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Scissor Factories

Real Scissor Factories

Lately I have seen some social media and YouTube all about making hairdressing scissors. Frankly a lot of it is completely fake, made up to deceive the hairdresser for marketing purposes. I saw one guy supposedly training with a Japanese scissor maker, the photos were taken in his kitchen! Another YouTube shows a scissor factory run by my opposition where the grinders and polishers have no guards, no air exhaust systems, no safety cut offs and are downright dangerous. If OHAS saw this YouTube they would close the place down! Seriously! The finger hole polishing machine is a Bunnings $100 quality grinder set-up which is particularly dangerous and even potentially deadly. I know my opposition reads my posts... wake up! the scissor blade could easily jam and then fly off at high speed to embed in someone’s head! The operator has no safety equipment, no goggles, actually Work Cover would not cover any accidents or deaths under these circumstances. Anyway, this YouTube is particularly hilarious to the Japanese scissor makers so please keep it on for a while longer so we can all have a laugh.

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Now for those of you who want to see what a “real Japanese scissor factory” looks like, after 20 years of dealing with the number one factory in Japan I was allowed to take some photos. (As long as I didn’t show any jigging systems or robotics). In this image the workers are polishing handles. Notice the correct safety and air systems. These grinding machines are industrial and are made to run all day, every day. The Bunnings type grinders shown in the YouTube from the oppo are for hobbyists. Under factory conditions they would overheat and seize from a couple of days use.

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In this image my wife is “having a go” at the factory sharpening machines, she doesn’t need training, she is the best sharpener I have ever trained, no doubt. Notice there are no jigs here. Quality factory sharpening involves highly trained and skilled workers who can finish an edge with “sight and feel”. No jig can replace that as scissor blade curves are complicated. It takes practice and it takes some talent. Some of my guys I have trained will be shocked because I have sold them machines with jigs. It is necessary for beginners to use jigs to maintain the correct edge angles, without them you will destroy a lot of scissors before you get good at it. The experts need no jig. You will also notice no water cooling. Expert sharpeners never let a scissor blade get hot, the sharpening is done a “little at a time”, always checking and examining along the way. Notice also the setting hammers, anvils and a large wooden block. Setting involves correcting the curvature of the blade to give the correct tension to the edge, to "give it grip". Amateur sharpeners can not sett scissors, it is a skill that takes a long time to learn. I can sett scissors because I spent 10 years making scissors and I learned from the broken blades I left behind in the factory. My wife has been sharpening for many years but I still do all the setting! Notice in the background the hand sharpening bench and sharpening stones for finishing the inside blade sharpening. Still done by hand, this job takes time and skill as well.

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In this image my wife and I are watching a CNC machine perform hollow grinding. As I have said before, the very best scissors are made with very large computer controlled super accurate machines. The hollow grind accuracy is critically important to how the finished scissor performs. It is true some Japanese scissor factories still finish the hollow grind by hand. Don’t be fooled by this, the operation is actually just finishing the surface to look pretty, the main grinding on the best scissors is always done with a CNC machine.

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In this image I am watching a CNC machine polishing the teeth on thinning scissor blades. To my knowledge this is the only factory in the world producing this type of high quality thinning scissors. The machine individually grinds and polishes the surfaces of each tooth so there is not sharp edges as seen on normal thinning scissors. An amazing technology and we sell these scissors under the “Slice” range.

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I would have loved to show you the robotics because they are really cool. Basically the scissors move from machine to machine all by robot arms moving from machine to machine. At the end of the cycle the scissor blades are ready for hand finishing and sharpening with all the machined surfaces, holes and grooves already done. So that’s how real quality scissors are made. I ran a scissor factory for ten years making scissors in Sydney. I had nine staff and many of the processes were done by hand. I know that the more you rely on the human element the more small mistakes creep into the production line. My main goal was product development and research, not mass production. When I was satisfied with my technologies developed and my designs, I took them to Japan and had my Sharpline Premuium brands made by the very best there is in Seki city Japan.

Thanks for reading,

Adrian Schlemmer  

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