Ace Sharpening & Co

 

How To Sharpen Scissors & Shears eBook

 

Section 1: Sharpening scissors to “Blunt Cut”

(Groomers, barbers, sewing, and industrial scissors)

 

  So what is it that makes this method of scissor sharpening different, and why it is superior to other methods of scissor sharpening that use the same sharpening equipment? In a word when you are finished sharpening a pair of scissors using this method your shears will ‘sing’ when you hear your scissors ‘sing’ they are telling you that there will be no hair slide, and no folding of the hair from the pivot screw to the tips of the shears. Whatever hair your scissors touch will be cut off with a crisp silky smooth cut with no exceptions!

 

  The sound you hear when you open and close a pair of scissors sharpened to sing is similar to the sound you hear while a chef is sharpening a knife on sharpening steel. It is kind of a swishing sound. Even my new customers when they hear this sound for the first time will say something like “wow I can tell these scissors are going to work well just by the way they sound!” Then when they use them they say like; “oh yeah!”

 

  I had previously learned to sharpen scissors from a video I had purchased with my

New TAS machine and I thought I was pretty good at it. I was soon to learn that things are not always what they seem. What got me to doubting my newly acquired abilities was an old barber. He watched as I went around to the other barbers in the shop collecting scissors. When I got over to him I asked him if he had any scissors he would like to have sharpened. 

 

  He stopped and looked at me for a moment and said something like this; “No, there aren’t any real sharpeners left anymore, they have all died. No one knows how to sharpen a pair of scissors like they used to.” I thought to myself well wait till you try mine! Turns out he did give me a pair to sharpen, but when I brought them back and gave them to him he just opened and closed them a couple of times and told me that they weren’t any good. I said to him how do you know they aren’t any good, you haven’t even tried them yet?

 

  He simply said; “Because they don’t sing, I knew they wouldn’t, they never do.” He told me he didn’t know how to make them sing, but he said until I can learn to make them sing I was never going to be a good scissor sharpener. I went away rather perplexed at what he told me. He was a straight shooter, and didn’t pull any punches. When he looked at me I felt like crawling under a rock.

 

  At first after I had left, I felt a little anger welling up inside because I had just given him my best job, and he told me it was no good. But then after a moment of feeling sorry for myself I thought you know, I don’t know everything, this man has been around scissors all his life this could be a chance for me to learn something I really need to know. So instead of letting myself get offended I went home trying to think of what I could do to make my scissors sing.

 

  The scissor sharpening method I had learned in the video taught me how to make the scissors sharp and silky smooth. Mine fit that bill but they sure did not sing. I had already gotten some complaints that there was some hair slide. I remember thinking how could the hair slide when the scissors were silky smooth and razor sharp? After my ego deflating experience with the old barber I was determined to figure it all out.

 

  After a few days of thinking about it the only thing that came to my mind that might cause the scissors to sing was the burr. Previously I had been taking great pains to get rid of the burr thinking that this is what would make them silky smooth. Well it did make them really smooth, but there was this hair slide problem, and of course they didn’t sing.

 

  Some of the barbers wanted me to corrugate one blade on their scissors to eliminate the hair slide problem, and that did fix the hair slide on the scissors that I corrugated, but the dog groomers didn’t want their scissors corrugated and they were the ones complaining about the hair slide.

 

  It only made sense that keeping the burr would eliminate this problem, and make the scissors sing all at the same time. I then went to work trying to think of how to keep the burr and then working it down so it wouldn’t bite on itself, and how am I going to get silky smooth shears with burrs on the blades?

 

  Note; It turns out that the burrs once they are meshed together properly actually hold the blades apart causing less friction on the blades, allowing more friction on the cutting edges making the scissors cut like magic. And the feel is so much silkier smooth than I had ever imagined possible, much better than with no burr.

 

  The scissor sharpening training video I had learned to sharpen scissors from taught me to drag the burrs off the newly sharpened edge of the blades by first spreading the blades apart while the scissors are in the open position. Then while they are still spread apart to close the scissors so as not to touch the burrs against each other while the blades are being closed as this would damage the newly sharpened edge.

 

  Then once the scissors are closed, (burrs intact) hold the blades together and slowly open the blades allowing the burrs to drag against each other backwards to pull the burrs off. This was to be continued several times until the burrs were mostly gone and the scissors would open and close without any damage to the new cutting edge on each of the blades.

 

Note; (I now never drag the burrs off in this fashion. Instead I leave the burrs on, but later after the initial conditioning the burrs, I also use Velcro to brush the burrs forward towards the sharp edge of the blade for the final bur conditioning, this prevents the burs from biting into each other, but we will talk about that later.)

 

  I would go through the rest of the steps dragging the burrs off on each step, then to finish it off I would use my curved honing blocks along with the really fine sand paper I had bought for them to smooth the burrs completely off thus creating the silky smooth razor sharp scissors.

 

  Ok, I scrapped all of that and decided to try something new and radical. In the video I had learned never to close the blades down on a new burr as this would damage the blades. According to the video if you ever accidentally did this then the only way to fix the damaged blades would be to re-sharpen them again. I recalled to mind that little saying “Never say never!”

 

Well, to make a long story short, here is what I came up with:

 

 First loosen the pivot screw ½ turn, then holding one finger hole of the scissor in your left hand (with the point of the scissors pointing directly away from you horizontally) and the other scissor finger hole in your right hand, lightly close and open the blades back and forth repeatedly barely letting the burs touch each other as the blades pass across each other.

 

 Do not at this point allow the burs to bite into each other, but they must brush against each other very lightly without any biting. They will quickly smooth out as the burs are conditioned in this manner. Once they stop wanting to bite they will then start singing! At that point you can put the scissors in your hand normally like you would if you wanted to use them and then continue to open and close them allowing the burs to brush against each other a little harder and harder till they simply will not bite no matter how hard you press the blades together.

 

To get them to rub harder use your left had to lightly push the blades together as they open and close. Of course there is a limit to how hard you can press the blades together, just use a little common sense and don’t press too hard or you can damage the sharp edge and have to start over. After buffing the sharp edges on the hard fiber buffing wheel then use this same method to condition the burs again because the hard fiber buffing wheel will actually create a very small burr from buffing. To finish the conditioning of the burs after the bevels have been buffed and the burs initially conditioned use the magic paddle to pull the remaining burrs forward toward the sharp edge.

 

OK, that was a lot to digest, but I will explain it all further later on.

 

 Now with all that said there is still more to the story. Since then I have learned that not everyone likes to have their scissors “sing” barbers and groomers like to have their scissor sing, but not all beauty operators like to have their scissors sing because they do a lot of slide cutting. The only beauty operators that like to have their scissors sing are the ones that cut men’s hair. Stylist who cut women’s hair like their scissor to slide cut, but we will talk about that in the next section on sharpening beauty scissors. For now we will focus on sharpening scissors to blunt cut, beauty scissors are whole new ball game when it comes to sharpening them.

 

Make yourself a “Magic Paddle”;

 

 Make a wooden paddle ¾” X 6” long and ¼” thick, then go to the hardware store and buy some industrial duty Velcro with adhesive on the back side. Cut two 3/4” wide strips about 4” long off the hook side of the Velcro (you don’t need the loop side) and stick these two pieces on both sides of one end of the paddle.  Now that you have a Magic Paddle here is how to use it on scissors that are sharpened to blunt cut.

 

 Lay the magic paddle across the inside of the scissor blade like a + then pull the paddle across the inside face of each blade towards the sharp edge, start brushing towards the sharp edge (on the inside face of the scissor blade, not the outside face) next to the screw hole and keep brushing till you end up at the tips. What this does is brush the initially conditioned burrs towards the sharp edge of the blade so when you close the scissor blades the burs will be pointing at each other, and it will eliminate the possibility of the burs ever biting into each other.

 

The nice thing about this process is that it mainly brushes the burrs that are on the inside of the blade toward the sharp edge. The sharp edge will have tiny little teeth left on it so the scissors will bite the hair (no hair slide) and not each other, but there is still enough of the bur left on the inside of the blades to still sing.

 

 

  I will break the rest of this process down into separate steps so it will be easier to follow especially if you are a beginner. Then I will elaborate on each step. This will take some time to learn and may seem like allot, but remember it only takes me less than ten minutes to sharpen a pair of grooming, or barber scissors. I charge $12.00 for barber, and grooming scissors, and $20.00 for beauty scissors, but really, you can charge $25.00 for beauty scissors with no problems

 

  Beauty scissors are a little harder to work with, they are more fragile, they break real easy, and you have to be very careful not to take too much metal off. The small size of beauty scissors requires more finesse making them a little harder to work with.

 

   For grooming and barber scissors I always use a 35 degree angle on the cutting edge. On beauty scissors I normally use a 45 degree angle on the cutting edge unless the beauty scissors are real cheap ones or ones with softer metal then I use a 35 to 40 degree angle. I have found that cheap beauty scissors will not hold a 45 degree angle. Speaking of beauty scissors you do have to remove the bur when sharpening them unless they are using them to cut men’s hair. When sharpening beauty scissors for women’s hair they need to be able to slide cut, (no bur) but for men’s hair they want them to blunt cut like a barber scissor, (With a bur.)

 

   I do have a few groomers that like the 40 degree angle, but be careful who you do this for. Not all groomers want their scissors that sharp! Also not all grooming scissors can hold a 40 degree angle same as some beauty scissors so be selective which grooming scissors you are willing to try it on. Only very good quality grooming scissors can handle a 40 degree angle.

 

  I like to blow my competition completely out of the water by always doing the same great job on barber and grooming scissors that I do on beauty scissors and you should too. When barbers and groomers see how great their scissors look and cut they will be more than happy to pay you $12.00 to sharpen their scissors for them.

 

Note:

 

Just for your information the Wolf and Foley clamps use German bevels and do not put the same bevel on a blade that you would get if you used a protractor to measure the bevel. So in reality 40 degrees on the Wolf or Foley clamp will not be the same as 40 degrees on a protractor. We are going by the bevels on the Wolf and Foley Clamps.

 

  Here is what you will need;

 

  For best results his method of scissor sharpening is centered on the 6” scissor sharpening machine sold by Ace Sharpening & Co, but it can also be used with a TAS, but with slightly less functionality. You will need one pink scissor honing stick from Wolf or Foley, buffing compound from Wolf or Foley, or the green buffing compound from Ace Sharpening & Co or you can order the green buffing compound off the web. I prefer the chalky green (not the oily green) buffing compound over what Wolf or Foley sells. You will need one fiber buffing wheel from Ace Sharpening & Co. and one flint hard felt buffing wheel from Ace Sharpening & Co. (Or you can use the Okami Gold buffing wheel instead.)

 

 

 

 

 

   Note; The hard fiber buffing wheel leaves a sharper crisper edge than the softer felt buffing wheels. In this method of scissor sharpening the Okami Gold buffing wheel and the flint hard buffing wheels are used only to buff the tips of scissors and to round and smooth any rough edges. They are not used to buff the sharp edges of the scissors blades because they will round over the sharp cutting edge of the scissor blade if you use it that way. Instead this method uses the hard fiber buffing wheel from Ace Sharpening & Co because it leaves the sharp crisp edge that you are looking for to make the scissors sing when you open and close them it also makes the burr very small.

 

 

  You will need one 400 grit diamond wheel for sharpening grooming , and barber scissors to blunt cut, you may also want one 200 grit diamond wheel for rough work (changing large bevel on heavy duty scissors and removing damage quickly), and one white aluminum oxide grinding wheel from Wolf or Foley (about $12.00) for even rougher work like sharpening lawn mower blades and grinding off sharp pointed blade tips, one professional honing wheel from Foley Belsaw. (The professional buffing wheel from Foley is better than the one from Wolf.)  You may also want one 1000 grit diamond wheel also for sharpening bevel edge beauty scissors.

 

 

Ace Sharpening & Co sells high quality 100% concentration diamond grit wheels much cheaper than you can buy them elsewhere. The diamond grit wheels from Wolf and Foley are only 50% concentration of diamonds; they wear out way too fast and cost way too much money for what you get.

 

 

The Machine:

 

  On these vertical wheel type machines always use the grinding wheels mounted on the left and the buffing wheels should always be mounted on the right. When grinding on the left the clamp is always in the upright position, when buffing on the right the clamp is always upside down in the buffing position.

 

 Warning! Please Note:

 

  If there is one thing in this whole eBook that you must remember it would be this. You must always remember that when you are grinding an angle on a scissor blade, the scissor clamps are always placed in the up or upright position on the arms of the scissor sharpening machine and when you are buffing a blade the scissor clamps are always turned upside down on the arms of the scissor sharpening machine. If you try to buff a sharp edge with the scissor clamp in the up position the sharp edge of the scissor blade will bite into the buffing wheel thus cutting into the buffing wheel and could also cause physical damage to you as well as to the scissors you are trying to sharpen.

 

But before you start!

 

If you are using a TAS machine from either Wolf or Foley then you must calibrate your clamp to your machine meaning that when you turn the clamp over to buff after sharpening a bevel on a blade the bevel must line up perfect on the buffing wheel. If it does not line up perfect then you must calibrate your clamp to do so before you sharpen any scissors. Please read my write up “How to calibrate your clamp to your machine.” Ace Sharpening & Co machines already have the clamp calibrated to the machine for a perfect alignment of the bevels every time.

 

 

 OK, we are ready to sharpen, here is how it goes;

 

  I will give you the condensed version first then I will explain each of these steps in detail.

 

  1. Round the tips of the grooming scissors.

 

  1. Check to see how far the tips close, and make sure they are adjusted properly. You may have to bend the handles to open or close the tips. (Do not bend the handles on beauty scissors)

 

  1. Check the set of the scissors and adjust if necessary

 

  1. Use the pink honing stick.

 

  1. Grind the angle of the cutting edge on each blade of the scissors. (35 degrees on grooming scissors).

 

  1. Do the initial conditioning of the burrs

 

  1. Buff the bevel of each cutting edge of each blade on the hard fiber buffing wheel using the Okami Gold buffing compound, or the chalky green buffing compound on the hard fiber buffing wheel.

 

  1. Do step 6 again.

 

  1. Roughly adjust the free fall and do a test cut in some fake fur and make sure the tips don’t fold hair, slide, or catch in the hair. If they do make sure the tips close properly, touch up the tips with the hard fiber buffing wheel to fix the problem. If the free fall is OK you may have to adjust how the tips close by opening or closing them by bending the handles one way or the other, or by putting more set into the tips of the scissors. (See free Video on how to put set in scissors.)

 

  1. Apply scissor lube to the shears and do a final free fall adjustment.

 

  1. Finished! Scissors should be silky smooth as they softly sing, cut like magic, have no hair slide. = Happy customers!

 

  OK, let’s go over each step, and I will explain in detail how each step is accomplished. This will be in detail so those who do not already know how to sharpen scissors let alone how to sharpen scissors to sing may learn this method.

 

 

  1. Round the tips of the grooming scissors

 

  This sounds easy but it does take some practice. The reason for rounding the tips is for safety. If the tips have been sharpened to needle points your customers will complain because the tips will prick the dogs, or people (which ever applies) and cause an injury. This is unacceptable to everyone involved. I mostly only do it on grooming scissors unless the tips have been ground down to needle points then I do it on other scissors as well with a slight exception, I don’t round the sharp edge of the tip I only do that on the dog grooming scissors.

 

  Below is how I round the tips on dog grooming scissors.

 

 To start with if the tips are pointed I grind the tips of the scissors flat on the end until the tips are about 1/8” wide.  This is relative to how big the scissors happen to be. For larger scissors like 9” or 10” this could be ground a little wider. On smaller scissors this could be dropped down to about 1/16” wide. Use your best judgment on this.

 

  Once the tips are ground flat to however wide you decide to grind them.  Start the rounding process by first (always looking at the inside face of each blade not the outside so you can see what you are doing) grinding a 45 degree angle on each side of the flat ground tip.  Don’t grind so much that the 45 degree angles come to a point in the middle of the flat tip. The tip and the two 45 degree angles you grind should be the exact same width like the top three sides of a stop sign.

 

  Then grind just a little metal off each point that you just created with the 45 degree angles on each side of each flat tip. At this point the tips are fairly round, and all you need to do is touch up each tip up on the professional honing wheel till you are satisfied that the tips are round.  

 

  This will leave a small rough 90 degree edge on the outside of each blade tip. (Top of the outer flat side of each blade tip) With the shears closed I usually use the professional honing wheel to round this outside 90 degree edge of each tip over.

 

  This gives the tips a finished look, and will be smooth to the touch. The tips will be smooth all over with the shears in the closed position. No roughness anywhere when you feel the tips with your fingers. If you can feel any roughness after you do this step then round over whatever is rough to the touch that is still left including the inside edge of each tip. Remember the tips should be smooth to the touch when the shears are in the closed position and in the open position each tip should feel smooth inside and out.

 

  To finish this smoothing process uses the flint hard felt buffing wheel or the Okami Gold buffing wheel to put the final smooth finish on the tips of the shears. This will make the tips of the blades extremely smooth and they will also look great!

 

  I have talked to groomers who have accidentally stuck the tip of a shear into the lower eyelid of a dog when the dog suddenly jerked to one side, and they were able to pull the tip of the shear out without harming the dog thanks to the smooth rounded tips on their scissors. Always take the time to do this job right. Your customers will appreciate you for it! On beauty and barber scissor tips do all of the steps to round, buff and smooth the tips except for the inside point of the tip that is located on the sharp inside edge of the blade tips.

 

 

 

 

  1. Check how the tips close, and make sure they are adjusted properly. You may have to bend the handles to open or close the tips. (Remember do not bend the handles on beauty scissors, they will break every time.)

 

 

Just look at the tips and see if they close all the way. Sometimes the tips will have a gap at the very tips (not closed all the way) and you will have to close the tips more. Sometimes they may cross at the tips. Crossed tips are usually a sign that the bumper on the handle has fallen out. If this is the case then you will have to replace the rubber bumper first before you do any adjustment to the tips. OK, if the tips are slightly open and you need to close them to get them to line up properly you will need some type of small anvil and a brass hammer (so you won’t mar the finish on the scissors.)

 

  To close the tips of a scissor open the scissors with the top outside edge of the handle pointing up (It doesn’t matter which handle you choose, but I usually choose the handle with no bumper in the finger holes) and lay this handle on top of the anvil with the other handle hanging down beside the edge of the anvil. (The scissors are open.) The other handle will have its blade tip pointing up, and the handle you are bending will have its blade tip pointing horizontally away from the anvil. Next take the brass hammer and tap on the top of the horizontal handle shaft until it bends enough to close the tips to where you want them to stop. You may have to do this several times before you get the right amount of bend in the handle. What this does is bend the finger holes away from each other allowing the tips to close more.

 

  If you bent the handle shaft too far and the tips cross then you will need to turn the handle over on the anvil and bend it back the other way with the brass hammer until you have reached the desired adjustment.  When the tips of the scissors are adjusted properly they will close enough to cut hair all the way to the end of the tips, and the cutting edge of the tip will not go past the tip of the other blade. With the blades closed the two tips should look like one and not cross each other.

 

  (Crossed tips can cut you if you run your fingers down the outside edge of the blades because the cutting edge of the blades will be protruding past each other.)

 

 With the blades of the scissors closed you should be able to run your fingers down the outside of the closed blades without cutting your finger on the opposite blades sharp edge. If you can cut your fingers doing this then the tips are closed too much and must be opened slightly to fix this problem using the anvil and brass hammer.

 

  A word of caution; Most of the grooming scissors handles will bend with no problem, but there are scissors out there with tempered steel in the handles. If you try to bend the handles on these scissors the handle will break. Some of the Monk brand scissors have tempered handles and cannot be bent. Almost all beauty scissors handles cannot be bent. I never try to bend beauty scissors handles.

 

  To avoid this type of disaster always test the handle before you try to bend it. If the handle is very hard to cut with a file then it is tempered and you should not try to bend it. If it files easy then you should be OK, but still use caution until you see that the handle will bend. If it is tempered it will not bend even a little before it breaks.

 

  If after a few fairly hard blows with the brass hammer and you see that the handle still will not bend, it is best to stop trying before you break it. What you can do in this case is either grind a little off of the rubber bumper to close the tips, or if the bumper has already been ground off too much, and you don’t want to take any more off. Go to the other handle and grind off some of the metal opposite the bumper to close the tips, or remove the rubber bumper and grind some metal off under the bumper, then replace the bumper with a new one, grinding metal off under the bumper allows more room for a thicker bumper. This method works well when the handle cannot be bent and the bumper is too thin.   Buff any area you just ground off before you put a new rubber bumper in.

 

  By the time scissors get to this point they have been sharpened so much that they are almost ready for the trash bin anyway. Your customers won’t mind you taking some of the metal off the handles finger rings if that is what it takes to get them to continue working.

 

  When the scissors are closed, properly adjusted tips will have a smooth evenly rounded look. There will not be two round tips showing, if there are, then the tips need to be closed a little more.  Of course the tips should not be crossed. When the scissors are closed the two tips of each blade should look like one evenly rounded tip.

 

 

 

  1. Check the se of the scissors and adjust if necessary

 

This is a lengthy thing to learn so instead of trying to go through it here it would be better if you purchase my video on how to put a set in scissors. The only cost is $10.00 to make you a copy and mail it to you in the US, In Canada the cost is $15.00. If you want it just send me a check and your return address and I will send it out ASAP!

 

            To:

James Hammons

11030 N Charlotte Street

Kansas City, Mo 654155

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Use the pink honing stick.

 

 The honing stick is used to smooth out any nicks that may be on the inside edge of the scissors blades. To use it lay it flat on the inside face of one of the scissor blades.

 

  Let the stick lay flat on the cutting edge side of the blade and raise the opposite end of the stick up just a very little off of the blade so the honing stick is only touching the cutting edge of the blade. Using a little pressure on the honing stick rub it back and forth along the full edge of the blade until you can feel that all of the nicks are smoothed out.

 

  (If there are no nicks on the blades then this step can be omitted.)

 

 

4a. Hone the inside edge of the shears blades or “The Ride-line”. (Optional)

 

Note:  This next thing I do I mainly only do it if the scissor is in bad condition, normally on grooming scissors I do not hone the inside ride at all, but if you have to do it because of heavy damage that cannot be fixed by normal sharpening then this is how I do it. I make wooden honing blocks out of 4 by 4’s with a 10” radius on the top. You can buy hard rubber blocks from Wolf to do this job as well. I use 400 grit sand paper to hone the inside ride line of the scissors. Once I see that the ride line is restored then I buff the ride line with the Wolf de-burring paper strips that they sell or you can use 1200 grit sand paper instead on your honing blocks.

 

 The ride line is a flat thin line that you can see on the inside sharp edge of a scissor blade. It will go all the way from the tip of the blade to the screw hole and curve around the screw hole like a J shape. This ride line is what the blades ride on when you open and close them.

 

5. Grind the angle of the cutting edge on each blade of the scissors.

 

  Remember, for grinding, the sharp edge of the blade is pointing up in the scissor holder. For buffing turn the scissor holder upside down so the sharp edge of the blade is pointing down. (The tips will be pointing horizontally.)

 

  On the scissor machine the grinding wheel is always on the left side, and the buffing wheel is always on the right side.

 

 Note; Never switch them unless you have to sharpen a pair of left handed scissors. In that case you have to switch the wheels in order to sharpen the left handed scissors and then sharpen in a mirror image of how you would sharpen right handed scissors.

 

  If you are going to change the angle that is on a pair of grooming scissors say form 25 degrees to 35 degrees then you will start the grinding process using either the 200 or 400 grit diamond wheel, and then finish up the angle with the 400 grit diamond wheel, but on the other hand if the angle on the blade is already ground to the angle you want in this case 35 degrees (always use a 35 degree angle for groomers) then you would start with the 400 grit diamond grinding wheel. You only use the 200 grit wheel to actually change to a different bevel and stop just short of creating a burr then finish making the burr with the 400 grit wheel.

 

The Torsional Twist

 

 

 Holding the blade at a 7 degree angle with the handle end up and the tip end down and to the right put the blade of the scissors into the scissor holder by clamping onto the blade at about center from the tip of the blade to the screw hole and also about the center from the top sharp edge of the blade to the lower back edge of the blade. What this 7 degree angle does is put a twist in the bevel of the blade. This is called a ‘torsional twist.’ Always mount the blade onto the holder this same way whether you are grinding or buffing a blade.

  If you don’t put the twist in the bevel then the tips will tend to get a paddle shape and become very thin. The twist reduces this effect making the tips stronger with less metal removed.

 

  For grooming scissors I sharpen with a 35 degree angle. For beauty shears I use a 45 degree angle. (Unless they are really cheap beauty scissors then I use a 35 to 40 degree angle.) Check the angle on the scissors.  Remember if the angle is less than 35 degrees then use the 200 grit diamond grinding wheel to change the angle on each blade of the shear. Don’t grind a burr on the blades at this point just grind enough metal off to almost get a burr then finish up getting the burr using the 400 grit diamond wheel.

 

Note:

 

 If you do get a burr with the 200 grit diamond wheel just condition the burr using the method explained earlier, then go on to the next step.

 

 On beauty scissors you can use the 1000 grit diamond wheel to change a bevel if you have to change it, never use a 400 grit wheel on a beauty scissor. I very seldom use the 200 grit diamond wheel to change bevels on any scissor except for some grooming and of course the very large industrial scissors for cutting heavy material like carpet and similar items.

 

 (Remember to make sure the sharp edge of the blade is pointing up when you grind and down when you buff the sharp edge.)

 

 Finally on the 400 grit (or 1000 grit for bevel edge beauty scissors) grinding wheels grind the edge until you get a burr all the way across the edge of each blade. Once you get a burr the full length of the blade then stop. Grinding more metal off at this point will only serve to shorten the life of the blade it will not make it any sharper.

 

 Also when sharpening an edge on a blade make sure you don’t round the tips off at the end of a pass, always keep the sharp blade edge straight if it is straight and slightly rounded if it is slightly rounded from the factory. Even so never round the tips over more than what they already are when the scissor is new. If someone else has already rounded the tips over then when you sharpen try to straighten them back out as you sharpen, but not too much as it may take several sharpening before you get them back to looking better.

 

 The other big mistake sharpeners make is when they are sharpening next to the pivot hole or ride area they end up grinding a low spot next to the pivot hole this is done because they are not paying attention to how they are holding the blade edge onto the face of the grinding wheel.

When grinding into the left corner of the ride area you have to put slightly more pressure on the left side of the face of the wheel and no pressure on the right side of the face of the wheel. It is this pressure on the right side of the wheel face that is grinding the low spot next to the pivot point. This has to be avoided at all costs otherwise you will have a poorly sharpened pair of scissor and they will look like it.

 

 So when moving left towards the pivot hole always relieve the pressure on the right side of the face of the grinding wheel and when moving to the right towards the tip of the blade always relieve pressure on the left side of the face of the grinding wheel this is very important to getting a well shaped sharp edge with no rounded tips and low spots next to the pivot hole.

 

 Note: (Back to what we were doing.)

 

   

If the angle is more than what you want (Say you want 35 degrees and it is already more than 35 degrees) then go directly to the 400 grit grinding wheel on grooming scissors and 1000 grit on bevel edge beauty scissors and grind the edge until you get a burr all the way across the edge of each blade. Only grind off just enough metal to get a burr all the way across each blade. (Always try to take as little metal off each blade as possible.)

 

 You can use your thumb nail to feel the burr by scratching it across the inside face of the blades. Check it from the screw hole all the way to the tips for a burr. Once you can feel a burr all the way across each blade then you are done grinding.

 

  1. Do the initial conditioning of the burs

 

First loosen the pivot screw ½ turn, then holding one finger hole of the scissor in your left hand (with the point of the scissors pointing directly away from you horizontally) and the other scissor finger hole in your right hand, lightly close and open the blades back and forth repeatedly barely letting the burs touch each other as the blades pass across each other.

 

 Do not at this point allow the burs to bite into each other, but they must brush against each other very lightly without any biting. They will quickly smooth out as the burs are conditioned in this manner. Once they stop wanting to bite they will then start singing! At that point you can put the scissors in your hand normally like you would if you wanted to use them and then continue to open and close them allowing the burs to brush against each other a little harder and harder till they simply will not bite no matter how hard you press the blades together.

 

To get them to rub harder use your left had to lightly push the blades together as they open and close. Of course there is a limit to how hard you can press the blades together, just use a little common sense and don’t press too hard or you can damage the sharp edge and have to start over.

 

 

 

   If there is a catch while you are opening and closing them with your right hand then do not put pressure on the catch with your right hand. Stop and use your left hand to gently push the blades through the catch. (Slightly spread the blades when you do it.) This will not damage the edge. It will damage the edge if you try to push the blades through the catch with your right hand only and then you will get a nick in the blades. At that point you will have to re-sharpen them.

 

  Remember, if you use your right hand to try to push through a catch the catch will bite deeper and deeper forcing a nick and you will have to start over to fix it.

 

7.      Buff the bevel of each cutting edge of each blade on the hard fiber buffing wheel using either the chalky green buffing compound of the Okami Gold buffing compound on the hard fiber buffing wheel

 

 The hard fiber buffing wheel is a very hard buffing wheel that can actually spark when you use it. It can and will burn the metal if you press too hard against it so only use light to medium pressure when buffing an edge with this wheel.

 

  If you do happen to burn the metal you can take the burn marks off by using a product called “Stay Clean.” This is a liquid flux used by welders, and you can buy it at some welding shops. Stay Clean will not damage the metal, but burns will do damage by taking the temper out of the blade so try to be careful not to burn the metal. Never try to force the wheels to cut any faster than they are capable of cutting always let the wheels cut at their own speed and you will not get any burns. Lighter pressure and lower speeds will eliminate burns and produce a smoother grind.

 

   To start the buffing process, center one of the blades back into the scissor holder (at 7 degrees for the twist) and turn it upside down so the sharp edge of the blade will be pointing down. Try to always put the blade back into the clamp the same way it was when you sharpened it. Buff each blade from the screw hole to the tip. You can tell if you did this right by the different color of the beveled edge of each blade. If you missed a spot go back over it until the whole edged is uniform in look and color. It should shine like a mirror.

 

 

 

 

8.      Do step 6 again.

 

 

 

9.  Roughly adjust the free fall and do a test cut in some fake fur and make sure the tips don’t fold hair, slide, or catch in the hair. If they do make sure the tips close properly, touch up the tips with the hard fiber buffing wheel to fix the problem. If the free fall is OK you may have to adjust how the tips close by opening or closing them by bending the handles one way or the other, or by putting more set into the tips of the scissors. (See $10.00 Video on how to put set in scissors.)

 

 

Sometimes just buffing the inside edge of the tips on the felt or the Okami buffing wheel will remove a tiny nick on the tips and stop the hair pull, but also try putting the blades back into the clamp and buffing just the tips on the hard fiber buffing wheel. Usually one or both of these tricks will do the job.

 

 

To adjust the freefall hold the shears in your right or left hand with the tips of the shears pointing straight up holding onto one of the handles. With the other hand lift the other handle up and let it drop down. When the free fall is adjusted correctly the handle will stop falling when the tips are about ½” to ¾” from closing all the way.  Adjust the screw until you get this adjustment.

 

(See step two for adjusting tips and handles)

 

 

 

9.      Apply scissor lube to the shears and do a final free fall adjustment.

 

Wipe off any excess lubricant. For lubricating scissors use Ultra Pure lamp oil, it is 99% liquid paraffin. It is penetrating oil that will get into the pores of the metal (which is a good thing.)

 

 

11.  Finished! Scissors should be silky smooth as they softly sing, cut like magic, and have no hair slide. = Happy customers!

 

 

 Ace Sharpening & Co

 

jhammons6@kc.rr.com

 

      James Hammons

 

     1-816-220-8420

 

 

Please feel free to email or call me if you have any questions!

 

 

Note:

 

For testing beauty scissors you can get real human hair from Sally Beauty Supply just ask for a “hair fall” get the darker color as you can see better what you are doing they cost about 8 to 12 dollars for about a 4ft length and the hair is about 8” long. I cut my hair fall into 1” strips or so for testing beauty and barber scissors. For Dogs get fake fur from a fabric store. Dogs have finer hair then humans so just get a fake fur that is 2” long or longer and on the coarse side, it will still be finer than human hair.