The day after the Bead&Button Show in 2011, The Beadin' Path gave a presentation to the Loose Bead Society (you can see photos from that presentation here). We met Heather DeSimone, Elisa Sullivan, and Ashley Bunting. Nice ladies, and they brought a bunch of wonderful things. I'm friends with them on Facebook so I could tag them in the LBS pics, and it's nice to see what they're up to.
Fast forward to the Bead&Button Show this year. I saw Ashley there - I think it was at the Meet the Teachers event - and she told me she was with Xuron now. (Did she post that on Facebook? I need to read more closely!)
I was surprised to get an e-mail from Ashley shortly after the Show. She said she saw my item in Bead&Button in the Twin bead challenge (check it out here) and noticed that I used Fireline for my beading thread. She told me about the Xuron 9180 High Durability Scissors, also called Fireline scissors, and a little about the company. She offered to send a sample of the scissors for me to try out. Here's a video of her using the scissors. They are engineered to never dull, so instantly I was interested.
I told Steve about it, and as soon as I mentioned Xuron he said, "Xuron? Yeah, they make good tools. I have rail nippers that cut clean every time." With that endorsement and Ashley's offer, how could I refuse?
I love using Fireline. It doesn't fall out of my needle (I've had that problem with K.O. and Nymo), it doesn't need waxing, and my pieces feel secure. However, Fireline does quickly dull scissors. You start like this:
Then to save your blades, you switch to this:
That gives a fairly sharp cut, but it's not very precise.
I know a number of people who buy dollar store scissors to use just with Fireline. When they get dull, they're tossed. I've been using my scrapbook scissors. I know I shouldn't, but they're handy.
In short order, my new Fireline scissors arrived:
Yup - they're more like pliers than scissors. They're a bit larger than I'm used to, but it's not bad. One edge is serrated and one is smooth:
The scissors have a Micro-Shear (R) by-pass cutting method which, according to Xuron, "reduces effort and extends tool life as the cutting blades do not meet edge to edge."
Here's an "action" shot:
The actual "review"
So how well do they cut? I used one of my scrapbook scissors and cut in the "normal" way (not all the way down), and those cuts are on the left in the below picture. The Fireline scissors cuts are on the right:
The cuts are clean and crisp every time. There are no little fibers that will stick up from your piece that are near-to-impossible to hack off (I've had that problem more often than I'd like to admit). Flatten the edge a little in between the teeth or fingernails, and zip! it slides right into the eye of a needle.
The one thing I will say is that the blades are pretty thick, so it may be a little difficult to get super close in to the beadwork. However, I've used them on a few projects so far and haven't noticed a problem. They are sharp all the way to the tips, so you should be able to get pretty close.
Where to find them
Now that you're all excited, I bet you want to know where you can find them. If you do a Google search, you'll find a number of references to "Kevlar fiber shear" or other names. They're the same scissors - they cut Kevlar as well as Fireline and other high strength beading threads. I even saw a few references to tennis racket restringing. As long as you see "Xuron 9180", they're the right scissors.
This is not going to be the case with every tool I review, but I sell the Fireline scissors along with the 4 in 1 Crimper and split ring pliers. You can find them at any bead show I go to (see my website for my calendar) or on my Xuron tool shop page for $25 plus $3 shipping. You can find them cheaper elsewhere, but you'll have my undying gratitude, and if there are any problems with the tool, I have a direct line to Xuron.
The bottom line
So, if I hadn't gotten these free from Xuron (thanks, Ashley!), would I pay $20-25 for a pair of scissors? Yes, I would.
I like to get tools that solve a problem that has irritated me for quite some time. The screen protector on my cell phone constantly had air bubbles and looked horrible. It bothered me every time I used my phone, which is practically all the time, so I was constantly irritated. I found a place that had a highly durable screen protector that cost more than a normal one, but there would be no air bubbles and no dust underneath that causes a little bubble. Yes, it cost a bit more, but now I don't have to think about it again. In my studio I've mentioned the magnetic tool rack I recently got for my pliers. That was only $4 (woohoo!), but that solved the problem of keeping my pliers in order and out of the jumble that ended up on my desk.
If you work with Fireline, you know how quickly it can dull scissors. You've likely had frayed ends that were difficult to thread into a needle and that stuck out from your work. It's a problem that you face each time you bead. If you'd like to focus more on the beading and less on the cutting, give these scissors a try.
Now that I've earned my sample, I think it's time to get back to beading!