Getting What You Wish For
  • Maggie Franklin
  • April 7, 2009

I'm left-handed. Like many lefties, I'm pretty ambidextrous, and I confuse the heck out of clients because I do my hand-filing with both hands, switching off in the middle to do the other side of the nail. Frankly, it think this is advantageous, since this means neither side of the nail presents any special challenges because I don't have to make any adaptations to my filing style.

 

But when it comes to my e-file, I'm ALL leftie. Believe me, you do not want me coming at you with a power tool spinning at 18,000 RPMs tipped with any type of bit if I'm holding it in my right hand! I know this from personal experience. A long time ago I read an article in a trade magazine that was written by a tech who recommended that no one should use an e-file if they couldn't use it on themselves.

 

That made good sense, so I decided to get proficient at using the e-file to do my own nails. That went well enough while doing my right hand, but failed miserably when I switched off to do the nails on my left. For several weeks I sported an impressive scab where the drill bit through the skin just below the cuticle of my ring finger. Leading me to a major lesson learned: Sometimes things work better on paper than they do in real-life.

 

A long time ago I noticed that using carbide bits never seemed to work as well for me as they did for my right-handed colleagues. They cut like a hot knife through butter in the beginning but wear down fast. At first, I figured it was because I was too cheap to spend $30 on a single bit and happily went on using disposable arbor bands for many, many years.

 

Recently, with this "rock star" craze going on, I find myself doing tons of nails that are thicker than my regular pink-and-whites, and full of stuff that has to be filed through — especially metal flake glitter (that stuff is a pain to drill through). I do a lot of backfills on these things, not just cutting the tips off and starting over with all new designs. Many of my clients prefer to just add in a new color to the existing design, and I've discovered that it isn't really easier for me to just cut off the free edges and "re-tip."

 

This trend brought out the carbide bits again. I see my colleagues using them with ease, making the process of drilling out smile lines or cutting through thick acrylic to re-tip look so easy. Educators encourage us to "let the drill do the work" while they insist I shouldn't need to apply much pressure with my drill bit for the bit to cut clean and easy.

 

Allow me to just roll my eyes and sigh dramatically here like a teenager who just got told again that she needs to clean her room or do her homework before she can play on her MySpace page. And just for effect, I'll also throw in a "WHATever!"

 

After some consternation and careful examination of my collection of carbides, old and new, ranging in price from $5 to $40... OH! I see.

 

The problem is that while a double-cut carbide will cut no matter what direction it is turning, if you look down the barrel at the cutting edges, you can plainly see that the blades that do the cutting while the bit is turning in the "forward" position are almost twice as sharp as the blades that do the work when the drill is turning in reverse — the direction most lefties use it in.

 

At this point, I felt truly discriminated against.

 

I went on a quest to find left-handed bits. I found moral support from other lefties who share my pain — if not my ganglion cyst from all the pressure that I'm not supposed to have to use — and finally, one day, I found left-handed carbide bits.

 

I immediately ordered several.

 

They sit in a small box inside my desk drawer and rarely see use. They cut OK, but years of using double-cut bits apparently has spoiled me. I can only cut in a direct left-to-right motion, no vertical movement, no pulling the bit diagonally from the corner of the smile line, down and back up. I can't really explain it, but the single cut of the left-handed bit causes it to sort of slide over the nail instead of cutting into it. Not to mention the insane screeching the bits make if I move them wrong.

 

Sigh. What I REALLY want is a double-cut bit that favors the reverse direction. In the meantime, I buy new bits every six weeks.

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