how to sharpen pinking shears

How To Sharpen Pinking Shears

It becomes more complicated to sharpen pinking shears. At first, you might be intimidated by their sharp interlocking teeth. However, you have no choice since your clothes need a crafting touch. You can easily sharpen them without it being a mountainous task. A lot of ease can be found in doing it.

The first thing you need to consider is the tools you will use. You must have the right tools in order to do such a job. When you buy them, the manufacturer will most likely guide you through the process. Alternatively, you can read the manuals if they are provided. Sharpening will take place anyway in either case.

How do You Sharpen Pinking Shears

sharpen pinking shears foil

In this article, we will focus on three methods to follow to sharpen the shears. These methods that we are outlining are easy to follow. They will make your sharpening journey interesting.

Use a Sharpening Wheel

pedal sharpening wheel

When you decide to use the sharpening wheel, follow the below steps

Look for the lap line

If you are familiar with pinking shears, you are aware of where the lap line is located. If you don’t know what that is, it is a metal with a dark color, and it is the one on the cutting surface of the pinking shears. Most shears have labeled it, so you will easily identify it. Again, this is what is sharpened on the pinking shears. If your shears don’t have it then, there is nothing to sharpen. So when you pick your pinking shears and ready to sharpen it, locate it first.

Now, as rules thump never sharpen between each “teeth” on the blade. That will immediately destroy the shears, and it will lose its cutting capability. Focus on sharpening along the flat edge of the teeth on the cutting surface. Start sharpening from the peak at the top all the way to the valley at the bottom.

Set the angle of the clamp

Before setting the clamp, you should be aware of your pinking shears degree. In most cases, the pinking shears have 0-5 degrees. There are others with a negative angle though it is not common. So for you to sharpen your shears, you will need to set the clamp at the right angle. The setting will need you to do a manual test to see where it sits properly.

Once you set the shears, secure them in the clamp. The blade’s flat side must be perpendicular to the sharpening wheel so that you can achieve good results.

Do a test

Taking a scratch test is important. In this case, you will have to use a permanent marker to blacken the shears’ flat side. The purpose of blackening will come in handy when you start sharpening because it will give you a clear picture of whether the blade is being sharpened or not.

To check if the clamp angle is set properly, you have to rotate the sharpening wheel. Use your hands to do and avoid turning it on at this stage. Once you see the black places you marked, start to wear out know that you are doing the right thing. Make the necessary adjustment well before you start the sharpening process.

It’s time for grinding the black off

The step of grinding off the black is the one to show us whether our sharpening skills are at par. Now that we have set the clamp well and it is in the right place, it’s time to turn on the machine. After the machine is on, you can do some passes with the blade. Maybe you can choose to do four or more, then turn it off and check whether the grinding is going on well. If you notice the blacking is going away, then know you are on the right path. Continue doing the passes here and there, and make sure you adjust it if necessary.

It’s time now to sharpen. Move your pinking shears across the wheel, and it should be done in one direction. At this time, make sure you are pressing hard putting some pressure. When you are done with the first blade, repeat the procedure on the second blade. Make sure your hands and clothes are not near the sharpening wheel. Protect them from the cuts.

Time to test our shears

Now we are through sharpening, and we want to see whether we did a good job. Using your cloth cut it through and see how the blade behaves.

If the teeth are properly sharpened, this should be evident in how they behave. We have done a perfect job if they pass through each other without getting stuck.

If it does not cut well, check that the shears have been well oiled.

Alternatively, you can check whether there is a problem with the sharpening wheel. In case you notice any problem, then you can act appropriately. Otherwise, if you followed the steps to the letter, the shears must cut without any problems.

Sharpen Pinking Shears Aluminum Foil

sharpen pinking shears aluminum foil

This method is going to save the day if you need to sharpen them urgently. You know, at times, you are in the middle of the job, and out of nowhere, your pinking shears decided to misbehave. What you need to do next is to think quickly to save time. So we are going to teach you how to sharpen with aluminum through these easy steps.


  • The pinking shears
  • Aluminum foil
  • A cloth to use while testing
  • Thread snip

Steps to follow:

  • Aluminum foil
  • The first step is to cut the foil. Take a piece of foil and, using your thread, snip cut the size you need. Ensure you cut the foil from top to bottom so that when you are cutting the foil, it can properly cover the blade’s teeth.
  • Next, fold the foil paper. You can fold once or twice to attain a good grasping feel. Avoid folding a big fold as this can destroy your pinking shears.
  • Cut the aluminum foil using your pinking shears. Repeat that a few times to properly sharpen your shears.
  • The last step is to test with the fabric. If your shears were not very blunt, then this method should work. Now it’s time to celebrate and use your shears.

Sharpen Shears with Sandpaper

You can also use a fine sand paper to sharpen your pinking shears. Follow these steps


  • Sand paper
  • Pinking shears
  • A cloth for testing

Steps to Follow:

  • The sandpaper must have grained surfaces on both sides. To make sure that is achieved, fold it in the middle.
  • Cut the sandpaper using the pinking shears ensuring that the teeth are all covered. Always avoid overdoing it to prevent the shear’s teeth from spoiling.
  • You can take a piece of cloth and test whether the shears have been sharpened properly.

Sharpening Shears Use Hand

I know this sounds unbelievable but you can sharpen your pinking shears using a whetstone by hands. Though it might not give you a thorough finish, still it works.

Requirements you need for this technique to work;

  • Of course a whetstone
  • You will need a screw-driver
  • A damp paper towel
  • Your pinking shears

Follow these steps:

  • First of all, take your stone and soak it in water. The process should go on until you see bubbles coming out. That is to make the stone somehow soft.
  • Taking your screwdriver and disintegrate your shears. The reason for doing this is to allow you to sharpen the blades one at a time.
  • On a coarse surface, place your blade. The cuttings should face downwards.
  • The next step is to pass your blade. Pass it on the surface of the blade a few times. Target around 20 times, but you can do less. Ensure you apply some water when necessary.
  • Complete the process of sharpening on the finer surface. Pass the blade on it around four times.
  • Next, clean your blade with a towel.
  • Lastly, take the other blade and follow the above steps to sharpen.
  • Take the piece of cloth and test your blade. It should be sharp, I presume.

The method is usually used to sharpen knives or scissors. It doesn’t cost you anything to try your pinking shears. This method works perfectly well if done correctly.

Final Thoughts

We have taken the time to highlight different methods and steps you can follow to sharpen your pinking shears. As you follow those guidelines, keep in mind that these shears are essential in the sewing industry. It is a bit pricey too, so you need to take care of them well. The above methods will help you sharpen without much struggle. But if you feel that you need extra services, you can always look for a professional to help. But for now, you can pick the best method you feel is good and try. All in all, learn some ways to maintain your shears. They will give you longer service.

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