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Left- vs. Right-Handed Shears

When working at trade shows, and by looking through websites ((http://customsharpening.com/converting-a-rusk-shear-with-a-tension-plate-from-a-right-hand-to-a-left/), a stylist can hear and read frequently that turning a right-handed shear into a left-handed shear is as simple as reversing a screw set. This post hopes to explain the difference between right- and left-handed shears, and whether changes like this are recommended. [Note: to see a picture of each, compare the picture of a (righty) Hikari #572 Blaze, http://www.hikariscissors.com/572.html, with a (true lefty) Hikari L604, http://www.hikariscissors.com/604.html.]

Firstly, whether a shear is right- or left-handed, when the shear is held in the correct hand, the natural weight of your hand will have you pushing gently with your thumb into the thumb ring of the shear and pulling gently with your index finger on the top (finger) ring. Whether you're holding a right-handed shear in your right hand or a (true) left-handed shear in your left hand, this gentle thumb and finger pressure will pull the cutting section of the blades into tighter contact with one another.

If, however, you switch the shear to your other hand the gentle pushing of your thumb and pulling of your finger will actually separate the two cutting blades as you close them. If you're a lefty who's ever borrowed a righty's shear or a righty who's borrowed a lefty's shear, and found that the shears are difficult to use and frequently fold the hair, this is why - your hands are producing the opposite finger weighting necessary for the shears to function correctly.

Now as many lefty stylists have found, by reversing the pressure being applied by their fingers (that is, pulling with their thumb and pushing with their index finger), they can get right-handed shears to function better. An issue that still exists for these stylists, however, is that when they hold a right-handed pair of shears in their left hand, the adjustment knob can get in the way of their comb, and can drag through the hair. For these stylists ONLY, reversing the screw set is a good option.

For lefty stylists, who are being told at a trade show, or at their beauty supply store, that reversing the screw set magically converts a right-handed shear into a left-handed one, are simply not being told the truth. A right-handed shear with the screw set reversed is exactly that - a right-handed shear, with a reversed screw set. The shears will still bend and fold hair just like a regular right-handed shear would - the screw set is just now facing your palm instead of facing away from it.

At Edgewise, we try to provide our stylists with exactly the professional tools they want and need. If a salesperson is telling you something about they shears they're looking to sell you that doesn't make sense or you don't understand, or even if you just have general questions about your shears, drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and we'll get back to you as soon as possible with an answer.

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