Kitchen

Joyce Chen Unlimited Scissor

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Multipurpose shears

Several years ago, I bought a pair of Joyce Chen Unlimited Scissors for a lady friend and liked them so much I bought myself a pair. I don’t cook and I didn’t need them, but I liked the heft and comfort of the handles, the blades had a smooth, easy action, and the quality of the stainless Japanese steel was obvious.

They’ve turned out to be indispensable. According to the specs, they’re intended for cutting up meat, poultry and fish (including chicken and fish bones), and for crafts and light gardening. I’ve used mine to open letters, shipping envelopes, boxes and shrink-wrap. I’ve removed dead stems from house plants, trimmed fraying threads from my jeans and on dozens of other tasks where trauma shears and long-bladed scissors were too big, too dull or both.

But they have really proved their value as a pill splitter. I have two aging cats who take daily oral medication. Pilling a cat is like flossing an alligator, so I mix the meds in with their food, and that requires reducing tablets to powder. The scissors easily halve the 5 mg tablet the male cat takes, but his 5 mg gel cap is trickier. I hold it upright over his dish and cut it in half horizontally, emptying the top half and powder into the dish. The cap is so small and slippery that I use the scissors like tweezers to remove it. The bottom half of the cap and powder go into an empty bottle for the next meal. The female gets one quarter of a 2.5 mg tablet. The whole pill is only slightly larger than the top of a ballpoint pen, and quartering it cleanly is impossible. Three different pill splitters produced a mess of shards, flakes and splinters, and none of the pharmacists I queried were any help. The scissors aren’t perfect, but they’re better than anything else I’ve tried. The initial cut is inevitably off-center because the pill (a blood pressure med called amlodipine besylate) is extremely hard and causes deflection. The result is one over-large side and a lot of shards and flakes. But the scissors’ ultra hard steel and easy cutting action allows me to shave down the large side and sweep the shavings into piles that approximate one-quarter of the original. Then, again using the scissors, I split the remaining half into quarters. When it’s feeding time, I use the scissors to chew the quarter into smaller fragments, crush them with the bottom of my sainted mother’s heavily oxidized sterling silver gravy ladle (like I said, I don’t cook) and mix the powder with food.

I think I paid $12 or $14 for the scissors, but that was more than 10 years ago. The price has doubled, and some Amazon comments suggest there may be a decline in quality. I hope not. These things are so good, I’ve never even sharpened them.

-- John Christensen 02/15/22