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Olfa sharks fin – the sharpest utility knife

Listed under Blog, Equipment, Olfa Posted Oct 25 2013

Updated from jan 2011 Professional decorators have been talking a lot over the past couple of years about the Japanese company, Olfa, who do a range of utility knives with, they claim, the sharpest blades in the world.

Wallpaper hangers used to trim everything with a pair of shears. But nowadays, they are reliant on utility knives, blades and a straight edge for cutting accurately down the sides of door frames, along the tops and bottoms of walls, and for snipping out around newel posts. The old ways simply were not the best!

And now that the Olfa company have shown us a thing or two about knives, suddenly, the humble Stanley / utlity knife are a bit lame. Paperhangers like @CharlieBudd are very happy.

Used Olfa knives for papering this week, at last – blades I can trust!

The Olfa sharks fin

Decorating expert and reviewer, Wayne de Wet, originally coined the name “Sharks Fin”, for the shape of the knife. It fits like a glove in your hand, just like a shark’s fin would, if you had one to hand. And the build quality is superb.

Decorators are a bit resistant to change and need to prove to themselves whether a new bit of kit is brilliant in reality, not just on paper. So the debates did (and maybe still do) rage about just how good they actually are for paperhanging, compared to say, Stanley and the like. That aside, I have found my sharks fin to be an outstanding UTILITY tool, and at work I keep it with me in my back pocket all the time.


Can opener

Fed up with lugging an opener on your key ring, or wrecking your favourite screw driver to open cans of paint? The sharks fin on the handle really is strong enough to prise off lids with ease.

If you try to use the end of the blade on an ordinary utility knife as a scraper, say to tidy off old paint in the corner of a pane of glass – it just doesn’t work. However, the Olfa are all about the blades.

Their blades are super tough, very rigid, and thicker than cheapo utility blades, and scrape odd bits of paint from glass really well. On these occasions, the knife saves a trip to the toolbox to fetch a “proper” scraper.

“Stanley knife strong” for cutting and hacking
Sanding down ceilings recently, a few nail heads have popped, some just cracked an outline on the plaster. Better safe than sorry, I tend to remove the plaster that is cracking, check the screw / nail head is tight, and fill with 2 -pack filler.

For raking out, cutting out, hacking away at obstinate plaster, the Olfa knife is as robust and unflinching as a Stanley knife, but considerably more comfortable to hold.

Screw driver
Again, the sharks fin end of the knife doubles as a screw driver, especially for light switches. I remember that tip from the sales guy at the TDS open day recently.

Some don’t like the claims that Olfa make in terms of number of cuts per blade, but in the context of a utility knife, this is no doubt the sharpest one I have owned (it is such a striking black and yellow!)

Where to buy Olfa knives?


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One comment to “Olfa sharks fin – the sharpest utility knife”

  1. Bruce Co Axus Decor

    What a great write up, thank you..

    According to a lot of deccies I speak to on my rounds the normal response is a typical “Silver blade” will last around 2-4 cuts per snap, decries have told me that our Excel Blades last 2-3 times longer, dependant on on what substrate your cutting onto.

    I spoke to a Decorator the other day, he was hanging Wallpaper in a 12 x 13 room, En-Suite door, Bedroom Door, Double Wardrobe with a gap between doors & a double window… According to the decorator he used “2” snaps to do the lot!!! He said that if he were to use a silver blade he could of easerly used 1-2 full blades..

    I’m would never give out false information, however I speak to a lot of Decorators and they can’t all be lying when they say how good our blades are..

    Thank you all for you time,

    I’m here to advise not sell or products, you guys do that for me.

    Regards for now,

    Bruce C/o Olfa Tools

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