Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cleaning Your Cigar Cutter

So I'm in my office with Hayward, our new Famous Smoke Shop copywriter, and he asks me if I ever clean my cigar cutter. "Sure," I said. Apparently, his XiKAR Xi1 cigar cutter was getting a bit sticky, and he wanted to know what I use. Almost simultaneously, we agreed this would be a good topic for a posting, so here goes.

First, let's take a look at what gums up your cigar cutter. It's usually due to the oils in the tobacco, which, over time, collect on the surface above the blade and eventually cause the cutter to stick. The blades themselves usually remain sharp, and some so-called "self-sharpening" cutters usually do a good job at keeping the edge in tune.

If you're a chomper, like some guys I know, you're not only cutting off the cap, but more often you're cutting off the slimy, chewed-up glob that's been in your mouth. That's sure to leave a mess of residue on the cutter's surface over time.

I have a couple of XiKAR cigar cutters myself, and I know it's time to clean them when the sides don't open evenly. Same goes for the standard double blade, two-finger cutter; it tends to stick when you pull it apart.

Someone once suggested I use sewing machine oil to un-stick my cutter. It's odorless, colorless, and it's what barbers use to keep their buzz clippers from sticking; a few drops here and there, then wipe off any excess oil with a tissue or soft cloth. I think this may help if you have a metal cutter that's a bit tight in the first place, but it won't remove any tars in terms of cleaning the piece.

Here's my solution: Rubbing alcohol cuts through tar like a hot knife melts butter. By simply applying some alcohol to a tissue or a soft cloth, you can wipe the residue off your cigar cutter and be back in business. You just have to be careful not to nip your finger tips during the process. I use what I call the "detailing" method. I start with the soft cloth. Then I daub a Q-Tip with alcohol to get into those tight little spots the cloth can't reach.

What's your method? Send me your comments and let's compare notes.

~ Gary Korb

4 comments:

Andy from XIKAR said...

Gary,

You are right! Alcohol can get most of the culprit (tobacco oils) off your cutter without having to put oil in the mechanism (which can get messy if you use just a drop too much!).

After alcohol, if the action still seems tight, graphite lubricant can get things moving...but use just a tiny bit!

Thanks,
Andy O'Dower
Marketing Manager
XIKAR Inc.

Cigar Cutters said...

Are there any finishes that you don't recommend using this method on? I was looking at these cigar cutters and trying to figure out if this cleaning method can be used on all of these without damaging the finish.

Gary Korb said...

If the cutter has a wood finish, you should be very careful to avoid the alcohol touching any of the wood surfaces. It could also damage any stain or lacquer that may have been used on the finish. I would also caution cigar smokers to purchase their cigar cutters, especially XiKAR cigar cutters, from a legitimate online cigar store, rather than an overpriced outdoor camping outfitter - unless you'd prefer a hunting knife for clipping your cigars. ;-)

Aaron Carter said...

Thanks so much for posting this. My wife just got my cigar cutter and I didn't know how to go about cleaning it. I would really like to get it nice a shiny. This article helped me out a lot.

Aaron | http://karmacigar.com/product-category/cutters/