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Use the right tool (for safety)

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  • Member since
    June 2009
Use the right tool (for safety)
Posted by bigbluejavelin on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 6:46 PM

 Sometimes for removing material (styrene plastic) for clearance reasons we might be inclined to use an x-acto knife. Although it may take longer, maybe a file would be a better choice. Thought about this today while using a knife to cut away and realized that I have never injured myself using a file. Switched to a file and remain uninjured!

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 8:03 PM

I've never had an accident with an Exacto knife.

  • Never dropped one straight down into my thigh.
  • Never poked a finger straight into the end of one.
  • Never cut myself.

Don't know what you mean, nothing can go wrong.

Go wrong.

Go wrong.



  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 8:32 PM

Always wear safety goggles while operating your Dremel moto tool.had a few close calls when I was in a hurry without them.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 8:45 PM

I am with Greg!

    I have NEVER gotten cut with an Ex-acto in the Digits-Fifty four years-Sixty five stitches. LOL, Stupid me! I have NEVER had an Ex-acto Knife pierce my thigh or foot when working, Sixty years-Twenty One stitches. LOL, Stupid Me,! I have NEVER cut myself trimming , Seventy years, No Cuts! Smart that. Lucky in trimming I guess!

    If we can claim complete Non -Injury with an Ex-acto Or a Dremel then we are working a miracle or Not Human. Now since I ever had my first Dremel or Dremel type tool(Including ,drills and Buffers.) I always have worn Gloves and Safety Glasses, Or Prescription Glasses with Safety lenses and Side clip-ons.

    Now, the reason I don't use files(I've started using sanding sticks more.) The files you buy(Them Little Scudders), The good ones cost a fair bit. BUT, i have a total of six sets and I had to go from Bad to Worse to Good to build a set that didn't have rough tooling edges and stuff. But, have you noticed? No one has sought to put out a File Card, A flat set of a wire brush glued to a handle to clean them. Most File cards and Brushes have wire surfaces that are infinitesimly too large for the small files. That includes the fine files called"Riffler". The wires just don't go down in the grooves!

  • Member since
    June 2009
Posted by bigbluejavelin on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 1:24 PM

 Back in the 1990's I earned a real nasty scar on my left thumb by cutting apart a MPC Millenium Falcon with a snap-off blade wallpaper knife. I no longer have the scar as about 6 years later I removed it on a table saw!


  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 2:04 PM

Files are also much better at controlling the degree of material removal.  It's very easy for a thin blade to bend and dig into the plastic much deeper than intended.  Removing material to enhance fit is an exclusively subtractive exercise.  Take it slowly and do it right.  

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 2:22 PM

Depending on the job, I have the regular metal jewelers files, tempered glass files, and sanding sticks to choose from.  Where I used to use an Xacto knife to scrape away paint, I have discovered recently that a Q-Tip dampened with isopropyl alcohol does an even better job, with no risk of damage to the model or me.  If I'm cutting away large areas, I usually use a jewelers saw with a fine spiral blade in it...goes through plastic like its nothing, but at the same time doesn't cause an injury any worse than a scuff on my skin if a finger gets in the way.  I like the saying our structures guy at work had about removing material..."The trick is to fight smarter, not harder."

The only time I had a "serious" injury from a tool was when I wasn't paying attention to where my finger was when I was drilling screw holes for hinges on an iguana cage I built.  I was holding the hinge in place with my left hand, and my index finger was waiting on the opposite side of the wood.  The good thing was that I was using an air drill, which moves MUCH faster than an electric drill.  The bit was so hot when it came out the other side, it instantly cauterized the hole it made in my finger.  A few seconds of blinding pain, and I went back to work on the iguana cage...didn't even have to do the step of rubbing dirt on it.  Clown

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 3:52 PM

My knife skills are terrible.  I've never been able to cut away material from a part successfully.  I always end up cutting away too much so I always preferred files or sanding sticks.  I like the knife for "scraping" mold lines off round parts by running the blade perpendicular to the part.  Also the knife is good for my Infiniti cutting mat and picking up tiny PE parts with the point.  I reduce the risk of cutting myself when it's not a tool I use that often.  Now those super fine pointed tweezers are another story.  I'm embarrassed to say how many times I've poked myself with those bad boys.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 4:12 PM


       If you DON"T have battle scars from those bad boys, you aint using them right. They always HAVE to slip point first out of your hand as you go to pick up a part. Their Planned destination, Your Thigh of course! The safest way to use those, DON'T pick them up, You will always avoid injury that way! LOL.LOL.

       I was using my long ones (7") one time. The reason, Putting sailors on a Client's Sailing ship. They landed points down and (penetrated a full half inch) Because they were of course, bigger, thus heavier. My son heard words I had never spoken in front of him before!

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 8:17 PM

With over 50 years of modeling I can safely say that has never happened to me!......


sure........................ OUCH!


This was a few years ago, Razor Knife=1, Ben=0




And no, it was not the first time a hobby knife took some skin.

It gives a new meaning to having some skin in the game, right? Depending on the bit or cutter you have in it bit a Dremel can bite you too, let alone the shavings in the air.

And lets not even start talking about resin safety when cutting, sanding, etc. 

Ben / DRUMS01

"Everyones the normal until you get to know them" (Unknown)


1/25 MPC 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive (WIP)

1/16 Andy's Sherman M4A3E8 - DONE

1/32 Revell Arado Ar 196-B Seaplane - DONE - (GB)

1/350 Tamiya Yamato - DONE - (GB)

1/20 Revival Auto Union - DONE - (GB)

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Friday, August 26, 2022 9:00 AM

Ben, that looks terrible. Ouch!

I think the main knife injury I had was when one rolled off my bench and landed point first into my foot.  Quite the sight to see it standing straight up in the flesh of your foot! Fortunately, no major damage. A quick bandage and back to work.

I like to use a circular razor saw on my dremmel tool. It makes clean cuts and it does not stress the connection point on the piece. You need a steady hand and a mindful focus. One slip and you can do serious damage to yourself. On rare occasion it can kick too. So, I plan where my hands are... just in case.

My worst injury thus far was when I tried grinding PE off its metal sprue. This was the worst PE I have ever dealt with. It was like cutting spring steel. You couldn't cut it and good look filing it. It took a power tool. Well, the grinding bit caught, thus turning the entire sprue into a 3 inch ball of spinning blades. I sliced up my hands bad. It happened so fast too. One second I was grinding, a microsecond later I am staring at multiple bleeders.

I should have written the maker of that kit because that PE is a joke! The entire kit is a joke. Horrible molding.

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Forest Hill, Maryland
Posted by cwalker3 on Saturday, August 27, 2022 11:17 AM


I am with Greg!

    I have NEVER gotten cut with an Ex-acto in the Digits-Fifty four years-Sixty five stitches. LOL, Stupid me! I have NEVER had an Ex-acto Knife pierce my thigh or foot when working, Sixty years-Twenty One stitches. LOL, Stupid Me,! I have NEVER cut myself trimming , Seventy years, No Cuts! Smart that. Lucky in trimming I guess!


Eighty six stitches with Exacto knives! I've had eight surgeries and can't match that total!

I did drop a chefs knife onto my shin once. Only got five stitches for that one, but the doctor did compliment me on the sharpness of the knife!



  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Saturday, August 27, 2022 11:29 AM

I have cut myself with my Xacto knife a few times but it was a nuisance I had to stop and go upstairs for the Band Aids slap one on after Hydrogen peroxide and get back to the work bench .  

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Saturday, August 27, 2022 5:47 PM

As for my personal collection of slices and stabs, only one required stitches. But almost all occured just after installing a new blade. Sometimes you just don't mentally make the transition to a sharper blade fast enough !!!


"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"


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