Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why A Break-Off Blade Knife?

Think about it. When do you normally change a #11 X-Acto blade? When the tip breaks off. Did you ever notice the edge below the broken tip seems sharp?

90% of knife use in rocket building is cutting laser cut fins free from the wood sheet. Why waste a blade that costs $1.00 each on laser cut fins? A break-off blade section is just pennies per segment.

Pop off a dulled segment on a break-off blade knife and you've got a new sharp edge. Save some money - Use your X-Acto knife and #11 blades for the complex curves and tight cutting.

The knife on the right isn't one of those cheap break-off handles. It's a 9mm blade handle made by Olfa, the XA-1. It sells at Home Depot for under $5.00. The blades can feel loose in the cheaper bargain bin utility knifes.


  1. I'm all-in on the break-off blades. I got one of the Olfa's pictured above on your recommendation and I'm quite happy with it. I also got an 18mm version for when I need slightly more oomph.

    I still use the Xacto #11 when I need to do really fine curved work, but well over 90% is going to the snap-off. I hand-cut all the pieces on my upscale Quinstar using the snap-off.

    I think you mentioned the most important point: A lot of our hobby work requires only the pointy tip along with maybe 1/8" or so of the blade. Snap-offs are ideal for this.

    1. Hi Neil,
      I'm glad to hear the cheaper knife works for you. Save your money for other rocketry stuff! If you get your break-off blades at Harbor Freight they are even cheaper! They're not quite as shiny as the Olfa brand blades but for utility cutting, who cares?