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Scalable scissors vary in length depending on need


October 18, 2010

The scalable scissors, with adjustable-length blades

The scalable scissors, with adjustable-length blades

Image Gallery (5 images)

It’s one of those dilemmas you probably never even realized existed... short scissors are better for fiddly cutting and for cutting through tough materials, while longer scissors are faster on light materials and better at cutting in a straight line. What are you gonna do, buy two pairs of scissors? Designer Jie Weng has what is apparently a better idea: scalable scissors. Just set the blades to the length you need and start cutting.

The scissors feature blades that slide back into the handles, much like a box-cutter. The pivot point has a screw that can be loosened to release the blades, then re-tightened when they’re at the desired length. The design necessitates handles that are ergonomically... weird-looking, but it’s hard to say if they would actually be problematic.

Weng envisions the shorter lengths being used for cutting things like burlap, where obtaining good leverage for a powerful cut is most important. With the blades pulled out longer, the suggested uses include tasks such as cutting paper and opening bags.

The scalable scissors are at this point just a design exercise, although it’s hard to believe no one’s thought of the idea before. In fact, someone has, sort of. Last year, designer Wang Chan won a Red Dot Design Award for his Sliding Axis Scissors. In their case, the blades didn’t retract, but the pivot screw could be moved up and down the length of them.

Any thoughts on which approach is better?

Via Yanko Design.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Am I missing something, or is the leverage the same, whatever the length of the blades? Look at the photo. See what I mean? Admittedly, longer blades are good for cutting straight lines, and shorter ones are better for cutting around small curves.


Perhaps Jei Weng should take this idea - and his earlier design without the slot - to Fiskars for their comments and a co-produced, workable solution. That long, central slot in the area of most stress seems like a weak spot to me. Fewer, individual, pivot holes would be the way to go...

Nick Herbert
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