Anatomy of a Grooming Shear

Anatomy of a Grooming Shear

Pet groomers depend on various tools to practice their craft correctly, and good quality shears are a must-have. Because shears are something we depend on, we should know the proper terms of their parts and how to best take care of them. 

Starting at the end we hold, our scissors have: 

  • Finger ring - These may be narrow or wide; some are ergonomically shaped. Try various types to see what is most comfortable for you.
  • Inside ring - For an ideal fit, the groomers should use just the top of their finger and thumb in these rings. If they are too large, special rubber or silicone inserts can make them fit better and more comfortably.
  • Finger rest - This little swooping piece of metal allows you to have extra comfort and control when scissoring. Some are molded from the same metal as the rings, others screw in and are prone to falling off and getting lost in a pile of dog fur. 

Next comes the: 

  • Neck - This is where the finger ring attaches to the shank.
  • Shank - some are longer, some are shorter. The shank goes from the finger rings to the screw.  People with small hands will have more control and less stress on their hands when they use a shorter shank.
  • Bumper or silencer - This small but necessary piece is like a shock absorber, cushioning the action of the shear as it is closed and preventing it from over-closing and crossing the tips.
  • Screw - Some shears are fastened with a very basic screw; others have a more complex tensioning system. Proper adjustment is crucial to ensuring the shear works correctly.
  • Ride area - The space just below the screw.
  • Pivot area - The area where the action of scissoring happens, at the screw. It is here that your scissors should be lubricated after cleaning and before storing at the end of your workday. Use just one drop of oil. Open and close the shears a few times, then wipe any residual oil up and away from the screw, along the blade, with a soft cloth. 

And the “business end” consists of: 

  • Blades - Blades come in various lengths, widths, and styles. Wider blades tend to be best for bulk work and narrow for fine finish work. Longer blades will take off more coat with each snip but may be heavier and more challenging to control if you have small hands.
  • Blade edges - These may be beveled, serrated, convex, or a variety of these. Serrations help grip the hair for a smooth cut. Convex edges are very sharp and offer a beautiful finish cut but require frequent sharpening.
  • Tips or points - Different shear styles will offer differently shaped tips, from blunt, rounded tips for working in delicate areas to sharp points. 

At the end of your day, oil your blades as described above and store them in a sleeve or case to protect them from humidity and bumping into other tools. 




Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years.  You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism.  She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.