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[YAK] Boxcutters

G’day; We’re frequently hearing about ‘box cutters’ in the
terrorist oriented news. Nobody I have asked in this country has any
idea of what they really are, and I would be grateful if someone
could satisfy my curiosity. I have a suspicion that I should know
what they are, given a different name. However, reporters keep
doing what they do best; that is, reporting each other, so nobody
ever learns much.

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

Hi John, A boxcutter is another term for a craft knife blade
sandwiched between two pieces of enameled metal. The halves of the
handle are fastened together with machine screws. On the left scale
of the knife is a sliding button, with which one can extend or
retract the 2cm blade.

“What is a boxcutter?” is a perfectly valid question. Another valid
question is, “Can we increase public safety by preventing honest
citizens from carrying sharp objects aboard commercial aircraft?”
:slight_smile: Will Grandma Jones hijack a plane with her nail clippers? Will
a terrorist (who is trained in the Martial Arts) fail in his attempt
because he has no hobby knife?

Boxcutters are not dangerous. Terrorists are dangerous.


Its a slang term for the standard retractable or non-retractable
razor knives that use the trapazoidal shaped blades.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR

The best description I can give is that they are like a huge Exacto
knife in a grip shaped to easily fit in the palm of one’s hand.

Hi John; I know ‘box cutters’ as utility or carpet knife. One can
break sections off the blade in order to keep a sharp edge. The
knife, retractable, has a 45 degree angle cutting edge, and is
housed in a plastic or metal sheath. I’m sure you have lots of them
around. What are they called in your part of the world? Michaela

hey John BOXCUTTERS= matknife/xacto blade like,only 3 times the
size,and as sharp. hope it helps, H.

John, It’s similar to a Stanley Knife, which you will remember from
the UK. Best Regards. Neil George

Hi John- I often read your Orchid e-mails and learn from them- I am
mostly a self taught jeweler, silversmith, lapidary, in a no longer
professional mode- just a hobby right now (I do edit a monthly
bulletin for our Gem & Mineral Society, But I also use a Box Cutter
every day where I work in a warehouse pricing merchandise at Camp
Pedleton, CA, USA. It is a razor blade in a plastic or metal handle.
The blade slides in and out so you can cary it safely in your
pocket. It’s an everyday tool here used to cut up or open cardboard
or other packaging and would have been easy to carry on a plane and
cause no suspicions. I wonder how many descriptions you will get of
a box cutter. What are they called in Australia? Keep
writing-Margaret in beautiful Oceanside,CA

Hi John, The box cutter we have is a “Handy Safety Cutter.” It’s a
handle that accommodates a strip of angled razor blades that are
loaded into it. You break them off one at a time as they get
dulled. There is an adjustment guide depending on the depth you
need to cut. Your local grocery stock person most likely could show

Marta in Sacramento

John, a box cutter is used in most department stores to remove tops
from cardboard cartons. They look like a handle with the corner of a
single edged razor sticking out. They have a more specific name but
I can’t recall just what it is. They are easily closed up and look
not to dangerous that way but they have always scared me.
Lois Nelson

John, Box cutters come in all sizes and shapes. This link shows one
of the more popular styles. I’m sure you have seen them and probably
even have one. You may call it a utility knife…Bob Williams

G’day John: A box cutter is used by the shipping department of many US
companies. It is a flat, rectangular, aluminum ‘sleeve’ about 12cm
long by 3cm wide,and 5-6mm thick (dimensions from memory, not by
measuring one.)

Inside the sleeve is a slide, friction fit, with a razor blade at one
end. When the slide is retracted, it it safe to carry in a pocket, but
when extended, it is a VERY sharp and dangerous cutter. One could
EASILY slit a throat with it, and my guess is that that is how they
would be used as a weapon. David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Hi John, Box cutters are a knives designed primarily for cutting open
boxes. Typically, they have a short, adjustable or removeable blade
(like a razor blade). In the past, they may have been let aboard
because the blade is so short, extending about an inch or so from the

JoAnna Kelleher,

The boxcutters used, as far as what I have read in the papers, were
knives that have a long blade that can be broken off in sections as
the tip gets worn. They were housed in plastic as opposed to metal
cased. Ones they showed here were bright orange colored. The
blades are meant to be exposed only enough to cut through cardboard,
but the blades can be extended to quite a length. Though there was
no specific restriction that barred these types of knives, they can
go through the metal detector without setting off any alarms. I am
sure they are available everywhere.

As well, the news reporting has been less than comprehensive even
here in the US, you have to keep up with every type of media to get
the most It is overwelming, and uncomfortably mind


a box cutter is a little gizmacass that houses a single edge razor
blade. it’s about three to four inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide.
it’s thickness is about 1/4 inch. it would be very simple to
conceal. the blade slides in and out of a metal sleeve just a
little shorter than the blade holder. this is to make it easy to
carry in your pocket. the normal use of these is to cut the tape on
boxes to open or flatten them. as a weapon it can be very leathal to
an unsuspecting victim. as a defensive weapon it can slash wickedly
but a determined person won’t be stopped. this is probally why the
terrorists lost control of the plane that crashed. a sad subject but
i hope this helps

Talk to you later Dave Otto

John, A box cutter is another name for a retractable utility knife.
I’m sure you have seen them before. The heavy duty ones are usually
have a 2 piece cast aluminum that house a razor blade. the blade
mounts in a slider that you can easily retract with your thumb. They
call them box cutters because they are often used in warehouses and
stockrooms to open cardboard crates. Here is a link if I haven’t
explained it well enough: There is a whole
selection of utility knives on this page

Shane Morris

G’day, John: Around here, boxcutters are any tool used to cut open a
box, and a wine glass is any glass with wine in it. I’m sure the
reporters who are reporting this stuff have no idea what they’re
referring to either.

When you board a plane at the airport, I’m sure that someone will
tell you what they think a boxcutter is…

Doug Zaruba

Box cutters are used to open taped boxes. It’s a handle about teh
size of a hot dog with a “hiden” sharp blade. Push a button forward
and it reveals the blade to cut tape with. Push the blade back and
it’s covered.

David Geller