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What is a child-safe (for a 10 year old) tool to cut cardboard (~1/4" thick, from a typical cardboard box)?

EDIT: I'd like the child (who is fairly responsible) to be able to use this independently for a lot of cutting. I don't feel comfortable with leaving her with a box cutter (also her 8 yo sister might then get access to it). Also I don't find box cutters to be terribly easy to use when making precise cuts.

I found three:

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    Not to be that guy, but I don't see the problem with using a box cutter or exacto knife so long as you're supervising. I definitely handled an exacto knife at that age, with my mother hovering all-too-uncomfortably close over my shoulder. – Aarthi Sep 20 '11 at 13:31
  • How many kids, and how much cutting is going to be happening? – The Evil Greebo Sep 20 '11 at 13:31
  • Over on Parenting the OP indicates that it's a single child, his daughter, and that there will likely be a lot of cutting long-term, as she's pretty "crafty" and likes to build things. – Aarthi Sep 20 '11 at 14:02
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    Re-open. Teaching children how to use tools safely is one of the biggest improvements to your home an lifestyle you can make. – Chris Cudmore Sep 20 '11 at 18:29
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[Please see the revised and expanded version of this answer at Parenting Stack Exchange.]

When I was the age to be cutting holes in cardboard boxes for fun, the tool I had was a serrated knife — I think it was sold as a very cheap steak knife. The blade was, basically as dull as a letter opener (and somewhat flexible), but the serrations made it quite effective at cutting cardboard like a saw, either neatly or roughly depending on the force applied. It did have an end pointy enough to require some care, but that was never a problem that I recall.

It also makes a great noise when cutting a large panel, especially the side of a box, as the cardboard vibrates.

I don't have any specific product recommendations as this was a few decades ago.

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  • You can also get plastic serrated knives. – Chris Cudmore Sep 20 '11 at 18:28
  • I tried a plastic serrated knife and it didn't work very well, but a metal one might work well. – Clay Nichols Sep 27 '11 at 23:23

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