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Cigar 101

How to Sharpen Your Cigar Cutter

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

A dull cigar cutter can wreak havoc on the head of your cigar. It’s better to rely on your fingernail than to cut a cigar with a dull cutter. There are a few tricks you can use to cut a cigar without a cutter. But, before you start popping old MacGyver episodes into the VCR, you may be able to sharpen your cigar cutter – or, at least send it out to someone who can sharpen it for you.

Clean Your Cigar Cutter

Few things entice you to smoke a cigar like a shimmering pair of razor-sharp stainless steel blades on a new cutter. Unfortunately, the luster doesn’t last forever. Cigar cutters pick up all kinds of gunk, oil, and residue from repeated use. Also, it’s best not to lick your cigars or put them in your mouth before cutting them. You will only transfer more saliva and oil onto your cutter and it will build up over time.

The first line of defense to ensure your cigar cutter is cutting optimally is to clean it. Soak your cigar cutter in a cup of hot water for an hour. Bits of tobacco and oil should loosen up and soak off easily. Dry your cutter thoroughly with a towel. If a more aggressive scrubbing is called for, get out some rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to penetrate the nooks and corners.

If your cigar cutter is made entirely of metal (no enamel, paint, or plastic), you can spray it with non-chlorinated brake cleaner – but make sure you do so outside on a safe surface. Don’t try this inside your house or on your deck.

Use the Warranty

Because premium cigar accessory companies like Xikar and Colibri provide a lifetime warranty on their products, the easiest way to sharpen your cigar cutter is to send it back to the manufacturer or ask your local smokeshop to send it out for you. The company will either sharpen or replace the blades free of charge in most cases. You may have to wait a couple weeks to get your cutter back, but that’s simply a good reason to buy a couple of extra cutters for your man cave.

Deburring the Blades with Aluminum Foil

Deburring your cigar cutter is a temporary remedy for a dull blades. Roll up a sheet of aluminum foil about a foot long and crinkle it into a cylinder just thin enough to fit through the aperture of your cutter. Proceed to cut the foil in half-inch to one-inch increments with your cigar cutter. The sharp edges of the foil will deburr, or smooth, the blades on your cigar cutter. This may not sharpen your blades for the long haul, but it will improve their performance in the immediate future.

Sharpen the Blades with a Whetstone

If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can disassemble your cigar cutter, remove the blades and sharpen them on a whetstone, like you would the blade of a knife. Of course, to achieve the desired result, you will need a whetstone and the correct tools to take your cutter apart. You will also need a cigar cutter that can be taken apart – not all cutters are meant to be disassembled. If you can access the tiny screws that fasten the housing together, give it a shot. Before you proceed, make sure you’ve got the confidence and patience to put the cutter back together, too.

Cheap Cigar Cutters

Not all cigar cutters are created equal. The cheap plastic ones you get for a buck or two at most premium smokeshops are simply disposable. Attempting to salvage a cheap cutter maybe worthwhile if you’re stranded on a desert island a thousand miles from civilization. But, if you’ve got a smartphone and a WiFi signal, just swipe a new cutter into the cart with your next box of cigars and call it a day.

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