Co.Design

Wanted: A Safer Box Cutter, No Matter How You Slice It

With a ceramic blade and ergonomic handle, this tool is a cut above the rest.

Box cutters are indispensable to countless retail employees, and yet they’re dangerously sharp, difficult to grip, and have barely a safety feature, unless you count the retracting function. We hereby bring you a revolution in box cutting (yes, seriously): a tool that not only is more ergonomic (it has a protective wraparound handle) but safer--it’s the first of its kind to use a ceramic blade, which is safe to touch when idle.

Designed by West Coasters Scot Herbst and Alfredo Muccino for Slice, the box cutter sports a unique handle (the result of dozens of user studies), which wraps around the knuckles to protect the hand from cuts and lacerations from sharp edges or fragments such as staples. The curved handle also doubles as a hook for hanging on one’s pocket, as opposed to sticking the thing inside a pocket, where, Herbst tells Co.Design, “most accidents occur, as the blade can mistakenly still be out . . . ouch!”

The bulk of the innovation resides in the ceramic blade, which is ten times sharper than steel and therefore holds its edge much longer, which cuts down on the number of blade changes--another opportunity for accidents. And the blade’s nano-molecular structure allows it to be incredibly effective when running across a surface but dull to the touch when still. The patented design has rounded edges, as Herbst says, he “found absolutely no benefit to the ‘knifelike’ sharp ends on a traditional steel box-cutter blade.” The product has been picked up by both the MoMA Design Store and Home Depot. “If that’s not a testament to the versatility of this little guy,” the designer says, “I don’t know what is.”

Herbst and Muccino donated their design services to Slice, which dedicates at least 1% of sales to autism research, and were rewarded with a 2011 Red Dot. The box cutter is available for $19.99 here.

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