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While we may not realize it sometimes, scissors are an indispensable item in our daily lives. Without it, many of our daily activities may come to a halt! From small tasks like gardening to important things like surgical operations, scissors form an integral part of daily human activities.
Scissors, generally speaking, include a pair of blades made up of metal, which has sharp edges so that it is easy to cut or chop off any given thing. In layman’s terms, we use the term ‘scissors’ for every kind of object under the sun that’s used to cut things.
While the majority of us do that, we fail to realize that there are many types of scissors, each having a distinct purpose and a different name with distinct properties and functions. To do away with this confusion, we’ve brought you a list of different types of scissors. So, let’s begin without any delay!
20 Different Types Of Scissors
1. Sewing Scissors
These scissors are used for the purpose of sewing. There are different types of sewing scissors and each has its own precise function. They are:
(I) Dressmaker’s Shears
These scissors are made specifically for fabric cutting. Shears are scissors with longer and bigger blades. One blade of these scissors is sharp and pointy whereas the other is smooth in order to prevent the fabric from getting torn.
Both blades are tapered and one blade has a pointed tip whereas the other has a blunt tip to prevent snagging. These shears have a flat bottom which makes it easier to move them smoothly along the table or any other flat surface and to make cutting effortless.
The length of these shears may vary from 7 inches to 10 inches. One side of their handle is large to accommodate more fingers so that more pressure can be put while cutting many layers of fabric or while cutting a thick fabric.
(II) Tailor’s Scissors
These scissors have shorter blades than the dressmaker’s shears. If you are looking for portable scissors then this is just the perfect choice. Their blade size is usually around 5 inches. They possess knife edges that are able to cut all the way to the tip.
Because of their thick, heavy and razor-sharp blades, these scissors are used by crafters, sewers and most particularly quilters and others who deal with thick and heavy-duty materials. The difference between the dressmaker’s shears and tailor’s scissors is mainly that of blade length.
You can easily put tailor’s scissors into your sewing bag and travel around when you want to sew away from your home. Also, these are lighter in weight and therefore transportable.
(III) Pinking Shears
These are also known as serrated shears since they have saw-toothed blades and not the usual straight blades because of which they leave a zigzag pattern behind.
It has curved handles to make cutting easier on flat surfaces. They prevent the fabric from fraying by limiting the length of free tattered threads and are therefore perfect for finishing the seams. These scissors may be used for making decorative cuts as well.
It is great for craftwork involving the use of felt or any other non-fray material. You can always use pinking shears for paper cutting but that blunts the cutting edge, so you must get it sharpened regularly in case you use it for purposes other than fabric cutting.
(IV) Appliqué Scissors
These are also known as duckbill or pelican scissors because of their beak-like blade shape. Having these scissors is quintessential for you if you do any embroidery work. It helps you in getting a successful close trim without running the risk of mistakenly cutting the base fabric.
One unintended cut may ruin your entire project and force you to start over again. These scissors prevent that from happening. The flat or ‘duckbill’ blade pushes the base fabric to the bottom and prevents it from getting cut while allowing the top layer of fabric to get chopped by the other sharp blade.
Also, you may see where you are cutting (thanks to the duckbill blade) while using these scissors so that you don’t make any wrong cuts.
(V) Buttonhole Scissors
Another must-have scissors for your sewing bag is buttonhole scissors. These scissors are primarily used for replacing buttons and for opening buttonholes. These are portable because of their relatively smaller size.
They have two blades with the top blade having a blunt distal end with tapered cutting edges and the lower blade having a sharp and pointed distal end. Its handle is pivotally connected to the blades. It comprises an adjusting screw which is required to be set according to the length of the cut needed.
The screw prevents from cutting any further than the cut-length already set. Also, a scale is engraved on the lower blade to measure the cut-length. To be on the safer side, you can always take a test cut on a useless scrap.
(VI) Embroidery Scissors
Embroidery is a delicate work and therefore you need perfect scissors for it so that your hard work does not go in vain.
Embroidery scissors are small in size and are generally 3 to 4 inches long but they’re also available in as small as 2 inches size. Its blades are narrow, short and very sharp. Sharp blades allow the thread to be cut with a single snip, preventing the thread from shedding.
The small size of the scissors helps you to have control over it, thereby facilitating accurate and neater work. Because of their small size, these scissors are very portable and can easily fit into your sewing bag. You should avoid using embroidery scissors for paper cutting or purposes other than embroidery and cross-stitch as it can blunt the sharp blades of these wonderful snipping gadgets.
(VII) Crafting scissors
These are the standard scissors that are available at a cheap price. They are also sometimes known as ‘All-purpose scissors’ since they are used for a wide variety of functions. Since they are cheap, you don’t need to worry much even if you get their blades dull and blunt because you can easily buy a new one in replacement.
They have long sharp blades and pointed tips. These can be used for a variety of works including paper cutting, art and craftwork, wrapping purposes and packaging, just to mention a few. They are usually utilized for use on non-fabric materials although they may be used in sewing as well. These scissors are lightweight with an ambidextrous handle that provides good cutting control. Also, the straight handle design is perfect for freehand cutting.
2. Gardening Scissors
As the name suggests, gardening scissors are used for gardening, farming, and horticultural purposes. They are of the following types:
(I) Pruning Shears
Pruning shears also are known as hand pruners or secateurs are specifically used to prune plants. There are three kinds of blade designs for pruning shears and you may choose the design most suited to your purpose out of the three:
(i) Anvil pruners – They have only one blade which can be sharpened from both sides. These are useful for cutting thick branches. Get it here.
(ii) Bypass pruners – They have two blades that work exactly like a pair of scissors. These are preferred for pruning live wood because they are able to make a clean cut without crushing. Get it here.
(iii) Parrot beak pruners – These have two concave blades that snare the plant or stem between them in order to cut it. These shears are useful for cutting narrow stems only.
(II) Grass Shears
These shears have long handles and their handles are at a right angle to their blades. Grass shears usually have two kinds of blades – horizontal blades and vertical blades. Shears with horizontal blades are used to cut grass which could not be removed by a lawnmower and other pieces of equipment. Whereas for trimming the edges of a lawn, the shears with vertical blades are used.
Grass shears are mainly used for maintenance of lawn, cutting grass and grass pruning from a vertical position. A new kind of vertical grass shears was invented in 1939 which had a long handle with a lever at the top along with wheels at the bottom. It allowed trimming the grass edges along the driveway. However, nowadays such grass shears have been replaced by powered trimmers.
(III) Hedge Trimmers
Hedge trimmer, also known as shrub trimmer or bush trimmer, is used for trimming hedges or shrubs, as its very name suggests. These are of two types:
(i) Stand-alone hedge trimmer – These may utilize human power, electricity or gasoline as the source of power to function. Manual hedge trimmers look like large pruning shears and are not only inexpensive but also environment-friendly. Motorized hedge trimmers help work to get completed faster and require less effort than the manual hedge trimmer. Trimmers utilizing gasoline power are more powerful but they may be heavy in weight and fussy to start. Electrical trimmers, on the other hand, are lighter in weight and emit less pollution and noise.
(ii) Tractor-mounted hedge trimmers – Tractor driven hedge trimmers are not very common. They have a moveable arm with a large hedge trimmer attached at its end.
(IV) Averruncator Shears
The term averruncator has been derived from the Latin term ‘averruncare’ which means ‘to ward off’. Averruncator shears, therefore, are designed to remove, averruncate or prune off branches of standard trees. It consists of a compound blade which is attached to the handle. Its length varies between 5 to 8 feet thereby making it possible to reach higher branches of trees. These shears work with the help of a lever, moved by a cord and pulley. Thick branches may be easily chopped off with these shears as these are made up of metal entirely and therefore are very strong. Averruncators are available in different shapes and sizes and may be used for other similar purposes like chopping off young plant shoots, thinning outshoots in fruit trees, etc.
3. Grooming Scissors
These scissors are used for grooming and are of the following types:
(I) Hair Snips
Hair clippers or hair snips are specialized instruments used to cut human hair. It has two razor-sharp comb-like blades and its working mechanism is similar to that of standard scissors though it may differ in design, shape, and size.
They are of two kinds – manual clippers and electric clippers. Manual clippers were invented by Nikola Bizumic between 1850 and 1890. They have a pair of handles that need to be manually pressed and released to operate and to trim hair.
Electric clippers were invented by Leo J. Wahl. Due to their low cost, electric clippers have widely replaced manual clippers. They have the same working mechanism as the manual clippers have, the only difference being that electric clippers are driven by electric power which makes its blades oscillate from side to side.
(II) Hair Cutting Shears
Hair-cutting shears, also known as hairdressing shears, barber shears or hair shears are specifically designed for cutting and trimming hair. Their average size varies between 5 to 7 inches. Usually, they have a finger brace (an appendage) in one of the finger rings which has the advantage of giving more control while cutting hair. These shears are much sharper than regular scissors and have a smooth edge. Nowadays, hair cutting scissors are available in a new swiveling thumb ring design which provides greater flexibility and ability to keep elbow down and the wrist straight thereby giving more control and comfort.
Texturizing shears, also known as thinning shears or chunking shears is a type of hair cutting scissors that are used to create texturized effects, to brew layered hair or to lessen hair density. They consist of a pair of blades out of which one blade has a comb-like edge.
4. Medical Scissors
These scissors are used in hospitals and medical institutions for medical purposes. These are of the following types:
(I) Bandage Scissors
These scissors are also known as nurse’s scissors or bandage forceps and are famous in health care because of their ability to lift away bandages from the skin without causing any harm to the skin. It has short but sharp blades with long handles.
The top blade has a blunt edge whereas the lower blade has a sharp and pointed edge. The blunt tip of these scissors prevents any accidental cuts which might occur in the process of bandage removal. These scissors are used to cut through bandages already placed on the skin and to cut through medical gauze.
Knowles bandage scissors have either straight or curved blades while utility bandage scissors and lister bandage scissors exhibit the well-known angle.
(II) Trauma Shears
Trauma shears, also known as Tuff Cuts are primarily used by paramedics and other similar medical practitioners dealing with emergency situations to carefully and rapidly cut clothing from injured people. They have plastic handles along with a pair of metal blades, of which one is bent at about 150 degrees.
It has a dull and blunt wide tip in order to prevent unintended cuts or injuries to patients while cutting clothing. Because of its resilient makeup, it is used to cut through relatively strong materials such as leather, denim, thin metals, and other rough and tough surfaces.
These shears were originally designed only for external use and not for internal or surgical purposes. Nowadays, these are much in use by soldiers, scuba divers, fishermen, etc. as they provide a good replacement for knives.
(III) Mayo Scissors
These scissors are a kind of surgical scissors used for the cutting of fascia in a surgical operation. They are made from stainless steel and usually measure between 6 to 6 ¾ inches in length and have semi blunt ends. They are of two types – straight-bladed and curved bladed.
(i) Straight bladed mayo scissors, also known as suture scissors (since they are used for cutting sutures) are used for cutting body tissues near the wounded area.
(ii) On the other hand, curved bladed mayo scissors are designed to reach more deeply into the wounded part. The curved blade allows the scissors to cut through thick tissues such as tissues found in muscles, uterus, foot, etc. These are also used for dissection.
These shears are used for cutting metal sheets and other such heavy-duty materials. Two broad types of snips are – tinner snips and compound action snips.
(i) Tin snips or tinner snips have short blades with long handles and wide jaws. These snips can be used to cut between 24 and 16 gauge cold rolled low carbon tin according to the size of the blade of that particular snip. These snips are available in several patterns. Straight pattern snips are useful in making straight cuts but they can also handle gentle curves. Duckbill pattern snips are made for mild steel and can cut only up to 25 gauge steel. Curved pattern snips are used to cut circles whereas hawk-bill pattern snips are useful in cutting small radii present on the inside and outside of a circle.
(ii) Compound action snips also called aviation snips, were originally designed to cut aluminum used in the making of an aircraft. They may be used for cutting aluminum up to 18 gauge and light or stainless steel up to 24 to 26 gauge.
6. Left Handed, Right Handed, And Ambidextrous Scissors
(i) Usually, most scissors are designed in a manner so that they are suitable for use by right-handed people. But there are scissors available for use by left-handed people as well and such scissors are known as left-handed scissors. These scissors have reversed blades so that the user may easily see where he/she is cutting. It helps left-handed people to do neat work without having to worry about how to cope with right-handed scissors. Some left-handed scissors have blunt tips for safety purposes. Buy it on Amazon.
(ii) Right-handed scissors are very common and the shearing edge of these scissors is visible when they are held in the right hand. These are meant for right-handed people. Buy it on Amazon.
(iii) Ambidextrous scissors are scissors that are suitable for use by both left-handed and right-handed people. Their handles are symmetric so there is no difference between finger and thumb handles. Buy it on Amazon.
With this, we come to the end of this long list of different types of scissors. Now you will no longer feel intimidated when you hear the names of these scissors and you will know exactly which type of scissors should be used in which situation will best suit your need.