Maintaining Your Scissors

Your scissors are delicate instruments and should be handled carefully. Convex edged scissors are more fragile than beveled edge scissors and simply putting them down hard may damage the edge. Care and maintenance are key elements in achieving maximum performance from your scissors. Failure to perform proper care and maintenance regularly will likely result in damaged scissors and unsatisfactory scissors performance.

Japanese style scissors have very sharp edges that taper to a sharp point called a convex edge. These edges are very thin and sharp allowing the user to employ all cutting techniques, including slide cuts, chipping, etc. Because the edges are so sharp, they would rub themselves dull on the hollow side of the edge. To keep this from happening, a hone line is ground in the hollow along the edge. The hone line is the thin flat line that you see on the hollow side of the edge that runs from the tip of the scissors to the back. This gives the scissors a smooth and quiet run. If we did not grind on the hone line, the scissors would run hard and loud. (The run is the feel and function of opening and closing a scissors). If a scissors sharpener does not sharpen and re-hone your scissors correctly, the scissors will never feel like it did when it was new, but if sharpened correctly, the scissors often feels and cuts better than when it was new!

Because of its very sharp edges, the convex scissors cuts through hair smoothly and efficiently, with less force. The convex scissors is constructed for slide cutting or chipping. It runs smoothly, quietly, and very lightly, however, it has the tendency to nick and dull faster than a bevel edge scissors. It also has a tendency to push the hair more than a corrugated bevel edge scissors.

German scissors have flatter edges than convex scissors. We call this a sword or bevel edge. Beveled edges are not as angled as a convexed edge, thus requiring one or both edges to be corrugated. Corrugations are fine lines or teeth ground into the edge of the blade and are usually found on low priced barber and beauty shears. The corrugation holds the hair, keeping it from being pushed forward. Some beveled edge scissors do not have corrugations and instead employ a sharper edge angle which approaches a convex edge angle. The corrugated bevel edge scissors is very durable. It holds the hair very well and with the aid of corrugating does not push it forward. It is the scissors of choice for blunt and layer cutting, dry cutting and for the cutting of synthetic and coarse hair. Its major drawbacks are that one cannot slide cut with it, because of the corrugation, and it runs louder and rougher than a convex scissors. Non-corrugated beveled edge shears tend to push hair even when freshly sharpened.

When your scissors are not in use, keep them in a place out of harm’s way such as a holster, a drawer or the box your scissors came in. Try to avoid laying your scissors on a hard surface or dumping them into a tray with other implements. A simple and effective cushion to protect your scissors from a hard surface is a folded towel.

CLIPPER OIL IS NOT SCISSORS OIL.

Clipper oil contains chemicals to disperse heat caused by the rapid back-and-forth action of clipper blades. These chemicals will soften or eat the plastic parts in your scissors (finger inserts, washers) leaving you with a sticky mess that is no good to you. ONLY USE TOP QUALITY SCISSORS OIL TO LUBE YOUR SCISSORS.

Daily, or as often as practical, use a soft cloth towel saturated with scissors oil, thoroughly wipe the inside of the blades of your scissors. This will reduce buildup of chemicals and debris, and will also keep the blades lubricated to reduce friction caused by "metal to metal" contact. Proper lubrication and blade adjustment will extend the life of the blades and reduce the number of times that your scissors will need to be sharpened. If you own a swivel shear, lubricate the swivel joint as needed.

Daily, or as often as needed, check and adjust your scissors tension.

Adjusting tension is an important part of getting the best results from your scissors.

Weekly, or as often as practical, carefully open your scissors to a 90 degree angle, loosen the adjustment screw (knob) enough so that the blades are loose enough to fit a folded paper towel between the pivot point and push out any hair particles and or debris that has built up from the week's use. After the area between the blades is clean, put one or two drops of top quality scissors oil provided with your scissors into the "joint". It assists the cleaning process by washing out dirt and debris from between the blades. When you are satisfied that your scissors are clean, tighten the screw and re-adjust the scissors tension.

If you drop your scissors onto the floor ... (OMIGOD!)

If your scissors broke on impact, consult your warrantee and see if there is a breakage replacement clause. If there is no breakage replacement clause, then there are new scissors in your future. DO NOT PICK THEM UP AND IMMEDIATELY CLOSE THEM! More than likely your scissors will be lying partially open where they came to rest. Almost certainly the cutting edge has been damaged and has a “nitch” which is a small piece of raised metal with an associated divot.

  1. Pick up the scissors carefully without closing them.
  2. Carefully hold the blade tips apart with your thumb and forefinger while you carefully close the scissors.
  3. Hold the blade tips together firmly with your thumb and forefinger while you carefully open the scissors.
  4. Repeat the open and close procedure a couple more times.

If you do not follow the above procedure you will definitely catch the nitch with your blades and shave the cutting edge off the damaged side all the way to the blade tip. Your scissors will be seriously damaged. Even if you do follow the above procedure your scissors are still compromised and should be sharpened at your earliest convenience.

After following the prescribed procedure you may finish the haircut with your scissors and perhaps even continue to cut hair for several days, but it is highly recommended that you resort to your backup scissors and get the damaged scissors sharpened at your earliest convenience.

See Also: So You Dropped Your Good Scissors?

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