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Grooming Shears

Shears or Scissors? In America most of us call grooming scissors “shears”. So “if someone calls them “scissors”, they are technically correct, but they’re really talking about shears.
Shears come in various shapes, sizes and handle configurations. They even come in colors. Shears come in different lengths to fit your hand. Too long and you’ll end up cutting the knuckles of your other hand. Too short and you’ll cut the web between the fingers on your other hand. So how do you pick the correct length? You place your shears in the palm of your hand with the thumb hole just touching the heel of your hand and the tip extending past the last joint of your middle finger (yes, that’s THE finger), but not past the end of your finger. If it is past the end, the shear is too long. If it is below the last joint, the shear is too short.

Jackson Sharpening - Pricing

Shears are made of stainless steel. But not all stainless steels are equal in quality. To make stainless steel, a Chromium alloy (Cr) must be added to the steel. That gives it the shiny look we all enjoy with stainless steel. And to harden the steel to the right level and to make it sharpen more, different heavy metal alloys may be added, like Molybdenum (Mo), Vanadium (V), or C0), to name a few.
How your shear blades are made makes a difference. Basically they are either forged or cast. Forged can be the highest performing, depending upon your use. Forged means the makers pound the hot steel into a mold and compact the molecules. This means the edge can be sharper. This also means that if damaged, the forge steel may be bent back into shape. Forged steel is really good for human hair.
However Cast steel is simply pouring molten steel into a cast. The molecules don’t get “packed” together and the steel will not be as strong. Cast steel is frequently used in grooming shears, and is the best steel for human hair when stylists do not wash the hair.
However Cast steel is simply pouring molten steel into a cast. The molecules don’t get “packed” together and the steel will not be as strong. Cast steel is frequently used in grooming shears, and is the best steel for human hair when stylists do not wash the hair.
Speaking of hardness of steel, all shears are tempered steel. That is, the steel has been hardened by subjecting it to very high temperatures and suddenly plunging it into very cold temperature to preserve the configuration of the molecules of the heated steel.
How hard is hard enough? The Rockwell Hardness scale is used to test the  hardness of the steel once shears are produced. You need your grooming shears to be a Rockwall score of between 58 and 62. If it is too high, your shear will be brittle and more likely to break if you drop them. If it is too low, your shears will not hold their sharpness very well.
What about sharpness? Ideally you will want to sharpen your shears at least twice per year, depending on your use. Left-handed groomers using right-handed shears may need to sharpen theirs more often.

Signs your shears are dull

  • Tired, sore hands because you work them too much cutting with dull shears
  • Split ends on freshly cut hair because dull shears “chew” or “pull” hair as you cut
  • Uneven cuts, typically a curved, or “U” shaped cut, because with dull shears, hair actually folds before it cuts
  • You find yourself “chasing” the hair to cut it, meaning the dull shears are not catching it with the blades.

Also, did you know that using dull and mal-adjusted shears is bad business and bad for your health because:

  • You work too hard working with dull tools and tire out before days’ end.
  • You end up with injuries to your hands, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck and even your lower back
  • Your career may be shortened as a result, you will incur medical expenses, you will miss business and make less money.

You can also test the sharpness of your shears. Use a very thin, single-layer tissue, Puffs are a thinner paper, so separate the two plys and test  your shears with one ply. Hold the tissue and cut it with your shears from the bottom using light pressure and no side-
pressure. If it cuts cleanly the entire length of the shear to the tip, it is sharp. If it folds, check that the pivot screw is tightened properly and test again.
The best thing to do when your shears are not sharp is to call your sharpener and get them
sharpened right.
A good sharpener will:

  • Clean your shears
    Polish the rideline if your shears are convex
  • Repair any damage to the pivot
  • Replace missing or damaged washers and screws
  • Check for correct blade alignment and repair if possible
  • Sharpen the shear
  • Adjust the shear pivot screw to exactly the correct tension
  • Oil the shears

Avoiding damage to shears. Did you know that the primary reason shears get damaged is by dropping them? It’s also a great way for groomer to get injured by trying to catch the shear or deflect it with their foot. The best solution? Use a rubber mat around your grooming station to catch shears.
Other ways shears get damaged? Not keeping the pivot screw at the right tension. We can show you exactly how to do this. Not keeping your shears oiled. Not keeping shears cleaned. Storing shears on a magnetic bar or out on a bench or table top. Storing shears in a drawer without a box or pouch to protect them from striking other items or shears inside the drawer (you can also get hurt if you toss your shears in a purse and forget they are there…always use a

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