If you’re wondering “what are crane handle shears,” they’re a type of hairdressing shear designed to be ergonomic and comfortable during extended use. The offset design of the handles and angle of the blades can relieve stress on the thumb, wrist, and shoulder, reducing the risk and effects of repetitive stress injuries.
What Are Crane Handle Shears: Scissors vs. Shears
It may seem like scissors and shears are different words for the same thing, but they’re distinct tools. Scissors have blades and finger holes that are of equal length and symmetrical. Shears, on the other hand, have uneven-sized blades and finger holes that aren’t aligned.
How Crane Handle Shears Are Unique
You can identify crane handle shears using their two main characteristics. First, crane handle shears have offset handles, meaning that the thumb and finger handles don’t perfectly align. Second, the blade of the crane handle shears is at an angle to the handles.
When holding crane handle shears, you’ll drop the handles lower than the blade when the latter is parallel to the floor. There are many benefits to using crane handle shears and some things you should consider before purchasing a pair.
The Benefits of Crane Handle Shears
Crane handle shears can be beneficial for anyone struggling with carpal tunnel or repetitive stress injuries. The dropped handles on crane handle shears mean that you can comfortably lower your elbow closer to your side, making for a more relaxed hand posture and better control.
1. Stop Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of repetitive stress injury in the wrist that can cause hand pain and numbness. Carpal tunnel is commonly associated with careers where hand and wrist use is common, like computer work, painting, and hairdressing.
Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t tend to get better without treatment. Usually, the best solution is to stop doing the task that causes pain or get surgery. Fortunately, a good pair of ergonomic shears might mitigate some of your symptoms without such drastic measures.
If you’re experiencing numbness and other carpal tunnel symptoms while using scissors or shears, changing your tools might be one of the best ways to reduce discomfort. Offset handle shears are a good option, but crane handle shears are even better for this purpose.
2. Reduce Neck and Back Pain
Nearly 25% of hairdressers in a study conducted in India experience neck or shoulder pain from work. Holding your elbow out with your muscles tensed for control over long periods can cause blood flow to restrict to your shoulder. The restricted blood flow, in turn, can cause painful tissue damage.
Crane handle shears will allow you to drop your elbow, relieving this tension. The relaxed muscles will help minimize your risk of a repetitive strain injury in your shoulder and may help reduce pain.
3. Prevent Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is another type of repetitive stress injury common in hairdressers. This injury occurs over time when the muscles used to stabilize the wrist gather lots of small tears from repeated use. Tennis elbow often results in weak grip strength and pain in the elbow.
The best treatment for tennis elbow is rest, which is often not an option for those who experience the pain because of their job. Crane handle shears, which relax the muscles that cause this ache, are an excellent preventative measure for those beginning to experience elbow pain.
4. Lengthen the Life of Your Career
If you’re a professional hairdresser, you know that your hands are your most essential tool. Any kind of pain or injury due to your job is unlikely to go away on its own. Choose tools that can minimize the impact of your injury so that you can continue working for as long as possible.
You can prevent these kinds of injuries by choosing ergonomic shears like crane handle shears, thereby keeping you at work longer.
5. Do Your Best Work
Having comfortable, ergonomic shears can make your work better. Numbness and hand pain can reduce dexterity and decrease the quality and sharpness of your work. By taking care of your hands and choosing an ergonomic handle, you can ensure that you are keeping the ability to do your job.
Types of Crane Handle Shears
All crane handle shears have their signature dropped handle when the blades are flat, but there are various types, all with unique characteristics that work with different people. If you’re considering buying a pair of crane handle shears, ensure you know what kind you like best.
1. Extended Crane or Neutral Grip Shears
If regular crane handle shears aren’t ergonomic or comfortable for you, extended crane handles will likely be a better option. In extended crane shears (sometimes called neutral grip shears), the thumb grip will be significantly shorter than the other grip.
This positioning allows the thumb to be next to the index finger when the shears are closed, a natural and comfortable position for most people.
2. Rotating Crane or Swivel Shears
Like extended crane shears, rotating crane shears also allow the thumb to be near the index finger when the blades are closed. The difference is that the rotating crane handle has a wheel on where the thumb handle attaches. The wheel allows the thumb ring to swivel all the way around.
Using rotating crane shears, you can cut ends, layers, and bangs without ever having to lift your elbow or twist your wrist uncomfortably. They are the most ergonomic shears available, though the rotating thumb grip can take some getting used to.
Caring for Crane Handle Shears
Caring for crane handle shears is much like caring for other kinds of shears. You should use rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to clean your shears every day. After cleaning, you should oil your shears by adding shear oil to the joint, letting it sit, and then gently wiping it off.
Keep an eye on the tension of your shears so that you don’t have to strain your hand to open and close them.
Take special care if you have rotating crane shears. Most shears only have one tension screw to monitor, but with the additional movement of a swivel shear, you’ll have an extra tension screw in the thumb.
Whether you have swiveling sheers or not, make sure to store your shears carefully to prevent damage from dropping or nicking them. To prevent uneven cutting, you should also regularly sharpen your shears. Caring for your sheers well will help you do your best work while preventing injuries from tensing while using them.
How To Hold Crane Handle Shears
It’s crucial to grip your shears correctly, as repeated improper handling can increase your risk of repetitive stress injury or cuts. Holding shears should be relatively intuitive, and you must hold them in a comfortable way. If you’re unsure how to hold your shears, follow the directions below.
To hold any type of hairdressing shear, put your thumb through the large hole and your ring finger through the smaller hole. Use the small hook to rest your pinky, and lay your index and middle fingers in front of your ring finger.
Your ring finger should be on top of the shears, and your thumb should be on the bottom. Use your top fingers to balance the shears and lift the bottom blade with your thumb to cut. Avoid moving the top of the shears, as this action will make it more difficult to direct your cut.
You should only use your thumb to make movements, as it makes it easier to handle your cuts.
Choosing the Right Type of Shears
Most hairdressers have their own style and preference, so choosing the right shears is mostly a matter of personal opinion. There are many different types of professional shears that you should understand before making your choice and several types of blades to choose from, depending on what kind of cutting you intend to do.
Crane handle shears, extended crane handle shears, or swivel shears are some of the best options for those experiencing carpal tunnel or other types of repetitive stress injuries.
Still, you must choose shears that are most comfortable for you and best suit your style. Despite the ergonomics of crane handle shears, offset shears are considered the most popular tool for stylists.
Crane handle shears are a type of hairdressing shear with offset handles and an angled blade designed to reduce the risk and symptoms of common repetitive stress injuries. There are different kinds of crane handle shears with various levels of ergonomics.
Anyone asking, “What are crane handle shears” need only compare the style of handles and blade to see the difference compared to scissors.
Here are related questions about shears.
Why do shears sometimes have hooks?
Shears have small hooks off of the finger-side grip to rest your pinky. The rest prevents the pinky from getting caught in hair or coming too close to the blade during use and also makes the shears more ergonomic.
Can the right shears prevent arthritis?
There are no known ways of preventing arthritis entirely, but you can mitigate pain and symptoms by choosing the right tools and taking steps to stretch your muscles and joints regularly.