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Gene L

Sharpening scissors

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My cheap scissors for cutting lead wire, etc. and other uses were dull and out of sort. They wouldn't cut yarn reliably. So I decided to sharpen them. Not to a razor edge, because scissors do not need a razor edge...well, some do. But scissors shear rather than slice, and the angle of the edge to shear is very steep.

 

So I took these cheap scissors and a diamond stone and held the scissor blade at nearly a right angle, a few degrees off, and hit them with the stone. They are now capable of cutting well. Not as well as fine-tipped scissors, but quite well.

 

Better than buying a new pair. You can, if you are anal, paint the bevel with a black magic marker and hone off the color but I don't do that. I might try if I need to, but I have several pairs and most of them are unabused.

 

 

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Cool better than putting them in the landfill.

Something I do from time to time is take the rolled edges off our spatulas with a kitchen knife.

Turns the eggs over much better afterwards.

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If you can disassemble the scissors, do so before sharpening.

If you can't separate the blades, place tape over the blade you aren't sharpening. This prevents "errant" strokes from nicking it.

 

As Gene noted, it's not always necessary to put a razor's edge on scissors. You can do a great finishing job of sharpening scissors with a rougher stone than you'd use for a knife. This actually can give you a "serrated" edge effect and make the scissors grab as they cut.

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Funny this came up. I had to sharpen my wife's cross stitching scissors this evening. A few passes on the stone and they were as good as new.

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While you can sharpen scissors, you will find yourself doing it more and more frequently, unless your original scissors are of very good quality. In the 1970 in Taiwan, many scissors were made from old railway lines. In other words quite soft steel. These were case hardened. The depth of case hardening is measured in microns. You will soon go through that with even a fine stone. Meaning you are cutting with soft steel. What the ones made in Pakistan are made from I don't know, but it will not be high quality steel. Modern scissors are made down to a price, not up to a quality.

 

The cheap embroidery scissors I used for years, would last me 9 to 12 months. I would then sharpen them once. That would get me up to another month of use. After that I would have to sharpen them every few days. So once sharpened once I would replace them when they became dull again. Still at less than $3 (£1.42) a pair it wasn't painful.

 

Just a note. I don't cut wire at all. When taking it off the spool I trap it to the end of the spool with my thumb nail and break it. When tied in, I worry the wire off. On a fly with a wire rib that is twice I don't have to find and pick up a tool. For feather stems I use toe nail clippers, (not the leaver ones, the ones like side cutters), as it is the same material. That though is not a job done while actually tying; its a preparation task.

 

Cheers,

C.

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I don't cut anything but lead wire with mine. As for resharpening, it takes less than a minute and restores a great edge, so I can live with that.

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You can sharpen fly tying scissors and it is easy to do. You will need 600 grit sandpaper, a smooth piece of glass, a black Sharpie marker and aluminum foil.

Open the scissors and color the outside beveled edges of the scissor blades with the Sharpie marker. Place the sandpaper grit side up on the piece of glass. Place the beveled edge of one side of the scissor blade on the sandpaper and stroke the beveled edge AWAY from the sharp edge of the scissor blade. This will form a metal burr on the INSIDE edge of the blade.

As you stroke, check the bevel to make sure that the black ink is being remove evenly along the entire bevel. This ensures you are maintaining the same bevel angle. You will also be able to see any dings on the cutting edge. If there are dings, you will need to remove enough metal to remove the ding.

Then do the other blade. You will then have two blades with a metal burr metal on the inside of the scissor blade from tip to hinge.

The next step is to bend this metal burr to the outside of the blades. Use finger pressure to keep the blades from touching and close the scissors. Now open the blades and the burrs will hook each other and bend to the outside. Now you can slice the aluminum foil to remove the burr.

I use a different material for sharpening. I use a soft Arkansas whetstone (novaculite) that I lubricate with water. However, you need to reserve one only for scissors. If you use it to sharpen knives, it can get worn unevenly.

 

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If you have ceramic coffee cups, you can do a decent job sharpening any blade using the bottom (exposed) edge of the cup.

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Can't remember if I saw this video link in this forum, but here it is:

 

 

How to sharpen Razor scissors.

 

Haven't tried it yet as mine are still sharp.

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That's funny tferg. I just came on computer and opened this thread. Your video of the guy sharpening is exactly what I was doing 15 minutes ago with the exact same type of diamond embedded hook sharpener. I'm pretty well sold on diamond sharpening tools for fine edge work. I have a 4x6x1/2" ceramic block that was used as conveyor guides on mine conveyors. That will put the final edge on anything but first it has to be at least rough sharpened. Ceramic just doesn't take off much metal but sure fine tunes. I use the snap-off razor knives at my station a lot and I can sharpen those on the stone sharper that Stanley sends them out.

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SilverCreek wrote:

"The next step is to bend this metal burr to the outside of the blades. Use finger pressure to keep the blades from touching and close the scissors. Now open the blades and the burrs will hook each other and bend to the outside."

 

Now that's just plain clever/brilliant, thanks.

 

I like to use wet/dry silicon carbide sandpaper - expensive but worth it.

I can water rinse the sandpaper whilst sharpening and this offers up a continuous, clean abrading surface.

 

My experience with ceramic type sharpeners is that they work great for about the first 5 - 10 strokes,

then the ceramic is clogged with metal particles and it's very difficult (for me) to get the ceramic clean again. So I've binnned all of them & just stick with more traditional methods. But, YMMV as they say.

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I love ceramic sharpeners and use them for final honing of all my lathe tools but ceramic sharpeners are not really sharpeners. They are better used for honing an already sharpened edge, much like a leather strop with a little rogue (polish) on it.

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