener like the RazorSharp on your scissor blades to avoid costly mistakes.
Special Considerations When Sharpening Scissors
There are a few characteristics that make sharpening scissors challenging. You'll need to take these requirements into consideration when sharpening professional scissors or shears.
Angle of the Cutting Edge
Scissors have a beveled cutting edge with an angle that is much steeper than most knives. The angle can vary between manufacturers and types of shears, but to maintain razor-sharp scissors it is crucial to maintain the original angle. This can be very difficult to do manually.
Fragility of the Cutting Edge
Some scissors, like those used in hair cutting, have a cutting edge that is extremely sharp, angled and fragile. These scissors can be damaged easily; even a simple drop onto the floor can be catastrophic. They are at greater risk of damage during the sharpening process. The brute force of an electric sharpener or using too heavy a hand in manual sharpening can destroy the scissor blade.
Common Techniques To Sharpen Scissors
Owners of expensive scissors or shears have a few options to maintain the sharp edge of their tools:
- Get them professionally sharpened
- Make use of a sharpening stone
- Use a pull-through knife sharpener
- Try alternative DIY methods
Turn to a Professional
If you choose to have your scissors or shears sharpened by a professional, it is important to do your research and find one with experience sharpening scissors. If you have a professional you can trust, this can be a good option; however, it can be expensive, and you will have to do without your tools until the work is complete.
Utilize a Sharpening Stone
Many professionals use a sharpening stone on dull scissors to get a sharp edge. This technique has been in use for centuries and can produce good results. Finding and maintaining the right angle for your scissor blade and using a delicate touch can be challenging, however. This method is best left to those with extensive experience.
Do It Yourself With a Pull-Through Knife Sharpener
This is a great, easy-to-use method to sharpen scissors that will work for most people and on most edges. It isn't difficult to learn how to sharpen scissors with a knife sharpener.
Not all pull-through knife sharpeners are created equally, however, so using one like the RazorSharp is important. Look for these features:
- The ability to customize the angle of the cutting edge
- The ability to both hone and polish
- A safety grip to steady your hand and avoid injuries
- A rubberized base to avoid slippage
Experiment With Alternative Methods
You can find a variety of alternative ways to sharpen scissors online. They include things like cutting sandpaper or aluminum foil with your dull scissors. You may even be told to saw on a glass mason jar or cut through paper. If you are curious about these techniques, it's best to try them out on a pair of scissors you don't care about. Most professionals will tell you that, at best, these methods are ineffective; at worst, they will damage and perhaps destroy blades rather than sharpening dull scissors.
Careers that Depend on Razor-Sharp Scissors
If you are an occasional seamstress or someone that cuts your own kids' hair, a pair of professional-quality scissors or shears is a luxury. However, if you make your living in a career that depends on professional cutting tools, owning and maintaining the highest quality tools possible can be essential to your success.
Professional Gardeners and Landscapers
Gardening or landscaping can transform an outdoor area. These professionals are responsible for creating outdoor living spaces that contribute to the quality of life for homeowners, and their work is essential to the branding of commercial locations. In order to practice their professions at the highest levels, gardeners and landscapers depend on specialized tools and shears with a razor-sharp edge.
One of the most essential tools for intricate landscaping is a pair of pruning shears. These can be used for tasks as mundane as clipping the heads off dead flowers to specialty projects like sculpting Bonsai trees. The curved edge on these tools can make using a sharpening stone challenging, but a pull-through knife sharpener can work very well as you can control the arc of your movement. Professional-grade pruners can cost upwards of $200, so maintaining their razor sharpness as long as possible is important.
Most professional chefs will tell you that a quality pair of kitchen shears is an essential tool. Chefs may use kitchen shears for a variety of jobs that could damage their kitchen knives, such as these:
- Cutting fins and scales off of fish
- Cutting the shell on lobster or crab
- Cutting apart whole poultry
- Clipping roots and stems off of produce
Since all commercial kitchens likely have a pull-through knife sharpener readily available, it is a simple matter to use the same tool used for sharpening knives to maintain the cutting edge on their kitchen shears.
The primary tool of any hairstylist is a great pair of sharp scissors. Getting a precision cut on a substance as fine as human hair takes a blade with a refined and durable edge. Good styling shears commonly cost hundreds of dollars, while specialty and top-of-the-line scissors can run into the thousands. These are indispensable tools that stylists hold onto for years, sometimes for decades.
When working with expensive and delicate fabric such as silk or fine linen, seamstresses invest in quality tools and sharpen scissors frequently. A dull pair of fabric shears can destroy fragile fabrics, and any faults in the blade can cause costly mistakes.
While home sewers can be satisfied with scissors from the local big-box store, professional seamstresses typically pay hundreds of dollars for professional fabric shears.
Maintaining a sharp edge on scissors and shears is important for DIYers and professionals alike. The simplest way to keep your blades sharp is to learn how to sharpen scissors with a knife sharpener. The RazorSharp is a premium knife sharpener that will allow you to maintain your scissors and shears with precision and safety and extend the life of the blades for years to come.