How to Adjust the Tension on Pinking Shears

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Things You'll Need

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Water-displacement spray lubricant

Unlike regular scissors, pinking shears are designed to cut fabric in a non-linear fashion to reduce potential unraveling. The zig-zag pattern they create is what allows this type of cut to prevent this. After a period of use, however, your pinking shears may not be cutting as well as they used to. While the most important part of making a good cut is keeping your shears sharp, some models also allow you to adjust the tension. Most will not, but there are a few tricks you can try to see if you can salvage them.


Step 1

Look at your pinking shears just below the handles where the two blade arms cross. They will either be connected with a screw or a rivet. If there is a screw, go to Step 2. If there is a rivet, go to Step 3.

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Step 2

Use a flat head screwdriver to turn the screw, very slightly, clockwise if you want to increase the tension and counter-clockwise if you want to decrease it. Test the pinking shears after each small movement. Go to Step 4 for additional tips on decreasing tension.

Step 3

Open the blade arms of your riveted pinking shears as wide as they can go. Put the tip of one blade on a hard surface (that you do not mind getting scratched) and gently, but firmly press down to force the blades apart. Do not bend the blade, but this, in small amounts, will release some of the tension on the blades. Likewise, you can put the tip of the blade under the edge and pull upwards to try and increase the tension.


Step 4

Spray the screw or rivet area with a spray lubricant and open and close the pinking shears several times. This can help decrease the tension by lubricating the metal where it touches.


Always check first to see if your pinking shears are sharp enough before assuming it is the tension or discarding them; cutting fabric can quickly dull a blade.


When trying to bend the shear blades, be careful that you do not put so much pressure on them that they break and strike you.


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