Prolong Your Shears – 5 Tips From An Expert Shear Sharpener
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John Kuipers of Wicked Sharp Shears in Jupiter, FL frequently gets asked this question from stylists seeking his shear sharpening services: “Do you think my shears need sharpening?” But whenever he gets this question, he quickly turns it around to the stylists: “Are you satisfied with the way they are cutting?” “My rule, first and foremost is to sharpen your shears when, and only when you are not satisfied with their performance. Remember, sharpening is the number one factor that determines the lifespan of a shear. We never want sharpen until it’s time.” Being a qualified and respected expert in his field, here John’s 5 tips to prolong your shear’s longevity.
1. Signs To Look For
When your shears begin displaying these signs, you know your shears are due for a sharpening—pulling hair, pushing hair, skipping hair and folding hair. Are you an expert point-cutter? Your shears should slice with ease, not tug at the strands. Are you getting crisp cuts along the bangs or do you find yourself chasing the hair? Are you getting a distinct crunchy feel when you cut? If so, it’s time to sharpen your shears!
2. Studies Show…
Here’s an alarming statistic provided by some of the major scissor companies that John works with: only 5%, or 1 in 20, shear sharpeners are competent and expertly qualified to sharpen salon scissors. Based on his experience and skill level, John has been certified to preserve the lifetime warranties offered by some of the industry’s biggest names which include Washi, Shark Fin, Sun Sharpy, Betty Dain and Shears Direct.
3. An Immediate Red Flag
Imposters can infiltrate the sharpening business with ease—all they need to do is get trained with a DVD. As John say, “Any Joe Blow that’s heard shear sharpening is a good business can call themselves a sharpener virtually overnight.” So, when sharpeners seek your business, John says the best way to figure out if they’re the real deal or not is to ask a simple question: “What will happen if you damage my shears?” If the sharpener doesn’t offer to replace the shears with an identical pair, take that as a red flag! At Wicked Sharp Shears, John offers a full replacement if any damage to the shears occurs during the sharpening process.
4. Simple Fixes Explained Simply
When a shear drops, it is rarely ruined. The vast majority of the time John can expertly remove nicks in the blades by patiently shaving off extremely thin layers of steel until the nick vanishes. Frequently a drop results in bent blades and he uses a tiny hammer to restore the proper curvature to each one. Of course, there are times when a shear is too badly damaged to properly repair, in which case John won’t take your money for an unsatisfactory result.
5. Fast Sharpening Is Very Rarely Good Sharpening
For routine sharpening—one without nicks or bends in the blades—good sharpening will remove roughly 1/3 the width of a human hair’s amount of steel. And to remove this miniscule amount of steel takes more time than to remove too much. Using a waterstone also adds time to the process but it is essential in order to produce a durable edge. Patience is the key! Bad sharpeners cut corners in order to work quickly and move on.
John, a man “obsessed with the art and science of fine salon shear sharpening,” has earned his reputation as being one of the most talented sharpeners in the business. John is versed in the various qualities of steel from one scissor to the next, and is capable of working with any steel to achieve the proper balance of sharpness and durability for your blades. Don’t just take our word on John’s skill, here are testimonials praising his expert work!