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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Tool Talk: The Making of Scissors

 

Embroiderers love their scissors!

I’m no exception. I am easily infatuated by scissors, but only under certain conditions.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am not really a collector of scissors. I don’t collect embroidery scissors just to have them. If they’re just cute or pretty, that’s not quite enough for me.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have a small collection of favorite scissors. I do. They just aren’t collectibles. They’re functional tools that I use over and over and over again, and I don’t care if they are trendy, cute, beautiful.

To me, when it comes to scissors, the beauty is in the functionality and workmanship that makes them a Good Pair of Scissors.

Ernest Wright & Son Scissors

Do you ever wonder about the scissors that you use for your embroidery pursuits? Where they come from? How they’re made?

Well, the BBC recently ran a great little news video about the making of scissors at Ernest Wright & Son, LTD, where scissors are still forged and finished by hand, by a few individuals (and their apprentices).

Ernest Wright & Son Scissors

Sheffield was the hub of steel production in the UK, and scissor-makers have been in the Sheffield area since the 1700’s.

The industry has certainly dwindled. As is often the case in modern manufacturing (and we see the same thing with the needle-making industry), production has moved overseas where labor is cheaper, but where quality and craftsmanship don’t necessarily follow.

The BBC’s video is a follow-up The Putter, a short film by Shaun Bloodworth, as part of the “Steel Stories” on the Storying Sheffield website.

Making Scissors – Videos

Both videos are worth watching! I’m putting them below for your interest and enjoyment. I found them fascinating, and I hope you will, too.

Note: If you’re reading this through the email newsletter, the videos won’t be visible. You can click through to Needle ‘n Thread here..

BBC Video: The Disappearing Art of Making Scissors by Hand:

The Putter from Storying Sheffield:

Just so you know, I ordered several pairs of embroidery scissors from Ernest Wright & Son. I thought they’d be worth trying out, and when they arrive, I’ll review them for you.

 
 

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(22) Comments

  1. The video really is interesting. Until I started hanging around with you, …lol…. i only had one or two pair of scissors….lol….now i’m ordering a second flower frog to hold the growing collection. like you, not because they’re pretty, i don’t actually have a PRETTY pair of scissors but my collection is growing by leaps and bounds.

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  2. Dear Mary

    What interesting videos it’s so nice to see a handmade industry and a family business still in existence, i’ve just been on their website and I really like the gold embroidery scissors. Can you tell me what scissors you have ordered I’m thinking of the gold embroidery scissors which I think are affordable for a long-life guarantee and lovely. Thanks so much for sharing these videos with us, how did you come across this, very interesting.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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  3. Good morning, Mrs. Corbet! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I spent mine in Landover Maryland at the international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it was marvelous! Now, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s a glorious day! I hope you’re also enjoying the same weather in Kansas!

    Sadly, I’m using a pair of manicure scissors for now. I hope one day to have a set like you posted some time ago, with scissors, needle minder, thimble, ‘egg,’ etc. I am so looking forward to he new product review! Have a wonderful day!

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  4. I hope you got your order in before the beginning of August, Mary. I followed all the links until I landed on Ernest Wright &Son’s Facebook page, and they have posted a photo of their latest sales report. Sales appear to have jumped recently from an average of less than a hundred every month to almost eight hundred so far for August! I hope they are as good as they seem, from watching the online videos.

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  5. I took a quick look at their site, they also appear to have “pickers” (tweezers) for sale in their embroidery/craft scissor list. They also have snips which I prefer, but they are not narrow enough (because of the hole)to fit in the tray of my grab and go/storage box so I will stick to my 3$ at the local history museum blacksmith shop snips. The video was interesting though. My pop liked the video also, thanks for sharing it. πŸ™‚

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  6. Dear Marie,
    Thank you for this video.She is very fascinante.
    In France we are also, brand Nogent and we are good acier.I love my little scissors why? Good brand Γ©qual good cut and long time and it is very important. We can be sure for that.Expertise is invaluable and we must say yes to all these talented artisans. I love too for meet artisans 100% made in U.S.A.
    Best regards

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    1. Hi, Florence – Thanks for your comment! We don’t really have any manufacturers of fine scissors here in the US anymore. We do have industrial scissor manufacturers, but they make Very Large Scissors, not suitable for hand stitching. It is always sad to see fine craftsmanship die out and manufacturing relocate to other countries. I like Nogent scissors. You also have other scissors – Bohin has recently acquired some scissor craftsman who make very fine scissors. Sajou also makes scissors, but I have not tried any of theirs. My favorite scissors so far are made in Solingen, Germany. They are very well known for their scissor making!

    2. Dear Marie,
      I meet acier in Solingen,in France it is Thiers for scissors, I prefere 100% french of course!. Yes, Sajou sale now scissors french, but I prefere scissor simple, not “beautiful”, Sajou sale also beautiful scissors!.I prefere buy, for country foreign 100%U.S.A, England, New Zeeland, Australie, it is guarantee of qualite ,I’m sorry for you have not, now,artisans for little scissors in U.S.A.because you have good acier.I have an other “hobby” and with, I buy wood and manufacturer 100% U.S.A and I love this.
      Thank you Marie for your message
      Best regards

  7. Thank you. You are one special lady.

    I watched the making of scissors with joy. Then, I cried for all handmade things, the pride and satisfaction of the makers, the beauty of the objects, and the fact that “handmade” is all dying slowly.

    Thank you for the experience. It was worth it.

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  8. I enjoyed watching those videos, probably something I wouldn’t have thought to look up.
    Its good to see they are still apprenticing, its the way to go to keep the industry going as they develop an appreciation for the art form. Speaking from experience πŸ™‚

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  9. I love scissors but have to admit that in this household they end up getting used for all sorts of things OTHER than what they were purchased to do. Probably my own fault because I tend to leave them lying wherever I last used them and they’re entirely too tempting. Thanks for the video links!

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  10. Thank you for the videos on scissor making. So interesting and wonderful to see something still being handmade and they have apprentices! I look forward to your reviews of the scissors you just purchased. I may get some just to have handmade scissors.

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  11. I loved the video “The Putter”! The concentration and passion that the putter shows for his work is refreshing in the current world of “fast food” products overseas. It reminded me that I need to get the pair of Dovo scissors sharpened that I bought a year ago online. They arrived a little dull and I should have sent them back but never did. I hope to find a local sharpener who can mend them.

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  12. Some 40 years ago a medical student told me she used dissecting scissors. I bought myself a pair, and they really are wonderful! Short blades with a very fine point, very sharp for the full length of the blade, and made to stay sharp after much cutting of substances rather tougher than threads. Mine are German.

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  13. Love these clips I hope they never go out of business. What a time honoured profession, thank you gentlemen I love my scissors =)

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  14. Sheffield, hurrah! My current hometown.=) Known for a long time as Steel City, it was a rare piece of fine cutlery that didn’t have ‘Sheffield’ imprinted on it up to quite recently. The industry has largely moved away, but there are still some major players here, such as Sheffield Forgemasters and Outu Kumpu.

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  15. Mary, thank you, thank you, you have really outdone yourself with this. I am in love with that scissor-making man, isn’t he delightful? And although I have a small collection of unusual and/or pretty scissors, I don’t use them – they are purely for fun and decoration.

    I am off to buy some new scissors too, hope they are as good as they look. But I don’t really have any doubts.

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