OLFA Blades 101: Facts, History and More

Having the right blade for your tools is like having the right tires for your car. If your tires are not suited for the weather or the car model, your vehicle won’t be able to go as fast and won’t be as safe either. However, like cars and tires, not all blades are created equal. Some of them may have more or fewer segments, some may feature a hook, and others may be a different color. Regardless of the blade type, OLFA always follows a demanding and rigorous manufacturing process. Top-quality materials and innovative technologies bring these blades to life.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of OLFA blades. We will also discuss the history that established these sharp blades into the ones we know (and love) today.


The History

The appearance of the world’s first snap-off blade cutter in 1956 blew people’s minds. This incredible idea came to Yoshio Okada from a combination of dividable chocolate bars and the sharp edge of broken glass. As he was working in a printing factory, he noticed that each blade would dull quickly, and quickly had to be replaced. Inspired by the idea of breaking off pieces of a chocolate bar, Yoshio developed a snap-off blade that revolutionized efficiency in the professional trades. Rather than having the traditional two edges of a trapezoid blade, the new blade featured segments that could be snapped when the blade wasn’t sharp anymore. In fact, one OLFA snap-off blade became more economical than anything on the market, having as many as 8 cutting points. That is four times more than a traditional trapezoid blade. The price you paid for every cut was lower with the snap-off blade. Even the choice of using Japanese carbon steel was intentional. High-carbon steel is a superior material for knife blades because it is able to hold a sharp edge longer than stainless steel.

The technical standards set some 5 decades ago by Yoshio for blade sizes and blade angle have become de-facto universal standards

 OLFA Blade Snap Blade Made Easy

The Types

  • The Original

The Silver Blade is considered the traditional and original OLFA blade. This blade is characterized by well-balanced sharpness and durability. After meticulous analysis, it was decided it would have a 59-degree angle to minimize tip break. This ensures the highest-quality cut no matter the material. / For the full selection of OLFA Silver Snap-Off Blades, click here.

OLFA Silver Blade in action with the OLFA 18mm L-1 Utility Knife

  • The Ultra-Sharp Black Blade

Despite what you may be thinking, this blade is not just painted in black. OLFA black blades undergo a double honing process that creates an edge up to 25% sharper than standard silver blades. Each black snap-off blade is constructed with 7 to 13 segments per blade for plenty of accurate cutting action. All the segments are etched with deep grooves for clean, easy breaks. / For the full selection of OLFA Ultra-Sharp Black Blades, click here

OLFA Black Blades Drawing with 25mm Utility Knife

  • The Speed Blade

The OLFA Ultra-Sharp Speed Blade is a low friction blade that cuts x2 times faster than any other blade. Why? Because of a fluorine coating that is applied to the blade. This coat is able to reduce the resistance of the blade on the material, allowing it to cut fast and with ease. This blade truly stands out from the crowd— especially when it comes to cutting cardboard. / Full details on the OLFA 18mm LFB Speed Blade here

OLFA Black Speed Blades In action with tool on cardboard

Choosing which blade is the right one for your project isn’t a one answer fits all. It is based on a thorough process that involves answering a few questions:

  • What materials will the blade be used to cut?
  • Which tool am I going to use with the blade?
  • What types of cuts will the blade be used to make?

Answering these questions can help you narrow down the choice of the OLFA blade that is best suited for you— whether you’re an experienced professional or a DIY. OLFA Blades combine the most advanced snap-off technology with the top-quality materials, for blades with the widest range of cutting capabilities.