Scissor Science 101



Scissors have been around since before the Roman Empire, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new about them, nor that it’s always an easy purchase. I figure we’ve sold about ten million in our thirty years in business. Well, frankly, I pulled that number straight out of my imagination. I have not a clue how many we’ve sold, but it’s a lot and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. So here are few things about scissors it might benefit you to know:

1. Bent trimmers are for cutting on flat surfaces; straight trimmers are for cutting up in the air. For example, if you’ve got your fabric laid out on a table top, you’ll want bent trimmers (as pictured above) because the handles are angled up from cutting plane so that your lower blade is riding flat on the table as you cut. On the other hand, if you’re doing something like trimming around the edges of an assembled product, straight trimmers will feel less awkward as you round the corners.

2. Scissors don’t hold an edge as well as they used to. This is increasingly true. The steel in scissor blades is hardened only on the cutting edge, as shallow as the manufacturers can get away with, to reduce costs. So if you sharpen your scissors very much you wear away the hard steel and get into the soft steel, and you’ll notice then that they go dull very quickly. In the old days, the steel on good scissors was hardened well into the blade allowing for many sharpenings. No more.

3. Scissors grow legs when they are free. Many shops solve this problem by buying their employees one pair of scissors and if that disappears, the employee is responsible for the replacement pair.

4. Spend money if buying scissors for yourself; save money if buying for others. If using scissors is an important part of your job, an expensive investment in a quality scissor like Kai or specially hardened Kevlar-capable scissors, as some that Clauss and Heritage produce in particular, is well worth it, as you are sure to keep up with them and take care of them. But if you are buying lots of scissors for other folks, it might make much more sense to purchase stainless steel scissors with plastic handles at half or less the cost of solid steel as long as the lightweights are up to the particular job.

5. Knife edge is nice but not always necessary or even desirable. Knife edge scissors have the upper blade sharpened to a more acute angle than the lower blade. This is why you can just cock some scissors partially open and zip through a layer of fabric without closing and opening the blades. But that sharper blade dulls more quickly than a standard blade because there’s less steel at the edge.

6. You will work best when you have scissors that you like. They should both cut well and be comfortable in your hand. There are scissors that allow all five fingers in the handle which can be a great help on tough jobs, scissors with spring assisted opening which can make a great difference in repetitive jobs, scissors with fine points for fine work like embroidery or dull points for carrying in your pocket. Some true left-hand scissors are still available, but only in 8” or 10” models (scissor size is always the overall measurement including handles). A spongy comfort handle is available for some models.   If you’re not sure what scissor is right for you, shoot us an email describing your job or send a picture of one you need to replace and we’ll be glad to give you our best advice.

Click for: ClaussEmeryFiskarsGingherHeritageKaiKretzerMundialWiss

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