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Cutters and Trimmers, Hand
SOC Code: 51-9031.00

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

Sample of reported job titles: Bundler, Cloth Cutter, Cutter, Embroidery Operator, Fabric Cutter, Finisher, Glass Cutter, Hand Cutter, Leather Cutter, Trimmer


  • Mark or discard items with defects such as spots, stains, scars, snags, chips, scratches, or unacceptable shapes or finishes.
  • Trim excess material or cut threads off finished products, such as cutting loose ends of plastic off a manufactured toy for a smoother finish.
  • Cut, shape, and trim materials, such as textiles, food, glass, stone, and metal, using knives, scissors, and other hand tools, portable power tools, or bench-mounted tools.
  • Separate materials or products according to size, weight, type, condition, color, or shade.
  • Mark identification numbers, trademarks, grades, marketing data, sizes, or model numbers on products.
  • Read work orders to determine dimensions, cutting locations, and quantities to cut.
  • Count or weigh and bundle items.
  • Mark cutting lines around patterns or templates, or follow layout points, using squares, rules, and straightedges, and chalk, pencils, or scribes.
  • Unroll, lay out, attach, or mount materials or items on cutting tables or machines.
  • Stack cut items and load them on racks or conveyors or onto trucks.
  • Fold or shape materials before or after cutting them.
  • Clean, treat, buff, or polish finished items, using grinders, brushes, chisels, and cleaning solutions and polishing materials.
  • Position templates or measure materials to locate specified points of cuts or to obtain maximum yields, using rules, scales, or patterns.
  • Route items to provide cutouts for parts, using portable routers, grinders, and hand tools.
  • Replace or sharpen dulled cutting tools such as saws.
  • Lower table-mounted cutters such as knife blades, cutting wheels, or saws to cut items to specified sizes.
  • Adjust guides and stops to control depths and widths of cuts.
  • Transport items to work or storage areas, using carts.

Technology Skills

  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Awls - Awl sets
  • Bolt cutters
  • Cold chisels - Flat cold chisels
  • Glass cutters - Glass cutting tools
  • Grinders - Handheld grinders
  • Hacksaw - Mini hacksaws
  • Hammers - Multipurpose hammers
  • Metal cutters - Tack strip cutters; Wire duct cutting tools
  • Pipe or tube cutter - Tubing cutters
  • Planes - Hand planers
  • Power chippers
  • Power saws - Cut-off saws; Foam rubber cutter
  • Razor knives - Carpet cutters; Carpet knives; Carpet trimmers; Loop pile carpet cutters
  • Rotary paper or fabric cutter - Cordless cutters; Rotary cutters
  • Rulers - Rules
  • Saws - Handsaws; Jab saws; Utility saws
  • Shears - Heavy duty shears
  • Squares - Layout squares
  • Stonemason hammer - Stone hammers
  • Straight edges - Straightedges
  • Tile power saw - Cordless tile saws
  • Tinners snips - Tin snips
  • Utility knives
  • Wire brushes - Wire cleaning brushes


  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Spend Time Standing - 99% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 91% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 82% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 63% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 39% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 77% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 56% responded “Very important results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 45% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 60% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 46% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 43% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 22% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 40% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Consequence of Error - 49% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Contact With Others - 45% responded “Occasional contact with others.”
  • Level of Competition - 34% responded “Not at all competitive.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 84% responded “40 hours.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 41% responded “Very little freedom.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
38%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $13.56 hourly, $28,210 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 15,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,400

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