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How do you know when your shears need replacing?

How do you I know when my shears need to be replaced with a new pair?  This is a question I am often asked.  The short answer is when sharp shears are folding, instead of cutting hair, and tightening the shears does not help.

While hair cutting professionals get attached to shears they have used for many years and many cuts, the time does come when they may need to be replaced.   Unavoidably, each sharpening does remove a bit of the blade to bring up a new edge.  Skilled sharpeners remove just enough to re-establish a factory edge and in their hands shears can be sharpened indefinitely over many years.  

Inexperienced, unskilled, and poorly equipped sharpeners, however, can take years off a shear’s life in a single sharpening.

A sign that it is time to replace your shears is when they do not hold their adjustment setting and continually loosen to the point that they begin to fold hair, no matter how sharp they are.  To cut hair smoothly, shears must be both sharp AND properly adjusted.    Compounds, such as Loctite, can help to hold the setting of worn screws and resist loosening.  This can temporarily alleviate this problem.

Along the same lines, shears can reached a point that even when they are tightened to a point of uncomfortable resistance, the blades still are not engaging to the tip and still fold hair.   This happens when the curvature of the blade, that acts as a spring force to keep the blades engaged throughout the full cutting motion has been lost.  This curvature of the flat of the blade is call the “set”.   Inducing the “set” of the blade is  a critical part of the forging and crafting of the blades in the manufacturing process for precision haircutting shears.  It is most certainly a hit or miss technique when a sharpener tries to re-bend the blades to re-establish the "set" of the blade.  This can also lead to a broken blade.

Shear can lose their “set” from being dropped too many time or as the blade becomes smaller and smaller over the years from repeated sharpening.   Very short shears are more susceptible.

If you find your shears are difficult to keep properly adjusted or newly sharpened shears from a trusted sharpener continue to fold, instead of cut hair,  you need a new, beautiful pair of Lucky Hare Shears.

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