OLFA® ROAD TESTER: Sever Evenson, Carpenter, Arbor Haus Building
Sever Evenson has never been easy on tools. So when we asked him to give an OLFA® heavy-duty utility knife a contractor-grade workout, it wasn’t any surprise he reached for the versatile 18mm one. Precisely, he chose the 18mm OLFA® Rubber Inset Grip Ratchet-Lock Utility Knife (L-2).
Sever, a carpenter by trade, is a member of the Arbor Haus Building team from Excelsior, Minnesota, near the Twin Cities. He and the team of contractors tackle every step of a single-room renovation to full ground-up construction.
As someone who relies on his tools for a living, Sever quickly found out the OLFA line of utility knives and blades stand up to what he has to dish out. By his standards, that’s a lot. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what he had to say.
OLFA® PRODUCT: 18mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife
THREE FAVORITE USES:
- Poly house wrap
BIGGEST SURPRISE: I can’t believe how long the blade stays sharp. Compared to other utility knives, I hardly changed it. The blades are 10 times sharper than the trapezoid blades I’ve used.
QUALITY RATING: I’d give this utility knife a 9 out of 10. It definitely isn’t chintzy. The plastic body doesn’t bend at all and the blades last forever.
YOU’LL WANT TO KNOW: It took me a little time to get used to the locking ratchet on the handle that loosens and tightens the blade. My other utility knives are push button. At first, it slowed me down a little bit.
What was your go-to utility knife before using the OLFA 18mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife?
Sever: I used the typical trapezoid-blade knife. And, I had to change the blades all the time.
What was the biggest surprise you found using an OLFA utility knife day after day?
Sever: The blade was incredibly sharp. In fact, it never seemed to dull. That was really impressive. Over the entire road test, I only had to switch it once, and I used it quite a bit on fiberglass roll insulation. I also used it on foam insulation around the windows. The longer solid blade came in handy there.
Did you test both solid and snap-off blades?
Sever: It came with snap-off blades. But I found myself sticking with the solid replacement blades for insulation. It’s much safer.
What was the most unusual use you found for this utility knife?
Sever: I had to carve out a back of a piece of casing so it would fit against the wall better. It was like whittling. Sometimes it takes that little extra handwork to make it look just right, and the OLFA utility knife was exactly what I needed.
Was the OLFA no-tools, quick blade change easy?
Sever: I was a little sketchy of removing the blade at first. But the stainless steel channel holds the blade in place so they are not exposed. Compared to other utility knives, I hardly changed it. The OLFA blades are 10 times sharper than other trapezoid blades I’ve used.
Did you have any issues with the OLFA utility knives and blades?
Sever: No major concerns. It’s nice that you can lock it in with the ratchet lock and it won’t slide on you. My only recommendation is to somehow make it quicker for contractors. Loosening and tightening the ratchet lock slows you down a little bit.
Would you go back to your old utility knife now that you’ve road-tested this OLFA product?
Sever: I would stick with this one. The blade lasts so much longer and with the solid blade, you can extend it so much further when you’re cutting insulation.
OLFA 18mm ROAD-TEST RESULTS
Sever: I’d give it 9 out of 10. Overall I think these OLFA utility knives are very well designed and hold up. I’ll keep in my tool belt so it’s there when I need it. It works great on insulation, but also was handy for cutting straps and other uses when a sharp blade is needed.
Photos by: MJFotography, Inc., www.MJFotography.com