"...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
"...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 arguement 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
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
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].