Sharpening scissors

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Nick Clayton, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,954
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    Anyone have any tips for Sharpening tying scissors? Or am I gonna have to dedicate these to to cutting wore and such and just get a new pair? They are pretty spendy so I'd hate to have to replace them.
  2. kabar New Member

    Posts: 1
    Haines, OR
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    Try cutting 400 or 600 grit wet/dry sand paper. Make 3/4 cuts then flip the sand paper and make the same number of cuts. That way both blades will be sharpened. If your scissors have one blade that is serrated then you probably should only sharpen the non serrated blade.

  3. Kaiserman content

    Posts: 2,628
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    I have a Fiskars scissor sharpener. Works great.

    Also, unless you're bent on those spendy scissors for tying, I buy mine at the craft store. Turns out, some of those high end tying scissors are made in the same place as those "cheaper" ones.

    It's all about the marketing.....
    GAT and plaegreid like this.
  4. Speyrod GB Member

    Posts: 50
    Tumwater, WA
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    Have you contacted your local hair salon? My ex wife used to call someone to have her hair cutting scissors sharpened. They were usually back within a week. Hair cutting/stylist scissors are rather expensive.....about $80 a whack if I remember correctly. You might try that. I buy cheap scissors and toss them when they will not cut tinsel and other tough stuff after I have cycled them out for delicate work. Just a thought.
  5. silvercreek Active Member

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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.
  6. silvercreek Active Member

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    BTW, I do carry a Fiskar's scissor sharpener in my tying kit, but the method I describes gets the scissors much sharper. The reason is that with the whetstone method you sharpen and maintain the manufacturer's blade angle. The Fiskars has a set angle as you can see in the image below. If the angle of your scissor blade is steeper, you are actually rubbing the edge not along the entire side of the edge to sharpen it, but against the sharp edge to blunt it. If you angle is less steep, you will rub along back edge of the blade and not along the cutting edge.

    Take a look at how the ceramic insert is set in the blade guides and you will see what I mean. Only by sharpening at the manufacture's original angle can you remove metal evenly along the scissor blade at the original angle. No set scissor sharpener can do this for all scissors.

    Imagine you want to sharpen a knife and the angle of the mechanical sharpener does not match the angle of the knife edge. Can it sharpen the knife as well as if you were able to set the angle yourself with a whetstone? It is the same for a scissor which is has two "knife" blades.

  7. S Fontinalis Active Member

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    If you're going to go new, check the scissors offered by beauty companies. I bough revlon cuticle scissors for sharp work (shaping heads on salmon flies), i also have some micro dissection scissors for close work, and some Dr Slick serrated for general cutting of materials from the original feather or hide.
  8. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,954
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    Thanks for all the great tips everyone! I will definitely try to sharpen these first. I'm thinking buying cheap will be the way to go from here on.
  9. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Wow, I have a bunch of dull scissors. Thanks for the great tips, silvercreek!
    I guess I have my work cut out for me!
    I have some glass salvaged from some old louvered windows that should be just right for this.
  10. silvercreek Active Member

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    You are very welcome. I learned this method on the old Outdoorsbest FFF BB. I would have posted a link but that forum has been gone for years.

    I wish I had the name of the poster so I could give him credit.
  11. Tacoma Red Active Member

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  12. IveofIone Active Member

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    I use the smallest spring loaded Fiskars that you can find in a fabric store or Walmart. There are no finger holes-they are always open and ready to cut unless you lock them closed. They have reasonably fine tips and are stout enough that they cut all the way down to the tips. About $15.

    All of my sharpening is done by clamping the scissor blade in a small vise and draw filing along the edge of the blade with a diamond hone. Use the Sharpie as Silvercreek mentioned to get the angle right and then just stay steady. The problem with the sharpeners like the Fiskars shown is that it is a fixed angle. Like shoes, one size does not fit all.

    As also mentioned beauty parlor products are very good. The difference is that they are usually forged and will forever be better and sharper than their cheaper stamped counterparts.

  13. floydiology board to the new

    Posts: 46
    West Linn
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    I have several pairs of hand made Japanese hairdressing scissors that I use for trimming hair and other soft materials. You better bet that I learned to sharpen my own scissors when my shears cost more than the most expensive spey rods. Having very sharp and fine pointed scissors is the greatest tool I own for tying flies. Cheap, dull blades are murderous at the tying bench and best left for cutting construction paper in grade school or Uni-wire. If you want to take fly tying to a higher level or enjoyment, good tools are worth the investment. I'm not saying go out and buy custom hand made Japanese shears for $1000, but a $20 pair of Dr Slick adjustable razor scissors is worth learning to sharpen on a wet-stone or fine grit wet dry paper.
  14. GAT Active Member

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    Willamette Valley, OR
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    I've found my tying scissors maintain the edge much, much longer when I don't use them to cut wire or debarb hooks :)
  15. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,211
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    Christmas is just around the corner. Can you give us the link for the $1000 Japanese shears?:rolleyes:
  16. KevinLS Member

    Posts: 117
    Spokane, WA
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    Yikes, starting to feel inadequate with the same pair of cheap-Os for ten years... Feels like I'd be pleasantly surprised with some new quality ones.
  17. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
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    Well, i'm cheap and old schooled, so I have just did the ole rusty nail approach with fine results. Test out on a pair you may not like just to be sure, but it works. Just grab an old rusty nail, and stuff it into the scissors while witie open and start to 'cut' the nail as it pushes outward until you force it from the end of the scissors and close them all the way. Repeat a few times as need. These aren't knive blades with 2 sharp sides. They are one sided - so the cutting is dependent on the 2 flat sides coming together as smoothly as possible.
  18. floydiology board to the new

    Posts: 46
    West Linn
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  19. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,211
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
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    Thanks. Beautiful scissors. I like the offset handles on some of them. I will mention them in my letter to Santa but am pretty sure I'll find a pair of Fiskars under the tree instead.
  20. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 201
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
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    I use the whetstone method and just maintain the same bevel: works great on all scissors included kitchen and pruning models (makes great brownie points if you sharpen up every scissor tool in the house). I also make sure the pin between the blades is either tightened up by screwdriver or pound on the rivet a little to keep 'em tight.