How To Cut A Cigar Without A Cutter

smoking a cigar by jay | Updated on November 13th, 2022

Sometimes you will be handed a cigar but will not have your cutter.


So, what are you going to do? Do you try to bite the cigar’s top off or slice it with a pocket knife you were given?

In a nutshell, technically, yes. They are all feasible possibilities if you don’t have any other alternatives. I have a couple of additional techniques ready for you if you ever find yourself in this situation.

Best Methods To Cut A Cigar Without Using A Cutter

One of the most common methods is biting the cap off. Still, let me go through each method based on priority. 

Bite the cigar’s cap off

This is probably my first option; you’re not spending time looking for ways to cut your cigar, you have your mouth and teeth, and it’s a quick one. 

Make sure you moisturize your cigar if it feels dry; you don’t want to tear a big piece of the wrapper. Bite down slowly on the cap, just under the edge, until you feel it split from the cigar. Once you’ve opened the cap, you should be able to finish the job by peeling it off by hand.

I am not sure why others say this is the worst option since cutting with a scissor or a knife is probably worse. Slicing a cigar will cause cracks throughout the cigar because you are applying more pressure on the cigar. It’s worthless to use that method. Anyone recommending it is not an expert. 

Plus, if you use scissors and rapidly apply the pressure, your cigar might fly off somewhere. Using a knife might damage the desk or counter you are using to cut the cigar. Just say no and bite it already.

Here’s an example of what happens when you cut a cigar with scissors. I did not want to provide an example with a knife and injure myself or the cigar, so please don’t ask me to destroy a cigar for your pleasure :).

it makes a mess
it cracks!

The only way or time I would use a scissor is based on the type of cigar I am smoking, which is a figurado.

What about a figurado cigar?

Any pointy cigar is going to be difficult to cut. There is technically no cap to unwrap; it will just start unwrapping the whole cigar. It’s really about applying the fastest pressure and a small amount. My first attempt would be to bite off a very small piece and see if it has a good draw. You try to bite it off each increment to determine a draw and avoid the cigar from ripping apart. 

You might be able to use the poking tip here if you can’t bite it off with the quickness. Use a scissor with the same method as taking a small portion and working your way for the best draw. Don’t just cut half an inch, but work in centimeters. You want to determine based on the type of wrapper you have. Some are dryer than others.

Using your thumbnail as a cutter

Following the same steps from a biting situation, using your thumbnail as a cigar cutter is pretty straightforward. It would help if you had a bit of patience; that is why I would rather bite it off rather than use this method. But if you’re going to smoke a good cigar, then I would prefer this method to biting it off. 

Begin by moisturizing your cigar with saliva, water, or even whiskey. Then start loosening the cap around its perimeter with your nail as a shirt tool. Then, once the cap has been loosened, carefully pull the rest of it off while using the nail as a splitter tool.

You don’t want to rip the cap too hard while it’s still attached to the wrapper leaf. Otherwise, the wrapping may start to unravel. 

So should this be the first method? Probably, but this is my blog, and I’ve been biting my cigar instead of walking across the room to find my cigar cutter for many years. 

Take a look at this picture. The cigar I used in the thumbnail is on the left, and the cigar I bit is on the right. Practice makes perfect. Well, my theory is based on the cap and where it is located.

I used the thumbnail approach for the cigar with a cap slightly higher than the other.

The image below shows the cap lot lower than the cigar above. It would be better to bite it so you don’t peel off a big chunk of the cap.

Poking a hole

If you have the patience to use your thumb to peel off the cap, make you have the patience to poke a hole. 

Maybe you’ve magically found a paperclip, toothpick, or a sharp knife somewhere but not your cutter. Similar to a cigar punch, you can start in the middle and work your way to create some ventilation. But I want to tell you, spending the amount of time poking holes in your cigar and realizing that your cigar cap starts to peel on its own, you should’ve bitten it.

And please, do not use a screwdriver, it’s not sharp enough, and you would need to force grip your cigar, and all the pressure might cause it to crack. Just bite the cigar!

smoking a cigar


Self proclaimed cigar expert. I've been smoking since 2010. I've practically lived at a cigar lounge from 10am to 10pm and trying every new cigar that came out for years.

VitalSleep Reviews

Snoring ruining your relationship?