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Selection of Sewing Shears and Scissors


Sewing shears are on the market currently costing from $1.25 to over $40.00. Obviously there are major differences. A good rule to begin with is: If it is rivetted together, It most likely is not a very good product. Good shears are ment to be serviceable and adjustable. Brand names do not mean much anymore. Even the ones with the best long standing reputation now will have a cheaper consumer line of often several models. Cost is an indicator, but not definitive. For example, among the very best, are those with a nut on the backside of a rather large pivot screw. They may say: Made in Pakistan, Brazil, or Mexico. These are sold under many store brands. In some cases you have to look at the fine print on the package to find where they were made. The ones from Pakistan have real workmanship issues so we will discount them from the begining. The ones from Brazil and Mexico are an interesting study. Both plants made identical parts of forged, chrome plated, top of the line scissors. Under the Ginger brand, they cost $10 more than under the Mundial brand by my observation. Check the warranty policy stated on the package. Both can have an interesting problem that shows up often several years down the road, especially if you live in an area near saltwater. The bright chrome finish can start to flake off, looking rather ugly. Such peeling chrome is usually caused by a microscopicly small amount of corrosion being on the material when it was chrome plated at the factory. This prevents the chrome from properly bonding to the base metal, and the chrome just bridges over the steel at the molecular level. Eventually the corrosion grows, and the chrome peels easily.

Manufacturing methods.

These shears are formed by forging and then after grinding and machining, are given the chrome plate finish. Other shears are made by just punching out the blades and putting on a plastic or nylon handle. This is the cheapest process by far, and if good steel is used and properly heattreated, a very acceptable pair of shears can by made to retail between $15 and $20. I have seen some of these last 5 years at a commercial cutting counter, where they were resharpened once a month for the five years. On the other end of the scale are those that cost $1.25 to as much as $10.00. These are rivetted together. The steel does not extend back around the handles, and the material and heattreat are rather poor. These are usually made in China.


Beauty and Barber scissors are an entirely different story and can usually be rated by price. However be aware that the mark-up in this stuff is terrific. Your supplier might be willing to make you better price than the manufacturer's suggested list.

Materials and processes vary enormously. The better stainless beauty scissors will often say "ice" or "ice hardened" meaning the heattreat was completed by dipping the part into liquid nitrogen or similiar, raising the hardness significantly. This extra processing is what makes the significant difference. For barber shears, the same may be true, but most are somewhat lesser materials and processes, hence lower price. The sharpening is quite different also. Beauty scissors are usually convex sharpened, meaning the sharpening angle is acutally three separate angles blended and polished into a radius finish. This sharpening is more expensive and is at an angle from 35 to 40 degrees at the cutting edge. Barber scissors are sharpened at a single angle that is much less.


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Walt and Eileen Galer