Scissors: Five Methods for Keeping Them Sharp

All scissors lose their sharpness and effectiveness after repeated use, so if you're having trouble cutting with dull scissors, try sharpening them.

  • Sharpen your scissors by cutting through 150–200 grit sandpaper or folded aluminum foil. Stroke thoroughly and then clean the blades.
  • To sharpen your scissors, dismantle the blades and run them along a sharpening stone. Burrs can be removed by cutting through a piece of cardboard.
  • Try "cutting" a metal pin or a mason jar with the blades by squeezing them shut. Apply minimal force and clean the blades with a damp cloth.
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    Collect some sandpaper Using sandpaper with a grit of 150–200 will get the job done, but if you want your scissors' blades to be extra smooth, you could go with a higher grit (smaller grit number). Sandpaper should be folded in half with the rough side out.

    • Sandpaper is best cut with the rough side facing out, so that it grazes against both blades.
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    Shred the sandpaper. Long strips of sandpaper should be cut through a cutter 10-20 times. [1] Whenever you cut a new piece of sandpaper, you'll find that the blades get a little bit sharper. Cut with complete strokes of the scissors, moving from the blades' handles all the way to the tips.

    • If your scissors aren't completely dull, but could use a little sharpening, you can do so by cutting through a piece of sandpaper.
    • Sandpaper can also be used to remove dents and scratches from the blades.
    • Steel wool and emery cloth can also be used to sharpen scissors. [2]

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    Brush off the shears. Once you're done sharpening the scissors, use a damp paper towel to wipe down the blades to remove any sandpaper dust or debris.

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    Take out some foil and set it aside. To make a thick, folded strip of foil, cut a piece of aluminum foil about 8-10 inches long and fold it lengthwise several times.

    • Cutting through multiple layers of aluminum foil will serve to sharpen the scissors several times over.
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    The foil must be snipped. Using the scissors, cut the aluminum foil into narrow strips until you've used up the entire roll. When cutting, make sure to use full scissor strokes, moving from the blades' handles all the way to the tips.

    • You can do a lot of work on your scissors by cutting many thin strips or a little work by cutting a few thick strips.
  3. 3

    Cleaning the shears Use a paper towel wet with warm water to clean the blades. Any bits of aluminum that may have gotten stuck on the blades during cutting will be released this way.

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    You should get a sharpening stone. You can get sharpening stones at any hardware store and use them on any knife you own. Blades can be sharpened on both the coarser, grainier side and the finer side of a sharpening stone. [3]

    • Use the coarse side of the stone first if your scissors are extremely dull; then, switch to the fine side to finish sharpening.
    • Use the stone's finer side if you only need to give your scissors a quick sharpening.
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    Get out the stone to use for honing your skills. Get a towel and use water or honing oil to lubricate the stone before you sharpen it.

    • You can find "honing oil" in stores near the sharpening stones, but any oil, or even water, will do.
  3. 3

    Take apart the scissors you're using. Taking apart the scissor blades involves removing a single screw. This allows you greater freedom of movement while sharpening the blades individually.

    • In most cases, you can unscrew the scissors' blades from each other using a flathead screwdriver that is small enough to fit in the screw's head.
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    Make sure the inner edge of the blade is razor sharp. A scissor's inner side (the flat, inside part of the blade that comes into contact with the material you're cutting and the opposite inside of the other blade) should be placed on the stone, with the outer side of the blade facing up. The angle between the inner blade (which you are sharpening) and the cutting edge (the upper edge of the inner side of the blade) should be as acute as possible. The area where these two edges meet is the cutting edge. Holding the scissor by the handle, slowly pull the blade across the stone toward you while keeping the edge flat against the stone. [4]

    • To sharpen the blade, repeat this process several times in a deliberate manner. It should take 10–20 pulls to accomplish this.
    • Switch to the other scissor blade and repeat.
    • Until you get the hang of sharpening blades, you should practice on some old scissors.
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    Hone the blade's edge so it cuts like butter. Holding the scissor by its handle, tilt the blade toward you until the cutting edge (the beveled edge that meets the inner side of the blade) is flat on the stone. As the blade is horizontal to you, slowly draw it across the stone toward you while keeping the beveled edge flat against the stone. Try to get the angle right, and keep the blade moving forward. This process must be repeated repeatedly with care until the blade is razor sharp.

    • A nice, smooth finish can be achieved by first using the coarse side of the stone, and then switching to the finer side for the final touches.
    • You may not know when the edge of the blade is sufficiently sharpened if this is your first time sharpening scissors. Sharpening your scissors is easy if you try this tip: before you begin, run the tip of a permanent marker across the edge of each blade. You know you've sharpened the blade enough when the marker line disappears from the edge during the sharpening process. [5]
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    Sharpen the scissors by filing down the burrs. There may be rough burrs of metal along the sharpened edges of the scissors after you're done sharpening them. Clippers can be opened and closed several times to get rid of the burrs. [6] The next step is to use the scissors to snip through a sheet of paper, a piece of cardboard, or a piece of fabric. More of the little burrs will be thrown off the blades this way.

    • To sum up, the scissors' sharpness is of paramount importance. Repeat the sharpening process if you want even sharper blades.
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    Cleaning the shears After sharpening your scissors, use a damp paper towel to wipe down the blades and remove any stray stone fragments.

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    Wrap the blades of the scissors around the mason jar. Spread the blades of the scissors as far as they'll go and wrap them around the mason jar.

    • As much space as possible should be left between the two blades and the jar. Keep the scissors and the jar in separate hands.
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    Prepare the mason jar for cutting. With a squeezing motion, close the scissors, and then slip the jar out from between them. [7] Cutting paper or fabric uses the same motion when closing the scissors. Simply close the scissors with minimal force and let the glass do the sharpening for you.

    • The procedure should be repeated until the blades have a fine, sharp edge.
    • Use a mason jar you don't mind scratching, as the blades of the scissors are likely to leave marks.
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    Cleaning the shears After you're done cutting the mason jar, use a damp paper towel to wipe down the blades of the scissors to remove any stray shards of glass that may have accumulated there.

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    Fetch a safety pin for use in sewing. Similar to sharpening scissors with a mason jar, this technique employs a smaller tool to achieve the same result.

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    To sever a pin Pull the pin out from between the blades as you squeeze the scissors shut. Closing the scissors in this manner is identical to how you would do so after using them to cut paper or fabric. When closing the scissors, apply only a light amount of pressure to allow the metal pin to sharpen the blades.

    • It's important to keep going until the blades are perfectly sharp.
  3. 3

    You should clean the shears. In order to remove any stray metal pieces that may have accumulated on the blades of the scissors while cutting the pin, simply wet a paper towel and wipe down the blades.

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To Ask Another Question...
  • Question

    I was wondering if this also applied to hair cutting scissors.

    Community Answer

    It's true, but if you have high-quality hair cutting shears, you should take them to

  • Question

    Can sandpaper really be that effective?

    Community Answer

    To be sure, it does.

  • Question

    There is no jar style known to me as a "Mason," and I haven't heard that name used in that context. Is there anyone who can assist me with this?

    Community Answer

    Mason jars are just wide-mouthed jars that are commonly used in the canning process. John L. Sullivan was the inspiration for the name. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Mason filed for a patent on a new kind of jar. It's up to you whether to capitalize the term. The Mason jar is simply shorthand for any wide-mouthed jar, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand in its place.

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  • Ineffective scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Disposable aluminum foil
  • Polishing a stone for use as a blade
  • Mason jar
  • Sewing pin

Being a "wiki," much like Wikipedia, means that many of our articles are co-written by several authors. Over the course of its creation, this article was revised and improved by 38 people, some of whom wish to remain anonymous. The number of people who have looked at this article is now at 1,219,073.

Co-authors: 38

Updated: The 25th of October, 2022

Views:  1,219,073

Categories: Stationery

Article SummaryXBrief Overview of the Article:

Sandpaper works well for sharpening scissors. It's best to start by folding the sandpaper in half, rough sides out. Then, with one hand on the sandpaper and the other on the scissors, Cut the sandpaper to size, and jam it all the way into the bottom of the scissors blades. To make a clean cut through the sandpaper, cinch the scissors shut. Sharpen the knives by making ten to twenty passes across the blade in this manner. One last step is to use a damp towel to remove any sandpaper dust from the scissors. Instead of using a dull file, a sharpening stone can give your writing an expert sheen. To begin, get a screwdriver and unscrew the scissor blades. Then, with the angled, outer side of one blade facing down, lay it flat on top of the sharpening stone. With the blade's cutting edge facing away from you, drag it across the sharpening stone's surface. Repeat this process 10–20 times, then switch directions and drag the blade in the opposite direction. Try it out ten to twenty times. Then, switch to the other blade and do the same thing. Simply reassembly your scissors when you're done using them will suffice. Read on if you're curious about sharpening scissors with a stone or aluminum foil.

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    My new hobby is sewing. Have invested in no less than five pairs of shears; I use them for everything from cutting paper to slicing meat. My finances wouldn't benefit from that, but I'll be able to save both time and money by doing this. Taking up sewing has been a lifelong ambition of mine and a great way to keep my hands busy (hence, no smoking). Please accept my sincere gratitude " " more
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