Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Keen and Slice

John Gruber:

Yes, a box cutter/utility knife that costs about $100. […] A few weeks ago, though, my pals at Studio Neat sent me a pre-production Keen. I prefer it to the Palmer in every single regard. First, it’s thinner and smaller, but in no way too small. Second, it’s easier to change the blade. But most importantly, the Keen offers a completely original design for opening and closing the blade: a spring-loaded slider. It’s so different from any box cutter design I’ve ever seen that I wondered if I’d even like it at all, let alone prefer it, because it does not lock into place.


Given how many packages I receive each and every week of the year, it’s one of my most-used tools.

There are certainly times when a real utility knife comes in handy. But, 99% of the time, all I want to do is open a package and then break down the box for recycling or to use it for crafts. For these purposes, the $6 Slice Safety Cutter (Amazon) is fantastic. The ceramic blade is tiny enough that it doesn’t need to be retracted, and you don’t have to worry about cutting too deep (beyond the packaging). Yet it makes quick work of tape on boxes and even thick plastic blister packs that can be awkward with scissors and potentially dangerous with a knife. (Corrugated cardboard usually takes two passes.) The blade is not replaceable, but after more than a decade of use it’s still sharp. It’s tiny but hard to lose in a drawer because it’s bright green. You can also put it on a keyring or stick it as a magnet.

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Kevin Schumacher

For years we have used the Zibra Open-It! (although an older model)

Might have to try that Slice Safety Cutter, though, if it really works that well on blister packaging. We never use the screwdriver part of the Open-It! and really only use the scissors on plastic. And it's annoying to keep track of the cap that goes over the retractable blade (although the pics of the newer model make it look like that cap is now permanently attached and swings open to allow access to the blade).

I have an OLFA SK-4 self-retracting utility knife. Works great, and the blades last a long time. I'll never go back to a non-retracting blade. Only $12 at Amazon...

I liked the look of the Keen, but I just can't justify AU$150+shipping for it. For a third of that I'd consider it cuz I like the engineering in it.But I just use a $2 Olfa Touch-Knife ( (technically, mine is a “Vintage Japan” one ( which shows how long they last).

It's an interesting design and I like the repairability of it. I would lose that tiny thing in the blink of an eye though, so I think I'll just 3D print my own. I just have to find a spring.

I am a big fan of the CANARY Corrugated Cardboard knife

It is hard to cut yourself or the product because it has a ton of tiny serrations. It only sharp if your move it vertically. It bigger than box cutters so you don’t have to be as precise. It also cuts cardboard really well and takes forever to dull. A box cutter can usually only cut one box well before it dulls.

Seconding the CANARY recommendation.

Supposedly it has a non-stick coating that helps prevent getting stuck to the tape adhesive as you're cutting.

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