Pinking shears are a pair of scissors with a jagged edge. As they are a little different than the regular shears they are a bit tricky when it comes to sharpening. Although there are lots of processes to sharpen your pinking shears at home all by yourself, it is always encouraged to get them to sharpen professionally. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to sharpen pinking shears.
When Do You need to Sharpen Your Zig-Zag Shears?
Pinking shears have a unique way of knowing if they need to be sharpened. You can always check for lap lines to examine your shears for sharpening. There is a shiny metal layer at the bottom, then the lap line and then another layer of metal with a dark color on the cutting surface. If this is not visible the shears will not work properly and you will know it’s time for sharpening.
A good pair of pinking shears from a well-known brand should last you a couple of years easily. But After that sharpening becomes a necessity. It is better to sharpen your shears once a year. You might need some sharpening in the middle depending on the quality of your shears.
How much does It Cost to Sharpen Pinking Shears
Depending on the process used, sharpening your pinking shears will cost you from 4$ to 400$. Here’s how:
- If you use tin foil or aluminum foil, it will cost about 5$-6$ for the foils.
- For sandpaper, it will cost about 5$-50$.
- If you get them done from a repairing shop, 4$-6$ will do.
- If you own a lot of shears and use them professionally or just more often than usual, it’s best to buy a sharpening grinder for your long-term sharpening needs. It will cost about 55$ to 600$. The wheels cost about 12$- 200$. Do keep in mind that there are different tools for sharpening knives and shears.
- Some of the companies offer sharpening services. it takes about 2-4 weeks. Send the shears to the company you bought it from and they will send the restored shears after sharpening. It will cost you 12$-40$ depending on where you live.
- You can use a wet stone. They cost about less than a dollar to 60$.
How to Sharpen Pinking Shears
Sharpening pinking shears need practice and precision. There are a few ways to do it. Here is a detailed view on how to sharpen pinking scissors and shears.
1. Using Sharpening Wheel
Using a sharpening wheel is heavy work. You will be needing a few things to do it :
- A blade aligner clamp
- A grinder
- Sharpening wheel
- A marker
- The first thing you need to about sharpen your pinking shears is that you don’t sharpen between the teeth but along the edge of them on the cutting surface. Most of the sheers are between 0-5 degrees, some are also negative. To decide which one it is, you will have to do a “scratch test”.
- A scratch test is where you paint from the bottom of the teeth to the tip black with a marker. Then setting the clamp to 0 degrees, clamp in the scissors and place it against the wheel and turn the wheel downwards with your hands. If the paint is scratched off all the way to the tips, the clamps are at the right angle, if they don’t, adjust the clamps and do the test again to get the exact angle. For a negative angle, you can use the clamps as well, since some of the clamps allow going a little negative. Or don’t tighten the clamps all the way through and allow the shears to move, so you can hold it at the right angle manually.
- Once your shears are clamped in at the right angle, turn on the grinder and holding the shears against the wheel pass them from left of the blade to the tip. Do two or three passes and examine if the black ink has worn off. If not do a few more passes until they finally do. Readjustment of the shears may be necessary if you are working with a more negative blade and your clamps are not tightened all the way through.
- After you are done with one blade, do the other one in the same way.
2. Aluminum Foil
You can also sharpen your scissors using aluminum foils. It is more like a quick remedy for the sudden friction in your scissors than the real deal. It will loosen the jamming of the blades allow smooth cutting. All you need is a sheet of aluminum foil
- Take a piece of foil and cut a few snips in it, perhaps using a thread snip.
- Make sure to cut from the tip to all the way to the bottom, so that you include all the teeth of the blade.
- Fold the foil a few times if the foil is not sturdy enough.
- Try the shears on fabric to make sure the stiffness is gone.
You can also use tin foil for this.
3. Sand Paper
Like aluminum foil, this is also a quick fix. You will need fine grain sandpaper for this.
- Fold the sandpaper in the middle to make sure you have grained surface on both sides.
- Make a few cuts using full scissor strokes.
- Examine the shears by cutting a fabric.
How to Sharpen Pinking Shears by Hand
you can also sharpen your pinking shears using a whetstone by hand. It doesn’t really give you a fine finish but gets the job done.
In this technique what you will need is:
- A Whetstone
- A screw-driver
- A damp paper towel
- And of course, your pinking shears!
- First, prepare your stone by soaking it in water for a couple of minutes until bubbles start coming up.
- Unassemble your shears using a screw-driver. You will be sharpening one blade at a time.
- Place the blade on the coarse surface with the cutting face downwards.
- Slowly pass the blade a few times on the surface of the stone. 15-20 pass will do. Apply water as needed.
- Finish off the sharpening on the finer surface but passing the blade 3 to 4 times on it.
- Clean up the blade with a paper towel afterward.
- Repeat the processes with the other blade.
Although this is a very common process for sharpening scissors and knives, it will not give you a perfect finish and you might end up with the uneven surface of the blade. It is not a very suitable method for sharpening pinking shears.
Here is a simple video guide for you –
learning how to sharpen pinking scissors and shears might be easy and might seem like something you can do at home. But always keep a few things in mind while sharpening your pinking shears:
- While using a sharpening wheel keep your clothes, hair, and hand away from the wheel.
- Wear safety gloves if necessary
Pinking shears are quite delicate scissors. Even if you do know how to sharpen pinking shears, it’s best to let the professionals do their job. Since they have zig-zag edges, they cannot be sharpened in the usual ways. Even the simplest process of using tin foil or sandpaper could damage the shears by rounding off the edges. So, if you can, send them over to a repair shop to have them sharpened. Also for a long-lasting pair of scissors keep them oiled and cleaned.