Make Righty Scissors Lefty Ones




About: I was pfred1 but moved, changed my email address, and lost my password. I suppose worse things could happen.

Every left hander knows that the bane of our existence is scissors molded for righties. Trying to use a pair of these is like being subjected to some kind of cruel medieval torture! It feels like the scissors were designed to dislocate our thumbs, and pull them from our bodies. It sucks!

Anyhow, I've often wondered if something could be done about it. Well I'm here today to say that there is.


Step 1: The Back Story

Or why would I wreck a perfectly good pair of scissors? First off as far as a left hander is concerned scissors molded for right handed use are worthless to us. Second, I bought these used for cheap. This was something I've always wondered about, so when I came across these at a flea market for a buck I figured now was the time to experiment.

Bonus Tip: When I bought these the guy I got them from said, "They're sharp!". Well, they certainly were past their first blush of youthful sharpness when I tested them out on some cloth at home. They cut a bit spotty let's say. Still Fiskars makes their scissors out of premium materials so they can be sharpened to a keen edge. But don't use a sharpening stone to do it.

I have sharpened scissors that way myself in the past, and while it does something, there is a better way. Use something called a knife steel on dull scissors. It is way easier than trying to stone the blades, and I think the results are better myself. Steeling a pair of scissors is practically idiot proof. Take it from this idiot, it's true!

Step 2: On the Operating Table

In this image we can see our victim, er I mean patient about to get operated on. Actually looking closer the rubber has already met the road by now. I used that cordless cut out tool with a sanding drum mounted in it to do some of the rough material removal.

But as the image shows I ran into a little bit of a melting issue, so I whittled that goo off with a melon knife. I ended up using the knife to kind of carve the contours I wanted in the handles a lot. I alternated between the sander and the knife here as I worked the shape I was looking for.

I would clean my work up to an extent, then try the fit I had by holding the scissors in my hand. Doing that I could feel, and see where more work needed to be done.

A Dremel with a sanding drum would work here, or just going at it with a knife. But that would be more labor. I was shooting for an angled bore hole contrary to the one in the thumb hole originally.

Step 3: Getting to the Meat of the Matter

On the end there is just so much to cut away. The handles are thin there. But on the back side of the hole there is a lot of meat that can be removed here. I suggest folks focus most of their efforts there. There is more to be gained (or ground away?) on the inside back side of the hole. If you know what I mean.

Step 4: The Finishing Touch

By now things have improved significantly, but I want to smooth out the rough surfaces I have made. This is delicate hand work here. So I wrapped a piece of sandpaper around a pencil, and used that as my implement of destruction.

Step 5: How's It Looking?

After a bit of hand sanding things are really starting to shape up I think. It still needs a bit more, but we're almost done now.

Step 6: Conclusion

My scissors could probably use a bit more hand sanding to really smooth them out but they're already a whole lot better for me to use. Now I wouldn't say run out and buy scissors new and try this with them. They do make left handed models. But if you fall into a right handed pair somehow, like I did, this is worth considering.

It did not take me very long at all to do it, and I am pleased with the results. It isn't perfect, but it is a definite improvement over the thumb popping that was going on before I started.



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    9 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    While this does go a long way toward making righty scissors more usable for us minority lefties, it doesn't really make them lefty scissors. That can only be done by swapping the blades side to side, such that the blade that goes up when you open them is on the left. But to do that you'd have to regrind the edge because the bevel would be facing the wrong (right?) way = way too much hassle! That being said, I love my lefty Fiskars, worth every single cent of their price.

    2 replies

    I agree with InsomniCAT. When you cut with scissors, you are (probably unconsciously) pushing the thumb and pulling the fingers to make the blades press more tightly together which gives a clean cut. When you swap hands, then you are PULLING the thumb and PUSHING the fingers, which is much more difficult. If the rivet in the scissors is very tight, then it's no big deal, but if there is any play in that rivet, then it's going to be very difficult to get them to cut cleanly. Speaking as a left-hander, it's just as easy to learn to hold and cut the scissors with your right hand. Practice a bit and you'll be fine.


    Reply 3 years ago

    We clearly have different approaches to life. When I find play in rivets I tighten them up. Or I replace them. Been there, done that. It's my way or the highway in this life. I am not flexible at all in this regard.

    pfred2Watch me make

    Reply 3 years ago

    I don't like little rotary tools for doing large jobs. This is not a large job. So it is suitable.


    3 years ago

    Sad to say, I am the product of a Catholic school education which meant our textbooks still said, 'someday man may walk on the moon' even 10 years after the fact. It was righty scissors or no scissors. I adapted and learned to use them with my *gasp* right hand. Years later it was the same with golf clubs, having to seek out a decent set at a garage sale. Your feat spells triumph for those of us who suffered in silence!! Good work, man.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    If you went to school earlier they'd have done what they did to my grandfather. When he tried to use his left hand they tied it behind his back!


    3 years ago

    Thank you for this handy hack! This comes in handy for me because I am left handed

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    You're welcome. It is not 100%, but I'd give it a good 90%. I was just using these scissors to open up bags a moment ago, and it is way better than they were. Usable I'd say in fact. Before I thought the scissors were trying to pull my thumb off my hand. Very uncomfortable!