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Scissor FAQ's

Here are the answers to the most common scissor questions we get asked all the time. If you can’t find the answer to your question or would like personal service, please call 0800 ALL GROOM (0800 255 476)  or contact us by email.  

Click the question you want to know the answer to below. 

Got a question about clippers or blades? Check our Clipper and Blade FAQ's.

Need help choosing the right dryer? View our Dryer FAQ's

Dog Grooming Scissors / Shears FAQ's

What’s the difference between the scissor brands and models?

What's a level 1, level 2 or level 3 scissor?

What length scissor should I get?

Can you order scissors in for me?

How should scissors be cared for?

What scissors are best for home use?

Why do stainless steel scissors rust or stain?

What are German Steel, Solingen Steel, Japanese 440C and Cobalt Steel?

What's the difference between a Thinner, Blender or Chunker? 

Also watch the tips for using thinning scissors video at the every end of this page below 

What is a serrated edge scissor?

What is a convex edge scissor?

What's the difference between the types of scissor handles?

What does Titanium coated mean?

What is Rockwell hardness?

Should I get curved or straight scissors?

Can I remove the finger inserts?

Why would 2 scissors described as being the same length, be different lengths when compared? 

How do I adjust the tension of my scissors? How do I know when the tension is correct?

What’s the difference between the scissor brands and models?

AllGroom has an extensive range of grooming scissors. Although some scissors in general require more skill than others (thinners for example), here’s a general guide to which brand and range is likely to suit your needs based on your level of experience: 

1. Find your level of experience:

Level 1 – Robust, durable shears suited to students, beginners, home use and professionals wanting affordable workhorse scissors that can cope with even very thick coats. Less likely to be accidentally damaged. More forgiving of knocks and for when cutting a dirty coat is unavoidable. Ideal choice for initial cut-downs. 

Level 2 – For professionals prepared to invest in their tools. For those who take grooming seriously, and for students in training. Require at least basic scissor knowledge as correct use is needed. More precise cutting edge. Proper scissor care is extra important at this level.

Level 3 – Specialists shears for professionals looking for the best. For competitions and the showring. Finer, very sharp edges, smoother cuts. You will notice the difference. Elite scissors made to high standards. They need training and specialist skills as correct use is vital. Proper scissor care is a must. 

2. Find your range:

This is a general guide for the average experience level for each range. Note: different scissors within each range do require different experience, for example: thinners, blenders and chunkers tend to require more skill / experience than straight or curved scissors:

Geib Gator – Level 1 to Level 2 

Witte Roseline – Level 1 to Level 2

Geib Kiss Blue – Level 1 to Level 2

Geib Kiss Pink – Level 1 to Level 2

Geib Kiss Rainbow – Level 1 to Level 2

Geib Entrée - Level 2

Geib Crocodile – Level 2

Geib Black Pearl – Level 2 to Level 3

Geib Scorpio – Level 2 to Level 3

Geib Blue Breeze – Level 3

Geib Katana - Level 3

Please note: this is the average for each range and by no means accurate for every scissor within each range.

When buying scissors from a new range you haven't owned before, you may notice a difference in length when comparing scissors side-by-side, even if they are described as being the same length. That's because Geib includes the finger rest in their measurements.

What length scissor should I get?

4.5" to 6" are popular for close work around the eyes and ears, trimming feet, between paw pads. Look for a saftey tip scissor for extra protection if needed, especially for wriggly pups!

6.5" to 7.5" are the most popular size for trimming a variety of breeds.

8" to 10" are popular for larger breeds and for finishing on all breeds.

Safety tip come in a range of sizes, popular for delicate areas such as paw pads, the groin and around the eyes to guard against accidental injury.

Curved blades follow the natural contours, for angulation and for rounded heads. Popular for the 'teddy bear' look. 

THINNERS

Single blade blenders (one solid blade, one notched) are popular for blending different lengths of hair together and smoothing track lines after clipping. The most popular type of thinner.

Double blade thinners (two notched blades) are preferred for thicker coats to thin the hair.

Chunkers (one blade with large notches or 'fish tail' teeth, one solid blade) for a very natural texture and subtle blending.

See more about the difference between thinners here >

Can you order scissors in for me?

Yes, if it’s a brand we stock, we can usually take indent orders for specialist scissors (usually level 3+) depending on what you’re wanting. Indent orders may take a while to arrive depending on when we are next ordering from the manufacturer. You may need to pay a deposit. To find out more, to get a quote, or estimated delivery time: contact us

How should scissors be cared for?

The majority of our scissors are level 2 and 3, so intended for trained professionals only. Scissors will last longer, and keep a sharp edge for longer, if you take the appropriate level of care. Although each of us has a preference for how to use our scissors, the essentials for scissor care do not change:

  • Separate storage: Keep your scissors in their protective case, a scissor case or holder, when not in use. Never store scissors together or touching – each must go in their own compartment. Tips and blades should be carefully protected from damage.
  • Careful handling: Take care when putting scissors down. The tips can damage easily.
  • Avoid drops: If you drop your scissors you’re best to get them checked by a professional. Even a little damage can get much worse if you keep using them without checking. A drop may mean you’ll need a service and sharpen. Do not sharpen professional scissors at home. Seek a professional sharpener, or ask other groomers for recommendations.
  • Oil & dry: Keep your scissors clean and oiled, using scissor oil (such as the Andis Clipper Blade & Scissor Oil). Always oil after cleaning and before storage. Store them somewhere dry. Even the humidity from warm air can damage them, making them rust, discolour or pit.
  • Cut clean hair: It’s best to avoid cutting dirty hair. Dust, sand or dirt can quickly blunt scissors – imagine it like cutting sandpaper – sometimes as fast as 30 to 60 minutes depending on how dirty the coat is. Always wash, completely dry and brush / comb the coat before cutting, or consider a Level 1 workhorse scissor if you want a durable pair that copes with cutting a coat before washing.
  • Do not share: Sharing is caring but not when it comes to scissors! Sharing is often regretted. Even a small change in the way someone else holds and uses your scissors can quickly shorten the scissor’s life and make them feel like they never cut the same again for you.

It’s important to note that there’s no such thing as a scissor that will NEVER need to be sharpened. All scissors must be sharpened when they get damaged, dull or are nicked.

What scissors are best for home use?

If you’re not a professional groomer, or not experienced in using professional-grade scissors, we would not recommend buying professional scissors. If you have 'pet quality' scissors but find they've become blunt, you can look for level 1 scissors which – although still favourite workhorse scissors for professional use – are more durable and forgiving for beginners, students and home users wanting a step up from ‘pet quality’ scissors. Remember to only cut a clean coat to preserve the sharp edge.

Why do stainless steel scissors rust or stain?

Stainless steel is stain resistant, not stain proof. They are not completely stain or rust proof. Stainless steel scissors must be cared for the same as any other scissor material, so should be regularly oiled and stored in a cool, dry area. See the Scissor Care instructions above for more.

What are German Steel, Solingen Steel, Japanese 440C and Cobalt Steel?

Most professional-level scissors will source their steel from Germany or Japan to reach the performance level demanded by professionals.

  • German Steel tends to be very hard and durable. All Witte Roseline scissors are made from German steel for example. German Steel is known for giving a long lasting edge, creating a very hardwearing scissor.
  • Japanese 440C Steel is a higher density steel, making for a smoother surface, giving a finer, sharper edge that re-sharpens well. It is very resistant to corrosion and has a high carbon content. The Geib range is made from Japanese 400C steel.
  • Cobalt is an alloy added to Stainless Steel that increases strength and hardness and decreases weight, resulting in a finer scissor steel. Some of the Geib range is Japanese Cobalt steel.
  • Solingen (pronounced ‘zo-lig-en’) is a city in Germany – called the ‘City of Blades’ - famous for their quality of steel. Some German steel scissors, like the Witte Roseline, are made from Solingen Steel

What is the difference between a thinner, blender and chunker?

The term thinners or thinning scissors can be confusing as it is most often used to describe all 3 > thinners, blenders and chunkers. These can be the most difficult type of scissor to purchase unless you understand the differences. We recommend reading this section in full before you purchase:

In general, true Thinners 'thin' thick hair with a cut made close to the skin. Another technique is to use thinners near the hair ends for a more natural look. Blenders are mostly used for finishing a groom, blending away and softening straight lines. Used approximately ¼”  or ½” from the hair tips. Chunkers are used to finish or texturise a cut, ideal for going over any scissor work to remove scissor marks. 

BUT some manufacturers use Thinners to describe all thinning scissors (thinners, blenders and chunkers), or it may describe true thinners, which have teeth on both sides. Having teeth (or notched edges) on both sides makes them better for bulk thinning and removing hair closer to the skin. They take less hair off per cut than thinners with teeth on one side. Popular for thicker coats in particular.

All thinning scissors will 'blend' or sculpt of course - that's what they're for - but Blenders is the correct description for thinners with teeth on one side and a solid blade on the other. A lot more hair is removed per cut, saving you a lot of time. They are often used for blending shorter hair into longer hair rather than for bulk thinning (look for double blade thinners for bulk thinning). Used over a comb they give a smooth yet still textured result and a consistent length. They're also popular for blending harsh scissor lines or clipper blade tracking lines.

Although blenders - ie: thinners with teeth on one side - tend to be the most popular type of thinner sold, each type of thinning scissor has a different purpose and creates a different finish for different coats, cuts and areas of the body - so there isn't a 'one size fits all' thinner. 

The teeth configuration and scissor length effects the finish also. As a general rule, more teeth = a smoother blend - but if 2 thinners both have 48 teeth but one is 8" long and one is 6" long, the difference in scissor length means the teeth spacing will often be different.

You'll get a more even, smoother blend if the spacing between each tooth is roughly the same width as the teeth themselves. For a more natural result, look for teeth that are larger than the spaces between them, as they will cut more coat with each cut.

For example: a shorter length thinner - eg a 42T 5" blender - is popular for eyes and noses due to the super smooth finish, versus a 42T 6" blender (same number of teeth but over a longer length) which is popular for softening ears and tails. It is a combination of experience, breed standard, coat type and - as always with scissors - personal preference.

Chunkers are used by some to describe thinners which have teeth almost like a scissor, that look like larger T shaped teeth or like a mermaid tail (also called fishtails or texturisers). They're very popular for going over clipper and scissor work to remove scissor marks and track lines and often preferred for double coats and for coats like the Sheltie and Rough Coat Collie. They give a much softer result and very natural finish. Shorter scissor lengths are more popular in chunkers versus thinners or blenders.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR BEGINNERS: Using thinners often requires a different technique than you may be used to. If you find the teeth of brand new thinners, blenders or chunkers seem to hit or grate against each other as you cut, you may need to work on your technique. This is usually because you are applying pressure incorrectly (to one side or the other), often with your thumb, causing the teeth to touch. Seeking professional advice or training is highly recommended before continuing to use any thinner where the teeth hit or grate as you may otherwise damage your thinner.

What is a serrated edge scissor?

German Steel scissors - like the Witte Roseline - have a flatter edge (called a bevel or sword edge), with one or both blade edges serrated. Those serrations ‘hold’ the hair, keeping it from being pushed forward or sliding, giving better feedback or ‘feel’ for the user – and are more forgiving.

Ideal for initial block cut-downs, when you cannot avoid cutting a dirty coat, for feet, eye detail, eyebrows and inside rear legs, and for soft, fine coats. A favourite with beginners, students in training, home users and for professionals wanting workhorse scissors, or when you have to cut a dirty coat, as they dull less easily. 

Serrated, bevel edge scissors are often recommended for home users.

What is a convex edge scissor?

Favoured by experienced users. Whether you want scissors for finishing, more advanced techniques, or competition and showring level results, you’ll want to add convex edge scissors to your collection, made of Japanese Steel, like the Geib range.

Convex edge scissors are often more delicate with a finer, much sharper edge - requiring a skilled user who will take more care & has experience. They tend to be lighter in weight, cut more smoothly & efficiently, requiring less pressure or force, and give you that ultra-plush finish.

What's the difference between offset & symmetric scissor handles?

The recommended way to hold most grooming scissors is by holding them with your thumb and ring finger in the finger holes - although some use their thumb and middle finger. It's well worth looking up a YouTube tutorial for the correct way to hold them so you avoid wrist & hand strain.

Scissor handles come in variations of 2 main types: symmetric or non-offset, or offset.

Symmetric or non-offset handles means the shanks are the same length from the tension screw in the centre, to the finger holes - so the finger holes are in line.

Offset handle scissors have a shorter thumb shank and a longer finger shank, which makes them more ergonomic & more comfortable to use if you hold your scissors the recommended way.

Here are a few examples of different scissor handles, from the more symmetric Geib Gator and Witte Roseline on the left, to the offset Geib Gold ranges in Blue, Rainbow and Pink, the Geib Black Pearl and more on the right. Note that handles do vary within the same range - like these 3 different Witte Roseline examples below. Scissors shown are all different lengths, finger hole sizes & scissor types, so are not to scale.

TIP: to view the image below larger on desktop: right mouse click on the image, then select 'Open image in new tab'

allgroom dog scissor handle comparison chart offset symmetric

What does Titanium coated mean?

In coloured scissors, this does not mean the steel itself has Titanium in it, but that the colour is a Titanium coating, so will not chip or peel off, like the Geib Black Pearl shown above.

What is Rockwell hardness?

Rc or Rockwell is a term used to define hardness. The higher the number the harder the metal. Both scissors and blades may have Rockwell ratings listed. In general, a higher Rockwell hardness equates to a scissor or blade that keeps its edge longer before needing sharpening.

Should I get curved or straight scissors?

Curved scissors are for following body contours and setting the right angles and curves, ideal if you groom woolly or fluffy coats such as Poodles, Bichons, Pomeranians and similar. They leave a smoother outline and finish, and save time versus trying to achieve curves using straight scissors.

Can I remove the finger inserts?

Yes, most scissors have finger inserts, a ring made of rubber than can be removed. You don’t have to use them, but they are designed to cushion your fingers, for thinner / smaller fingers, and to reduce hand strain. The scissor description will usually tell you if the inserts are removable.

Why would 2 scissors described as being the same length, be a different lengths when compared?

Geib measures their sicssors including the finger rest, so depending on the length of the finger rest and the handle design, some Geib scissors may appear shorter 'in real life' when you put them alongside other brands scissors described as the same length, or against other Geib scissors from different range, depending on the other scissors having a finger rest or not, the length of the finger rest, or the handle / grip layout.

How do I adjust the tension on my scissors? How do I know if the tension is correct?

The right tension is part of scissor care: A scissor that is too tense / tight will not only cause the scissor to wear down faster, causing it to go blunt faster and shorten its life, but will cause fatigue for you also due to the extra effort required to use the scissor. However a scissor that is too loose tends to 'fold' the hair rather than cut it, making a perfectly sharp scissor feel like it's blunt when it isn't.

To test the tension: Lift one of the blades to a 90-degree angle and let it drop. If the tension is correct, the blade should only fall to around the ⅔ closed position. Watch the video below as a guide.

Didn’t see the answer to your scissor question? Contact us instead

Got a questions about clippers, blades or dryers? Check the clipper, blade and dryer FAQ's 

Video: tips for using thinning scissors: