Now I'll admit, in the time that I've been grooming, I've always been an Oster gal. I have an Andis 3 3/4F blade that I needed for school; I like it best for Bichon backs as it leaves a little more coat to be noticeable. However, I picked up a new toy at Intergroom that I've fallen head over heels for: Andis's new #6F blade!
I was skeptical at first. Sure, it was between a #5F and a #7F, but did it really make that much of a difference? Jodi Murphy used it on a Schnauzer, and the look was surprisingly natural, as if the dog was handstripped. I decided to get one, as I could try it on some of the shop dogs. After working with several different coat types, I know I have to get some more of these little gems at Hershey!
So what makes this blade so great? We decided to try a 5F, the 6F, and a 7F on a Shih Tzu who was going short anyway, juxtaposing the lengths. The 5 left the coat a little scruffy looking, and the 7 made him look shaved. The 6, however, was the best of both worlds. Think of a short cut on a Shih without the shag and also without seeing skin. This is the finish you get with #6.
One thing that was also clear, since the 6 wasn't quite so short, it left a little extra color to the coat. The length left the look naturally smooth like a Lab's, instead of naturally short like a Dalmatian. I admit, it was a little disheartening to go over it with the 7F; the difference in look and feel was immediate.
I got to try it with several other coat types. My favorite--of course--is to use it when giving a lion cut to a rough Nordic dog, like a Pomeranian. We all know lions don't have totally naked butts anyway! Haha!
Other coat types included the tight curly Poodle. It left the color, but also showed the slightest curl! Not a bad way to check your work. When I was at the shelter over the weekend, I got to work on a lovely Brittany for the second time. The first time, I used a 4S blade; the look was very natural, but he grew in too fast! This time, I took all the scragglies away--for a while, at least--with the 6, just to see how it would look. When blended with a #5F, this was easily a trim suited for any dog with a sporting coat! Even the sporting saddle coat of the Cocker Spaniel looks better when the 6 is applied!
Now, I realize that grooming standards probably won't accept the #6 blade for a while, as it does leave some extra hair. So why have it? It's a great option for clients who want the hair gone, but to not have the dog look like a sheared little sheep. Also, we all have owners who want custom trims, like the lion. It's true what they say about subtle differences: they don't know exactly why, but they do know it's different!
I still have more coats to try this baby out on. Different textures will likely yield different results, and I can't wait to see what they are. One thing's for sure, I'm dying to do a lion cut, once again! Haha!