One of the most common tools for modelers of all types is the hobby knife with a #11 blade, and one of the biggest complaints is the short life span some blades seem to have. Having a blade dull quickly or snap while using it is not only frustrating, but can be damaging to the model and dangerous for the operator. There are many in the hobby, myself included, who carry "battle scars" from a slip with a blade.
a new blade
X-Acto is one of the largest manufacturers of hobby knives and blades on the market and their name is well recognized. They have released a new product, a #11 blade with a Zirconium Nitride coating on the blade. The packaging states the blade will be sharper, 5X stronger and last 7-10X longer than other blades. I purchased a set of five blades from a local Hobby Lobby store for $3.99 US, but online they are available from other retailers.
I selected a blade and began to use it for my own evaluation. The blade is very hard, and will cut through stiff material more easily than a standard #11 blade. The edge does seem to hold better. The problem is, when trimming fine material I found the blade didn't hold the surface as well as a standard #11 blade. It felt like the blade edge had a broader angle, and didn't cut as close. Instead of trimming the surface smoothly, it seemed to dig in more.
My experience with the blade is that it will be fine for those projects that require force, but not finesse. It is a nice tool to have available, but it doesn't replace the standard #11 blade completely.
Highs: Very durable, good for hard projects.Lows: Not as good where fine, precise control or cutting is needed.Verdict: A useful tool to have when you want to spare your regular blades.
About Russ Amott (russamotto) FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES
I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...