by David Thomas July 23, 2022
So, you have one pair of general scissors. They’re dull, loose and sitting in a drawer in the kitchen. You know the drawer – under the muffin liners, mason jar lids and that deck with only 49 cards that your partner keeps ... "just in case”.
If you open your eyes to the universe of scissors, you will quickly learn there does seem to be a pair for everything. We pulled together a list to give you a better sense. We came up with 32 different types, broken down into 10 categories.
Of course, people who rely on specialty scissors know the magic of quality. So if you’re a haircutter, or tailor, embroiderer, upholsterer or a professional chef, you already get it. If you have spent $35,000 on a pair of bonsai snips, you really get it.
Read on and you will probably find a kind you will want!
The typical design is a sidebent, in which the handles are angled to point up. That allows the scissors to rest 100% on the actual fabric and table for a precision cut. One variation is a static cut design, where the bottom blade doesn’t even move. Static cuts are now collectors’ items, and they were both expensive and very heavy, running at about 4.5 lbs or 2 kg.
One thing to keep in mind is to avoid pinking when you cut across the bias of the thread, as all the triangle shapes will be on what is called the straight-of-grain which makes fraying more likely on all edges. Pinking shears are also popular with paper, felt or other materials, adding a decorative border trim to craft projects.
4. Buttonhole Scissors: Buttonholes need to lie flat. You don’t want them to stretch or they will get loose and ripple or bunch up or even start to fray. Sewers will caution you against using a seam ripper to open up a buttonhole. The buttonhole scissor was designed with notches in the blades, to help you cut the hole but avoid cutting the edge of the fabric. Most of these scissors can also be adjusted in length so you can get the size of the hole just right
5. Upholstery Scissors: In a sense, upholstery scissors are a lot like tailor shears. After all, you’re cutting fabric and upholstery shears often have the same “sidebent” design with a tilt to the handle so that the bottom blade can rest directly on the material you are cutting.
With upholstery, you’ll also see thicker and sharper blades with maximum cutting edge hardness and durability. You will appreciate that edge when cutting through more layers, carpeting or harder materials.
After all, you couldn’t expect someone to actually touch the grapes with their fingers. Or, God forbid they get any sticky juice on their fancy white gloves. The design of these scissors became highly ornate with gold and silver plating. They are still made today but tend to be less detailed.
Alas we would be remiss if we didn’t warn you not only about the dangers of smoking. But we also need to warn about the danger of mishandling a cigar cutter. In a famous mishap in 1999 that may have led to his second retirement, basketball superstar Michael Jordan injured the index finger of his shooting hand while handling a cigar cutter.
Hardness influences how strong the blade edges will be and, therefore, how sharp they can get. Hardness will also influence how long the scissors are likely to stay sharp, as well as overall durability. More ingredients and process for the steel production adds quality and cost. The steel itself is a blend of alloys, elements and ores.
Some of the key ingredients in quality steel are carbon (which should be around 1% of the finished product); molybdenum (also for hardness as well as to resist corrosion); manganese (for durability and strength); chromium (for heat and corrosion resistance); vanadium (for strength and balance); plus cobalt and titanium (for hardness and to reduce weight).
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