During October, Chicago Public Schools’ teachers went on strike. This isn’t about the strike, but due to the strike, and my position not being a union one, I was in the school for each of the 10 days of the strike with students in our new makerspace at Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy.
Safety scissors work, but take forever and leave ugly cuts. There are tools like Canary Saws & Scissors, which I love, but still, for the little guys, they are on the dangerous end of things. Included with one of my favorite maker products, Makedo, is a little double-sided saw for cardboard, but it’s junk.
And obviously, X-Acto / Olfa / hobby knives are out of the question, even for the 5th-8th grade students, I wasn’t able to give them a basic lesson in using these types of knives. I’m a massive fan of Olfa blades—I own too many and always have an 18mm ratching version with me when I’m in the makerspace. But after almost losing half a finger to an x-acto knife accident about 5 years ago, I swear they are the most dangerous tool in our lower-tech makerspace. Unless of course, a student just took a circular saw to another student…
So, to get on topic, Klever Kutters. The good folks over at the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, who are always a source of inspiration for maker projects, environments, and other resources, suggested I order some Klever Kutters. It is all they use for younger kids with cardboard. I didn’t even hesitate and ordered a 10-pack from Amazon for ~$20 bucks.
And wow! I had kits one day basically hating anything to do with cardboard, to kids blowing through my stockpiles of cardboard. They are perfect for kids and makerspaces for several reasons:
- Cheap (~2 bucks each–blades aren’t replaceable but last long)
- Design makes kids pull towards themselves, giving them more leverage to make nice, straight cuts
- Empowers students to be able to not need to rely on an instructor if they need big cuts with an x-acto knife
- AND they are just about impossible to cut yourself or others with them