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How to use a craft knife correctly

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How to use a craft knife correctly
November 07, 2018 Family Restaurants 5 comments

Thank you for using NT cutters/utility knives and blades. Blades are extremely sharp, so please handle with special care. Safety Tips below will show you how to use NT cutters/utility knives and blades safely and correctly to prevent injuries.

Focus on your task
Do not use cutters/utility knives when you're tired or in a rush. You are more likely to injure yourself when you have trouble concentrating on your project.
Choose the appropriate cutter for the job
Choose the appropriate cutter for your job from NT's wide choice of utility knives with 9mm and 18mm snap-off blades, art knives, circle cutters, rotary cutters, etc. Do not cut wood board with a 9mm-blade utility knife!
Tighten up the screw
When you use Screw-Lock type utility knives, make sure to tighten screw firmly to lock the snap-off blade in position for extra safety.
Blade handling
Use safety glasses and gloves while snapping off the blade. Keep the used blades in empty can or dispenser.
Slide the blade back in holder
Do not leave the blade out of the holder while not in use. Each time you are done with cutting, slide the blade back in the holder immediately.
Keep in a safe place
Make sure that the blade is back in the holder and store safely. Keep cutters and blades out of children's reach.

It’s a tool every crafter needs, but what is a craft knife? This general term can refer to various all-purpose cutting tools. Finding the right craft knives and blades will make your projects easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

What is a Craft Knife Used For? Different Styles for Different Uses

When most people picture a craft knife, it’s the traditional tool that features a handle with a pointed, replaceable blade at one end that’s about an inch long.

This remains a popular style for crafters. But it is not your only option. Other types of craft knives include the art scalpel, precision cutter, pen cutter, and utility knife.

Tools will vary by handle design, blade size, and type of blade—embedded or replaceable blades, and fixed or retractable handle designs. There is crossover in use—for instance, you can use almost any craft knife for paper cutting—but different tools will be better suited for different types of use.

Small, embedded blades often featured in precision cutters are used for detail work. The traditional utility or other mid-size-blade knife like a pen cutter is great for general purpose cuts in a wide variety of materials, and is useful for details that aren’t too intricate.

Retractable knives with larger blades are good for thicker materials, and making long straight or wide curving lines.

Handles that Handle Well

The handle of your crafting knife plays a critical role in how the tool performs. Is it designed to fit comfortably in your hand and make the tool easy to use? A tool that is awkward to hold, causes discomfort over time, or is hard to handle will cause hand fatigue and make it difficult to create clean, accurate cuts.

Another consideration is durability. Does the handle look and feel solid? Choose a tool that’s built to last and has a nice weight to it.

Can you get a good grip on your craft knife? This is important. Good grip means good control and no slipping. Also consider if that surface will be comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

The Precision Cutter and Craft Knife by Slice are examples of tools that fit these criteria. They are ergonomically designed and have a comfort grip surface, and their weight is balanced for excellent control. The Precision Knife features a unique ring-style grip.

Safety First

Artistic pursuits are fun, but they can also be dangerous, and cutting tools are a common hazard. Learning proper use is important, as is choosing tools that are as safe as possible. Consider the following:

  • Does the handle have a non-slip surface?
  • How is the blade stored when the tool isn’t in use?
  • Do the mechanical parts of the tool move easily and appear well made?
  • Are the blades safe? Learn more about what makes a blade safe.

Choose a cutter that doesn’t slip, and not just because that will make the job easier; a slipping knife is a major safety hazard.

Tools that don’t feature a retractable handle design should come with a protective cap to cover the blade when it’s not being used. The cap often fits over the end of the handle, like a pen cap, when you are using the blade.

Retractable handle designs keep the blade inside when it’s not in use. It’s important that the handle’s moving parts perform smoothly and withstand use over time.

Since metal dulls relatively quickly, metal blades out of the package are overly sharpened, which makes them dangerous. A dull blade is also an unsafe blade, so metal-bladed tools especially should be assessed frequently.

Slice blades offer an alternative. They feature a proprietary finger-friendly® design—that is, they resist lacerating skin. Slice’s ceramic blades also last over 11 times longer than metal blades for greater value and fewer blade changing hassles.

Does It Get the Job Done?

Crafts require cutting many different materials, and your all-purpose knives should handle them all well. Moreover, the cuts should be clean and accurate, with no bunching, tearing, or fraying.

Creative professional Tracy Moreau finds that Slice tools meet the rigors of her multiple crafting demands. She particularly relies on the Precision Cutter, Craft Knife, and Ceramic Scissors, as they measure up to her clean-cut standards.

“I haven’t found anything yet that my Slice knives and scissors don’t cut well,” says Moreau. “And I cut some unusual things: vinyl, plastic, Mylar, metal foils, heavy cardstock, felt, foam sheets, compressed sponges, plastic tubing, chipboard, fibre, threads, ribbon, cording, Jute rope—I have found that my Slice tools can handle them all with ease.”

See for yourself how Slice tools cut through a delicate material like crêpe paper:

By contrast, here’s the Slice Craft Knife easily getting through tough gator board.

The Craft Knife For You

The right craft knife is a cherished tool. On your “What is a craft knife?” quest, thoughtful consideration will lead you to your ideal all-purpose cutter.

Apr 10, A utility knife is a small, lightweight knife that is used for cutting through cardboard, opening boxes, cutting ropes and in craft work.

With so many knives to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start with creating your personal knife collection. Do you really need a carving knife if you have a chef’s knife? What’s so great about a santoku knife? In a bid to make these important life choices easier, we have a little infographic and knife breakdown for you. Don’t know how to choose a knife? We’ve got you covered.

Choosing the right knife

Try chopping a tomato with a carving knife. Now try chopping it with a Victorinox paring knife and you’ll soon see that each knife was created with a specific purpose in mind. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy every single knife under the sun, but that you should consider what you enjoy cooking most often and tailor your knife collection to suit your needs. Some knives are great multitaskers, some are best used to fulfil their fish-boning destiny. Use this infographic for easy choices.

Each knife’s purpose

Is it important to use the correct knife for the correct purpose? It may sound obvious but, within reason, it is. A carving knife won’t work to cleave and, if it does, you’re probably using too much force and damaging the blade. A chef’s knife is a great multitasker, but for delicate work like de-seeding peppers and coring tomatoes, a small and nimble paring knife is better.

So how do I choose which knives I need?

You can cut out some of the thinking by choosing a knife set but, in case you already have the basics of a knife collection, here’s how our knife wish list would go.

1. Chef’s knife

A proper chef’s knife is where most epic knife collections begin. These handy, classically shaped knives will make light of all your basic food preparation tasks, like chopping and slicing fresh ingredients. A good chef’s knife can change how you feel about cooking altogether.

2. Paring knife

Paring, peeling and slicing are made easy with these nimble guys and they are great if you have to take just one knife on a picnic or camping. After all, your granny never ate an apple without taking it apart and slicing it in two. Just decide whether you need a serrated blade – great for cutting through soft skinned tomatoes – or straight blade. Or, just go with one of each.

3. Utility knife

For a multitasking, versatile knife, choose a utility knife for all those small slicing tasks like mincing shallots, slicing herbs and cleaning and cutting your veggies. The slightly longer blade is convenient, when you don’t need the heft of a chef’s knife, but a paring knife is just too small to be comfortable.

4. Bread knife

Squashing a fluffy loaf with a non-serrated knife is not okay. For gently slicing through bread without tearing it, a bread knife is what you need. The large serrations bite through the crispiest crusts and leaves the soft crumb inside intact. Respect the freshly-baked baguette, people.

5. Steak knives

There is nothing like a good steak but enjoyment of your robust meaty dish can be diluted if not given the right utensils. Invest in a set of steak knives to make light work of sumptuous slabs.

6. Fillet knife

A fillet knife should have a flexible blade for delicate fish and meat preparation. Equip yourself with the right tools and a little technique and you’ll be a master meat surgeon before you know it.

7. Boning knife

Now we’re getting a little technical. The boning knife has a narrow, flexible blade with a fine tapered tip. This shape makes it much easier to work around bones – whilst causing minimal damage to the surrounding meat. Nice to have, but not essential unless you are planning on doing a lot of your own meat prep.

8. Carving set

Taking on a roast leg of lamb, whole chicken or anything else requiring carving is much easier and more fun with the right tools. Sure, you could hack at it with your chef’s or bread knife, but armed with a carving set, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your next chance to slice it up. The two-pronged fork keeps meat still, and inflicts minimal damage, while the long, narrow blade of the carving knife quickly cuts slices, and cuts through the joints of poultry easily. Here’s how to carve a chicken.

9. Cleaver

Thwack! is the sound that a cleaver makes when it chops through a bone or large chunk of vegetable or meat. Light work of heavy tasks – it’s not subtle, but we like it. Use it to crack through the back of a lobster, or when your butchery tasks have you cracking marrow bones open.

10. Santoku

Ah, the Japanese chef’s knife. There are a lot of foods that get nervous around these bad boys. Wouldn’t you? The hollow edge of a Santoku knife creates pockets of air which prevent extra thin or soft slices of food from sticking to the blade, and the straighter “sheep’s foot” blade style facilitates an up-and-down chopping motion vs. the typical Western rocking chopping motion.

11. Vegetable knives

With tapered, fluted, thin, angled and broad blades to protect your pincers, vegetable knives will enhance your veg chopping experiences wonderfully. Primarily from the Japanese end of the spectrum, they help to process veggies quickly and easily.

12. Mezzaluna

Make light work of chopping your herbs fine with a mezzaluna. Mezzaluna means half-moon or crescent in Italian, and describes the blade. Work it backwards and forwards over your fresh herbs to chop them pronto.

13. Cheese knives

Love your cheese? Then equip yourself with a cheese knife especially designed to stop cheese sticking and to make serving a whole lot easier. Love a variety of cheeses? A cheese knife set could be your best bet.

14. Sashimi

For the ultimate homemade sushi fanatic, the sashimi knife is the pro’s choice. Flat ground on one edge for superior edge holding capability and an even, flat cut, it’ll turn sushi-making into a dream. Keep it sharp, and it’ll reward you for years.

There’s exhilaration to be had from wielding the right knife in the kitchen. Browse the full range of knives on Yuppiechef.com and pin this handy infographic to help you on your way.

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Why use a snap-off blade? There are plenty of reasons to choose a snap-off blade utility knife over a standard trapezoid blade – you get a blade that lasts six times longer; offers faster change-out; is safer; and is always sharp, fresh and ready to go, enhancing productivity.

Of course, as with any tool, proper usage is key to maximizing the benefits. For both new and veteran users of snap-off blades, a few best practices ensure optimal blade strength and sharpness.

How to Snap

Users have all kinds of creative ways to break off a blade edge (or snap a blade, as most users refer to it) – wedging the edge under a boot, into the ground or against a work table to force a snap, or even just using their hand – but the safest and most technically correct way to snap a blade is to either use a pair of pliers or a blade disposal system.

When using a pair of pliers, advance the blade out so the perforation is past the back support wall located on the back of the knife. The support wall exists so the blade doesn’t break mid-cut, but to snap, the blade must go past it. Use the pliers to grasp the blade firmly and snap along the perforation. Dispose of the blade afterward.

When using a disposal system, simply insert the blade (extended past the perforation point), and bend it until it snaps off, trapping it in the disposal system.

Using either pliers or a disposal system are the two optimally safe ways to snap a blade, because a user does not need to touch the blade to snap it, and there’s no risk of a blade segment flying through the air.

How Often to Snap

This depends on what you’re cutting. A user cutting something very abrasive, like drywall, might be snapping off a new edge weekly or even daily, but with thin detail work, they might not need a fresh edge for quite some time.

The surface on which a user is cutting affects snap frequency just as much as – or even more than –the material being cut. A user could be cutting something thin like paper which won’t dull the edge very quickly, but if they’re cutting it on concrete, they will wear the blade from dragging it over the abrasive surface with every cut and require more blade changes.

How often to change the blade also depends on the type of blade being used. A hook blade is designed to protect the blade tip from damaging the surface under the cut. This will protect the tip from surface wear and may lead to longer blade life than a blade being used on a rough surface daily.

The basic rule of thumb is to snap whenever the blade gets dull. A sharp blade is a safe blade, because it prevents the drags and skips that occur with a dull blade. You also get an easier cut that requires less pressure.

When in Doubt, Snap

Because a sharp blade is safer and more efficient, it’s actually better to snap more often, before the blade gets dull.

Sometimes people think they should use the blade longer, to “get more out of it,” but think of it like you would a razor used for shaving: If you shave with the same razor too long, after the blade has started to dull, it irritates your skin and may cut you.

A utility knife is the same way. It might seem like you’re saving money by snapping less, but the cost evens out in the form of lost productivity. It takes more time and effort to make a cut with a dull blade, versus making a fast, clean cut with a sharp blade – and a snap-off makes it easy to keep a fresh blade in a knife.

When you are ready to show off your snapping skills or projects, you can share them with our Facebook or Instagram page using the hashtag #OLFAcuts.

A lot of professional leatherworkers use a round knife, which can be a useful tool, Cutting With ​X-Acto, Utility or Craft Knives When used correctly, they create beautiful clean edges along straight lines, but they can be a bit tricky to master.

Lion Office Products

Many workplaces use knives and blades on a regular basis. These hazards present risks of cuts and other injuries.

Examples of who uses knives

You may need to use a knife or blade in:

  • kitchen work
  • opening packaging
  • meat processing
  • rural environments.

Injuries

Injuries to your hands, fingers or legs may occur when they'’re in the way of the blade, when the blade slips, or if an open blade is handled unexpectedly.

Workers who handle sharp edged objects (for example, sheets of steel or glass in the manufacturing industry) are also at risk of cuts.

Incidents

You should notify WHSQ of an incident that occurs in relation to working with knives, blades or any other sharp object.

Preventing incidents

For information on how to reduce the risk of your staff being injured, refer to the How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice 2011 (PDF, 1048.03 KB) .

Examples of how to minimise risk:

  • Outsource food preparation, so that you buy in food that is already chopped or sliced etc.
  • Make sure all machines have guards attached and workers always use them when operating the equipment.
  • Redesign machines so they cannot be operated without guards in place.
  • Ensure "off" buttons/switches are readily accessible.
  • Attach a last slice device or pusher to prevent injury at the cutting section.
  • Ensure that equipment is securely fixed to the bench.
  • Avoid using knives where possible.
  • Use bull nose knives rather than pointed-end knives where possible.
  • Provide a magnetic strip for knife storage.
  • Ensure butchers' steels for knife sharpening have hand guards.
  • Provide guarding on slicing machines, e.g. a thumb guard to cover the blade at the far end of each cut.
  • Provide knives with waterproof handles that can be sterilised.
  • Provide knives made of stainless steel or carbon.
  • Provide knives with handles that are comfortable to use.
  • Train all workers in the safe use of knives, cover topics such as:
    • keep knives well maintained and sharp
    • do not leave knives in washing up water (wash them up and return them to storage area straight after use)
    • always use a stable surface such as a cutting board and cut away from the body
    • store knives safely in a rack or knife block with blades pointing towards the back
    • never try to catch a falling knife
    • allow plenty of room so there is no chance of being bumped
    • carry knives with the blade pointing downwards
    • don't leave knives on benches or worktops.
  • Train workers in the safe use of machinery, including what equipment is to be used for specific tasks.
  • Train workers in how to sharpen knives correctly or outsource this service.
  • Provide the correct knife for the task and food being cut.
  • Regularly inspect and have your equipment serviced to make sure it has not been damaged (this may also improve productivity by reducing downtime of equipment). Repair faulty equipment as soon as possible.
  • Ensure interlock guards are fitted to the front edge of all compactor units.
  • Under-counter compactors should have a safety switch that prevents operation until a bin or trolley is in place.
  • Guards or restrictor plates should be fitted to equipment where appropriate.
  • Make sure pressure vessels are fitted with low level cut-off devices.
  • Make sure equipment is fitted with safety valves, water level and pressure gauges where required.
  • Provide accessible first aid equipment and trained first aid officers.
  • Follow manufacturers' instructions for cleaning equipment – arrange for rep to demonstrate.
  • Provide appropriate safety instructions and signs for equipment.
  • Develop safe systems of work and train workers about them (e.g. a ‘no jewellery’ policy).
  • Provide mesh gloves and make sure workers use them when working with knives. Be careful when using these with serrated blades.

how to use a craft knife correctly

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: How to Use an Xacto Knife

Please follow these steps when planning the use of craft knives: 1. Avoid Dispose of any blades correctly using sharps bins provided. 7. Accidents, Incidents.

how to use a craft knife correctly
Written by Dout
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