Know Your Blades: The Secret To Scissoring Success

Do you know the difference between a convex and a serrated blade? Do you what each of them is for? Do you know why a convex blade gives a smoother coat finish? All your questions, answered here!

Serrated Scissors

Most beginner scissors carry a serrated blade. You’ll find them on brands such as Roseline and Fisher, and they’re brilliant for grooming students and for rough cutting a coat.

Serrated scissors actually have a bevelled edge, the type you will see on most paper scissors which generally has an edge cut into the blade. The main difference between a simple bevel and a serration are the tiny grooves that run down the length of one or both of the blades. This is designed for hairdressers and groomers to help keep strands of hair in place while scissoring. That’s why so many of the scissors you start with hold this edge – because it’s easier to use, pure and simple. The up side of this is that as well as being easy to use, they are more often than not, cheaper to produce as well, so it makes for a great starter scissor.

Serrated scissors can therefore be used for most grooming work, but are best suited to rough cutting the coat before the use of a finishing scissor. One of the few issues with using this scissor, especially for finishing work, is that you may not end up with perfectly clean lines.  This is because while the blade holds the hair in position, it can also pull the hair or trap it, making the line slightly choppy.

The serrated blade has tiny notches to hold hair in place while cutting

 

Convex Scissors

For quality finishing scissors, we recommend you invest in a pair with a convex blade. You will find this type of blade on Kanpeki, Sensei, Aesculap and some Razorline scissors. This blade type is designed for extremely smooth scissoring and consists of a blade with a fine arch that ends in a highly tapered point. This makes the blade edge extremely small, allowing for less friction between blades for an exceptionally smooth cutting experience, designed for that crisp scissoring finish every groomer searches for.

The secret to sharp scissors is minimum resistance against the blades while they are in use, and with the convex blade, that’s exactly what you get. The extremely sharp and low-resistance cutting edge means that the convex blade can give a better finish in terms of being crisper than the bevel edge. The blade also allows for a faster scissoring technique, helping you to cut down your grooming times in general.

Some convex scissors, such as the Kanpeki range, are also hollow ground; this is where the underside edge of the blade is also made convex, making that edge even finer and sharper.

The convex blade features an arching blade that finishes in a fine point, making for a very sharp scissor

 

Some groomers, especially those that are used to using the serrated edge scissor can find the convex edge difficult to master at first, as it does need a fast scissoring technique to cut correctly. Some groomers may even find they need to alter their technique to get the best results. However, with practise and patience, the technique and the superior finish these scissors can give you is definitely within reach.

Of course, it’s not just the blade that you need to look out for when choosing a new set of scissors. The success of your scissoring and the scissor its-self also relies on your technique and the correct scissor tension.

Scissor Tension

 

Tensioners make blades work together to cut hair, and it’s important that your tension is adjusted to the correct level. Too loose and the scissors simply won’t cut and will fold the hair instead, too tight and you may be in danger of damaging your blade edge. Tensioners come in various forms, from an easy to use tension knut to a simple screw, to a ball bearing tensioner that will offer a smoother cut.

As we’ve said before, to get the best finish, you want the smoothest possible motion to your scissors can cut cleanly. Ball bearing tensioners can help with this, as they ease friction between the blades. To get the most out of your scissor and the smoothest motion, ensure the tension is set so that when you hold the scissor point-up and open it wide, the free blade will drop to about a 30 degree angle. Too tight and it will stop sooner, too loose and it will close entirely or even start to cross over the opposing blade.

Caption: When tensioning a scissor, ensure that the free blade drops to a 30 degree angle from the upright blade

Scissor Handles

The handle is also another important factor. Choosing a handle that works with your hand can actually improve your technique, as a more comfortable handle means a better range of movement for you. This means you can scissor faster and more assuredly.

Handles can be described as either symmetric or offset. Symmetric simply means that the finger and thumb hole are opposing each other, while the offset handle has a lower thumb hole than the finger hole. Of these, the offset handle type allows for a comfortable hand and arm position as your thumb sits at a more natural angle.

This natural position is the key to reducing hand and wrist fatigue, and there are more specialised offset handles designed to allow the most natural grip. Some scissors are slightly curved and shaped around the hand which allows for a greater amount of hand contact with the scissor. This helps give a superior control for confident and efficient scissoring movements. Some scissors will feature a thumb that comes slightly outward or a rotating thumb, both of which are very useful if you don’t feel you have enough thumb support with other scissors. Once again, this helps to achieve that fast, flowing scissoring technique vital to a smooth finish.

Finding The Right Scissors For You

Every groomer is different, so we recommend finding a style of scissor that works for you and your scissoring technique. Not everyone will feel comfortable with a convex blade, some may find a protruding tension knut gets in the way of their hands, and others may find a moving thumb hole disconcerting. The best advice we can give is to make sure your hand feels comfortable when you hold the scissors, and to try them out, because some scissors could surprise you!

If you would like a pair of convex blade scissors with a comfortable handle and a smooth cutting motion, look no further than Kanpeki.

Available from Groomers at www.groomers-online.com.

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