Seeking the Right Sharpener

Making investments in your tools requires maintenance through regular sharpening. In Shear Sharpening 101 we went over shears and their geometries and how to tell if a sharpener did the right or wrong how do we make sure our sharpener knows what they are doing?


We at Phantom Edge like to use a simple rule. 1+1=2. The more questions you ask, the harder it is to get lost in the numbers and addition of honesty. If you ever feel like 1+1= something else, walk away. Your shears are too valuable to be ruined.

The questions you ask, and the detailed answers you get help keep the numbers in order, and in check. Some questions you might ask are:

1. Can I see Photographs of your work? As stylists, barbers, groomers, we always photograph our work. It is our way of letting prospective clients "I know what I'm doing, you can trust me". Sharpeners who are highly qualified may not take photos, but without evidence of the work they do, how can we be sure? The photos being taken should show, in high detail, the edges and ride lines of the shear. Were not here for an art show, were here to see, in high detail, the work a sharpener does.

2. May I have a list of references? Just because the sharpener has references doesn't guarantee He or She does great work. It is, however, a great way to take their temperature. If they can only provide 1 or 2 references for your area, or have a handful, perhaps they don't work for as many places they claim. BE SURE to follow up on those references. Often times we see sharpeners use the names of salons they haven't sharpened for in the past few years. If they make claims of working with a company, call that company and verify.


If you have asked the questions, seen photos, followed up with references, take HIGHLY DETAILED photos of your shears so you can see 100% without question the geometry of the face of your shear and its ride lines.

ONLY HAND the sharpener one shear, and let them do that one. Immediately compare the sharpened shear to the photos you took. ANY CHANGES? A good sharpening should look like a brand new shear, and you should never see any signs it was sharpened. Please, don't let the salon or shop sharpen up until your dummy shear is done. The minute you get it back, and the shear has been altered, let everyone know. The worst thing any professional can do is knowingly allow their co-workers to have their equipment ruined when they know full well that their test shear was not done properly.


1. A warranty on the work. Typically this is 7 days from the date of sharpening, they will come back and repair or replace the shear if the sharpening was found to be faulty or you were unsatisfied with the result. Remember, however, that within that first week, a shear might become loose and need to be tightened. Tension adjustments and cleaning your shear DAILY helps mitigate 90% of cut problems.

2. They will replace your shear with exactly the same model if it breaks, gets damaged during sharpening. They should really be insured for "Care and Custody" which means anything they receive is covered under their business owners policy.

3. If your pristine convex shear comes back burnt, beveled, missing ride lines, they should immediately upon being questioned ask to replace your shear. If your Phantom Edge Shadow is beveled by an incompetent sharpener, you are entitled to a new one...ON THE SHARPENERS DIME! It is NEVER your responsibility to make up for someone else's incompetency.