In terms of cigar accessories, tabletop cigar cutters are basically in a class all their own: sometimes large, bulky and somewhat unwieldy by design, they can nevertheless allow for more interesting designs and the use of different materials than a standard portable cutter that has to be carried in a pocket or bag.
One such cutter is the 3000 Series Table Cigar Cutter, which was introduced by Italian-based Coltellerie Saladini in the late 1990s. Made primarily for use with cigars in the Italian market such as Toscano, the table cutter features a classic single guillotine design and includes two different openings: the smaller hole measures 10mm and can cut cigars up to 24 ring gauge, while the larger opening measures 21mm and can cut cigars up to 52 ring gauge. The original model also comes in two different base options: one made of ox horn priced at €160 ($180) and the other made with reclaimed olive wood prices at €130 ($145).
A larger version of the cutter with the same basic design followed a number of years later when the company became more popular abroad. Dubbed the Series 3013, the newer version is sold in the same two configurations and bases as the original line, but features larger openings in order to cut larger cigars, with the smaller hole measuring 14mm and able to cut cigars up to 28 ring gauge and the larger hold coming in at 24mm and able to cut up to 56 ring gauge cigars.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Although the exterior design may change, the vast majority of single blade table top guillotine cutters operate in essentially the same, simple way and the Coltellerie Saladini is no exception. First, you position the cap of the cigar you are cutting into the opening and push down firmly on the lever or handle, which causes the blade to descend and cut through the cap.
The blade stops when it comes to the end of its particular track, but it is spring-loaded and thus designed to go back up on its own. This means that when you let the handle go, the blade quickly ascends again until the opening is clear and the blade is back to its original position.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
While I am tempted to mention the history of the company’s founding family or the fact that the bases of the cutters are made with local materials as explained above, I am going to go with the fact that there are actually two different openings to cut cigars, and both are quite different from one another.
In the version I reviewed, the larger hole measures 20mm—meaning it can cut a 52 ring gauge cigar in half—while the smaller opening is 10mm and can accommodate cigars that are about 26 ring gauge and below. Having said that, this does not mean that is the largest ring gauge you can cut with either opening: in fact, depending on how much of the cap I wanted to take off of specific cigar, I was able to use this cutter to cut up to 62 ring gauge cigars, albeit with significantly less of the cap removed.
- The Looks — It is quite attractive visually and would look equally great in either a study or a cigar shop. Part of the reason this is the case is the company’s use of interesting materials for the base—as mentioned above, either ox horn or olive wood—but there is also the fact that the housing for the blade is tall and thin without being obtrusive, which gives the cutter a sleek, modern look.
- Incorporates Unique Materials — I am not sure I have ever seen another table cutter built with ox horn, although in all honesty, I would never have thought that is what it was before I read it just by looking at it.
- It Cuts Italian Cigars Well — Italian cigars can be cut in half at the midpoint of the cigar. The thicker, oftentimes dry-cured cigars are not only less brittle than traditional cigars, but it also matters less since you are cutting the middle of the cigar at what will become the feet of the two cigars. Regardless, the Coltellerie Saladini cuts these cigars very well.
- Seeing What You Are Cutting is Underrated — The position of the blade and the opening where you put the cap allows you to quickly and easily see how much of the cigar you are cutting before you push the blade down, something that is not as universal of a trait as you would think.
- Blade Sharpness — Despite the issues with broken and hanging caps, there are no issues whatsoever with the sharpness of the blade on this cutter, and I could not discern any signs of dulling in the time I was using it.
- Safety Pin Built Into Overall Design — Although it has some significant issues—more on that in the next section below—I really love the fact that there is not only a pin that stops the blade from moving up and down, but that a place to store it is built into the overall design of the cutter itself. Unfortunately, the safety pin doesn’t firmly stay in the base or the cutter itself, so even a trip from one room to another could lead to you easily losing it like I did within the first week of using this cutter.
- Balance, Balance, Balance — Due to how light the base that the cutter is attached to is, you have to physically hold down the base of the cutter almost every time you use it or risk it sliding while cutting a cigar, which leads to multiple inferior cuts. This issue is somewhat alleviated if you place the cutter on a surface with some grip to it—like a leather desk, for example—but stores placing this on glass top counters will be in trouble. Charlie says this is a friction issue. Whatever you want to call it, the cutter does not deliver a sturdy motion on most surfaces. Editor’s Note: The Olive Wood cutter has a base with a felt bottom and didn’t suffer from moving around as much. — CM.
- Blade Does Not Cut All The Way Through Caps — It seems odd for a cigar cutter, but the blade is designed to not cut all the way through the cap, meaning that the blade held onto the little bit of the wrapper that was uncut about 80 percent of the time. When it happens, you have two options, neither of which are very alluring: you either let go of the blade entirely and free the cigar, thus leaving you with a cap that is hanging by a thread; or you push down as hard as you can on the blade and pull the cigar out physically, which more often than not causes a rip in the cap on the cigar. The Paul
- Limited Ring Gauge Options When Cutting — Yes, it is cool to have two different options when it comes to which size cigars you are cutting, but not being able to cut as much of the cap off of larger ring gauge cigars—by which I mean anything above about a 54—limits this cutter’s usefulness, at least in this country.
The idea of a single-bladed tabletop guillotine cutter with a handle is not exactly new, although we have not reviewed any others with the exact same design as of yet. The first cutter that comes to mind that we have reviewed is the Jetline Baron, which features its blade attached to a plunger. Although both the Coltellerie Saladini and Jetline tend to damage the caps of the cigars they are used on in various ways, the Jetline is priced about $100 higher than the Coltellerie Saladini and cuts up to 60 ring gauge cigars.
- Colibri Quasar Desktop Cutter ($125) — If you would like a tabletop cutter that is visually interesting and functional, this Colibri cutter is $50 and actually cuts cigars well.
- Coltellerie Berti N. 195 Cigar Cutter (€240/$270) — This looks to be an almost exact copy of the Saladini design, albeit with a combination of wooden base and ox horn handle and priced about €100 higher.
- CigarExtra Large Table Cigar Cutter ($54.99) — A cheaper-looking design that looks like it is meant to cut sausage more than cigars, but it is also about one third of the price of the Saladini.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
While there are a number of very interesting details about the Coltellerie Saladini Table Cigar Cutter 3000 Series, none of them make up for the fact that it doesn’t cut the cigars normally written about on this site. If you smoke Italian cigars and want a fancy cutter, this is a great option, but otherwise look just about anywhere else, except that JetLine.