Bespoke Cutter And Tailor

The Reference Section => Scissors And Shears => Topic started by: TTailor on March 07, 2016, 12:57:21 PM

Title: basic care for shears
Post by: TTailor on March 07, 2016, 12:57:21 PM
Hutch,
Can you recommend some basic "do it yourself" care for shears, snips and the like?
alignment?
Sharpening, or maintenance to keep shears in top shape?
Many of my colleagues have been asking, and I thought there might have been a topic on this in the old Cutter and Tailor.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Henry Hall on March 07, 2016, 01:51:03 PM
Before Hutch comes back on this, I'll just say that I have two pairs of shears currently with the sharpeners and I asked him about this. He said:
He actually gave me a little sheet with other things on it, but I lost it...
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 07, 2016, 02:14:49 PM
Here is a bit of what is useful, its from my snippers site.

http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/maintaining.htm

I have not yet done any detail on using a long narrow oil stone but there is some technique to it, maintain the blade sharpening angle, perform the sharpening stroke ACROSS the blade and towards the cutting edge so a burr is made. When you can feel the burr along the cutting edge of both blades, hold the tips slightly apart and close the shears/scissors. This is so you don't gap them. Then hold the tips together and open the blades so that the burr gets dragged upwards.

Do this a few times then very carefully close the shears/scissors  to see if they feel smooth enough. You should see a fine shiny line right at the top edge of inside face of each blade.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Henry Hall on March 07, 2016, 02:36:19 PM
Hutch maybe you can explain this: I have a pair of shears which buckle on regular cloth, but easily cut finer fabric like lining. I've found that shears I've considered 'blunt' seem always able to snip through lining.


What's going on there?
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 07, 2016, 03:20:04 PM
Probably need to see the details of the actual pair but lightweight shears suffer the problem of insufficient blade rigidity, need more preload (pressure against each other) and they wear out faster due to that pressure. You can compensate to some extent by always keeping them sharp so the blades tend to pull into each other while cutting but nothing beats stronger blades. The reason why you can get a 15 inch pair of monsters frictionless is because the blades don't deflect under load.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Henry Hall on March 07, 2016, 11:48:32 PM
These are 13 inch heavy shears. Maybe I should have said the cloth buckles, rather than the blades, through bluntness I assume, though they cut lining right up to the tips. These I already sent to be sharpened.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Despos on March 09, 2016, 03:49:35 PM
Do you guys sharpen your own shears or use a sharpening service? If you use a service, who and where are they?

Had a fantastic german fellow in Dallas, TX that sharpened our shears for years but he is no longer working. He learned the business by working in a scissor factory in Germany and had been working with shears of all types and sharpening them his entire life. Totally trusted him and his work. Now I am very skeptical about trying anyone new, would like some referrals or tips on how to sharpen shears.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: TTailor on March 09, 2016, 04:15:49 PM
How often do you find that your shears need sharpening?
I mean through normal wear and tear.
We have a sewing machine repairman who also sharpens scissors and shears when he is called in to do machine service.
I have had mostly good results but i wish I understood more. How do you choose whether or not a person is going to do a good job?
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Henry Hall on March 09, 2016, 09:13:52 PM
I sent the last pair to be sharpened (which I got back yesterday) because I could feel 'drag' when cutting. The other pair because they were somewhat blunt when I got them.

I'm sure a professional cutter using them day-in-day-out will have a different view about how often the shears need sharpening, than someone using them less regularly. Also depending on the materials being cut.



It's not an identical case, but my brother is a barber and he has his scissors sharpened roughly every six months.Though he is cutting hair non-stop all day. I imagine that if cloth shears were sharpened this often there'd be no blade left after 10 years!


My question is this: on the ones I got back yesterday there is a slight 1-2mm of 'overbite' on the tips. They cut clean, but I wonder how this will affect future sharpening? I've seen vintage shears for sale that have too much crossover at the tips.


Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 09, 2016, 09:21:28 PM
Henry,

It often mean that a bit too much has been taken off the stop between the handles. A little "overshoot" is not a problem but you don't want too much as the tip of the top blade may dig into the cutting table. As far as re-sharpening, its not a problem as they can have a bit taken off the cutting edge without the tips not closing properly.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Henry Hall on March 09, 2016, 09:40:05 PM
Aha, well I already added a little rubber cap over the handle stop which replaces the lost 2mm. I was thinking it might have affected the cutting, but they're okay.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Tailleuse on March 10, 2016, 02:21:31 PM
How often do you find that your shears need sharpening?
I mean through normal wear and tear.
We have a sewing machine repairman who also sharpens scissors and shears when he is called in to do machine service.
I have had mostly good results but i wish I understood more. How do you choose whether or not a person is going to do a good job?

In the Garment District, the place I always hear about is Henry Westphal. http://www.nysharpeningservice.com/ I was going to take my shears there, but they were in the process of moving, so I went to Steinlauf and Stoller instead, which seemed to do a good job. They were Ginghers, so I could have sent them to the company; the price, as I recall, was reasonable, but I didn't want to wait two weeks.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 10, 2016, 03:20:23 PM
Terri,

> How do you choose whether or not a person is going to do a good job?

If you have not seen their work before, try out a less valuable pair of scissors or shears with them first and if they look like they have been done properly and cut well, you can try your good shears.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Greger on March 13, 2016, 05:35:45 AM
Despos, how do you like the new shears from Italy that you bought recently, now that you have had some time using them, and to think about them?

Maybe I am superstitious, but 13" just doesn't sound right.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Jeffrey2117 on March 18, 2016, 12:48:36 PM
How often do you find that your shears need sharpening?
I mean through normal wear and tear.
We have a sewing machine repairman who also sharpens scissors and shears when he is called in to do machine service.
I have had mostly good results but i wish I understood more. How do you choose whether or not a person is going to do a good job?

In the Garment District, the place I always hear about is Henry Westphal. http://www.nysharpeningservice.com/ I was going to take my shears there, but they were in the process of moving, so I went to Steinlauf and Stoller instead, which seemed to do a good job. They were Ginghers, so I could have sent them to the company; the price, as I recall, was reasonable, but I didn't want to wait two weeks.

Hello Tailleuse,

    I have a couple of shears, 4 1/2 and 6N's that desperately need attention.  Did they say how long a wait that it normally takes them to service and sharpen a pair?

Regards

Jeffrey2117
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 18, 2016, 01:02:52 PM
Jeffrey,

Do a Google search with this topic line.

scissor sharpening north carolina

It turns up a reasonable list of services that are around your area. I don't know NC but you probably do and what I would do is actually ring them up in business hours and ask them if they know how to sharpen rare Wiss shears properly without wrecking them.

Something important, avoid people who sharpen hairdressers scissors, it is the wrong technology for fabric shears. Unless they know exactly how to sharpen tailors shears, do not trust them.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Jeffrey2117 on March 18, 2016, 10:41:08 PM
Hello Hutch,

    That is the problem I am facing, the man who used to sharpen mine retired a few years ago after 50 years.  Most others in this area can sharpen hairdresser's, barber blades or mower blades and farm equipment. 

I showed them my shears and they said they never seen any like that before, not a good sign.  I would rather take them somewhere reputable with experience sharpening  them. 

I have arthritis in the hands and working with my shears has gotten difficult t cut with compared to when they are nice and sharpened.

Thank you all for any recommendations.

Jeffrey 2117
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 18, 2016, 11:37:50 PM
Jeffrey,

Give this guy a ring and ask if he knows how to sharpen a real pair of tailor's shears. His ad say he sharpens scissors for cutting fabric and he did training with Wolf Industries which make the right type of sharpening equipment for fabric shears and scissors.

http://www.ncagr.gov/ncproducts/ShowSite.asp?ID=100857
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Jeffrey2117 on March 19, 2016, 09:33:27 AM
Hello Hutch,

    I spoke with the gentleman from the sharpening service you located, he was familiar with my type of shears.  I am going to mail out a pair shears for him to look at and see how they turn out. 

He has been out of the military since 1972, so not a newcomer in the business.

Regards

Jeffrey2117
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 19, 2016, 09:36:37 AM
Thats great, let us know if you get a good result as others would like to find a reliable sharpener on the east coast US.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Jeffrey2117 on March 19, 2016, 10:00:38 AM
Hello Hutch,

    I certainly will notify you of the results, I am hoping for the best in this case!

Thank you for locating this information and posting.

Kind regards

Jeffrey2117
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: lepus on March 20, 2016, 04:35:36 AM
[...]
 I have arthritis in the hands and working with my shears has gotten difficult t cut with compared to when they are nice and sharpened.
[...]

It's probably sacrilegious to mention this here, but have you considered using a rotary knife cutter instead of shears? On the risk of being banned from the forum, I admit I've been using one for many years now with success. It cuts very fast and very accurately and easily manages several layers of winter coat fabric in one go. The blade is small enough for concave curves of the types occurring in garment parts for adults. The cloth is lifted considerably less than with shears during cutting, as the foot of the cutter is only 6 mm high, which greatly contributes to producing two exactly equal parts.

You'll only have to support the weight of the cutter with your hand and guide it, no other muscular effort is required. Mine weighs 860 g, a considerable weight compared to my biggest shears, which weigh in at 520 g, but of course the cutter rests on the cutting table during cutting, the same way as shears do. My cutter is from a period when small large capacity batteries weren't available, so it is mains powered. I'm pretty certain there are modern lighter, cordless models available.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on March 20, 2016, 08:29:50 AM
 :)

> On the risk of being banned from the forum

No risk here, we already have one video on using a rotary cutter and may find a better one.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Jeffrey2117 on March 21, 2016, 12:16:06 AM
Hello Lepus,

    No, I have not used the rotary shears before, is yours an industry and corded powered one?  My wrists and shoulders have arthritis also, so not want to put a strain on those areas either. 

I will be celebrating 40 years since I began working in the same shop next month, minus my time in military.  I did not know I would celebrate with Ibuprofen!

Kind regards
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Henry Hall on March 21, 2016, 12:34:34 AM
That reminds me of my grandmother. She had arthritis too and when the doctor asked if she drank alcohol, she said: 'The only cocktail I've had in the last three years is a cocktail of anti-inflammatory drugs'.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: David K on July 07, 2016, 11:37:19 PM
For those asking about sharpening, like, Tailleuse, I can also attest to Westphal's great work. They quoted me 10 days on 3 pairs of shears, and I had them back in less than a week and they are perfect.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Schneiderfrei on July 08, 2016, 12:46:24 AM
Hutch how different is sharpening scissor blades to knives?

Do you have to disassemble the scissors to do it propperly.

What about the blade shape?

Is there anything that you do to keep the blades contacting each other the whole way?
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on July 08, 2016, 02:18:48 PM
Knives and scissors are different animals, knives "cut" where scissors "shear" and the angles are a lot different. A high quality carbon steel knife can be sharpened to about 10 degrees included angle where with scissors you set the angle from 90 degrees minus the top cutting edge angle you require so you end up with 90 degrees minus 30 to 45 degrees depending on the steel and hardness.

With small cheap scissors you can usually fully open them and hold them across the hinge but on proper shears you need to pull them apart to accurately control the sharpening angle.

> Is there anything that you do to keep the blades contacting each other the whole way?

If you are just sharpening them, remove the bare minimum and follow the original shape and the blades should work according to the original design. If they have to be re-engineered you need to be able to control the blade curvature to ensure there is sufficient pressure along the length of the cutting edges and this can be complicated work if you need to hollow grind the blade faces again.
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: Schneiderfrei on July 08, 2016, 02:22:30 PM
Thanks for that Hutch,

I would be very anxious about actually doing the sharpening on my favourite scissors, but I am by nature very interested in the process. 

The blade contact issue is the one that baffles me the most :)
Title: Re: basic care for shears
Post by: hutch-- on July 08, 2016, 03:57:13 PM
You have to get an idea of the geometry of scissor/shear blades. If you look from the front of proper shears you will see that the blades are slightly curves on the faces which compensates for the required blade profile from the top edge that need to have some curve on both blades so they can cut a radius. Then there is the factor of how rigid the blades are, on light scissors the blades are pre-loaded against each other to maintain enough pressure so that whatever is being cut does not drag down between the blades.

On heavy shears the blades are so rigid that they don't need the pre-load and can be adjusted so they only slightly touch at the very tips. This tends to make good shears almost frictionless and improves the cutting "feel" when cutting out garments.

Both the top and face curves need to be very even and progressive so that you don't get dead spots along the cutting edge and this is among the reasons why the old trick of setting blades with a hammer on an anvil was such a bad idea in that it spoiled the blade curvature and made them very stiff and rough to operate.