What are the Different Types of Scissors?

A Kaminsky

Scissors are probably some of the first tools a person learns to use. Children can amuse themselves for hours cutting shapes out of construction paper. It's a safe bet that most people use scissors for something several times a week, if not every day.

Pinking shears have zig-zag blades that cut paper or cloth with the same zig zag.
Pinking shears have zig-zag blades that cut paper or cloth with the same zig zag.

Most children start with safety scissors. These have blunt ends and blades encased in plastic so the child cannot injure himself. The modern ones are a great improvement over the all metal school scissors that were once popular. The new ones are almost as good as "grown-up" ones in their cutting capability.

Scissors with padded handles.
Scissors with padded handles.

Larger scissors with sharper points are the standard office and home scissors. Most people use them for tasks such as clipping coupons from the newspaper, as well as other general uses around the home. They may be plastic with steel blades or all metal.

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Kitchen scissors.
Kitchen scissors.

Fabric scissors have longer blades as well, but also feature ergonomic plastic handles that are more comfortable. They are extremely sharp and should not be used for anything but cutting cloth, since cutting paper will quickly dull the blades. Most fabric stores, however, will either sharpen scissors at their store or have someone come in to do the job.

Fabric scissors have longer blades and ergonomic plastic handles designed for comfort.
Fabric scissors have longer blades and ergonomic plastic handles designed for comfort.

Pinking shears have zig-zag blade edges that "pink" or cut paper or cloth with the same zig-zag. The purpose may be decorative or to help keep fabric from raveling.

Bandage scissors have longer handles and short blades, with one blunt end and a pointed tab on the other end. This allows a nurse to slip the blade under a bandage without the risk of slicing the patient's skin.

Other varieties have fancy die-cut edges to cut decorative designs in paper for scrapbooks or other paper crafts. In short, there are as many different types as there are jobs for them to do.

Scissors date from before the first century A.D. They can be seen in various forms in Egyptian art and have been the tools for tailors and barbers for at least 2,000 years. In Greek mythology, when Atropos of the Three Fates cut the thread of a life, she did it with "shears" or scissors. These tools are available at almost any store that sells school or office supplies, fabric stores, online, and even hardware stores.

Pinking shears create zig-zag edges on cut cloth, both for appearance and to prevent fabric from unraveling.
Pinking shears create zig-zag edges on cut cloth, both for appearance and to prevent fabric from unraveling.

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Discussion Comments

miriam98

@MrMoody - I notice that when I go to get a haircut my stylist uses these special hairdresser scissors. I guess they call them barber shears. They have much longer and sharper blades and cut with less force so the stylist can apply a lot more snips at once.

MrMoody

@everetra - I can’t really relate to a lot of the hype about scissors, except to chime in about nose hair cutting scissors I have (don’t laugh). The kinds that I have are precision instruments.

They have round tips so you can safely cut nose and ear hair safely (do not try this with electric scissors!) and they’re imported from Italy. That’s my two cents.

NathanG

@everetra - You should step up into the 21st century, especially if you don’t like hands that ache. I use electric scissors, these things are amazing. They cut perfectly straight using a laser guiding system.

You can cut through just about any material imaginable with their stainless steel blades. I do a lot of fabric work myself and I just can’t live without them.

everetra

I use Fiskar scissors for all of my fabric and upholstery cutting. They have solid stainless steel blades and adjustable grips which make it easy to change the amount of cutting force I’m applying to the job.

What I really like is how they’ve contoured the grips as well. If you’re like me and find yourself doing a lot of cutting, your hands can get easily fatigued. The contoured grips help to lessen the tension so that my hands don’t ache and I can continue working.

sevenseas

To keep your scissors sharp and in good working condition, sharpen them by cutting through several layers of aluminum foil.

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