Our Vaggelli 54" board shear

Our lab has two board shears: a green beast of a Vaggelli,  and a smaller Jacques.  Everyone in the lab has his or her own personal favorite of the two.  While the Jacques charms me with its vintage style, I prefer the superior functionality of the green beast for actual cutting.  The Vaggelli has a longer cutting blade (54″), a wider bed area (48″), an Imperial and metric built-in ruler, and an adjustable, lockable guard that is easy to use and also easy to remove entirely when warranted.  The Jacques has a 40″ blade, a 26″ wide bed, an Imperial-only ruler, and its guard is fussy at best.  But did I mention how charming it is?  Using it feels like going back in time.

Our Jacques & Sons 40" board shear

No one around here could remember the last time the Vaggelli had its blades sharpened, and no records on the matter predate the current staff.  So, since the Vaggelli hasn’t been cutting particularly square lately, we decided a sharpening and fresh adjustment was in order.  We were prepared to pack up the blades and ship them off to the East Coast (at considerable expense) when we discovered that the sharpening company the HF Group uses, Jorson & Carlson, has a branch in Des Moines, a mere 45 minutes away from Ames.

Jorson & Carlson in Des Moines offers pick-up/drop-off services on Wednesdays, with a one-week turnaround for blade sharpening.  They even sent us a technician to remove the blades, and he will also reinstall and adjust them after they have been sharpened.  We experienced one small glitch: one of the screws holding on the top blade was stripped, so it took some assistance from FPM before we were finally able to free the blade.  We packed the blades with foam in a specially-built crate for a safe journey to Des Moines.

Board shear blades packed into a travel crate

According to Jorson & Carlson, board shears need sharpening only about every 20 years with normal use, so it looks like we’ll be all set until 2032!