Why it’s important to buy the right scissor
When you get the calling to become a dog groomer, one of the most important pieces of equipment you will use are scissors. Grooming scissors are very important and can be additive, ask any Master Groomer to show you their collection!
With scissor purchasing along comes a mind daunting offering which can be very difficult for a newbie to understand. In this article, we try to make scissor information easy to follow with valued advice for when you go buying.
All grooming scissors are made with Stainless Steel that is manufactured in either Japan, Germany, China, India or Pakistan. The steel made in Japan is regarded as the best scissor steel in the world. German steel is very hard steel, usually too hard to sharpen to a razor edge, but Pakistani and Indian steels are the poorest quality and do not sharpen to hold an edge well.
The most important thing that you should look for in a scissor after you have established what quality of scissor you wish to purchase, is how it feels, not just in your hand, but how it feels to your whole body. The wrong scissor can contribute to carpal Tunnel syndrome, Tendonitis, Bursitis, rotator cup, another hand arm, shoulder, neck and back problems. The right scissor can prevent these problems. The factors that will make it a good scissor are: weight, length, balance, and handle configuration.
Some groomers like a heavy scissor, but most prefer a lighter one. Be aware of your preference and make sure that the weight of the scissor is comfortable and that you have a feeling of control all the way to the tip of the blade. Handle configuration is one of the biggest considerations when choosing a new scissor. Opposing or straight handles scissors put the most strain on the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck and back. Odd set and craned handle scissors put less strain on the body and are usually a better choice.
When trying, a scissor make sure your thumb and finger do not slide through the finger holes. Finger inserts/rings are plastic rings you put inside your scissor finger holes to reduce the size of the finger hole. Use finger inserts so that your scissor will fit your fingers and thumb properly. The holes on a scissor handle should not be sloppy and should not go past your knuckle, especially on your thumb. A poor fit will put more strain on your hand and dull your scissors quickly.
What size scissor should you use?
the fully equipped professional groomer should have a tool box with several sizes of scissor. The reason for using longer scissors is to take off more coat per cut. This increases efficiency and can also help achieve a smooth finish. There is also something to be said for smaller scissors, 5.5” to 6.5”. They allow for good control, and will work smaller areas with the least amount of stress to your hands.
Most groomers choose to work with a 7.5” to 8/5” scissor which is classed as a finishing scissor. If you are not comfortable making big cuts, then don’t buy big scissors yet. If your technique is still at the snipping stage, and you are mostly cutting with the top 1/3 of your blades, we would advise you to get a smaller scissor and practice using more of the blade.
Your scissoring style as well as what kind of work you are doing should be factors in your choice. Are you doing lots of mixed breed clip downs with cute faces? A Pink Grapefruit 9” Chunker is lightweight and comfortable for removing weight and finishing a shape. Don’t be alarmed about the length, it’s a great work horse!
Curved or straight blades?
Although you can do everything with a straight scissor, curved blades can help with topknots, faces, ears, and feet. Turned upside down, they can also help you set angulation. The Pink Grapefruit 6.5” curved scissor makes defining Schnauzer eyebrows a breeze. Every groomer should have a pair of curved scissors.
What about thinning scissors?
Let’s clarify the terms. Thinning shears are scissors with two blades with notched teeth. They are good for bulk thinning such as Cocker coats. The scissors that have one straight edged blade and one blade with teeth are “blenders”. Uses for blenders include finishing teddy bear faces on Lhasa or Shih Tzu types so as to not look choppy and shaping around chest and necks. Basically, blenders are great for any work where you want a softer definition. Thinning/blending shears can save time and produce more uniform results when softening lines and corners, feathering, thinning bulk or adding volume. Thinning scissors come in many styles. The finer the teeth on the scissor, the softer the dog’s coat will look. The more teeth, thee more hair is removed, but they do it without leaving cut marks – the blending is better. 46 tooth scissors cut your grooming time. The less teeth, the less hair is removed, but they can leave more marks.
Convex edge or bevel edge?
Japanese or German? Which type of scissor is best?
Perhaps the biggest decision you have to make in purchasing is whether to get a Japanese style convex edge, or the German type, bevel edge. Convex edges are hollow ground to an extremely sharp edge, giving a very quick and smooth action, sometimes referred to as “butter cut”. Bevel edges are often serrated on one blade which gives a better positive firm, or crisp cut. It goes back to what we said in the beginning, scissors are very personal and addictive!
One you have chosen your starting collection of scissors you now need to use the right product and services to support your investment for longevity and efficiency when scissoring.
Scissors must be cleaned and oiled daily. Even coats have been dried, hair will still hold moisture, which in turn will work onto your scissor blades and the centre screw that holds the scissor together. When you have finished scissoring, spray the blades with Blades Ice Care Spray for sanitizing and helping to prevent contamination. Wipe dry and then use the Blades Easi Oil Spray onto the centre screw. Open and close a few times, wipe off the excess and then store in its holster.
Convex edges need to be oiled more frequently than bevelled edges. Never use blade oil on a scissor, it will stiffen over time and cause the washer to split.
As with every good scissor you will need a good sharpening company to keep your scissors sharp. At Blades Services we use a Japanese water stone to provide a polished surface without taking too much steel off. Sending your scissors to an inexperienced company can result in your scissors being ruined!!
Follow us on Facebook @bladesservicesltd Twitter @blades_services