- SHORTGOTH

"...yeowtch! using a regular knife, or an ordinary x-acto blade is a bad thing..."

Wrong, see below.

"...knife blades are *rarely* sharp enough to make a clean painless cut..."

Wrong, see below.

"...x-acto blades are the same way, and nick easily NEVER use a box-cutter blade, they're often oiled to prevent rusting, and that's a bad thing in an open wound..."

True, oil is a bad thing to be putting into a wound. But that's just common sense.

"...Surgical blades you buy this way are sterile, *surgically* sharp..."

And the reasons for my putting "wrong" above:

"Surgically sharp" and "surgical steel" are both, in a word, bollox. Do you know how they make scalpels? They're pressed out of a stainless steel alloy called 420J2 or 420H (pretty much the same alloy, variances in makeup I won't go into here), the blade is then polished on a buffer, packed,and irradiated. Like all mass-produced blades, they're much poorer quality than the salesmen would have you believe, in reality they're very cheaply made out of the lowest quality grade steel with minimal attention to detail. The reason for their sharpness is due to the thin cross-sectional geometry and nothing else.

"Classic" disposable razor blades and industrial razor blades are made in exactly the same way. Same process, same steel, same amount of quality control. The only difference is the lack of sterilisation, which you can do yourself the old fashioned low-tech way.

Knife blades (and straight razors) however, can be sharpened to exactly the same degree of sharpness is you know what you're doing, are made out of much better steel if you know what you're buying, are far more aesthetically pleasing and of course can be used for other purposes than blood letting.

As for "less scarring", sorry to break it to you but the sharpness of the knife has virtually nothing to do with scarring. It's a fact that a less than adequately sharpened knife can have "micro-serrations", but those can not be seen without the aid of a microscope and the actual difference between a cut with a polished blade and an unpolished blade as far as "ragged edges" of the wound itself goes is so small you can't tell the difference.

Scarring is created by (or influenced by) other factors: length of the cut. Depth of the cut. Placement of the cut. And to a lesser extent, genetics and aftercare. With most people, a light scratch with any instrument whether it be a cat's claw, a surgical scalpel, or a good old pocket knife, will not result in scarring. A cut that goes down to the bone, whether it's made by a (big) cat's scratch, a surgical scalpel, a hunting knife, or a broadsword, will scar. Some people are genetically predisposed to scar more easily than others. What heals perfectly for one person may leave a small scar for others. What leaves a small scar for one person may keloid another. [keloid info @ eMedicine] And of course aftercare. Is the wound just left alone? Then if it's a deep one, the chances are it'll scar, how badly depends on length, depth, and genetics. If it's patched up, that'll reduce the chances of it scarring. If it's stitched up, that'll reduce the chances of it scarring even more. I've heard Vitamin E applied to the wound as part of the healing process also reduces the chances, but I've never tried it myself.

So let's talk personal numbers here. I've been cut so many times I couldn't count. Over a thousand times, without a doubt (this figure includes everything apart from paper cuts which I've never heard of scarring). Conversely, I have less than a hundred scars on my body, and these were caused by everything from "surgically sharp scalpels", various types of pocket and sheath knives (steel blades, ceramic blades, titanium/steel alloy blades) industrial razor blades, old fashioned disposable razor blades, a serrated kitchen knife, and a chainsaw blade (fortunately, the chainsaw wasn't running at the time <g>). You know why they scarred? Length and depth of cut. Genetics (I scar pretty easily t'be honest). Aftercare (or lack thereof: I generally don't even use antibacterial wipes or patch the wound up. Just let it scab over and/or scar as it will).

Any cut made with any blade can scar in theory. Using a "surgically sharp scalpel" has *zero* impact on whether it scars or not.

"...the advantages of a surgical blade include: cleaner cuts, faster healing, near-painless cutting, less scarring, and much lower risk of infection. I HIGHLY recommend the use of them..."

So let's talk infection.

See above re: numbers of cuts and numbers of scars. See above about aftercare. You know how many infected cuts I've had? None. I've bled so badly at times that I've a) Been unable to walk unaided, b) Ruined a sofa and three matresses plus uncounted sheets/clothing items c) Could see my ribcage once I'd stopped the bleeding and had a look.

Infection comes from contaminants in the wound. The reason the platelets flock to the wound is to seal it of from possible infections. The reason scabs are formed are twofold - firstly they seal the wound from inspection, secondly they cover the wound with a solid surface to allow the skin to repair itself. As long as you don't rub grease or dirt into the wound, and allow the scab to form, you won't get infections. Simple as that.

You're more likely to get an infection after surgery in a hospital than you are to get an infection from a blood letting session. What does that tell you about "surgical cleanliness"? Yes, I know that's a slightly disingenuous argument due to the relative complexity of surgery as compared to blood letting. But OTOH, the most basic difference between cuts made in surgical procedures and ones made at home are? Length of cut. Depth of cut. Those two same basic things again. The aftercare is also an important point. Hospitals are well-known breeding grounds for all sorts of really nasty bacteria.

But anyway, that's my viewpoint. Note: I am not a doctor, a nurse, a bladesmith, or a metallurgist. But I know a fair bit about all of those subjects and have an intense dislike of scare-mongering and this is the only way" attitudes. There are a lot of different ways to get blood out of a body, and when it comes to cutting, a surgical scalpel is no better or worse than any sufficiently well-made, well-polished blade.


The other subject I didn't touch upon was pain, but I think a thousand words in that last post was enough typing for the day. Suffice to say that again, as long as you're using a well-made and sharpened blade, the difference between that and a "surgically sharp" scalpel is again so small as makes no difference.

Obviously a blunt blade is much harder to cut with and would hurt more, and serrated knives are very nasty weapons and should never be taken to a donor. But again, pain comes down to length of cut, depth of cut, and placement. Some skin is far more sensitive than other parts, and that makes a much larger difference than what piece of steel you're cutting with.

Also, it's been my experience that a cut is a cut is a cut within limits. It's what's done to the skin/area around the wound/the wound itself a) before feeding, b) during feeding, and c) after feeding that can create or lessen the pain on a far greater level than the cut itself.

But on this subject, what would I know? I've only played donor to five vampires on over a hundred occasions, and played with a dozen or so sadists with far more than just blades, teeth, and claws in their toolbox [insert eye-rolling smileycon here].



Everyone who involves themselves in bloodletting or bloodplay is urged to educate themselves in all aspects of it. The best way to do this is to sample a wide range of factual knowledge, opinions and points of view and decide what is applicable or useful to you. If you're not able or willing to do this you shouldn't be playing with sharp things.