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Scissoring Technique

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Developing scissoring technique
for Pet Grooming

By Barbara Bird, Transformation Pet Health, Tucson, Arizona USA

Dip and Snip - Are you guilty?

Many novice Groomers use Exness what I call the "Dip & Snip" technique of scissoring. Dipping is when you move in and out of the surface to be scissored. The Groomer takes a cut and then pulls the shears away and then dips in for another cut. Snipping is using the top third of the scissor blades only. Are you guilty? Don't feel bad. Most of us start out with this technique until corrected. It is natural to dip and snip when you are being tentative and lack confidence.

Get a Grip - lose the index finger!

Uh oh! You picked up your grooming shears just as you always have done with other scissorsand hooked your thumb in the bottom ring and your pointer or index finger in the top ring? Wrong! Bad! The scissor police will get you for that. First of all, no hooking. REST your thumb alongside the thumbnail in the lower ring. Don't stick it in up to the first joint. We are trying to create a "fulcrum" here. The fulcrum is the leverage point where you get the most control and balance for use of your tool with the least amount of effort. It's a good thing.   Now instead of sticking your index finger through the top ring, place it along the shank of the shears. The shank is the lower part below the blades. Now you are starting to have some control. Place your ring finger in the upper ring, and rest your pinky on the loopy thing. It's called a finger rest. Get it? Place your middle finger gently below the index finger. There you go, the "proper" way to hold your shears. There is another position which some of us find more comfortable. Place your middle finger in the top ring and rest the ring finger alongside the pinky which is in the finger rest. This is the grip that I use. It is second-best, but acceptable. Most important is to get your index finger out of the ring. Until you do that, you will be scissoring with a pinching action that will keep you snipping and dipping.

Twelve O'Clock and All is Well


Hold your shears with Exness Indonesia the blades straight up in the 12 O'clock position. There you have it! This is the main position from which you will be doing most of your scissoring. The reason for scissoring up into the coat as much as possible is that the scissoring action moves the coat slightly forward and ahead of the shears. If you are scissoring downward, it is like slightly patting the coat down as you go. This requires more combing back up to get the finish you want.

Exercise One: Hold your shears straight up in the 12 O'clock position. Using your thumb only, open and close your scissor blades to the "5 to 1" position. Work on getting the exact same time on the imaginary clock with every opening of the blades. Now go to the "10 to 2" position and do the same thing. The goal is consistency in your scissoring action. For most of your scissoring, you will be making cuts from the "10 to 2" position. In smaller areas, you will use the "5 to 1." Either way, you need to strengthen your thumb to do the work. Avoid pinching the blades together with the fingers and thumb. The point is to get full cuts using nearly all the length of the blades.

Exercise Two: Hold your shears in the 12 O'clock position and place your hand parallel to a wall. Practice opening and closing the blades while moving from right to left and back, but staying parallel to the wall at the exact distance. Now open and close your blades while rotating your wrist to the 3 PM position. Practice staying on a level plane and not dipping. Use light pressure with your index finger on the shank to maintain control of the positioning of the shears. Try stretching your reach from the 3 PM position all the way to 6 PM. Work the other way as well, from 12 to 9 and down to 6. This requires you to develop flexibility in your wrist. It is important to also work on your control and stay parallel to the wall.

Cuts per minute

This is the rpms of your scissoring machine. If you listen to competition Groomers or Edward Scissorhands, their scissors are clicking faster than you can count. It sounds like a machine. It is not necessary to have the speed of a race car, you can settle for cruising, as long as you get the motor going. You want even and consistent action of the scissor blades. This will help keep you from dipping the scissors in and out of the coat. By increasing the number of cuts over a given surface of coat, you will get a smoother finish. Find the cpm speed that works for you.

Exercise Three: Hold the shears in the 12 O'clock position and move from 12 to 3 O'clock while making long, even, cutting strokes. Work that thumb! Now count your strokes and try to get 10-15 cuts in while covering that area. Work on increasing the cpm as well as opening the shears the full length of the blades.

That's It!

Good scissoring technique is a matter of (a) holding the shears correctly so as to create a solid fulcrum, (b) working the thumb to open and close the blades, (c) using nearly all the length of the blade (no snipping), (d) hand control to stay on a level plane (no dipping), (e) wrist flexibility, and (f) getting up to speed (cuts per minute). Now all you have to do is move away from the wall and on to the living, probably moving, target.

There are two exness.my.id other factors that will influence the results of your scissoring efforts: the shears themselves and the coat preparation. It is important to use high quality professional instruments that have been maintained at peak sharpness. A cheap or dull shear will bend the hair rather than cut it. Give your shears the Tissue Test. Hold a piece of tissue loosely with one hand and cut into it with the shears. You should get clean easy cuts, no bending, tearing or snagging of the tissue. In order to achieve a smooth sculpted groom, such as the Bichon Frise, most Groomers use 8" or 10" shears. The longer length blade requires fewer cuts, covering a larger area. Curved shears are helpful for getting rounded heads, butts, and defining angulation. The hair needs to be clean and fluffed out, preferable "fluff dried" which is a brushing while drying technique. Fluff the coat using a metal comb, scissor an area, fluff AGAIN, and re-scissor the area. It may take several passes over an area to get it perfect.

Scissoring technique does not happen overnight. It takes considerable practice to gain the control needed. Be patient with yourself and use the exercises above. The more you practice, the quicker you will learn. Happy grooming!


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Last modified: February 07, 2002