To Clip or Snip!

Posted 6/23/2014

ToolsThe tools of the barber trade – clippers and shears. The Master Barber is skilled in using either or both of these haircutting tools depending on the style of cut as well as the texture to be achieved. The more you know about how each is used, the better you can communicate your preferred haircut to your barber.

Clippers – The first manual clippers were invented in the mid-1800’s by Nikola Bizumic, an apprenticed barber from Serbia. Using a very fast hand motion, the clippers could closely cut beards and hair in a fraction of the time it took to cut them with scissors or blade. Leo J. Wahl, a young inventor from Illinois, had invented a hand-held massager that he sold to, among others, area barber shops. He took notice of the barbers’ manual clippers and over a period of a decade, developed an electric model that later benefitted not only barbering, but pet grooming, sheep shearing and do-it-yourself haircutters. In 1921, he founded Wahl Clipper Corp., which has continued to perfect different types and styles of clippers, from adjustable blade to cordless trimmers. Wahl is still at the top of the clipper industry today.

Clippers are the best tool to achieve a high and tight military cut, fade, buzz, crew or other short, blocked cut. Blending is done by using various numbered guides or a comb.


Shears and Thinning ShearsShears – Traced back to ancient Egypt, the original scissor consisted of heated and hammered bronze blades connected on one end by a flexible piece of bronze that held the blades together and created a spring action. The pivoted style we are more familiar with was designed by the Romans in the 1st Century, connecting the blades in the center to provide the tension needed to cut.

Professional barbering shears are far different from your mother’s kitchen scissors. Made of ice tempered stainless steel, the blades are as sharp as a razor and produce a fine, clean cut without damaging hair ends. They come in many styles, including ones with detachable blades, thinning shears and moustache trimmers.

The barber uses shears to trim and style longer cuts, adding texture for body or thinning to reduce bulk. A shears-over-comb technique works well for tapers and blending of shorter cuts.

Whether you’re looking for a high and tight, a crew or even a retro Beatles mop, The Barber Den has the right tools for you!