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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:

  • Banana Room Cutter -- Cuts hands of bananas from stalks for packing preparatory to shipment.
  • Archery Bow Maker -- Fabricates and shapes laminated archery bows.
  • Button Cutting Machine Operator -- Cuts button blanks from shells.
  • Log Peeler -- Peels bark from logs by hand, using two-handled drawknife.
  • Mica Sizer -- Splits built-up mica washer rods into washers of specified thickness, using rod splitter.
  • Mosaic Worker -- Cuts, shapes, and sets blocks of colored glass, enamel, marble, or ceramic tile for installation on walls, ceilings, or panels or for use as table tops or decorative screens, according to specifications.
  • Rolled Glass Crosscutter -- Cuts continuous glass sheet into specified lengths as sheet emerges from drawing or rolling machine and removes defective cross sections, using suspended cutting wheel.
  • Packager --
  • Stonework Tracer --