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Spotting a bargain with old shears.


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#1 hutch48

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 02:13 PM

I already own a fully restored pair of Wiss #3 shears and you would describe them as "nice" but after years of using the long handle series of Heinisch and Wiss shears, they just feel a bit spindly to use. I saw this old pair (Wiss before WW1) that were a different pattern to the later ones and that are noticably chunkier in the blades and hinge going for $25.00 so I grabbed them as it appeared that no-one else was interested and they have arrived today from a vendor in New York.

 

The blades are in good enough condition not to need repairing so the main work in getting them to work well will be in cleaning up the hinge and sharpening them properly. I have the facilities and occasionally the time to properly restore this pair but the reason for posting this thread is there are a lot of handy people who are members of this forum who could get a pair like this working correctly and as I know that many of the ladies who are members have husbands or sons who have some engineering experience who could do the same.

 

While you can pay big money for "pretty" pairs of shears, a scruffy pair that are mechanically sound often go for peanuts and if you are a bit handy you can end up with a very good pair of shears for doing professional quality cutting for a lot less than buying a pretty pair for big money. You need to rat through eBay on a regular basis and while some go for a fortune, being patient and looking through the less than pretty ones works for you.

 

old_wiss3.jpg

 

 


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#2 Terri

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 08:33 PM

Thanks Hutch, is there anything you can add to this such as key points to avoid or to specifically look for when considering purchasing an older pair over the internet?
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#3 hutch48

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 02:21 AM

The things I look for with a pair of scruffy shears is how much blade is left on them and what condition the hinge is in. If the hinge is mechanically sound you can make brass shims to adjust it so you can set the tension without over tightening the hinge. There are a number of things to avoid. If they have been sharpened too many times the blade geometry is wrong and they don't work well. Never buy a pair that have hammer marks on the inner blade faces. It was a crude modification done by blacksmiths long ago to change the blade curvature that ended up making them rough to use and hard to fix. On Heinisch shears I have seen hairline cracks in the inlay from hammering which can make them unusuable.

 

If they are too rusty on the inner blade faces it takes a lot of work to repair them so while some light surface rust can be lapped out, heavy rust requires the blades to be hollow ground again which is a very specialised task. You can tolerate if they have been shortened a bit as long as its not too much. A quarter inch does not matter but much over that required the blade profiles to be changed so that the geometry is correct. When a restored pair is polished and have the handles painted they look nice but the action is in good blades and a sound hinge that can be adjusted accurately.

 

As far as sharpening them, you need someone who knows what they are doing who can take the minimum off the blades, it should be about a quarter of a millimetre to get a good cutting edge again. You can routinely sharpen them at 30 degrees which improves their tactile feedback.

 

Brand choice is a bit more complex, for a working tool, I would go after a later pair of Wiss made in the 1950s or 1960s as they have very good steel and have a later hinge design made of steel. With the older shears a pair of Wiss that have the large round lock nut are the best of their type. Heinisch shear in good condition work well but are harder to fix and/or maintain and this is in part because they are over 100 years old. (Wiss bought Heinisch in 1914). I own a couple of pairs of Wilkinson shears but don't like them as they feel a bit spindly after using Wiss and Heinisch but this is a matter of taste.



#4 hutch48

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 09:09 PM

Here is a pair of 14 inch Wiss shears that would come up well. They are made about 1960 and have a ton of grunt. I own a pair I bought from a collector in New York that I keep for a friend of mine who also owns a pair of the same that she bought about 35 years ago and they are a good tool for a professional cutter.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item2c9ef450e2

 

$_57.JPG



#5 hutch48

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:51 AM

Someone did OK with these, they went for $17.07 USD which is a real steal for such a good pair of shears.


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#6 amateursarto

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 11:24 PM

Any other eBay recommendations,  hutch?

Pete


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#7 hutch48

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 11:36 AM

You have to do what we all do Pete, keep track of what pops up on eBay. I do searches on 3 basic topics,

 

vtg tailors shears

vtg wiss

heinisch

 

From what I have seen they are getting harder to get and the price on any decent pair keeps going up but you get the odd exception here and there.


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