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Pointy tips?

Periodically we at Edgewise get requests from stylists to "make the tips of my shears pointier". Some stylists feel that pointier tips will allow them to do finer detail work on his or her clients. From a sharpening standpoint, however, making the shears pointier at the tips is a much trickier request.

Each time a shear is sharpened, some amount of metal is removed from the shear's cutting edge. Over time, the shear's blades get progressively thinner and thinner. Very old shears, which have had a significant amount of their metal sharpened away, will be thinner the entire length of the blade - all the way to the blade tips, which have been sharpened to a point.

Particularly when a stylist purchases a new pair of shears, they'll notice that the tips of the new shears look much 'fatter' than the skinny little tips of the shears they are replacing (which, through years of sharpening, have had much of their metal removed). To fix this, it seems, their sharpener should just be able to remove metal in a way that gives their shears pointy tips again. Generally, sharpeners have accommodated this request from stylists by removing metal from the spine edge of both of the blades. 

When shears have gotten to this state, keeping the tips pointy is simple. The sharpener can simply sharpen the shears and return them to the stylist without addressing the tips.

However, we at Edgewise feel that pointy tips on shears cause more problems than they solve:

1) The tips of the shears can be so pointy that they pose a danger both to the stylist and the stylist's clients. Particularly on older clients, pointy tips can easily cut or slice the skin, and injuring yourself or your client, is never a good way to keep them as long-term clients.

2) Shears cut hair through a combination of the sharpness of the edge, the force being applied, and the mass of metal behind the cutting edge. If the blades aren't sharp, or the force being applied isn't sufficient, the blades won't cut the hair. If the mass of the metal in the shear blades has been removed to the point that it isn't sufficient to support the force being applied by your hands, the hair wins out, the blades flex apart, and the shears fold or pinch the hair between the blades. Longer shears are especially prone to this problem - long shears with thin blades, are notoriously difficult to keep working out at the tips over time.

Our position at Edgewise, is that removing metal from the tips of the shears (to make them more pointy) is a bad idea. Particularly with long shears (6" and longer) our experience has been that the tips generally do not cut as well after metal has been removed. Furthermore, by (incorrectly) removing metal from the spine-side of the blades, the sharpener not only significantly reduces the life span of those shears, he or she also creates a pair of shears that neither looks quite right, nor cuts hair well.

At Edgewise, we attempt to return your shears in a condition that is as close to new as possible. Part of this care, is returning your shears to you with as little metal removed as professionally possible, and tips that minimize the cutting and slicing risk to you, the stylist, and your clients. Contact us today at http://www.edgewisellc.com/contact_us.html to find out why Edgewise is "the Salon Industry's Premier Sharpening Service".

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