When you pick up your first pair of shears there are a few thoughts that run through your mind. You begin to realize how amazing they feel in your hand, how smooth the blades move and how effortlessly those babies can cut – and most likely you’ve knicked your finger by now. Once you’ve chosen your beloved pair you hurriedly run home and find the first person or thing with hair that you can cut! This shiny new toy is a dynamic tool that will enhance your skill and hone your career. While your biggest concern will most likely be to avoid dropping them – because of the irreparable damage that can occur from the slightest fall – your second concern should be regarding your shear tension.
It becomes a habit to simply pick up your shears each day and begin working, but getting in the habit of adjusting your tension is key! “In order to ensure that your shears are performing at their best, you really should do two things every day – clean them and adjust the tension,” says Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa. Watch as he explains how to properly set perfectly even shear tension:
Shear tension not only affects the hair cut you will create, but it can also have a lasting effect on your hands and the stress a repeated motion causes. Having the proper shear tension is essential for operating shears, and with today’s blade designs, a little more tension is better than too loose. Setting tension too low can cause hair to fold or push out of the shear while setting it too high can shorten the life of the edge. Plus, extra pressure is needed to open and close the shear, which contributes to repetitive stress injuries. Perfect tension prevents folding and pushing, so opening and closing shears are easier.
Setting Shear Tension
Make sure to clean and lubricate shears. With shears fairly loose, (one or two clicks of tension screw back) hold thumb grip and take the finger portion about 45° up to where blades connect. Then, drop the finger side, if it goes down it’s too loose and turn the adjuster to the right one click to tighten. Repeat this exercise until the open finger section is dropped and doesn’t move. That a perfect tension.
If you haven’t paid any attention to your shear tension lately, the undue stress could have impacted the shape of your shears. “The tension should be perfectly even from the pivot to tips if you can’t achieve that with adjustments, it could be that you’ve been working with improper tension for too long and your shears need to be professionally serviced,” explains Carruthers. Having your shears professionally services is something you should also keep in mind. Just like having regular checkups at the doctor, you’ll want to have regular check-ups for your shears. If your book consists of mainly cutting, you’ll want to get in the habit of getting them looked at more consistently. An adjustment a day keeps the service away – so be sure to check your shears often and get them looked at when necessary!
Not sure where to send your shears? The Sam Villa brand recommends Precision Edge/1-800-729-3343 for servicing.