Professional carpenters need specific tools for specialty work, including a good multipurpose utility knife that can handle a variety of jobs in a pinch. That’s where the OLFA L-1 Ratchet Lock Utility Knife comes into play. This knife is not only part of the OLFA Classic Family, but also part of Mike Shu’s (@toolste) everyday life. Mike is an experienced carpenter from Milton, Ontario, who’s been using the OLFA L-1 for over 15 years.
“There are many reasons why I love this knife. First of all, it has a great design: from the ergonomic shape to the ratchet-lock wheel, everything is well-centered and easy to grip. What I also like about it is the distinctive profile of the tool itself, which goes from small to large. With the L-1, and every OLFA tool in the Classic Family, you can always recognize that unique profile even when the knife is sitting in your pocket. This makes work easier because you know exactly how to grab the knife without having to look at it. The L-1 is also extremely lightweight, which is an added bonus given that my toolbelt is often very heavy”.
When asked what he uses this Classic OLFA knife for, Mike had a list of applications, including one that’s quite unconventional: “Besides the most common ones, like slicing through cardboard, tape or drywall, I have found this OLFA tool to be great for delicate and fine work, such as cutting through vinyl flooring and stenciling. Something else I use this knife for is sharpening pencils, and slicing bread or cheese (who said OLFA can’t help in the kitchen?)”.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Mike recommends this utility knife to all his fellow carpenters: “I never leave home without it. I recommend this knife because of its consistency, reliability, feel, and form. This is such a lightweight, durable, tough knife. When paired with a fresh blade, it’s going to make perfect cuts each and every time”.
When it comes to blades, Mike uses the OLFA Ultra-Sharp Black Blades: “The first time I was ever injured in construction work was with an OLFA black blade more than 10 years ago. I’ll never forget how scary sharp this blade can be. In addition to their sharpness, these blades don’t dull easily and they can resist to the toughest of applications. When the blade does need to be replaced, I always stick it into a piece of cardboard (tip alert). This guarantees the worker’s safety, by making sure that the edge is not exposed to anyone who grabs it.”
And Mike had one last tip he wanted to share with us: “No matter the trade you’re in, having a good quality utility knife is essential for fast, safe, and precise work. The difference in the work you can accomplish sits in the little details. Thanks to the OLFA L-1, I am able to achieve just that”.
Mike Shu is a professional carpenter who's been framing since he was 17.
He started in custom homes and eventually made his rounds to production framing for about 4 years, then returned back to custom homes, renovations and structural framing. Along the way he's gotten his hands “ clean “ by doing more and more trim carpentry. He now does both and loves it all!