What Are Thinning Shears?
Thinning shears are a type of texturing shear (A.K.A. "blending shear") that are used for accurately and quickly blending away scissor and clipper blade marks in the hair, as well as removing weight. Most thinning shears typically have tiny, narrow teeth ranging from 30 to 50 in number (some straight or curved in shape). A Chunker shear, however, has between 5 to 24 teeth that are much larger and thicker than the teeth of a thinning shear.
Below is a close-up of the narrow, curved, razor sharp teeth of a very high-end thinning shear - The Elite 45:
In comparison, note the next image of teeth from The Luck 7 Chunker which has far fewer teeth in number, and they are much bigger in size for removing/thinning more hair:
Which is better for grooming: A Thinning shear or a Chunker shear?
Most seasoned pet groomers will tell you to have at least one of both. While both shear types thin and blend hair in order to transform distinct breed-pattern lines into smooth, seamless spaces, both shear types have advantages in performance. For example, really fine blending work is made easier and smoother with thinning shears. Chunkers will remove more hair than thinning shears, so they are better suited for blending larger surfaces together that differ in length. Thinning shears are usually better with thin, cotton-like hair (i.e., Maltese, Shih Tzu, etc. ), where Chunkers can struggle to catch this hair type. Chunkers, however, hold the advantage with harsher, thicker hair types (i.e., Golden Retrievers, Spaniels, Pomeranian, and many Terriers). For the right hair types, a Thinning shear will save you a lot of time in the scissoring section of your groom, and they are amazing for Teddy bear heads.
Every Thinning shear we carry has AT MINIMUM a material requirement of 440C high carbon Japanese steel or more, regardless of the brand. They are all very sharp, hard, and hold an excellent edge, whether convex or beveled.
Caring For Your Thinning Shear:
A Thinning Shears, like pretty much any shear, require the same maintenance to perform to its top potential. Be very nice to your Thinning shear by storing them in a dry, safe environment (ideally a case, drawer, or shear rack). Avoid moderate to heavy impact such as dropping your Thinning shear or slamming them quickly onto a table surface. Doing so can cause small burs in the blade and/or throw them out of tune which will likely require them to be sharpened by a professional.
Oil your Thinning shears regularly with shear oil, and ALWAYS oil a brand new shear after you receive them. This will keep the blades moving smoothly together without a hindering "catch," and they will perform much better when they are not dry. We recommend oiling any shear at least once a week. Apply a small amount of oil in on both sides of each blade near the screw holding them together, then work the oil in by vigorously opening and closing them. Lastly, wipe off any excess oil. Doing so should remove any squeaks or strange sounds you will hear with a dry shear.
When using a Thinning shear, you will notice hair clogging up the teeth periodically. Be sure to blow out the hair or they will not cut as well.
Tuning A Thinning Shear:
Unfortunately, performing a simple tuning drop-test doesn't usually work well with a Thinning shear or other texturing shears due to their weighting and design. The simplest way to achieve optimal tuning tension with a Thinning shear is to tighten it to just the point where you can feel the bottom teeth (the teeth closest to the handle) engage with each other as you close it. They should feel a little tight, but not challenging to open or close. Thinning shears that are even remotely lose will perform horribly and cut next-to-nothing.
Use Gel Inserts!
Any texturing shear, more so than a standard shear, will likely require you to use one to two gel fingertip inserts in the the finger holes of your handle. When there is a lose space for the thumb to flop around instead of a nice fit for the thumb tip only, your grip will impose a cross-tension on the blades that alters the way they will cut. As a result, your cutting hand will tire out quickly, and the texturing shear will not cut as well as it should. This problem is very common, but it is incredibly simple and cheap to fix. Use gel fingertip inserts!