How to Sharpen Scissors

Rujuta Borkar Apr 29, 2019
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Sharpening scissors can seem a difficult job if not handled well. Here, we will tell you how to go about this task in the best possible way.
On a lazy Sunday afternoon you've busied yourself poking in the nooks and corners of the garage shelves. A carton with miscellaneous items in varied stages of 'broken' comes to your notice. It's filled with the usual old oil cans, rag cloths, screwdrivers and hammers, and a huge collection of seemingly unharmed scissors.
Why are they in the broken box? You wonder, and decide to test them. As you run the scissors over an old note book you find lying around, you have your answer―the scissors are absolutely blunt. But why waste perfectly good scissors when you can easily sharpen them back to life?
If you've met a similar fate and don't know how to go about this task, there is no need to worry. Here are some tips that you can use.

Varied Methods

  • Take a sandpaper of about 150-200 grit and simply cut the paper with the scissors. Make as many cuts till you get the desired results. Folding the paper will help to sharpen both sides simultaneously
  • Using a knife sharpener that is found at the back of an electric can opener also works. Just run the scissor blades over it for the needed results.
  • Take a low speed grinder which has friable wheels and grind them at the right angles. A small touch up will give the necessary results.
  • Sometimes the accumulation of a lot of dirt and grime can lend a bluntness to the scissors. Wiping the scissors with grease can restore the sharpness of the scissors.
  • Open the scissors wide. Take a glass jar, and place both the blades on either side of the jar so that one is inside the jar and the other outside. Then pull them together with even pressure like you are trying to cut the bottle. Run the length of the blades along the jar while doing so.
  • Take a screwdriver that has a long shaft and apply the same technique as that on the glass jar. Run both blades along the length of the screwdriver shaft while attempting to cut them with even and constant pressure.
  • Materials like aluminum foil, emery cloth and steel wood can also be used to sharpen scissors. The trick is to cut through these materials till the desired sharpness is achieved.
  • Take a cloth that is soaked in isopropyl alcohol, and clean any built up residue on the blades of the scissors. After the blades are clean, cut through a SOS paper several times to sharpen the blades.
  • After cleaning the blades, open the blades wide and point them away from you. Then take a metal file and adopt the same procedure that you would when you use a blade to sharpen a pencil. Point the metal file flat on the blade and apply light pressure. Do this around 30 times for best results.

Using a Stone

Purchase an aluminum oxide bench stone from a hardware store. The stone is porous and brown, with a coarse texture on one side and fine on the other. There are certain pointers that need to be kept in mind before sharpening the scissor.
  • A new stone should be soaked in machine oil overnight. Do not use vegetable or any other oil except machine oil. Since the stone is porous, soaking it in the oil will prevent it from clogging.
  • Every time you sharpen your scissors, the stone should be lubricated. This will help in extending the life of the blades by keeping them free of scratches.
  • The stone should be stored in a closed box whenever it is not in use so that it does not collect dust. Collecting dust will only block its pores.
  • Wet the stone with a lubricant before you begin the sharpening process.
  • Clean the scissor of any gunk that has collected on the blades with alcohol or any solvent. Then begin the sharpening.
  • Hold the scissor open and use the coarse side to sharpen the blades.
  • Hold the scissor against an angle of 80 degrees from the stone. The part of the blade that is angled (beveled) should be worked upon.
  • Start at the tip of the blade and go all the way to where the screw joins both the blades (point). Do this at a diagonal angle.
  • Repeat the process with the other blade. Maintain the angle as in the earlier process.
  • Once the blades are done, clean them up by wiping with a cloth.
  • Check if there are any burrs left by opening and closing the scissor a few times.
  • Test the scissor on a piece of paper.
  • In case of burrs or undesirable results, repeat the process again and re-check.
  • Ideally, scissors should be sharpened twice a year for better maintenance.
  • Other than aluminum stones, whetstones or oil stones can also be used for sharpening as well.
Sharpening the scissors from time to time will ensure that the scissors work for a longer period of time and you do not have to discard them within a few uses.