Heinisch Heaven

A gallery of restored Heinisch shears

The shears presented here were made by the R. Heinisch and Sons company from an 1859 patent that they registered. The Heinisch company was sold to J. Wiss and Sons in 1914 so all Heinisch shears are over 100 years old. Towards the end of the Heinisch company their technology was being left behind by some of their competitors and their inlays were at times not as reliable as other companies but a good condition pair of Heinisch shears were well designed and perform very well if they are in good condition. Early in his career Jacob Wiss worked for Heinisch for a short time before starting his own company.

Note that the shears further down the page with polished handles are not yet finished, the handles need to be painted to protect them from rusting.

Heinisch 10 Tailor's Shears
This pair of 15.5 inch Heinisch shears were sourced from the UK in generally very good condition. The blade inner faces were manually lapped to get the edges back into top condition, then sharpened and fully restored. They would be close to their original manufactured condition and perform very well but would be too heavy for many people due to their front heavy balance. They easily cut heavy fabrics and perform well for a pair of shears of this size and weight.

Heinisch 9 Tailor's Shears
This pair of 15 inch Heinisch 9 tailor's shears came from a farm in the north of Minnesota up near the Canadian border. They had never been sharpened or modified in any way and were in good mechanical condition apart from being rusty. They have been hollow ground, sharpened and fully refinished. Still rather front heavy, for a tailor who could handle the weight, they are an excellent pair of shears for cutting suiting fabrics from light to heavy weight and with the original blade curvature of the top cutting edge will cut reasonably small radius curves if the cutter is familiar with the tool.

Heinisch 8 Tailor's Shears
This pair of 14.5 inch Heinisch tailor's shears were sourced in the US and were mechanically in good condition apart from one problem, they had been 'restored' (note the inverted commas) with a sand blaster and while it was not all that difficult to refinish the steel and iron components, the sand blasting had ripped the guts out of the shear bolt and lock nut. This is unfortunate as they are a beautifully balanced pair of tailor's shears in very good condition. They are a pleasure to use, are very precise and with the long handles and lower front weight, have excellent tactile feedback when cutting layouts. They are strong enough to handle heavy fabrics and with experience can cut reasonably small curves.

Heinisch 7 Tailor's Shears
This pair of 14 inch Heinisch 7 tailor's shears were sourced from a vendor in Florida and while they were in mechanically good condition, they were heavily rusted and needed to be fully restored. They were hollow ground, sharpened and fully refinished. There is still some minor pitting on the outside of the blade faces but it was not worth the risk of taking more off the blades as it risked weakening what were a very good performing pair of shears. They are a very powerful pair of 14 inch shears and are well suited for cutting heavy grades of denim and similar fabrics. The original blade profile also allow them to cut reasonably small radii by an experienced cutter.

Heinisch 6 Tailor's Shears
This pair of 13.5 inch Heinisch tailors shears were sourced in the US and were in reasonable condition apart from being a bit rusty. They have been hollow ground, sharpened and refinished. In comparison to the larger Heinisch shears these feel light, almost dainty yet they are well suited to cutters who do not have strong wrists and big hands. They can routinely cut light to medium weight suiting materials with good tactile feedback and with a little more effort could cut even heavier fabrics but the larger shears do have an advantage in terms of power at the cost of extra weight.

Heinisch 5 Tailor's Shears
This pair of Heinisch 13 inch tailor's were sourced from an elderly gentleman in Utah who had been a machinist all of his working life. He was selling off his estate to go into a nursing home. The shears were in excellent condition were sharpened properly and performed well in the condition they arrived in. Because they were in such good condition, they were resharpened at a higher angle to reduce the cutting pressure and refinished and are in effectively pristine condition, even though they are now over 100 years old. They are a nice light delicate pair of shears that handle light to medium weight fabrics easily and at a pinch can cut heavier fabrics as well. A pair of this size would be well suited for a person with fine wrists and small hands.

Unusual Heinisch Shears

Early model pair of Heinisch shears
This pair of older design 14 inch Heinisch shears were a famiy heirloom kept by the daughter of a tailor by the name of John Billinge who ran a business making expensive shirts between the 1st and 2nd world wars in London. Herself now a lady of senior years, she had kept them where she lived in Yorkshire for about 60 years. They arrived in mechanically sound condition and the blades were in good condition but the climate in Yorkshire had not been kind to them and they had some heavy rust on the iron frame. They have been hollow ground, sharpened properly and partially refinished. Performance wise they are an interesting pair for a shirtmaker. They are noticably front heavy which makes them stable on a cutting table and the top blade is almost dead straight which improves the straight line accuracy, even on difficult fabrics. The handles need to be painted and the blades touched up but they are a pair of heavy shears well suited to a real professional shirt maker.

Heinisch 9 15 inch tailor's shears
This is a pair of a slightly different model of 15 inch Heinisch shears that came from a tweed mill at Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. They had been used for a very long time but fortunately they had been maintained by a genuine professional and the blades were still in very good condition. Their task in a tweed mill was for cutting off lengths of tweed in the manufacturing process. The handles need to be fully finished then painted to get them to their best. The brass shear bolt has a casting defect in it which requires some extra care to put them together but they cut beautifully straight with very low effort and would have been the perfect tool for what they were used for in a tweed mill. Because of the long fine original blade profile, they are an excellent pair for cutting between layers and because of their strength and blade rigidity they will cut just about any fabric well.