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Thread: How can I sharpen pinking shears

  1. #1
    Danny D's Avatar
    Danny D is offline Aluminum
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    Default How can I sharpen pinking shears

    I have a set of USA Wiss pinking shears from the 60's. I filed and stoned them trying to maintain the original 5 degree angle. The edges are clean and sharp. They cut paper and terry cloth very well, however when I try to cut polyester aircraft fabric they only chew and wad. I tried lapping them by applying lapping compound and working them open and closed. This made then feel smoother operating but did not improve the cutting action. I have adjusted the pin and applied pressure to the blades by squeezing them together but no improvement. Should I change the grind angle or give up and buy a new pair? Thanks, Danny

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    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    Quick google search found this...

    Northwest Sharpening

    They show pinking shears sharpened for $3.50. Lot cheaper than buying new ones and not worth even bothering to try it yourself.. even with added shipping costs.
    oldbikerdude37 likes this.

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    I just grind them same as a normal pair of shears, I have done the wifes several times. Seems like laping compound will put a bit of a radius on the cutting edge as you open and close them
    Last edited by moonlight machine; 02-07-2012 at 11:57 PM.

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    oldbikerdude37's Avatar
    oldbikerdude37 is offline Stainless
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    Next time you see a guy up a telephone pole ask him about some good cable spicing snips. Made to cut metal but eat paper up just fine.

    They look like kids scissors with a lot more beef. good ones wont be cheap but they will chop a coin in half no problem and you wont wear them out. I have 2 pair over 35 years old and they work good.

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    jim1058 is offline Plastic
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    Default material problem

    The problem is not how shape the shears are but the material you are trying to cut. When polyester started to be used buy home seamstresses the sissors were changed to incorporate a slight knurl on the edge of the blade to prevent the cloth from sliding away from the cutting action.

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    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    They have to be absolutely razor sharp to cut aircraft dacron. Properly sharp ones slice right through it, dull ones chew and fray. A professional sharpening should last you through a couple of full airplane builds.

    obd, the cable snips are nice shears, but totally unsuitable for aircraft work. You have to use pinking shears or you end up with spider webs instead of edges.

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    oldbikerdude37's Avatar
    oldbikerdude37 is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C. View Post
    They have to be absolutely razor sharp to cut aircraft dacron. Properly sharp ones slice right through it, dull ones chew and fray. A professional sharpening should last you through a couple of full airplane builds.

    obd, the cable snips are nice shears, but totally unsuitable for aircraft work. You have to use pinking shears or you end up with spider webs instead of edges.

    Thanks for the info, As close to aircraft fabric I do is fixing sail boat sails, and thats miles away from the work Aircraft people do.

    You need good shears but I cant say Iv worked over super expensive high tech fabrics.

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    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    Dacron is not expensive high tech stuff, it's just unseized polyester. Ravels something awful if you cut it lengthwise without pinking.

    Aircraft fabric work is not hard, it's really a lot of fun as long as you don't have a lot of tapers or compound curves to deal with. You cut it 10% over size, sew or glue it on the part, then iron to shrink fit. Prime with your coating ( sort of a paint). Stitch the fabric to the part, tape over the stitches, prime the works again, lay on silver for UV protection and then top with whatever color you like (or leave it silver, cheap and light).

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    Limy Sami is online now Diamond
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    Pinking shears in materials liike Dacron can be very tricky,..... a lot will depend on what they've been used on before - paper can be very hard on scissors and shears.

    Close inspection withh a 10X glass may show wear on the faces of the serrations at the grind face, in which case they will have to be ground back still on the normal ''top'' face to reach unworn part of the serrations, then reset which might require shimming to bring the closing angle right.

    Anything more than the lightest ''kiss'' as the shears close will accelerate wear on the serrations.
    moonlight machine and Mike C. like this.

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    David Utidjian's Avatar
    David Utidjian is offline Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbikerdude37 View Post
    Next time you see a guy up a telephone pole ask him about some good cable spicing snips. Made to cut metal but eat paper up just fine.

    They look like kids scissors with a lot more beef. good ones wont be cheap but they will chop a coin in half no problem and you wont wear them out. I have 2 pair over 35 years old and they work good.
    Those are Electricians Scissors. Klein Tools makes a very good version of them.
    Klein Tools -Electricianís Scissors
    They are just about the only type of scissors I will buy. I have a pairs all over the place. Last pair I bought was still US made. They are great for telecom sized wires and cables. They are slightly serrated so the wire isn't spit out by the action of closing the scissor blades.

    They are not for aircraft Dacron work.

    -DU-

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