Choosing a Good Cutter
Written by James Payne

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

User Rating: / 1

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Facing the Guillotine

The Guillotine cutter gets its name from the execution device of the same name, and in fact works in a similar manner, lopping off the head of the cigar. You may have also heard it referred to as a straight cut, because if placed properly (aka, not on an angle), it cuts straight down.

This type of cutter is by far the most popular of the lot due to its ease of use, simplicity to make, and relative cheapness. It works on a wide range of cigars, from thin to very thick (provided of course that the blade is kept sharp). To use a cutter of this variety, you insert the cigar in the hole (see the picture below) and press down steadily on the blade, being sure to keep it straight.


There are several schools of thought with regards to how much of the head or cap to insert into the guillotine. The novice smoker will cut off up to an inch. More seasoned smokers will do roughly an eighth of an inch. Using this method, you remove most if not all of the flag (the cap) of tobacco. This is common practice, as the flag of tobacco tends to come off while you are smoking.

You may also wish to use the shaving off technique, whereby you cut-off only enough to showcase the filler inside, leaving the flag mostly intact, lending for a rounded tip and a nice draw. This shaving technique can be simple to daunting, depending upon the shape of the cigar head. For flat heads, it is a challenge, while a pointed head is somewhat simple.

Guillotine cutters come in two varieties: the single and double blade. The double acts in a similar manner to the single blade guillotine, with one exception: it has both a blade on top, and at the bottom of the device, allowing for a cleaner cut. When you apply pressure on the mechanism, the two blades meet in the middle of the cigar, and if the model is not a cheap version, should produce a nice, even cut, whereas a single blade can leave the last bit or bottom of the cigar jagged, particularly if the blade is no longer as sharp as it once was.


0 # Ji Chul Kim 2009-01-16 06:27
A couple of points. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the the Guillotine style cutters. As far as receiving a tight or loose draw on the cigar, storage conditions in my opinion play a greater factor in this situation versus the cut. Granted someone may cut off an inch or two of a cigar to get past a plug, but that's not what I had in mind.

V-cutters are not the only style that range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars, there are straight cut guillotines made of the same materials and in the same range as described for V-cutters!

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0 # James Payne 2009-01-24 08:34
Hi Ji,

Good point with regards to storage, and you are definitely right about the price of those guillotines! Thanks for reading!

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0 # James Payne 2009-01-24 08:36
Thanks for dropping by for the first article in a two part series on choosing the proper cutter for your cigars. In addition to cutting techniques, I talk about the different types of cutters, particularly the v-cut and the guillotine. Drop by and let me know your own take on the tools available; I'd love to hear from you!

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