Shear Education (Quick Reference)

At Sensei Shears, we believe the proper way to choose a shear is to take that complicated decision and break it into smaller, less complex choices:

Choose a blade that will give you the performance you need.

Select a handle that will give you comfort, and fit your style of cutting.

Evaluate tension systems in light of what you can afford.

Pick a length based on the techniques you use.

Then you only need to consider shears that offer the combination of features you have determined you need. This is the intelligent way to find the right shear. Although we make many models, by applying this formula, you can narrow down your choice to only one or two.

Blade Designs

There are only two types of shear blades

Convex Edge

State of the art, smoother cutting blade. A must for slide cutting. These are harder to make and therefore are more expensive, but worth it. All our shears feature a convex edge!

Beveled Edge

The oldest blade design. Can cut well, but requires more force than the convex blade and can't be used for advanced techniques like "slide-cutting". We don't even offer a shear with a beveled edge!

Handle Designs

There are only three general types of shear handle designs

Opposing Grip

The oldest design, still good for stylists who cut with the middle finger and thumb.

Offset Grip

A newer handle design for stylists who use the ring finger to hold the shear. The shorter thumb handle reduces over-extention of the thumb. This design allows you to cut with a more open hand, however, it is still necessary to elevate your elbow.

Crane Grip

This modern and ergonomically healthy design offers the most benefits. It is offset to open the hand and angled to drop the elbow position. This design relieves stress on both the shoulder and wrist for stylists who use the classic palm-to-palm cutting technique.

Thumbs

Cutaway Thumb

For Greater Comfort.

Standard Thumb

Removable and reversible, the finger rest can be attached to either side for left or right handed stylist compatibility.

Anatomic Thumb

Anatomically curved for greater freedom of radial movement.

Revolving Thumb

Handle rotates eliminating hand and wrist strain. Open grip reduces thumb travel.

Stopper

A stopper (sometimes called a silencer) quiets the shears by keeping the handles from metal to metal contact. It also softens the feel of the cut.

Polymer Glide

The key wear point on a shear is the ride area in the pivot. Polymer Glide channels eliminate the metal to metal wear creating the smoothest most durable action possible.

Ball Bearing Systems

Ball Bearing Pivot System™

A sealed ring of ball bearings stabilizes the pivot action. Like those found in precision industrial machines, this bearing system is capable of withstanding years of constant professional use. You'll appreciate the incredible smoothness of this system.

Ball Bearing Rotating Thumb™

A sealed ring of ball bearings is recessed into the handle. This system provides smoother thumb rotation than any other shear. It also provides industrial strength durability.

Tension Systems

Coin Adjustable

Tension screw can be adjusted with a coin.

Leaf Spring Tension System™

Our Leaf Spring Tension System offers more than just convenience, it actually extends the life of the shear by stabilizing the blade over a wider area.

Metals

Shown here in order of preference

Cobalt/Molybdenum Alloy

Cobalt Hardness combined with Molybdenum toughness for high strength and maximum durability. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Molybdenum Alloy

A strong and flexible alloy. If properly hardened it can be as hard as cobalt alloys, but still maintains malleability.

Triple Tempered 440 Stainless Steel

Cryogenic tempering brings this stainless material to the highest level of durability.

Cobalt Alloy

Cobalt is hard but very brittle, unless combined with Molybdenum. It chips and nicks easily, and cannot be adjusted after multiple sharpenings.

Shapin & Tempering

Casting

Liquid Metal is poured into a mold. If properly hardened, it can be durable, but will not hold the edge as long as a forged shear.

Drop Forging

A weighted mold is dropped on a hot bar of steel. The alloy is pounded into a desired shape which makes the metal more dense. The blade holds an edge longer and is more malleable.

Cryogenic Tempering

The temperature of the steel is reduced to -300°F. This pulls the randomly spaced steel molecules into a tightly compacted form. The steel is then slowly returned to room temperature. The steel molecules relax and separate into an evenly spaced, uniformed structure, increasing strength and durability.

Length

Many people are under the misconception that the length of their shear should be governed by the size of their hand. In reality, you should really think about the techniques you are doing to determine the best shear for that technique. When you are precision cutting hair that is held between your fingers, you may not need a blade that is any longer then the distance from the tip of your finger to the 2nd knuckle. The reality is that this type of cutting is only one element of todays technique.


Below are techniques that are easier to do with longer blades:


Cutting Bob lines: The hair is combed down against the neckline. A longer blade allows you to make fewer cuts to connect the line all the way across. It makes for a cleaner bob.


Cutting on the skin: Same thing, as above, you can cut longer sections and get cleaner looks. Also, the crane handle helps when cutting on the skin because it lifts the hand away from the client’s body.


Scissor over comb: The comb is picking up a wider section than your fingers, a longer blade allows you to cut that cleanly without the hair falling out of the comb. That is why most barbers use long blades.


Slide cutting: When you slide cut with a short blade, your hand moves though the section you just cut due to it being so close to the blades. Then you have to comb it again to see what you have accomplished. With a longer blade you can slide your blades into the hair and slide cut without messing up your work with your hand.


Cutting around the face: With a short blade your hand is right in the clients face and the finger rest can actually get near their eye. A longer blade allows you to cut with your hand back away from the clients face, you can see better what you are doing and the client is more comfortable.


Experience the advantages of the longer blade based on the techniques above and you will be glad you moved up in length. You will also save several minutes per cut which is the other benefit of longer blades.