A Sharp blade was born in September 2014.
I hopped on a plane from Melbourne to LA and then a connecting flight to the city of San Luis Obispo. San luis Obispo is the home of Jason Pintel who owns the Sungold Group.
Jason Pintel is one of the grandfathers of sharpening in America. Jason is a hair stylist and became interested in sharpening when he could not find a sharpener to sharpen his scissors without ruining them. He sourced videos (VHS) and the basic sharpening units from Japan then built his own, better more powerful units.
Jason’s sharpening shop is full of many different units he has bought and built over the years.
I did four days of intensive training with Jason. Two days on scissors; stationery, grooming and salon scissors. I also took my curved garden/hedge shears and secateurs to sharpen and practice on. I inherited both my garden/hedge shears from my grandmother and I thought I was the only person who had them. I can not tell you just how many garden shears or hedge shears I have sharpened since 2014. I am far from the last person to own such manual gardening items.
I also took my secateurs. Secateurs need to be deconstructed to be able to sharpen the blade. I am very happy that I took a pair with me to train on as I have done many secateurs, both regular size and long handled secateurs.
I also took my grandfathers large shears to sharpen as I had tried to get them sharpened, but they were not done very well. The same sharpener had done my small fabric scissors and had left them with a very pointy and rough tip. During my training I was able to sharpen them correctly and I learnt how to smooth the tip so it was not rough and pointy.
I also have the last hand made genuine Japanese hand sharpening unit. This unit uses a stone and a clamp to hold the scissors at the correct angle. With this system you can you any git whetstone you need. If there is damage to scissors a coarse whetstone can be used. Then progress to finer and finer grit stones. The burr is pulled up on the stone and cut off on a wet 1 ply piece of toilet paper.
Knife day was fantastic. I love using all the different machines that Jason had in his shop to sharpen knives.
I ended up buying his sons second hand 1” belt machine. I love it. Knives with significant damage can have the chips removed on a 100 grit or 120 grit ceramic belt then I refine the edge by progressing to finer and finer belts, 180, 240, 400, 600 and then pull the burr off with a leather belt and polishing compound. I love sharpening knives.
Clipper blade training was by far the hardest day. Jason dislikes the mess that sharpening clipper blades makes so at the time he had Bill Rice of MD Sharp come in to train me.
My training was on A5 Animal Clipper blades. These are the most common among professional groomers, however there is a vast variety of different brands and styles that need a different taper on the sharpening wheel.
Animal clipper blades need to be pulled apart and the comb and cutter placed on a magnet to hold while a new surface is cut on the wheel. After sharpening the blade parts need to be dusted as the grit on the wheel sticks to the cutter and combs. Then they need to be wiped down with a Shop Cloth. The next vital step is to demagnetise the blades BEFORE they are reassembled. Placing a piece of metal on a spinning surface will cause the metal to become magnetized and the blades will want to stick together due to the magnetic force, when they should be gliding over each other. Demagnetizing is also vital so that the microscopic metal “fines” that stick up, due to the magnetic force, will lay flat. Sharpeners that do not demagnetize will cause the blade to dull early as the metal fines will be biting into the blade.
The Lugs on the socket component need to be re-tensioned, so that the blade will not wobble when on the hand unit.
The clipper blades need to be oiled and reassembled. Once reassembled the socket needs to be re-tensioned to the comb of the blade.
Once all this is complete the blade needs to be tested on test string and fake fur.
As I mentioned at the start this was an amazing amount of information to absorb in just one day.
Jason Pintel still works as a stylist Wednesday to Saturday and teaches from his shop.