How to Sharpen Scissors

When your old scissors get dull, you don't have to replace them. Simply sharpen them at home.

There are different ways to sharpen different types of scissors.


  • To sharpen plain, household scissors that are very dull, start by using the coarse side of a bench stone. Simply open the scissors and place the edge to be sharpened on the stone. Pull the blade toward you from one end of the stone to the other while maintaining contact with the stone. After doing this a few times, repeat the process with the fine side of the stone or with sandpaper.
  • To sharpen scissors with curved blades, follow the procedure above, rocking the blade so it maintains contact with the stone.
  • If the scissors have very long blades or you're using a very short stone, you'll need to sharpen the blades in parts.
  • To sharpen pruning shears, it's necessary to first take them apart. This is because pruning shears have four surfaces to sharpen. Place the part to be sharpened on a flat work area, and sharpen all the surfaces with a coarse stone, sandpaper or a coarse emery cloth. You'll know you're done when all the surfaces are uniformly sharp.

When sharpening scissors, it's important to start with a coarse material and then progress to finer materials, until you've achieved the sharpness desired [source: Larson].

If all this sounds too complicated, you can purchase a hand-held scissors sharpener. Simply insert the scissors in the sharpener's slots and pull the blades through. The sharpener automatically adjusts the angle as you push and pull your scissors through the slots [source: thefamilyhandyman].