Bruce's Sharpening

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Proper scissor sharpening is more than grinding a new edge. A scissor should have proper "SET", be properly "BALANCED", and the tips should close but not gap or overlap past the cutting edge. Scissor screws must not loosen with use and finger rests, finger/sizing rings and bumpers should be firmly attached and not damaged.

At Bruce's Sharpening scissors are cleaned, sharpened, balanced (fall adjusted) and set. Each scissor is tested on single layer of tissue and adjusted until it cuts cleanly end to end, then tested in hair to ensure it will cut what you cut. How long a scissor will stay sharp depends on how clean the hair is that you cut, dirty hair can dull a scissor edge pretty quickly. Other factors are the quality of the steel and frequency of use.  Dropping a scissor can result in nicks in an edge or bending of a blade. Either or both will cause the scissor to stop cutting and the edge and set will have to be redone. A rubberized floor can help minimized damage. Convex edge scissors with their acute angle edges will fail quicker than a bevel edge scissor.

 For sending to Bruce's Sharpening

PO Box 41, Maxatawny, PA 19538 by USPS mail

For UPS or FedEx use 15868 Kutztown Road instead of the PO Box. 

For sharpening prices see the Price List tab on left. 

There are two basic kinds of scissors being used by groomers and stylists. The older and most common is the bevel edge scissor and it's the easiest to sharpen. In recent years the convex edge with a hollow shape inside and convex outer edge have come in use, especially with stylists who wish to "slide cut". These require much more work to sharpen and the cost to sharpen is therefore 2-3 times higher. In general grooming scissors are longer and have wider blades while the stylist "shears" tend to be smaller in size. Cutting a long dog requires a larger longer pair of scissors than a small human head does.

The Term "Shear" orginally identified large scissors such as carpet shears and other large scissors used for heavy duty applications. As specialized scissors were developed for the hair stylist as opposed to a "barber" the term "shear" was adopted by stylists to differentiate the different kind of cutting that a stylist does over the old fashioned barber-pole hair cutting shops. Call them what you will, they all are designed to cut hair.


You can left click on the images below and elsewhere to get a larger image.


Scissor sharpening Machines and accessories

These scissor grinders are made by Wolff Industries and can handle every kind of scissor. Convex edge scissors are ground with 800 grit diamond wheels and then highly polished. Bevel edge scissors are ground with 400 grit diamond wheels and polished. Special ceramic hones are used to establish the "inside line" on hollow ground convex edge scissors. In the picture are also a handle bender, scissor set tool, an anvil for tightening riveted scissors and scissor pliers for loosing and tightening frozen screws. I stock screws, bumpers, finger rests and finger rings.


Replacement sizers or cushinging rings
Replacement Bumpers, Screws, Washers
$12 set replacement shear blades

Scissors can be made of regular steel, either forged or cast, stainless steel or more exotic (and expensive) metals. Cast scissors, typically made in Taiwan, are the cheapest and lowest quality. The steel is brittle and can break. Forged steel is much finer grained and holds a better edge and is flexible and won't easily break. Most quality scissors are made of forged steels. Many companies make several qualities of scissors. Hi-end scissors won't necessarily cut any better than good quality scissors but may have features that appeal to you or to your customers.

Bevel Edge Scissor
Convex Edge Scissor


Flat hone versus "grinding"

This is an interesting topic for those who have been told that one or the other is a better method to sharpen shears/scissors.

Know this. Your edge doesn't care!

A grinder uses a circular abrasive wheel to "grind" away the dulled portion of your scissors. In my case it is a series of finer grits from coarse to fine. A flat hone uses flat circular discs of what is basically sandpaper to abrade (grind) away the dulled portions of your scissors. Like I wrote - your scissor edge doesn't care how it became sharp again. Flat honing tends to take longer than using a grinding wheel, that's why flat honers charge much higher prices and to justify their higher prices and tell you about how flat honing is so much better. A flat honer goes from coarse sandpaper discs to fine with each finer grit taking out the scratches from the previous grit and then polishes the edge as a final step.

For convex edge scissors the convex shape requires much more work than a bevel edge, but the only part that cuts hair is the edge, not the convex shape behind it. Special convexing scissor holders allow "grinders" to convex shape the scissor, just like the flat honers who have to have hand roll the scissor on the spinning disc to get a convex edge. How good their hand motions are determines how well they can sharpen a convex scissor. The convexing jig on a grinder insures repeatability each time the scissor is sharpened. Some of the newer flat hone machines have developed special clamps that can eliminate some of the operator skill.

Convex edge scissors use a much finer angle - typically 40-50 degrees - while bevel edge scissors are typically 25-35 degrees. The finer edge is polished too because it looks pretty and gives the thin edge a bit longer life than an unpolished edge. The thinner the edge, the quicker the edge will dull so polishing helps get that razor cut edge a bit more life than it would have otherwise. A grinder also highly polishes a convex edge as a final step.

 Convex edge scissors also require the "inside line" be maintained by honing this area of the scissor. Because of the design of convex edge scissors the scissors have to be taken apart so the inside line can be honed from past the pivot point to the tip. This has to be done properly in order for the edge to cut, just sharpening the outer edge isn't enough. Bevel edge scissors do not have an inside line like a convex edge scissor so don't require they be taken apart and honed and this is why sharpening bevel edge scissors can be much cheaper. As always, time is money.

Each method gets to the same end. The skill and knowledge of the operator is key to getting the best cutting edge regardless of the method.