Do your scissors or poultry shears not cut even after sharpening?

There's almost nothing worse than grabbing a pair of scissors to cut that fat off a raw chicken breast to find that your kitchen scissors don't cut! Does this Sound familiar?

The likely culprit is that the blade edges don't glide over each other because the pivot-screw or rivet is too loose. The proper tension of the blades is almost more important than the sharpness of the blades.

In fact, this post will discuss that TENSION is the first consideration, EDGE Sharpness is second, and ALIGNMENT of the blades is third when considering why a scissor or shear will not cut.

A great acronym to remember is T.E.A. (Tension, Edge, Alignment).

TENSION solutions:

TENSION of a RIVET hinged joint

  • Place the scissor flat on a vise or hard surface

  • With a medium ball-peen hammer strike, the rivet head lightly, testing the cutting action after each couple of hammer taps.

  • Repeat until desired cutting action takes place.

WARNING: If you get aggravated and smack the rivet head too hard, now completely riveted together, the scissor will be unusable. The only recourse is to buy another scissor.

TENSION of a SCREW hinged joint

Using a vise, tighten one scissor blade in the jaws leaving access to the adjustment screw.

  • With a properly sized screwdriver, usually, a flat blade, tighten the screw until it's seated for the proper cutting action.

WARNING: Don't do this in your hand even if you think you're steady enough for that. Make sure that your flat blade screwdriver has a squared tip – if not, make sure the head of your screwdriver is square by grinding or filing it square, then make the screw adjustment.

Failure to heed this warning may result in a stripped or damaged screw head. Once that happens, the only thing left to do is to replace the tool, or at an additional cost, which may exceed the value of the instrument itself, a trained technician can drill out the screw or rivet and replace it.

Replacement can be difficult due to all the different sizes of screws and rivets on modern scissors.

EDGE Solutions:

Are your EDGES free of damage and sharp?

The only way to correct a damaged edge is a proper sharpening of the EDGE. A trained technician will first need to match precisely the angle of each blade. Each blade angle could be the same but often are slightly different. Then he or she will need to grind off the observed damage lightly. They will then reassemble the blades, recheck the tension and possibly bend them back into alignment.


Are your blades bent or out of ALIGNMENT?

Check the blades for straightness; it could be that after trying to open the lid on a pickle jar, that one or both blades are bent. If you tried to open a paint can, the tip might be bent just by a "hair".

  • Place each blade alternately into a vise, a short section at a time, and physically bend the scissor blade back to proper straightness.

  • This procedure works ok for thinner scissors, but for the more rugged types, a bit of physical persuasion may have to be used. Hand pliers or slip-joint pliers will help in this.

DO THIS WITH A BIT OF CAUTION ... especially with hardened steel scissors, they can snap! Stainless steel scissors can take a bit effort to bend, but they usually do allow adjustment. Don't forget to sharpen the blades.

These tips work well for poultry shears and in the workshop also: tin snips, garden secretaries (snips), hedge trimmers, tree branch trimmers, etc.

For those that have the ears to hear, let them hear, and those that have the eyes to see let them see!

"The Lord detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales."

Proverbs 20:22 (N.L.T.)

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