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The Putter
August 1, 2014 6:02 PM   Subscribe

A putter is a 'putter together of scissors.' This short documentary by Shaun Bloodworth follows the work of Cliff Denton, who works at Ernest Wright & Sons of Sheffield, one of the last remaining hand manufacturers of scissors. More from the BBC, with Eric Stones, the other Master Puttertogetherer at the factory.
posted by carter (17 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I watched this the other week and it really is quite mesmerising. Boggles my mind that this kind of job exists today, but I'm glad it does.
posted by arcticseal at 6:05 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Running Time 4:41

NO RUNNING!
posted by hal9k at 6:22 PM on August 1 [21 favorites]


The bit at 1:06 is really magical for some reason.

Good scissors are such a delight to use.
posted by vespabelle at 6:32 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Marvelous! Such a lovely hammer he has!
posted by shoesfullofdust at 7:15 PM on August 1


Wow! Such talent striking with the hammer to get the perfect pair. I want to buy some now just to own such great craftsmanship, and to use with cutting my watercolor paper for photographic prints.
posted by Eekacat at 7:43 PM on August 1


I really liked that video and I'm going to send it to my aunt who worked much of her life as a pattern maker and cutter.

However, at the end when it said "Putter: (vb) a putter together of scissors" I kind of felt like that ruined it. How could they not see that putter is a noun? Why would they think it's a verb?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:46 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


At first I thought "No gloves!" and then I watched the rest and thought, "Oh!"
posted by carsonb at 8:19 PM on August 1


Wonderful video. A good pair of forged scissors are not only a very useful tool to own, they have a an aesthetic appeal that common, stamped steel scissors don't generally have.

A somewhat related cutlery-craft video here, from a different part of the globe. (warning: autoplay)

I find cutlery fascinating. The esoteric characteristics that make even the simplest scissors function correctly are things I don't even have the vocabulary for. The way each blade curves, the way each blade is ground asymmetrically (0r sometimes twisted instead of ground), the way the pivot is tensioned, the way the edges are beveled... They are amazingly complex for such simple, common, even primitive, tools.

Just a couple weeks ago, I was in Titusville, PA, touring the Great Easter Cutlery factory, where a line of traditional pocket knives are crafted. It's a fascinating process to see steel, brass, bone, wood, and acrylic combined into similarly fine objects that have practical function.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:09 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Right now I have what must be the world's worst pair of scissors -- they will only cut on a small,section of the blades, and only if you twist your hand just so. It's obvious they didn't come from this kind of careful manufacturing process, and watching this makes me think that I should toss the crappy scissors and find a place to order good ones.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:04 AM on August 2


Wonderful, here's the company's website. Looks like you can buy online and have them deliver internationally.

Once the two halves are ground and polished, they are assembled by our professional putter-togetherers.

This is a trade learnt through years of experience. As with many of our processes, the skills involved cannot be written down; they must be picked up by our experts through up to ten years of hands-on apprenticeship.

An ideal scissors motion does not mean the blades just slide across each other. The blades must curve perfectly to only contact each other at the exact cross-cut point, offering the tension and friction required – so as not to just simply wrap themselves around the material being cut. We all know how frustrating that can be with a cheap pair of mass-produced ‘stamped’ scissors!


Their About page includes a Dickens quote at the end:
""We are but two halves of a pair of scissors, when apart... but together we are something."
Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit. "


Also:Extra large 12 inch ceremonial ribbon cutting shears for "BIG events"
posted by zresearch at 12:27 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


On the item information page for the scissors shown in the video:

Please note: due to the release of the short film "The Putter" by Shaun Bloodworth, there has been a surge in orders for this product. We are working to resolve the situation however there may be a waiting list for this item. Thank you

As the chap says in the BBC clip, "that's t'internet for you".
posted by ceiriog at 4:26 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


@ If only I had a penguin...
Shaun Bloodworth ‏@BloodworthPhoto
"for the viewer complaining on meta filter that its a noun not a verb , i'll change it just for you."
posted by Joeruckus at 7:25 AM on August 2 [9 favorites]


I can't quite tell if I'm being mocked (which is probably for the best), but regardless, I feel like at the moment of that tweet I transitioned from amateur hack to professional grammar/language pedant. All those years of crossing out "amount of people" on students' papers and writing in "number of people" have finally paid off.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:17 AM on August 2 [11 favorites]


This is just like when Neil deGrasse Tyson talked James Cameron into correcting the star positions in Titanic. I am so proud to be part of the Metafilter community today.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:48 PM on August 2


I am reminded of a classmate of mine in college, who was admiring a new pair of sewing scissors. "You shall never cut paper," she said to them. That kind of commitment to scissors has stuck with me all these years.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:16 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


So weird to see something as absolutely basic as the distinction between a noun and a verb treated as obscure sophistry that requires only a pat on the head and a bemused "okay, if it matters that much to you...", especially in the context of a video about meticulousness and precision.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:05 AM on August 3


This is lovely - nice that they've got a run on orders now, too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:34 PM on August 3


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