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Calibrations & Better Tool Selections vs Modifications of Old Favorites
by Kenny Duncan
The latest trend in barbering is to modify your tools to give you an edge is creating precise fades, linings, & designs. I understand to movement, but I don’t always agree that its necessary. there are several factors that determine if a tool can cut with a high level of precision. there are a few things that need to be clarified before making the decision to modify a tool or not, but I always suggest calibrating your tools.
Calibrating your tools means to make sure the blades are properly aligned with minimal spacing between the upper & lower blades, the motor is optimized for the desired torque ( when available), & the blades are properly lubricated.
Modifying your tools suggest the blades have been altered in shape to create thinner lines and or closer cutting. Modifying clippers can also mean that the housing has been altered to help with ventilation and or for better visibility while outlining.
I have found that modifying tools in most cases are like shaving the corners of a square to help it fit into a circle. I say this because barbers modify tools designed with low torque to increase torque , yet the original manufacture has already created tools with high torque motors. Barbers also alter intentionally thicker blades to cut closer, yet the original manufactures have already designed tools with thinner blades for the purpose of cutter hair closer. I have experience with both. I currently have an Andis Supra 120 that has honed down and thinner teeth by Scissor Clinic and it cuts amazing. I also have an Andis Envy Li that has been equipped with the fade blade from the US-1 Fade clipper by Andis, and its my current favorite of the two clippers. Modifications vs Calibrations.The real issue is that manufactures don’t always keep the precision barber in mind during manufacturing, therefore we always find the need to adjust something. the question is when would either option show itself to be better than the other. I have tried both but i would prefer calibrating first with stock tools and blades because i can trust the consistency of performance. depending on who you may choose to modify your tools, lack of consistency may be your new found issue.
There are other factors to consider when deciding if you want to modify or not. the conditions of hair, thickness of hair, & texture of hair all will help determine which type of tool you should select and calibrate vs going straight to a circle formerly known as a square. If you cut hair most often when its dry, then a magnetic motor tools will be your best option. If you cut hair most often while wet or after an oil, leave in conditioner, mouse, etc is added then a high torque rotary motor tool would be my suggestion. If the hair that your going to cut most often is thick then a tool with a coarse cutting blade would be suggested to be in your arsenal. If you are going to service clients often with very curly hair I would suggest a rotary motor tool equipped with a lower blade with staggered teeth also known as skip tooth blade. For More information about tools visit and to stay informed with up & coming classes please sign up for our mailing list on

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