Most of the products in Lefty's range have been specifically designed to solve problems that are encountered by left-handers every day. It can be a real struggle for many lefties to cut a straight line, open a tin can or prepare a meal. Right-handers don't often understand the difficulties faced by lefties in some of these quite simple tasks.
Of course, there are also some products that are just for fun. Just enjoy them!
Below is some information on many of the products available for lefties and why they are so special.
The most important thing about a pair of left-handed scissors is that the left blade is always on top when viewed from above. This means that you can see the line you are cutting as you go, which is absolutely vital for accurate work. And the paper, board or material naturally moves over the thumb and under the hand to keep that clear view and accurate cut.
When using scissors, the natural hand action is to gently push with the thumb and pull with the fingers in order to keep the blades together. Only left-handed scissors will allow you to do this when using the left hand. Using right-handed scissors in this way will cause the blades to separate and the paper will just fold between the blades without cutting! The compromise is to use a very unnatural action which will cause pain and discomfort in the short term and callus formation in the long termâ not good!
Don't be fooled into buying scissors that are labelled as "Suitable for left or right handed use" - there's no such thing! They are just right-handed scissors with a grip that feels comfortable when used in both hands but the problem remains: they are not left-handed scissors! And it doesn't work turning a right-handed pair of scissors upside down either - they are still right-handed scissors!
Try a real pair of left-handed scissors and you'll wonder why you ever put up with the discomfort.
These are made similar to the scissors with the top blade on the left and the safety lock easily accessible to the left thumb. During the squeezing action on a right-handed pair, the blades separate for a poor cut and damage to your precious plant. A left-handed pair feels so much better and gives a perfect, clean cut every time.
There is a lot of confusion around the world as to what makes a knife left-handed, especially the serrated knives. Even the knife manufacturers can't agree! To ease the confusion, we have done extensive research in order to better understand the issue.
While reading this segment, please remember that using a kitchen knife generally requires movement only at the shoulder (back and forth) and a little at the elbow (up and down): the wrist and hand should remain still and straight! At the dinner table, we might use a little more hand movement in order to be kind to those seated beside us.
Almost all straight-edged knives are bevelled (angled) toward the centre of the blade. Both sides are shaped the same and the blade is symmetrical if viewed from the point. All of these knives will perform the same way in either the left hand or the right hand. If you get poor results using these knives, you have either selected the wrong knife for the job or your technique needs adjustment.
Other straight-edged blades can be bevelled off-centre, so that they have a twisting action similar to the serrated knives (see below).
Another exception to this rule is the sashimi knife. It is bevelled on one side only to assist the chef to make very thin slices. Many actually have a concave 'flat' side to create an air pocket to prevent the moist meat from sticking to the blade creating a tear in the meat. There is a left-handed version and a right-handed version of the sashimi knife, the bevel being on the opposite side.
Serrated knives are generally bevelled and scalloped on one side of the blade only. Very few are centrally bevelled. The most commonly used serrated knives are bread knives and small vegetable knives, however, there are full knife sets available with serrated edges. The general rule is that the bevelled edge should lie on the outside of the bodyline the cutting side) while the flat edge is toward the centre of the body (the holding side).
Most serrated knives are designed to help stop the cut slices from sticking to the blade and tearing. The one-sided bevel helps the cut slice to peel away from the knife. If the bevel is on the wrong side, the slice doesn't fall away but sticks to the back of the blade. There is also a natural twisting action created by the serrated knife as it cuts: the flat edge tries to go straight down while the bevelled edge causes it to curl under toward the holding side.
This natural action is counteracted by the chef's grip on the handle: the bottom of the handle pushes against the ends of the fingers and the top pushes against the butt of the hand, giving the greatest level of comfort and control. Using a knife with the opposite bevel requires the chef to grip the knife more firmly than would otherwise be required as the handle pushes against two natural spaces in the grip. For this reason, a right-handed knife is bevelled on the right side of the blade and a left-handed knife is bevelled on the left side of the blade.
The only exception to this rule is for the tomato slicers as the user cuts horizontally whilst holding the tomato in the hand: the flat edge needs to still be on the holding side, hence a right-sided bevel for a left-handed slicer. Also, when lifting a slice off a plate, the flat edge rests against the plate while the serrated edge slides more easily under the piece of tomato.
Our research has shown that cutlery manufacturers follow tradition rather than a scientific reasoning for the way that the table knives are serrated. Formal place settings are laid out with the knives on the right side of the plate, with the sharp edge pointing out. This is why almost all cutlery sets have knives with the small serrations on the right side of the blade for presentation purposes. The small serrations make little or no difference in how these knives perform in the left hand. The only real difference is that such knives used for buttering bread will show stripes and not a smooth butter pattern! (We are assured that this does not alter the taste of the bread either!)
Steak knives are generally bevelled on the left side of the blade in order to create a distinct difference from the regular table knives. But we are still unsure why a sharper knife edge would want to be pointing toward and not away from the person sitting at the table! Again, there is little difference in performance, however, many people like to purchase left-handed steak knives for presentation purposes.
Conventional can openers cause you to hold the handles with your right hand and bring your left hand over the top to operate the cutting rotor or else hold onto the handles backwards. Either way, you are tied up in knots and the opening of the lid is often unsuccessful as the blade skips across the top of the lid. Left-handed can openers allow a natural action and a clean cut - just the way they were intended to be!
The most comfortable, natural action for all people is to twist the hand from the centre to the outside (external rotation). For right-handers, it is a clock-wise twist. For left-handers, it is an anti-clockwise twist. Using a standard corkscrew is not a natural action for lefties and it can be downright uncomfortable. These are becoming less popular with the introduction of screw-cap bottles but there are a number of winemakers still using good old cork.
The same rule applies as for the corkscrews. A left-hander's natural rotation means that they twist the pencil anti-clockwise in the barrel. A left-handed sharpener has the blade set specifically for that motion - very important for children.
The left-hander's brain is OK with using the standard QWERTY layout for typing but those doing a lot of spreadsheet work will appreciate that their left hand is more suited to keying the numbers. Forcing the use of the right hand when using the number and directional keypads can lead to discomfort and pain which can become a big problem long term for employers and employees alike. Switch over to a left-handed keyboard and your natural abilities will shine through with increased speed and accuracy!
Measuring Tapes & Rulers
All of our measuring implements read from right to left. The rulers allow the left-hander to start at the zero mark and pull the pencil along the ruler to the mark, using a normal ruler means you have to push the pencil across the page, giving poor results.
The tape measures allow the user to pull with the left hand.
The vernier callipers and micrometer are designed for accurate and repeatable results every time while using the left hand.
Many power tools are designed specifically for right-handed use. Circular saws, belt sanders, power drills and chain saws are just some examples of tools that are difficult for a lefty to use. In fact, it can be downright dangerous to use them! Unfortunately, though, we have not been able to find a manufacturer of any of these items that meet Australian safety regulations and standards. We'll keep trying though!