If you are a lefty living in a predominantly right-handed world, then you likely have faced the challenge of trying to find products that work for your preferred dexterity. In some cases, you may need to pursue a custom-made tool, designed especially for the left-handed user. Other times, you can opt for a non-specialized tool, as it has the potential to be used ambidextrously. A hobby knife, when chosen carefully, can be one such item.
Hobby knives have grown in popularity due to their many uses and extreme versatility. They are treasured by artists, paper crafters, soap and candle makers, leatherworkers, seamstresses, and many other hobbyists. They also have various uses around the home and are a handy tool for do-it-yourselfers (or DIYers) too! When choosing a hobby knife, here are some tips to help you decide which one is the best fit for left-handed use.
Tip #1—Avoid Single Bevel Style Handles
Many hobby knives may, at first glance, appear to be deceivingly ambidextrous. However, a hobby knife can have a subtle bevel on only one side, called a single bevel, that makes it more difficult to use if you are a left-handed crafter. If you are going to choose a hobby knife with any kind of beveling on the handle, be sure that it is a double bevel style, which is equally as left-hand friendly as it is for the right-handed user. Bevels can add comfort to a handle if placed properly, but a badly placed bevel can be more of a nuisance than a help to a lefty.
Tip #2—Look for Truly Ambidextrous Designs
One good thing about hobby knives is that there are some styles that are absolutely able to be used by both right-handed as well as left-handed people without any adjustments or alterations. These typically have barrel-style handles with a single grip or hand groove on the top of the tool or going all the way around. To use it as a lefty, simply rotate it in your hand until the textured grip section feels firm and comfortable, similar to how you would adjust an ink pen for left-handed writing. Other options that may also work well with either hand include hobby knives with single ring style handles, or those shaped like a scalpel with grips on both sides.
Tip #3—Check for Convertible Blade Options
While these may be a little more difficult to find, some hobby knives will come equipped with blade conversion options. Typically, these styles will be right-hand ready when packaged but will offer the user the option to reorient the blade for left-handed use. This process usually requires removing the blade and flipping it upside down before reinstalling. Once completed, the blade edge will be facing the opposite direction, and any grooves or retraction mechanisms will face the opposite side as well. It is now ready to be used in the left hand!
Tip #4—Pay Attention to Retraction Functions
Many hobby knives will have a fixed blade that will include some sort of cap to cover the sharp edge when not in use. However, if you are considering a style that is retractable, be sure to focus on the positioning of the button or slide mechanism that is used to expose and hide the blade. If the hobby knife’s retraction function is placed in such a way that it is only comfortable to use when held with the right hand, it should be avoided by a lefty. Seek out hobby knives that have been designed with a retraction function that can be used no matter which hand the tool is held in.
Tip #5—Choose Quality Materials
In addition to the above considerations that are specific to left-handed use, look for hobby knives that are made with good quality materials. While metal blades are quite common, ceramic blades tend to be a better choice because they do not rust, are non-sparking, non-conductive, and are not magnetic. There is no need to lubricate them and they maintain their edge longer as well. When comparing handles, take into account the durability and comfort of the material. Nylon or rubber handles, for example, are sometimes preferred over metal or plastic handles because they feel softer and are less likely to be slippery in the hand.
Choosing a comfortable and left-hand friendly hobby knife might be a little challenging, but it is worth spending the time to find one that works well for your needs. Investing in a quality hobby knife that is compatible with left-handed users will surely pay off when it is time for your next project and will be a tool that should last a very long time when cared for properly. Happy shopping!