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Problem sharpeners, disfigured and ruined scissors - Be warned!!

As some of you may know I have been a hairdressing scissor sharpener for 25 years. More than that I have run my own scissor factory and produced the first high quality hairdressing scissors stamped and marked “Made in Australia”. In my career I have invented and sold my own sharpening equipment and trained over 50 sharpeners as well as a few scissor factories. (for more read my resume here ). My opinions on sharpening come from a keen eye and observations from many years of being at the forefront of my industry.

Now there are some things hairdressers should know about scissor sharpeners. Not all of them are good, in fact most are terrible and most do not understand what they are doing. This is a fact and the result is usually obvious to the astute hairdresser. As I have said, I have trained over 50 sharpeners, in all honesty I can say that only about 50% are good with only a handful being really talented. I see training offered by other companies that is woeful and their success rate for turning out good sharpeners is 0% . Now a sharpener can have the best training in the world and all the best equipment, if they don’t have a talent to work accurately with their hands and a good eye for geometry they will fail. They will fail because aside from talent you need experience and you can’t get years of experience in this industry anymore without losing all your clients first and destroying a lot of scissors.

So be warned, when you see a new sharpener come in your door, they all say the same thing. “I have some new technology” or such great "training in Japan" or whatever the sales pitch is for you to hand over your precious tools to be ruined. Here is an example. This is the inside of a scissor blade that has been sharpened “once” by a newbie sharpener. Take note of the excessive and rough hand grinding. This scissor was new and is now PERMANENTLY RUINED. It can not be restored, it is gone! This problem is common to sharpeners who do not know or understand the correct hand techniques.


 Then you can always be sure that a new sharpeners is around the corner, ready to ruin more scissors. This guy sharpeners hairdressing scissors too. He charges $40! It takes him about 3 minutes on his grinder on the back of his motorbike. Scissors sharpened with this much heat will also be PERMANENTLY RUINED.


It “may” be possible to restore the edge to some resemblance of what it should look like but the real damage is done by the heat. The scissor sharpened this way will distort and twist out of shape and in most cases can not be restored. The heat damage also reduces the hardening of your scissor and makes it softer so it will dull easily. 

Added to these common woes I have also seen damage done by newbie sharpeners ranging from trying to sharpen the inside of a blade by a grinder, to using a file or just about every other wacky idea these guys come up with.  

Now I have to ask some questions of my opposition. I’ll call him “Mr X” but he knows who he is. For the last few years I have seen some heavily damaged scissors come back from sharpening from Mr X. The type of damage is some unsightly marks around the pivot area of the scissors and also some heavy hammer marks on the inside and outside of the blade. Here I have taken some photos of a Toni & Guy scissor with these marks but I have many photos of the same marks on many scissors sharpened by Mr X and company. 



 Now I have seen the very same marks on brand new scissors, namely Excellent Edges Bladez scissors made in China. This is the only brand I have seen these marks on a brand new scissor. So my first question is ” are you guys using some cheap Chinese clamping system on your sharpening now? Are you trying to save a few dollars to sharpener a little faster?” UPDATE: "the answer was, these are our de-setting marks "

I know for a fact that Mr X can sharpen scissors and de-sett very well, even excellently without making any marks on the scissors at all, so why the change? Frankly this is a sad state of affairs as I have seen even top quality expensive scissors treated to the same disfigurement. Here is one of my very own scissors that I sent to Melbourne for sharpening to verify this problem.



Hairdressers of Australia, why do you let poor quality and shoddy sharpeners do this to you. Your scissors are your property, no-one has a right to treat your property with disrespect.


 Adrian Schlemmer