Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Pinking Shears

Wonderful creatures aren't they? So much fun to sharpen! I just got off the phone with a nice fellow that had a run in with one of these little buggers, but you can add the fact that they were left-handed to the mix.

Needless to say, my caller was frustrated! He did everything right, sharpened them well, but when he was done they wouldn't cut for his customer. Can you guess why? Before I explain why they wouldn't cut, let me first tell you a few things about Pinkers you'll want to remember.

Points About Pinking Shears

1. They have a 25% failure rate brand new. This doesn't mean that 25% of them get out into the market place, but there are a number of them out there.
2. If they don't have a lap-line or someone has sharpened past the lap-line, they will not cut! (Click here and scroll to Page 15 for more info)
3. If they have poor tooth contact because the pivot hole was not drilled properly, they will never cut.

Why the Left-Handed Pinker wouldn't Cut

Now remember, everything was done correctly while sharpening the shear, so the edge was fine; but they still wouldn't cut. Have you figured out why yet? The customer was used to cutting with right-handed shears! When a lefty cuts with right-handed shears, they have to pull with their thumb to get the blades to make positive contact. If they do that with a true left-handed shear, it will cause the blades to spread apart and the shear won't cut. The shears belonged to the customers mother, so she wasn't used to cutting with them and was pulling with her thumb. Once the sharpener showed her what was happening, the shear cut fine. (This is true with ANY left-hand shear)

The Simple Solution

Always look for the simple solution first! Sometimes it's not your edge!

One More Tip

To sharpen the Left-Handed Pinker, the sharpener switched his wheels on the Twice as Sharp. This is the easiest way to sharpen left-handed shears.



  1. yay! thanks for explaining this- i always just assumed it had something to do with the direction the blades face and that it truly didn't matter much except for the habit of looking over one hand versus the other, but this makes way more sense. (d'oh =)

  2. So they do exist....I have been looking for a pair of left-handed pinking shears and can't find any. Do you have any suggestions for sources?