Shear Education Booklet Online - Shear Maintenance

Section 8: Maintaining Your Shears

Your scissor is a mechanical tool with moving parts. If you want to get the most out of your shears you need to do some basic maintenance to keep them performing their best.

1. Oil your shears at least once a day, and more often if you prefer.

At the end of every day, wipe your shears off carefully using a towel. Be careful to wipe it the opposite directing of the way the edge is facing so you don’t cut yourself. This will remove any hair and residue of hair product that may have stuck to your blades. Then apply a drop or two of lightweight oil to the pivot area of the shear with the blades open. Open and close them with your regular cutting motion, with the blades pointed to the ground. This will cause the oil to flush out the area under the tension screw and it will run down the blades. Wipe the excess oil off with your towel and close the scissor and put it away for the night. This way instead of your shears sitting overnight with moisture and residue residue from your last haircut on the blades, it will be clean and lubricated and ready for work the next day.

2. Check and if need be, adjust your tension at least once a week.

To check tension, first clean and oil the shear as described. Then holding the finger side of the shear in your left hand, lift the thumb handle with your right hand until the blades are fully open, and let it go. If it stays open all the way, or does not fall more then 20% of the way closed, the tension is good. If the blade falls more than 20% of the way closed, on a high quality shear, it is too loose. Tighten the tension system by turning the knob or screw slightly to the right or clockwise. On shears with clicking knobs or screws, one or two clicks is usually enough. Test again, and if it does not fall, then test to make sure it is not too tight. Too tight is just when you feel too much resistance as you open them. You don’t want to have to fight the tension with your thumb to open and close the blades. On poorer quality shears, you may have to adjust them so the blades fall half way shut. This is because the blades are not well balanced against each other, so if you adjust them like a higher quality shear, they will be too hard to open and close.

Note: When shears bend the hair between the blades, or pull as you draw them away from the client, it almost always means they are too loose. New shears also need adjustment, usually after the first few uses. During the first few haircuts with a new shear, the washer between the screw and the shear, will compress and form itself to the shape of the screw hole. This will leave the tension too loose. An initial adjustment of the tension will take up the space left after this compression and the tension should then not need further adjustment for some time. Don’t be afraid to adjust the tension on your new shears, it will make them work better.

3. Always close shears completely before setting them

These shears have wider teeth and wider spaces. They typically have from 5 to 9 teeth. and cut a significant notch into the hair section. The uncut hair is also in wider pieces so the texture is obvious between the cut and uncut hair. These can be used on many clients but you must expect aggressive texture from these shears.

4. Sharpen your shears with the manufacturer’s recommended service center only.

There are many people who will come to salons claiming to know how to sharpen shears. The problem is there is no regulated certification for sharpeners, so anyone can make that claim. The reality is very few people know how to recreate the edge on a high quality shear. The typical sharpener will use too coarse an abrasive, removing too much metal and leaving the edge cutting rough. They might then over-polish it to make it smooth but this will leave it incapable of cutting cleanly. They will often alter the angle of the edge which will change the way the shear cuts. Some will ruin the shear in ways that even the manufacturer’s service center can not repair. Your warranty will also be voided if you use any other service center. So the safest thing to do is have the company that made the shear, be responsible for keeping it sharp. Then the manufacturer can make no excuses and must stand behind the product.

Who sharpens your shear, determines how long they will last and how much you will enjoy using them. Don’t take chances with your expensive tools.

We Recommend Our Precision Edge Inc. Shear Sharpening Division

If each sharpening from the factory lasts 1 year, one bad service can take 5 years or more from the life of your shears.