Historical knives are a big business in some parts of the world, so it is not exactly surprising that a company has come up with the idea of selling custom-made products that combine the look and feel of a classical blade with the functionality of a cigar cutter. That list would have to include Tradizioni Sarde Export, which sells various styles of knives—including stilettos, Damascus blades and even switchblades—made by a number of artists to fans on its website.
According to Tradizioni Sarde Export, one of those artisans is Lelle Floris, a Sardinian craftsman born in Ghilarza, which is a commune in the Province of Oristano located in the Italian region Sardinia. A post on the company’s website explains further:
(Floris) belongs to the third generation of a family of knife makers and gunsmiths who are very well known in Sardinia. He began to build knives of various types from an early age with preference for stilettos, switchblades and ancient historical types, both Italian and Spanish from different periods of the last two centuries. The creation of these knives in particular is the result of a careful study of the originals and their size, materials, weight as well as their construction techniques. All processes faithfully reflect what was done by the skilled craftsmen of that time.
WHAT IS IT?
One of Floris’ creations is the Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM by Lelle Floris, which—as the name indicates—is a knife with the added bonus of an opening that can be used to cut cigars. Constructed entirely out of metal—the handle is brass while the blade is made of steel. The knife weighs 4.92-ounces and measures four inches when it is closed, with an overall length of 6.75 inches when it is fully open. Its blade measures 0.0625 inch of an inch thick and the knife includes a small link that can be used to attach it to a key ring.
As mentioned above, the knife also features a round opening cut out of the middle of the handle that allows the blade to act as a cigar cutter. The diameter of the cigar opening measures exactly .75 inches (19mm), meaning that you can cut a 46 ring gauge cigar completely in half, and although I was able to cut enough of the cap off of cigars up to 52 ring gauge to smoke them—albeit with a number of issues—anything larger than that would not fit into the opening.
Like the Coltellerie Saladini 3000 Series Table Cigar Cutter, the 8 CM by Lelle Floris is probably best suited for using on Italian cigars, which can be cut in half at the midpoint of the cigar. This is because the thicker, oftentimes dry-cured cigars are not only less brittle than traditional cigars, but also due to the fact that since you are cutting the middle of the single cigar, any resulting damage will be located at what would then be the feet of the two newly formed cigars.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The price of the knife is $183.33, but it is out of stock at the moment.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Sporting the overall look of a more traditional knife, the Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM by Lelle Floris does not open with a lever or button; instead, the blade has to be physically pulled out of its resting berth in the brass handle. This act proved to be more troublesome than expected—more on that below—but the blade comes to stop when it is fully open, specifically when it is parallel to the handle. At this point, it can be used as a normal knife or start the process of cutting a cigar.
While the Lelle Floris creation might not look like any of the other cigar/knife combination products I have reviewed, the actual process of cutting cigars is extremely similar: after opening the blade as described above, you place the now open cutter in your right hand with a thumb on the edge of the blade while the handle is cradled in the palm. This position not only means that the blade is facing away from you, but it also puts the beveled edge facing to the right, while the “Lelle Floris” logo is facing to the left. As the cigar is held in the left hand, place the cigar cap into the opening—making sure that the smaller cap end that is being cut off is on the same side as the beveled edge of the blade as described above—and start cutting by pushing down on the edge of the blade with your thumb slowly, which pushes the blade through the cap where it sticks nicely when it comes to the end of its journey.
The Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM can also be used in either the right or left hand, although the process for each hand changes slightly. The key is to always have the cigar facing the same way in relation to the blade so that the cap—i.e., the end that is being cutting off—is facing away from the blade with the beveled edge. In order to use the cutter in a left hand, the process is the same, but the tip of the blade—with the thumb still on the edge—will now be pointed towards you and the cigar will be held in the right hand. Make sure the cap end that is being cut is on the same side as the beveled edge of the blade when the cigar is placed in the opening, then push down with a thumb like before until the blade cuts through the entire cap.
- Built To Last — It is made entirely of metal and feels very substantial in my hand, not only when I am carrying it around but also when I use it.
- Easy To See What You Are Cutting — Unlike a number of other knife/cigar cutter combo products, I can easily see almost exactly where the blade is positioned, which allows me to cut as little or as much of the cap off as I please.
- Physically Thin Footprint — The cutter is extremely thin and takes up very little space overall, which is a nice point when it is being carried around.
- Serves Two Functions — This product can be used as both a knife and cigar cutter, which actually comes in handy more than you might think.
- Extremely Sharp Blade — While I avoided cutting myself with, the blade is plenty sharp, and I noticed no overt signs of it dulling after I was done testing it.
- Unique Design — The first time I saw this knife open, it instantly reminded me of an Arabian scimitar—which is a sword with a large, curved blade—and it looks very attractive when sitting out in the open.
- Can’t Be Used For Cigars Over About 52 Ring Gauge — Have a 56 ring gauge cigar you want to smoke and this is the only cutter you have in your bag? Then you are basically out of luck and would have more of a chance getting a usable cut by using the blade as a blade to physically cut the cap off.
- Clean Cuts Are Few and Far Between — While smaller ring gauge cigars fared better, any cigar that does not fit entirely into the opening will suffer some sort of damage ranging from minor tears and left over “shelves” of tobacco to crushed wrappers.
- Extremely Difficult to Open and Close — When I first starting using this cutter, I instantly noticed how stiff the blade was when trying to open it, something that I thought would get better over time. Unfortunately, it never loosened up meaning that I had to put more pressure than I should have on the blade when pushing it down to cut caps, which in turn threw off the balance leading to some substandard cuts.
- Impossible to Keep Clean — Regardless of how often I wiped it down or which type of cloth I used, the fact that both the handle and blade are made entirely of shiny metal meant there was literarily no way to keep fingerprints and dirt from being very obvious pretty much all of the time.
- Can’t Carry It On A Plane — Due to the open blade, this will most likely be viewed as a regular knife and therefore will have to be put in your checked luggage.
- Price — While this is a custom made piece, the price of almost $200 puts it into a category with some very good cutters that perform quite a bit better in just about every aspect.
Although examples in the “cigar cutters that can also be used as knives” range are more than plentiful these days, very few have the same combination of unique design, custom craftsmanship and obvious limitations as the Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM by Lelle Floris. Having said that, at $160, the TOPS 208 Clipper is around the same price and features some of the same significant issues—including only being able to fit a smaller ring gauge cigar into its opening and not being able to cut cleanly most of the time—but also comes with a bottle opener built into the handle that the CM 8 does not have.
- Les Fines Lames Le Petit ($149-$14,180) — Cheaper, lighter and a better overall cigar cutter than the Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM, the base Les Fines Lames Le Petit is also capable of cutting larger ring gauge cigars thanks to its half-circle cigar opening. It also happens to be the best cigar knife I have tested so far when it comes to getting clean cuts the vast majority of the time.
- Original Les Fines Lames ($350) — Although it is significantly less expensive than the original Les Fines Lames—about $180 compared to $350—it is also heavier, harder to use and does not cut cigars nearly as large.
- Fox Knives 749 Cigar Cutter ($85) — Want a visually unique Italian cigar cutter that actually works pretty much all of the time—albeit a little more awkwardly—and costs $100 less? Then this is the cutter for you.
- Havana Al-Mar ($100) — While cheaper than the Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM, the Havana Al-Mar also only cuts cigars up to about 50 ring gauge and is fairly difficult to find on the secondary market these days.
- XIKAR Cigar Cut Knife ($60) — Another cutter that can only be used on smaller ring gauge cigars, and one that we are pretty sure it has been discontinued.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
The Cigar Cutter Knife 8 CM by Lelle Floris did not perform its most basic of duties—i.e. actually cutting a cigar cap cleanly—on the vast majority of the cigars I tested it on, and in fact is more a work of art that you occasionally take out to use as a knife that happens to be able to cut a certain size of cigar as opposed to a cutter that is built for virtually any modern cigar smoker. In addition, it is too heavy, too awkward to use and has far too many limitations, especially when it comes to the size of cigars it can physically be used on. Throw in the extremely high price tag that you will have to pay to get one, and you are left with nothing more than a product that as best purchased as a curiosity and not as a working, dependable cutter.