Updated: Jan 30
Sharp groomer’s shears are an essential tool of the trade–the high-quality kind may even last for as long as 20 years, if not more. This largely depends on maintenance, however, as the original edge will require professional sharpening annually.
To grow your client base and develop a favorable reputation in the pet grooming community, you need to make sure that you’re always equipped with the best possible shears. It’s also important to find a reputable scissor sharpening service that is capable of keeping your shears in tip-top shape.
What are the tell-tale signs that your shears need sharpening?
Groomers may start to notice performance issues while cutting. A shear can fold or bend the fur between the blades, or it may push it away from the edge. Visibly, you may notice a rough spot or even a point in the blades where the two edges hang up when closing.
Here are the key symptoms that you need to keep an eye out for:
1. If the shears are bending the fur, it may be that the tension is too loose. Make the necessary adjustments, but if the issue is not resolved and the fur is still being pushed off of the blade, your shears are most likely dull.
2. If the fur appears to be pinched or pulled (and be warned that your four-legged customer will make you aware of this), this is an indication that there may be a nick on the edge. This usually happens if the shears have been dropped or endured a minor impact.
3. If the blade is producing an audible crunchy sound, or it bumps or hangs as you close it, this is also a sign of a scratched or nicked edge.
4. If you’ve recently sharpened your shears, and they start to feel dull again soon after the service, they may not have been sharpened properly or professionally. If the blade could hold an edge when new, it should last a long time after receiving a certified sharpening service.
5. Difficulty cutting and tired hands show that you are straining while cutting – this is another symptom of dull blades.
6. A sudden change in the results produced by your shears may mean that they are blunt or damaged. First, try to give them a good wipe, making sure the pivot is well-oiled. If this does not help, then it’s time to get them sharpened.
Improper sharpening can damage your shears
There is a plethora of advice and “hacks” on how to sharpen your groomer’s shears. In fact, you may have already taken the plunge and suffered the consequences.
Let’s take a look at some of the dangerous tips you may have encountered:
1. Aluminium foil: folding over the foil and cutting through several times. Do not try this! It will severely round the cutting edge, requiring more metal to be removed to repair them.
2. Sandpaper: Cutting through sandpaper and using it to smooth the nicks or indents on the shear. Another big no-no! Your edge may not recover from this grotesque attempt at sharpening the blades.
3. Home sharpening equipment: High-quality shears require many steps with multiple abrasives and polishing techniques. A home attempt is simply insufficient, and the tools are most likely to damage or ruin your expensive investment piece.
What to do when it’s time to sharpen
Multiple factors will affect the frequency with which you need to sharpen your shears:
How often do you use them each day?
Are you cutting clean fur?
How often do your shears slip and fall to the floor?
Keeping the tension adequately adjusted, oiling, and cleaning the scissors will inevitably prolong the blades longevity.
However, when you do notice any of the symptoms discussed at the beginning of this post, it may be time to give them the love and care they deserve.
Continuing to cut with a dull or blunt shear, especially if the edge has been damaged, will only exacerbate the issue. The knock-on effect, of course, is poor quality cuts, uncomfortable customers, and strain on your fingers as your hand has to work harder to perform the cut.