There are two types of steel most hairstyling scissors are made from: cast steel and forged steel.
Cast steel is liquid metal poured into a mold and then ground into shape. Many “Japanese steel” scissors are cast.
Forged steel is made by heating and hammering rolled steel into shape. It is then ground into the final finish.
But what else makes these steels so different? Read on to learn more.
Under a microscope, forged steel molecules are more densely packed together. This gives forged steel tensile strength (i.e. the ability to bend). Cast scissors, however, are less densely packed and thus less flexible. If they bend, they will break into pieces.
All scissors are sharp, but some are sharper than others. In general, scissors made out of forged steel are sharper, cut smoother, and hold an edge longer than cast scissors.
One vs. two pieces
Forged scissors are usually made as two pieces with a faint weld line where the handle joins the blade. A softer steel handle is welded onto the harder forged blade so the handles can be bent into shape.
Hardness and Tempering
While the type of steel is extremely important when selecting your scissors, so too is the hardness and tempering.
The hardness of your blade can impact how well it cuts. For instance, 410ss (Rockwell 38-44), often from Pakistan, is too soft. Meanwhile, 420ss (Rockwell 48-52) is satisfactory, and many German-style scissors are made from it. 440ss (Rockwell 58-60) is also a good scissor steel that many Japanese-style scissors are made from.
Tempering is the final heating and cooling treatment that adds toughness to the steel. It must be done under strictly controlled conditions. Differences in tempering procedure effect the toughness and the feel of the steel, as you use the scissors.
At Sidney’s Expert Scissor Sharpening, I have sharpened both forged and cast steel scissors for over 30 years. To learn more about my services, contact me today.