Top Cutting Tools – My Favorite Knives, Scissors, and More

I use a variety of cutting tools around the studio and home, for all kinds of materials from fabric to metal, and everywhere in between. Here’s a roundup of my favorite cutting tools, in no particular order.

Olfa ratchet-lock utility knife – I got one of these Olfa retractable blade utility knives in my freshman art school kit, and we’ve been very close ever since. Unlike cheapo plastic utility knives or beefy shop utility blades, the Olfa closely holds the blade so as to remove almost all wiggle. This knife’s accuracy is my favorite thing about it. It holds standard snap-off box cutter blades, so it feels like a team player in the studio. I never lend out this knife, and that’s how I can be sure it is really my favorite.

Clover seam ripper – The handle of this seam ripper us nice and sturdy, and since it’s one piece instead of using the cap as a handle, pushing hard on it does not result in irreversible cap-sticking. But it doesn’t come with a cap, so it stabs stuff if you try to bring it with you. Still, best studio seam ripper!

Hakko flush diagonal cutters/snips – I love these for trimming wires, plastic things, hangnails, and more. These are the most versatile little cutters out there.

Fiskars finger knife – I found this thing in the scrapbooking isle of a craft store and knew I had to have it. This thing is like an X-acto knife (and takes the same blades), but the finger grip is just so ergonomic!

Gingher fabric shears – A nice pair of fabric scissors, reserved for fabric only, will stay sharp for a long time. Did you know you that most places that sharpen kitchen knives will also sharpen scissors? Mmmmmmm, sharp cuts through fabric… *drool*

Offset serrated bread knife – From baguette to upholstery foam, this thing does it all. The offset handle saves your knuckles, and the sharp scalloped blade won’t crush even your fluffiest angel food cake.

Henckels santoku vegetable knife – This was my only “serious” kitchen knife throughout college (I was eating/cooking a vegan diet for most of this time). This lightweight and versatile knife chopped its way through everything I asked it to, and even now that I have a bigger chefs knife, I still use this one all the time. (Photos above and below are two of my NYC kitchens, 10 years apart.)

Honorable mentions, aka “other knives in my life”: