Scissors University©

Handle Designs

What You Need To Know About Scissors©

Handle's Impact All Aspects of Hair Cutting

Scissors University promotes a better understanding of hair cutting scissors. Handle designs are the crucial delivery system for the correct movement of the cutting blade. Handles have been ignored for their importance to the scissors function and overall health of the person using them. Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) is the #1 disability in the beauty and barber business..

RSI can be be avoided when the Career Disciplines , Correct Tension - Proper Edge - Relaxed Hand become an essential part of hair cutting training.

Lets Define Ergonomics -  Optimize Efficiency for Human Use

Ergonomics is the study of how humans interact with man made objects.  Applying ergonomics is to create an environment that is well-suited to a user's physical needs. While ergonomics is relevant in many areas, it is commonly applied to the workplace environment.


The goal of ergonomics is to reduce your exposure to work hazards. A hazard is defined as a physical factor within your work environment that can harm your body. Ergonomic hazards include working in awkward or uncomfortable postures and using excessive force or high repetition to complete a task

This is a link to a medical web site with information about repetitive strain injuries of the hand and wrist.

It is independent of the scissors industry, the information is excellent and not associated with sales..

Opposing Grip:   A classic design that forces your elbow up and your wrist to bend at an angle. This is the original handle design that was very popular for decades, in fact it was the only handle available.  Things have changed dramatically, mostly good, some questionable. Of the three standard handles the opposing grip applies the most pressure on the wrist, hand and upper body. However, using correct tension settings, upper hand control, and maintaining a proper edge still allows cutting with moderate hand stress.


Offset Grip:  The evolution of scissors handles takes the first step to a more comfortable ergonomic handle This design allows your elbow to drop slightly and the wrist is less bent. The thumb ring was designed shorter and closer to the pivot area and it reduced the over extension of the thumb. This allows you to cut with a more open palm and a more relaxed upper hand. Please notice the picture on the right, there is about 4x more thumb inside the ring than needed, it should just touch the inside. Any advantage that an ergonomic handle offers is erased when the scissor weight lies on the thumb. Engineering does not help if your Career Disciplines are not a priority.


Crane Grip:  This design is more ergonomic than the other two standard handles. The elbow drops closer to the side of the body because of the thumb ring position. Plus the wrist is flatter and not angled, relieving cutting fatigue related to hand stress. This is perfect hand positioning for using the anatomically preferred palm to palm cutting technique for precise result.


Pictures from Sensei Shear systems

Variety of Finger & Thumb Rings

I have displayed an assortment of available handle designs that you should at least be familiar. Many stylist have already experimented with them looking for creative license, relief from Repetitive Stress Injuries, or when they have not been able to adjust to proper upper hand control. Remember ergonomics allows man made tools to put less physical stress on the human body. All scissors no matter how they look adhere to identical and simplistic principles. Career Disciplines do not change with a scissors design. Correct Tension - Proper Edge - Relaxed Hand.

I am quite familiar with each of these handle designs, over the years I have sold thousands of these different scissors. Using each model is not only exciting it allows for an intimate knowledge of its function that this experience ca be pass on while making a presentation. Scissors Educators that are not a trained hair cutter can use a mannequin to test their products.  In fact it's probability a dereliction of your duties as a knowledgeable Scissors Educator not to get the feel of every sample scissor.


Flat Rings: Opposing handle with flat rings, classic design. Sometimes had two finger rest so left handed stylist could flip them over to use them. Flat rings do restrict directional and radial hand movements. Flat rings can also be found on offset and crane handles Ergonomic rating is D- .

Picture from Sensei Shear Systems


Cut Away: This is the cut away or sculpted thumb ring. First generation ergonomics, allows more directional and radial hand movements than the flat rings. It was a good start to make scissors comfortable. Can be found on any handle design. 

Ergonomic rating is C .

Picture from Sensei Shear Systems


Bent Thumb: Offset handle with ergonomic thumb ring. The  increased bend  on the ring greatly increases directional and radial hand movements. A tremendous improvement in comfort and control.  Can be found on almost any handle design.

Ergonomic rating is B .

Picture from Sensei Shear Systems


Double Bent Rings: Opposing handle with strong ergonomic bend on both rings. Directional and radial hand movements remarkably increased which relieves cutting fatigue. It changed industry standards with scissors handle design.

Ergonomic rating is B+ .

Picture from Hikari Scissors

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Three Rings: Crane handle with flat rings and a third ring for the middle finger. Very popular for years because the steep drop of the handle and the addition ring made upper hand control easy. However, the flat rings and the added third ring greatly restricted directional and radial movements, hence its drop in popularity. Ergonomic rating is C- .

Picture from Washi Scissors


Rotating Thumb: Swivel or rotating thumb ring on a offset handle. Game changing design, 360 degree rotating thumb ring. Super ergonomics, flattens the wrist, drops elbow to the side of the body. Opens the palm for extreme comfort. You still need good upper hand control or all the benefits dissolve quickly.

Ergonomic rating is A.

Picture from Sensei Shear Systems

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Wide Handle: Offset handle with the look of a swivel without the movement. Opens the palm for comfort, flat rings restrict direction and radial hand movements. Some designs added the ergonomic thumb ring, made all the difference, Ergonomic rating is C.

Picture from Washi Scissors

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Picture from JP Plan

Flex Thumb: Offset handle with a flexible and rotating thumb. A special malleable pin allows the thumb ring to flex when pressure is applied and freely rotate when directing the blade.  The handle will actually adjust itself effortlessly to anyone's hand.  It is balanced, comfortable, and will flex with minimum thumb pressure. Superb directional and radial movement. Exceptionally ergonomic. Ergonomic rating is A+

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Spring Handle: Offset Handle without a thumb ring and has a rebounding spring inside the pivot area attached to the tension post. Remarkable design, looks exotic, yet simplistic to use. Easy to maintain and to adjust the tension. Virtually no thumb pressure. The spring pushes itself down onto the thumb holding it in position.  Stable when holding the scissors at any angle. A locking arm holds blade closed when it's needed, easily accessible to the thumb .Ergonomic rating for these scissors is A+.

Pictures from Mizutani Scissors