Nothing infuriates me more than a blunt pair of scissors. Imagine you have just tied a beautiful Royal Wulff, and right when you are about to cut the thread, your scissors don’t make a clean-cut, and the thread frays. There is nothing worse for me!
When you start fly tying, you generally start with the entry-level materials and tools. The entry -level pair of tying scissors will do the trick for a while, but you will eventually realize you need something better.
A quick google search and your mind will be blown by what’s on the market and some of the prices you can end up paying for the top brands of tools, especially scissors.
In the below section, I’m going to make the decision easier for you and help you make a better-informed choice as to what to buy. Please remember this is a very subjective topic, and I am merely explaining my thoughts regarding scissors and their uses.
Why I Love Dr. Slick Razor Point Scissors
- Extremely sharp for accurate cuts
- Fine tip for cutting close
- Adjustable tension for wear
- Comfort for long tying sessions
What to look for in fly-tying scissors
A few things go into choosing a good pair of tying scissors.
One would say sharpness, and yes, this is true, but there are other contributing factors such as length, palm comfort, type of blade, finger hole style, and size. Are they offset or straight? These all play an important role as well. All these factors influence the way you cut your thread and materials, the way you tie, and your resulting fly pattern.
Length of the blade- the size of the edge is essential for a few reasons. The shorter blades generally have finer points and are used for the finer work, like cutting off the thread and delicate hackle trimming. At the same time, the longer blades will have the stubbier nose and be used for longer cuts, for example, when you cut out foam strips for your hoppers and Chernobyl’s. Blade materials, stainless steel is the most common, with tungsten being the best and the material that keeps its edge the longest.
Serrated or straight- I’m a fan of the straight-bladed scissors, but I do have and use a serrated pair of scissors from time to time. I find the serrated blade tougher and ideal for cutting the hardier materials. Copper wires and lead come to mind, should the helicopter method and razor blades not work. I find the serrated blades don’t cut finer threads well at all and tend to splay the fibers each time.
Points of scissors- I keep it simple here, finer points for the finer dries sand thread cutting. The rounded nose scissors for the longer cuts and the general cutting work and preparations. The rounded ones are also great to use to cut deer hair or any patch hair really.
Types of scissors I have and their uses.
As you learn and progress as a fly tyer, you will change and adapt your style and tools as you grow. This can be an extremely frustrating period, but it is an important period to go through. Having said that, I have changed up my approach and tools a few times and have been tying the same for a few years now.
I use three pairs of scissors on various materials and for certain cutting techniques.
Short Blade, Fine point– Man, I love these scissors! The Dr. Slick Arrow Point Razor scissors are amazing. They have one of the finest, sharpest points I have come across and get the job done every time. These are great for cutting the thread on smaller flies and for delicate hackle work.
Long Blade Fine Point- These are an essential pair of scissors to have. I may not use them every time I tie a fly, but when I need a longer, even cut on material like deer’s hair, these are the scissors to use. You want to make one even cut without having to open the scissors to make another cut again.
Long Blade Rounded Nose- The round nose and long blade scissors are a basic norm in most advanced fly tyers kits. They are great for foam cutting, body shape, and just general cutting of materials. This is the pair that works well to have them in a serrated blade for that wire cutting. If you don’t, do not worry; cut the wire as close to the beginning of the jaw as possible.
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My favorite pair
The Dr. Slick Arrow Razor Point Scissors are the best pair of scissors I have come across. They may be on the pricer side of scissors, but they are worth every penny.
Their super fine point and razor edge make the finer work a breeze, and are just a pleasure to work with.
The Dr. Slick Razor Point scissors come with straight or curved finger holes, a super fine point, and a beautiful edge.
In my mind, if you get these, you shouldn’t have to buy a new pair for years to come.
As I’ve mentioned, the Dr. Slick Razor Arrow Point scissors are my favorite pair at the moment, but there are others I wouldn’t have an issue using.
These are great pairs of scissors and are hugely popular in the US. Their length varies and you can find a length that will suit your needs.
Most of the blades are straight, but they make a serrated version for those who want them and use them in their tying arsenal.
Their finger holes are an attractive yellow and super comfy to use as well.
The Hairlines are a great pair of scissors, rather expensive but a great pair non the less. There is a pair for everyone with a selection of blade lengths and straight or serrated options. This Italian brand is rather well known for its superior and beautifully crafted tools and accessories.
There you have it! There are so many choices and really good scissors on the market. The best is not to get too complicated with your choices and decide on what scissors you need and go from there. If you think you only need one pair, that is fine.
The Dr. Slick options are a perfect choice if you are a local guy and choose to support a local brand. With their array of choices, you are bound to find the perfect pair.
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Fly fishing has been my passion and pursuit for the past 20 years. I am a South African based fly fisherman who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water. Fly fishing is more than catching fish, being in the outdoors with good friends and family is what it is all about.