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How to Sharpen Scissors & Shears

February 22, 2024

How to Sharpen Scissors & Shears

Shears and scissors will naturally lose their sharpness over time through regular use, so we will offer a straightforward method for restoring their edge, which can be completed in just three simple steps. Before beginning the sharpening process, it's crucial to gather all the required tools and materials. 

Required Tools and Materials 

  • A disc sander designed for tabletop use 
  • Appropriate sanding discs for the sander 
  • A leather strop 
  • Compound for buffing 
  • Pads for buffing

Step 1: Disassemble and Clean Your Shears or Scissors 

First, use a wrench to loosen and remove the nut securing the central bolt, then carefully detach the blades from each other. 

If the blades have accumulated dirt or debris, this can interfere with the sharpening process and potentially cause damage. Clean them by mixing approximately two teaspoons of dish soap in warm water. Using a stiff brush dipped in this solution, gently scrub both sides of each blade. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a cloth or towel afterwards. 

Should you find rust on the blades, employ your tabletop disc sander for rust removal. While eye protection is necessary to guard against flying sparks and debris, wearing hearing protection and a dust mask is optional. 

For shear and scissor sharpening, closed coat aluminum oxide and zirconia abrasives are typically recommended. We provide both Hook and Loop, and adhesive sanding discs for this purpose. Start with a coarse abrasive disc (40 to 80-grit) to remove rust, then progress to a medium grit (about 120), and finally to a finer grit (220 - 240) to smooth out any scratches. Clean the blades with a damp cloth, allow them to dry, and then apply a light layer of machine oil. 

If the blades are misshapen, straighten them on a sturdy work surface with a hammer before proceeding with sharpening. 

Step 2: Sharpen the Blades 

Switch to a 600-grit disc on your 5” or 6” table top disc sander. Power on the sander, and, holding a blade at a 45-degree angle, pass it back and forth over the disc until you notice a burr forming. Create a convex edge by gently moving the blade in a side-to-side motion while continuing the back-and-forth passes over the disc. After shaping the edge, clean away any metal shavings from the blade with a cloth or paper towel. 

Follow the same procedure for the second blade. Afterward, switch off the disc sander and install an 800-grit disc, proceeding through 1200, 1500, and finally 2000-grit discs. By the end of this progression, your blades should attain optimal sharpness. 

Step 3: Final Polishing 

Post-sharpening, a leather strop is used to polish the blade edges and eliminate any lingering burrs. Gently press the blade’s bevel against the strop, turning the blade away from the edge with each stroke to avoid cutting the strop, which would dull the blade and harm the leather. Repeat this on the blade's other side. 

Complete the process by using a ⅚” buffing pad and a jeweler's rouge buffing compound to remove any remaining scratches and achieve a mirror-like finish on the blades.