Smoke Rings University: How To Cut A Cigar

On this episode of Smoke Rings University, we're going to discuss how best to cut a cigar by exploring three different methods. This may be routine knowledge for most cigar smokers, but it's never a bad thing to have a refresher course every now and again. You may even find some new tricks to add to your repertoire.

Cigar or Bullet Punch

Xikar 007 Twist Cigar Punch Gunmetal at

The cigar punch or bullet punch is the easiest method to master. There are many styles of punches available, but theoretically they are all the same: Sharp, cylindrical shaped cutting devices ranging in diameters.

How To:

  • Gently touch the tip of the metal part of the punch to the center of the cigar.
  • With a twisting motion, plunge the cutter into the cigar.
  • Twisting again, remove the punch to reveal a perfectly shaped hole through the wrapper.

The key to this style of cut is the twisting motion. Without it, you run a risk of cracking the cigar or crushing it in your hand. I found the punch method to provide the perfect amount of draw for a Corona-size cigar. But you can apply it to any ring gauge or shape of cigar, including a Torpedo. Cigars of a particular large ring gauge can also be punched multiple times, cutting out a larger surface area to ensure maximum draw.

V- or Wedge Cutter

Craftsman's Bench V-Cutter at

Punches may be the easiest to pick up, but Wedge and V-cutters are the least risky way of cutting your cigars, and thus often recommended for beginners. These cutters come to a triangular point at the blades, so there is no way to cut off too much of the cigar.

How To:

  • Start by simply pushing the head or cap of the cigar into the opening of the cutter, until it touches the surface.
  • Abruptly squeeze the cutter together, and voila, you have a perfect cut.

Another version of this method is called the X-cut. To achieve this cut, perform one V-cut as described above, then rotate the cigar 90 degrees, and perform a second V-cut. The result will yield you two V-cuts that form an X pattern.

Guillotine Cutter

Xikar Xi3 Cigar Cutter - Titanium Black at

The Guillotine or straight blade cut is the most widely used technique for cutting a cigar. There are multiple different types of these cutters, but the two basics are single blade or double blade. Both remove a thin slice from the head of the cigar, and open up the entire surface area, affording a fuller draw.

How To:

  • Start by simply pushing the cigar into the opening of the cutter, until only the very top of the cap emerges from the other side of the blade(s).
  • After you have the cigar in the area you need, gently squeeze the blade(s) closed until they just touch the cigar wrapper, barely biting into it.
  • Then, twist the entire cigar with the cutter held in place. This technique will evenly lacerate the wrapper.
  • After this key step, quickly and smoothly squeeze the cutter together and lop off the cap of the cigar, discarding the removed portion.

Guillotine cutting is the most efficient method but also the easiest to mess up. With bullet and V cuts, you don't risk removing too much, but with a guillotine cutter, it is very easy to over-cut. Unlike golf, never be afraid to come up short with a guillotine cutter. If you didn't remove enough of the cap the first time, you can always trim it up after your initial cut.

The above methods are the ones I use most frequently. How do you all cut your cigars? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.


    • Thomas L Casella on October 6, 2019
    • I use the bullit cut for my cigars most times.

    • Barry McKockiner on November 6, 2019
    • Great video Tim! I've been in the business almost 2 decades and never thought to double punch a large ring gauge. And the twist with the guillotine cutter certainly helps make a better cut!

    • BRYAN WEBBER on February 29, 2020
    • I typically smoke pipes but venture to cigars every now and then. Always learn new things as well, and twisting with the guillotine cutter is definitely something I've never done. Great vid.

    • Old Timer... on March 27, 2020
    • Great tips...I haven't used a bullet cutter and it looks like a great tool...gotta get me one of them newfangled doodads...I like that V cross cut...great technique...THX

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