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Hello! I'm currently doing my qualification for dog grooming (but lockdown making this hard :( )
My question is about attachment combs..
I don't know why I'm confused and probably sounds like a silly question,
But basically, I'm confused with
1) When to use them / what breeds? Why do we use them? With what blades and why with those specific blade sizes? how do the blades and combs go together?

2) What are the different numbers? I'm really bad with knowing what size like 3mm is (unless I have SEEN it being used and can SEE what length it cuts .. if that makes sense) - With blades, because I have seen what length 3, 5, 7, 10 and 30 is, I can compare that with other blades I have not used/seen, such as a 4, 15 etc.. like when I google comb attachment and it says to me 1/8" - 3mm - I don't actually know what length that is!

3) if it's used on specific breeds, do they have to be used? for example, if someone wanted their dog long, could you just use a 3?

Sorry if these are confusing/stupid questions.. I feel as if I should not be a groomer if I did not know the answers to these D: I hope they made sense, and hope someone could answer them!

Thank you so much!!
 

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Hi! I'm a home groomer who's only groomed two dogs, who both happen to have the curly water-dog type coat, so take my answer with a grain of salt.

My understanding is that combs are an inexpensive alternative when you don't have a blade that will cut the right length. I used them for a while with my first dog - just snapped them over the 10 blade my clippers came with, and they did an okay job. I think they'd do better with an even shorter blade underneath - like a 30 or 40 - but I wasn't exactly doing show grooming so it didn't matter in my case. I think they're a great option for getting more length options without spending the money to have (and maintain) blades in each size, but I don't know if there's a circumstances where they'd perform better than a blade of comparable length.

Over time I've invested in proper blades for the lengths I use the most, and I like them so much better. Both easier to use, and produce a more even cut, in my experience. This is especially true now that I have my younger dog, who has much thicker hair. Combs just do not handle it as well as blades, even when I'm going for something as (relatively) long as a 3F. I also felt like I sometimes accidentally had hair get snagged between the blade and the comb and so they pulled more, but that could absolutely be my inexperience.

So based on my experience, combs are more of a substitute if you don't have and/or don't want a blade the right size. Having used them, I can't see anything they'd be able to do that a blade couldn't (but again, I've groomed a very small number of dogs with really only one coat type). Afraid I can't help you with lengths, though. I always have to look up what length each blade actually leaves the hair at, if I need to know, and usually just judge by the results I've seen. I suppose you could look up the mm the regular blades leave and compare that to the mm of the combs - like a #7 blade leaves 3.2mm, so the 3mm comb in your example would be close to a 7 blade.
 

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Attachment combs are used to keep the coat longer, while ensuring a uniform length. They do work best with a 30 or even a 40 blade. Different companies might have different numbering/labeling systems, so making sure you have the chart for the brand you are using is extremely helpful.

They can be used on pretty much any breed where the owner wants a somewhat longer cut. Using a comb on a clipper is much faster and easier than scissoring an even finish, especially on a larger dog.

As with plain clipper blades, going with the lay of the coat will result in a longer cut than going against the lay of the coat.
 
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