Saturday, 18 July 2009

buy a piece of Sheffield history for £20

Yesterday I visited the kutrite scissor works in Sheffield, I have written about them before here and here, they are wonderful chaps, the three guys working there have 150 years experience of the cutlery trade between them. This is Cliff, the "putter togetherer" that is the official job title that you would advertise in the days when there were 60 scissor firms in town.

Anyway after my previous posts about them some people have asked about buying a pair of their wonderful scissors. They normally only sell to trade but have agreed to do a mail order service for my blog readers and supporters of the Heritage Crafts Association. We chose one of their most popular lines 8 1/4" dress making shears, I think these tools are at once a mini sculpture and a gorgeous piece of engineering. The cost is just £20 plus £5 P&P.

The difference between these and a cheap pair of scissors is that these are drop forged out of high carbon steel then hardened and tempered to give a very tough and hard long lasting tool. The other big difference is the setting. On a pair of cheap modern scissors the two blades never actually touch they lie parallel to each other and do not cut as a pair of proper shears do. The two blades are skilfully ground and set in a slight curve so that they always touch just at the point you are cutting.

The effect of this is a gliding slicing cut that just feels wonderful. Why 8 1/4" and not 8"? Well back in the days before VAT there was a thing called purchase tax which applied to scissors but not tools. Shears over 8" were tools and so you will never find a pair of traditional English shears at just 8".

So here we have the perfect gift for anyone who has ever been frustrated at the lack of quality in modern tools. For just £25 inc P&P you can have a little bit of Sheffield history and help to keep this wonderful trade going for a little longer.

How do you buy them?

Sadly they don't do paypal or credit card payments so it has to be an old fashioned cheque made payable to "Kutrite of Sheffield Ltd" include your address and a note asking for 8 1/4" dress making shears. Post it to

Kutrite of Sheffield Ltd
Kelham Works
72 Russel Street,
S3 8RW


  1. Do please post if there is a way those of us in the US can participate. A good pair of scissors is a rare find.

  2. I tell you what, next time I visit them I'll pick up a few pairs and post them myself. The problem is not so much the posting as they only accept English cheques and don't have a card facility.

    Anyone from the US wants a pair reply here and I'll let you know when I have some. I expect £30 inc shipping.

  3. I just reviewed your other posts about Kutrite and I really am lusting after several other pairs of scissors. This is not right! Temptation must be yielded to! Unfortunately I have no way of sending a check for £.

    Is their website soon to include a way to purchase the scissors online? I could even have them shipped to a UK address... I shall continue to scheme, but if you have any more information I'd be happy for it.

  4. Hi Robin
    The good news is that I live in the UK so no problem there.
    The (possibly) bad news is that both of the 'dressmakers' in my family are lefties which brings the question - do they make and can they supply a left-handed version of these scissors?

  5. The good news is they do and they can, the bad news is they are I think quite a bit more expensive due to the small production runs. I could ask next time I see them.

  6. They are beautifully machined. One order heading Cliff and co's way tomorrow courtesy of the good lady wife. Thanks for enabling us to get hold of these.

  7. Robin, can you please add me to the "across the Pond" list.