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Hand Cutter/Trimmer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Uses hand tools or hand-held power tools to cut and trim a variety of manufactured items, such as carpet, fabric, stone, glass, or rubber.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Marks or discards items with defects such as spots, stains, scars, snags, chips, scratches, or unacceptable shapes or finishes.
  • Trims excess material or cuts threads off finished products, such as cutting loose ends of plastic off a manufactured toy for a smoother finish.
  • Cuts, shapes, and trims materials, such as textiles, food, glass, stone, and metal, using knives, scissors, and other hand tools, portable power tools, or bench-mounted tools.
  • Separates materials or products according to size, weight, type, condition, color, or shade.
  • Marks identification numbers, trademarks, grades, marketing data, sizes, or model numbers on products.
  • Reads work orders to determine dimensions, cutting locations, and quantities to cut.
  • Counts or weighs and bundles items.
  • Marks cutting lines around patterns or templates, or follows layout points, using squares, rules, and straightedges, and chalk, pencils, or scribes.
  • Unrolls, lays out, attaches, or mounts materials or items on cutting tables or machines.
  • Stacks cut items and loads them on racks or conveyors or onto trucks.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Bundler --
  • Cloth Cutter -- Cuts multiple layers of fabric into parts for articles, for example canvas goods, house furnishings, garments, hats, stuffed toys, and upholstered furniture, using portable electric cutter.
  • Cutter --
  • Embroidery Operator --
  • Fabric Cutter --
  • Finisher --
  • Glass Cutter --
  • Hand Cutter --
  • Leather Cutter -- Lays out, marks, and cuts leather or skins into parts for articles, for example holsters, belts, gun cases, garments and garment trim, surgical appliances, and paint roller covers, using leather knife or shears.
  • Trimmer --