What Can You Cut with a Hotknife?

Item # X-HT-300090

A question we get asked a lot around here at Sailrite is “What can I cut with my hotknife?” We thought that we’d not only answer that question for you, but also give a little demonstration of things that cut nicely, and what happens when you cut something that is not recommended.

Cutting Sunbrella with a hotknife

As a general rule of thumb, if the material is synthetic (man-made) then it will cut well with a hotknife and if it is a natural material it will not. Natural fabrics don’t have any material that will melt with the heat and therefore they tend to burn.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, vinyl is a synthetic material but cutting it with a hotknife is not a good idea. The hotknife melts the vinyl leaving an unsightly edge (not to mention that melting vinyl smells terrible!).

Take a look at our roundup of materials that work well with a hotknife and some that don’t.

Top 7 Materials to Cut with a Hotknife:

  • Acrylic Fabrics (like Sunbrella Marine and Upholstery Fabrics)
  • Polyester Fabrics
  • Nylon Fabrics
  • Dacron Sailcloth
  • Webbing
  • Rope
  • Zippers

4 Materials to Avoid Cutting with a Hotknife:

  • Cotton
  • Cotton Blends
  • Vinyl
  • Leather

Now you can make an informed decision before using your hotknife during your next project!

What do you use your hotknife on most often? Share your experiences in the comments!