At first glance, the Herring Blade by Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy (also known as CW&T) looks like your typical box cutter. You slide it up to extend the blade, swipe it back to retract, and the rest is up to your very careful hands. But upon closer inspection, you’ll see how this blade is much more simple and way more stylish:
Instead of a plastic stopper or positive thumb stop in other cutters, the Herring Blade uses a combination of a neodymium magnet and a precision-machined latch to keep its blade in place and smooth, simple, one-handed operation.
To extend the blade, all you do is press your thumb onto the side of the blade’s surface and push it forward. The pressure unlocks the blade from the latch with an audible click and allows you to adjust its length. Once you’ve chosen the blade’s length, all you have to do is release your thumb from the side of the blade and the magnet locks it into place.
Retracting the blade works similarly. Just press the side of the blade, slide it back, and the latch reactivates once it is fully inside the casing. If you’re familiar with neodymium magnets, you know they’re strong and they seem to hold just fine when cutting plastics and other hard materials.
One of the biggest advantages of having a magnetic-latch mechanism is how it allows you to use the Herring Blade with one hand. Instead of messing with a blade that sticks or needs to be tightened down to lock, the mechanism allows you to activate the cutter with your free hand while the other one holds whatever you’re cutting in place.
The other distinguishing feature of the Herring Blade is its compatibility with standard snap-off blades.
Instead of completely replacing the blade when it goes dull, you simply snap off the dull segments and extend the sharper ones. Once all segments have been duly dulled, you slide out the rest of the blade and install a new one.
Another unique aspect of the Herring Blade is that a left-handed version is available, taking into account the meager 10% of us who are left-handed. Thank you.
If you’re a lefty like me who has to live in a world where right-handed cutting apparatus are the norm, you jump at any chance to make your life easier. The left-handed Herring Blade lets lefties slide and cut with the blade using their dominant hands (plus it’s nice to show off your left handedness in any way you can).
Before arriving at the final design, CW&T created almost 30 different designs. Early prototypes were 3D printed in resin, with some of them using embedded magnets. Other designs were CNC milled from aluminum. All were fairly minimal, but not as sleek as the design they finally arrived at.
The Herring Blade is already fully funded on Kickstarter with multiple options available for the aluminum and titanium versions (right or left handed) starting at $65 and an expected November 2020 delivery.