Sharpening Scissors



I am old enough to remember when knife sharpeners used to come to the DOOR. Not anymore - but you can sort of sharpen your scissors by cutting through sandpaper until the edge is restored. Not ideal - but better than dull scissors and very thrifty.


By Pam from LA, CA

Steel Wool

You can sharpen scissors easily by cutting through a few pieces of steel wool.

By Robin from Washington, IA

SOS Pads

I also use my scissors to cut SOS pads. It saves not having to waste a whole SOS pad as well as sharpens my scissors.

By Tawnda

Aluminum Foil

I've found that the best way to sharpen my scissors is to cut aluminum foil a few times after cleaning the blades with alcohol!

By Michlee from Glen Morgan, WV

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 170 Posts
April 15, 20050 found this helpful

That's a good idea to use before you discard any old emery boards.

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By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
May 1, 20060 found this helpful

After you are done using an emery board to file your nails, cut up the center lenthwise to sharpen your scissors. I have found that only the edges of emery boards get used up by filing nails.


the center is free to use for this purpose.

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July 18, 20060 found this helpful

I knew someone that sharpened their scissors on the rough ceramic edge on the bottom of a coffee mug.

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By Paula in ga (Guest Post)
July 29, 20060 found this helpful

I used sandpaper on my scissors and it made them MUCH WORSE! I used a fine grit dont' know what I did wrong but I sure don't recommend using sandpaper!

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By Joe (Guest Post)
December 6, 20060 found this helpful

I don't know who will read this, since this post is old, but these methods of "sharpening" scissors will ruin or damage the edge.


I have been sharpening scissors, knives, and other tools regularly for about 15 years. to understand why this method will not work, you have to understand what the process of sharpening acompleshes, here's a brief description:

very simplistically, an "edge" is formed on any steel tool when 2 planes of steel meet at an accute angle, thus creating an "edge".

if you look at the edge of a scissors, bolth blades are assimetrical, with the flat sides facing each other, there is then a small bevel to form a rather steep acute angle (sometimes not a bevel but a right angle on ONE side only), this forms the "edge" and the two edges of the two blades come together and work with each other to cut material. why scissors work is that the flat parts of the blades are against each other, and the two edges (actually similar to the edge on a knife, just steeper) create a shearing effect as they force material onto one another.


when scissors, or any tool dulls, the edge, which was once the precise meeting of two planes of steel, becomes rounded, thus not meeting precisely and being less able to sever material. the process of sharpening scissors, or any tool, is removing metal from the blade, renewing the original angles so that they once again meet precisely. in the case of scissors, since there action is dependent on the edges being next to one another, any rounding of the edge is amplified in use becouse they can no longer "sheer" against each other, thats why when you sharpen scissors you only remove material from the bevel, not the flat side. if you now think about cutting an abrasive material such as sandpaper, witch will remove metal evenly and round out the edge, it is obvious why this will not work. if people are having success with this method, it is probably becouse the blades are becoming micro serrated, thus more aggressivly grabbing matereal and "appearing" to be sharper, when


infact the dulling process has been accelerated.

All materials you cut have abrasive qualitys, this is why tools dull, the material you cut wears away the steel of the edge. If you were to believe that cutting very abrasive material like sandpaper would restore the edge, then by the same token anything you cut should magically keep the scissors sharp!

Editor's Note: Thanks Joe for the excellent explanation!

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By Lang (Guest Post)
June 26, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks Joe for adding that info.. I cringe when I see the sandpaper trick being flaunted around. I have known people to sharpen each side of the scissor blade in domestic knife sharpeners, and this also puts a bevel on the inside edges which ruins the scissors as indicated above.

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By Lang (Guest Post)
June 26, 20070 found this helpful

Also... The concept of sharpening scissors or knives on the underside of a coffee mug is quite plausible for a quick sharpen. The ceramic is abrasive, similar to grinding stones, but may be inconsistent.


Obviously for scissors you will have to grind down only the one side of the blades

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June 7, 20080 found this helpful

Hey Joe, I thinking about getting into the salon scissor and knife sharpening bus. I've been looking at several diff. machines, like the Twice as Sharp, Jet, Tormek and a lot of others. Can you Help me out and suggest the best,oh yell whats the best way to sharpen mower blades?

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September 21, 20090 found this helpful

It also helps to take a stainless steel needle (a regular sewing needle or sewing machine needle) and rub it on the blades of scissors. This helps with nicks in the scissors.

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June 30, 20160 found this helpful

This IS an old post - and NONE of these methods work for me. And Joe just tells us what NOT to do - what does one do to sharpen scissors?

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