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Slice Precision Cutter - Craft Knife With A Ceramic Blade

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Ceramic blade of the Slice Precision Cutter shown beside a standard replaceable swivel knife blade

The ceramic blade of the Slice Precision Cutter shown beside a standard replaceable swivel knife blade.

Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

The Bottom Line

The Slice Precision Cutter, with its long lasting ceramic blade is a great precision cutter for paper and lightweight card or photo paper. The blade is very small and fine, and the well designed pen type handle allows you to easily guide it around very fine curves. Although the head does not swivel, the cutter functions very similar to a swivel knife, except that the ceramic blade can be used with materials which would cause regular blades to rust or pit. The size of the blade means you would be unlikely to use it in a prying or levering motion which might cause the brittle blade to break. This is a good knife for detailed cuts in paper.

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Pros

  • Well designed handle allows good precise control, especially on curves
  • Fine sharp blade allows very precise cutting, this is a good knife for detailed paper cuts
  • Blade holds its sharp edge, so you can work on complex projects without changing blades

Cons

  • Blade is not replaceable, you can hone it with high grit silicone carbide papers attached to glass
  • Blade is very small, you cannot use this blade to cut through heavy card.

Description

  • Fine sharp ceramic blade is ideal for cutting detailed paper designs.
  • Handle makes the blade easy to control, and the pen like cap protects both the brittle blade and your fingers if you store it in a drawer.
  • Good blade for cutting thin masking and stencil materials, not much use for thicker materials as blade is less than 1/8 inch long.

Guide Review - Slice Precision Cutter - Craft Knife With A Ceramic Blade

Ceramic blades are popular on speciality chef's knifes as their zirconium oxide ceramic blades are much harder than steel and hold an edge much longer without sharpening than conventional blades, up to 40 times longer than stainless steel blades. For a paper cutting knife for crafts, super sharp, extra thin blades, like that found in the Slice Precision Cutter have a great advantage.

The Slice Precision Cutter is an ergonomic pen shaped cutter with a tiny ceramic blade 1/8 of an inch long, although the working edge is closer to 1/16 inch. The tiny size of the blade is surprising, it cuts easily through paper with very little pressure. The blade is held in the holder so that the point acts as a leading edge, but the main weight of the cut is directed away from the point, preventing accidental damage to the very thin cutting blade. You may have difficulty seeing the cutting edge of the blade. It is very reflective under lights, and the angle of the blade holder runs opposite to the cutting edge, but you could make your life easier by using a permanent marker to place a dot on the back side of the blade so you know where the cutting edge is.

Ceramic blades are quite brittle and will not survive dropping on the point, twisting or sideways movements against the blade. You cannot use these blades to pry or scrape against a surface, and you must be careful not to over flex them. The design of the Slice Precision Cutter makes it difficult to damage the blade, as the point is held close to the housing and the blade is very narrow, however if you don't pay attention to lining up the knife and applying proper pressure, you could easily damage the blade.

Ceramic blades can only be sharpened with something sharper than themselves, usually diamond grit. Silicone carbide wet/dry sandpaper can be used to hone the blade (grits of 800 to 2000 should be used), although you would need to use the sandpaper attached to a smooth glass surface. See the honing and sharpening advice for blades in the article on hobby and carving knives for miniatures. Although they can be resharpened, the tiny size of this particular knife makes it unlikely anyone would bother resharpening the blade.

The Slice Precision Cutter does not have a removable blade, as the ceramic blade would supposedly outlast 10 to 40 similar stainless steel blades. These blades are inert to acids and alkali's and will not rust. Their brittle nature means they should not be used on hard materials, like wire, or metal. They do best with thin layers of non hardened clay, paper or leather. The blade size means it cannot be used to cut thicker materials such as craft wood, or thicker card.

Although the packaging bills this as a 'safer' knife alternative, its safety likely is due to the tiny depth of the blade, and the fact that the blade remains sharp, rather than any other design feature. It is still a very sharp blade, and must be treated with respect.

Price and Availability: Available online and from several craft stores, cost $5 to $10.
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