Which Sharpening Machines Did I Review?

We looked at the claims made by virtually all the major sharpening machine manufacturers.

We reviewed the design of each machine to verify the claims each manufacturer makes. Then we compared those claims to to the actual design features  of the scissors. remember, the three key design features of Hair Styling Scissors:

  1. Convex Edge (Producing a cleaner sharper cut and making slide cutting a breeze.)
  2. Designed Cutting Angle (For most shears it will be 40 degrees, sharper angles like a 55 degree sword edge requires a much higher quality steel usually V10 or better.)
  3. 800 mm Radius (This design feature holds the hair when closing the shear making it easier to cut since the hair doesn’t push away.)

My review process was aimed at the thought that the end customer of any sharpening technology is the hairstylist not the sharpener. Therefore the stylist is the person who must be satisfied with the end result.

The sharpening machine manufacturers often talk to their customer, the sharpener, without talking in detail about the sharpener’s customers. So, very often the benefits listed are all aimed at the sharpener.

So, whether a specific machine allows you to sharpen in one or two passes like a grinder, or allows the sharpener to move through a multi-stage machine without having to change pads is really irrelevant. The real question is, will the sharpening machine return scissors to factory new condition or is the machine capable of restoring all the design features inherent in a pair of hairdressing scissors to original factory specifications?

This review site only addresses the sharpening methods being advertised to handle hair stylists scissors, not other industrial sharpening processes.

The categories of machines reviewed are: Grinders, Flat Hone Machines, Machines making unsubstantiated claims and finally the only machine that can restore hair cutting scissors to factory new condition.

Grinders:

Bench Grinders both for home, commercial and industrial use are not precision tools. Take  a look at a recent review of bench grinders from Popular Mechanics. Click Here

Wolff Industries – Twice as Sharp: Click here for more information. and Okami Gold Sharpening System. Click Here for more information.

These are probably the best available portable grinders. But the design only allows for the sharpening of a beveled edge pair of scissors and has no provision for the cutting angle or the 800 mm Radius.

Flat Hone Machines:

Scimech Flat Hone Machine: Click Here for a description.
Take note that the description on this sales page only talks about the benefits to the sharpener not to the stylist and they only talk about the convex edge not the 800 mm radius.
Wolff Industries Hira-To Flat Hone Machine: Click here for a description.
As you read through their desription of how the machine works, one pertinent  fact appears. Their design allows the unit to be used for both left and right handed shears. However, take careful note they never mention the 800 mm radius. Although this machine can sharpen a convex edge, the design does not provide for maintaining or restoring the 800 mm radius. Therefore even if the individual blades are sharp, the scissors will push the hair when closing since the 800 mm radius will have been flattened.
Rapid Edge Multi-Head Flat Hone MachineClick here for the description.
The Rapid Edge system is designed with 5 heads so you can move from abrasive plate to abrasive plate without changing heads. Since the guide assembly is the same as the one used on the Hira To (per the information on the Wolff Hira-To site) you are able to convex the edge of the hair stylist’s scissors, but the design only works for right handed shears and again, there is no provision for the 800 mm radius. Therefore they cannot claim to maintian or restore factory specification to the shears.
Hamaguri Sharpening Systems: Click here for the description.
As with all flat hone machines reviewed to date, there is no provision made for the 800 mm radius. In addition since the machines are not reversible it is not possible to do left handed shears.
Machine Manufacturers Making Unsubstantiated Claims:

Kuda Sharpening Systems claims: Click here for more information.

Kuda’s Flat Hone system is essentially exactly like every other flat hone system except their clamp supposedly has a torsion adjustment that will follow the change in cutting angle produced by the twist put in every blade by the manufacturer. I have spoken with one of the top scissors experts in the US and he assures me that none of the scissors he designs and has manufactured have any kind of twist in the blade. He has spoken with dozens of manufacturers around the world and the twist that Kuda claims is in the blade is simply not there.

It is only the three features we talk about throughout this site that are the keys to making  Japanese Style shears, and pretty much all the hairdressing scissors, work properly.

XZACTA Scissors Sharpening Machine: Click here to view their home page.

XZACTA claims, on their home page, after unequivocally stating that there is “no such thing as a torsion edge”…

THEN BESIDES THAT, ANY FLAT HONE SHARPENING SYSTEM THAT IS NOT USING “ONLY” THE OUTSIDE EDGE OF THE PAD IS SLOWLY TO VERY QUICKLY DESTROYING YOUR SHEARS.”

This claim is not exactly true. The truth is that XZACTA’s clamp design, which holds the blade on a rather sever angle does use, only the outside edge of the pad when sharpening.  But the problem is there is nothing to control the movement of the blade through its factory designed 800 mm radius, so in effect, XZACTA’s machine, although somewhat better than a typical flat hone machine, will still change and damage the radius during sharpening. And also there is the possibility of producing a scallop effect on the blade since you have to push down with one hand while convexing with the other.

The Only Technology Capable of Matching or

Restoring Scissors to Factory New

The Diamond Rose Shears Superior Sharpening System: Click here for a description of this disruptive technology. The Superior Sharpening System is the only system capable of matching all three of the key design features found in the hair styling scissors made today. This patented technology makes the system unique among all other scissors sharpening systems.

From it’s unique clamp-guide assembly (the only clamp that rides on the patented 800 mm radius bar) through the design of its quick change pads, to the magnifying lamp and the high friction padding on the surface to protect the blades. Everything is designed to do what no other sharpening system can do. The Clamp which allows you to both set the angle of the blade and convex the edge, while riding on the patented 800 mm radius bar allows the sharpener to restore all the factory specifications on the scissors and restore them to factory new condition.

For a look at the Diamond Rose Shears Sharpening System as a business, Click Here

How do you effectively review the wide variety of scissors sharpening machines?

I have decided to start, not with the machine itself but instead with a discussion of the specific design features inherent in the scissors to be sharpened.

To look at this as an industry niche, we’ll take a look at the different kinds of scissors used in a variety of businesses.  Let’s start with a brief discussion of how scissors work. The best explanation I have seen can be found here: How Scissors Work  In this article the author discusses surgical scissors but the principles in the way all scissors work are the same.

Two blades hinged in or near the center, that force the sharp edges to grind against each other cutting through the material.

Different businesses will have uniquely designed scissors. For example fabric shears are different than tin snips. Dog Grooming Scissors are different than Office Scissors. All scissors look pretty much the same, and in reality will cut through a wide variety of materials.  But the design criteria differ widely depending on the material to be cut.

Scissors Design was pretty stagnant for the last 200 years since the early 1700s when basic design we see today was created in England. Hair Styling Scissors went through several design shifts leading up to the introduction of the German Style Shear, with its beveled edges and straight blades.

The latest design change was introduced about 40 years ago when what is called a Japanese Style Shear was introduced by Hikari.

This significant  change in design was the introduction of the  hollow ground ride area and the new convex edge. The convex edge produced a much sharper blade and enabled the stylist to slide cut. This design change meant that sharpening machines had to provide for that convex edge. No longer could a grinder be used to maintain factory specification. The solution was the introduction of the flat hone (or water hone) machine.

The latest design change in hairstyling scissors came with the introduction of the 800 mm radius. This slight curve in the blade from hilt to tip is designed to grip the hair earlier in the cutting motion and make cutting easier. Many scissors manufacturers talk about this design feature and stress how much easier it makes cutting hair.

So, the final result is the current design of the Japanese Style Hair Styling Scissor. Three main features that must be properly handled to maintain or restore the scissors to factory specification.

  1. The angle of the blade (most often 40 degrees)
  2. The Convex Edge
  3. The 800 mm Radius.

The three main types of sharpening machines available are:

  1. The Grinder: Wolff Industries Twice as Sharp
  2. The Flat Hone: A wide variety of machines are available (Scimech, Hira-to, Wolff)
  3. The Diamond Rose Superior Sharpening System

On the pages of this blog we’ll take a look at which of these machines is capable of holding all of the scissors design specifications.

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