Some tips for craftspeople

If you are taking up craftwork try ~ as soon as possible ~ to obtain a good pair of scissors. This is easy advice to give ~ more difficult to fulfil. If you can afford it then there are still one or two scissor-makers in Sheffield who sell top quality tools ~ Japan and Germany also have fine reputations. Expect to pay in the region of £50. That may seem a lot but good quality hardressing scissors can cost £300.

Bookbinders ~ whenever they can ~ use a sharp knife in preference to scissors. That is no reason to skimp on a decent pair of this important tool.

Mid-range scissors
Mid-range scissors ~
marked with a well worn woven name-tape ~
and toolbox markers of blue insulating tape

Next there are several very good makes selling at around £20. There are a great many ~ quite good ~ scissors for a few pounds. They avail of modern manufacturing techniques and generally are made from flat sheet. I see 'good' as using forged steel. They are more than adequate for most jobs ~ but do not be surprised if they let you down after a year or two of use.

It is also comfortable to have small and large finger holes, with tapered edges. This makes a scissor left or right handed. Some suppliers cater for both styles ~ but may be difficult to find. Sometimes the handle is offset slightly. Coth cutting is easier when the lower handle is almost touching the table top ~ the offset enables that.

My definition of 'good' may be well out of date. It includes hardened steel ~ not necessarily stainless. The blades should be thick to resist being forced apart ~ and a really good and well adjusted bolt is required for this. The best scissors have a nut and bolt ~ making for easy adjustment (although it is not to be tackled lightly). Next best are those that have a screw thread into the distant blade. These can be tightened either by screwing the thread ~ or more commonly by hammering the burred-over end. This latter is a tricky process. Make the nut or rivet too tight and the scissors will not open or close. Too loose and the blades flop around.

Mass produced scissors have a substantial rivet which is 'just right' as it leaves the factory but not much good after a fair bit of wear ~ time to buy another pair ~ grrr!

Adjustable screw on scissors=
Adjustable screw on scissors

Hammered down scissor screw thread
Hammered down scissor screw thread

Sometimes better quality ~ larger ~ scissors are called shears. That word has several other meanings.

Whilst buying from Amazon or ebay is reliable and sensible for many things ~ I would suggest paging down the on-line lists to find the specialist suppliers. There are occasional 'bargains' which have a reason for being cheap.

If you want to cut boards then it is bestto invest in a board-cutting pair of scissors ~ or shears. They are made. They are more chunky in all respects to cope with the extra strains. Even good scissors will deteriorate if strained too much on resilient materials.

I am not sure about modern alloys ~ as an 'oldie' I remain suspicious of anything ~ such as widely advertised stainless steel or titanium. I am sure that properly empered forged steel remains best buy. Such scissors are often chrome plated, but the cutting edge is stilllikely to rust and needs to be wiped and kept clean and dry.

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