Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009 | Hairdressers: You can’t hide what happened to your scissors from the man in the black hat and the ponytail.
It’s his job to fix them if your toddler stuck them in an electrical outlet, or if they mysteriously ended up in your fireplace for a couple of years. He sees the bent handles after the skater punk whose hair you styled uses your shears to carve off a piece of his shoe. He reshapes them if they went through the salon’s washer and dryer.
He knows if you dropped them on the floor, or if you bent the handles, or if you used them in a pinch to snip off the top off a plastic baggie of hair dye.
And he can tell if you let anyone else besides him sharpen them.
Nick Cutter is a professional shears sharpener, working only on scissors used to cut hair. The scissors are pricey: $200 to $800 for most pairs, but the edges of the highly specialized scissors grow blunter with every head they groom. Cutter loops through the county each week, visiting as many as 10 salons in a day and sharpening whatever scissors have dulled since his last visit. He walks in, greets stylists who offer up their blunt pairs, and totes them to his gray Chevy Astro van parked outside. He thinks he’s sharpened more than 100,000 pairs of scissors.
“Welcome to my office,” he says one recent morning, opening the back doors of his van. Inside the cluttered space: a sharpening machine with five spinning discs that resemble miniature records and several containers and bins for screwdrivers and a handle-bending tool, and a plastic container full of clumps of hair for testing newly sharpened scissors.