Tool Review: Fiskars ShopBoss

Tool Review: Fiskars ShopBoss

While I would like to think of myself as some badass maker who needs a gunslinger’s leather holster bristling with impressive tools for forging (or destroying) worlds, in reality, I’m a desk jockey. I spend the majority of my days (and nights) in my aging Aeron chair, eyeballs glued to a glowing monitor. I’m a writer and an editor. I make words. I make words about other people making things. So, my tools are principally a notebook, a computer, and a decent pen. For years, I did carry my beloved Leatherman Wave on my belt, but I didn’t use it all that often and it spent more time getting hooked on the arm of my chair than anything else.

But one thing I wrestle with in my day-to-day, sometimes literally, are shipping boxes — lots of shipping boxes: boxes of MAKE books and magazines, review books and hardware, and boxes of other cool stuff that show up on my doorstep. And because I don’t drive and live alone, most of my shopping is on the internet. More boxes. So, my most frequent around-the-office tools are scissors and a box cutter. So, I was very interested when Fiskars offered to send me one of their new ShopBoss snips-based multi-tools.

The heart of the ShopBoss is a pair of titanium nitride-coated snippers/shears. The bottom blade is serrated and the snips are made to cut through light metals, carpet, cardboard, plastic stock, etc. They made easy work of most everything I chewed into with them, even some fairly thick acrylic. They cut CD media very easily and cleanly and would be a good tool to grab when CoasterBot building. It was a joy to process a giant pile of boxes, plastic banding, and cardboard destined for the recycling center.

Surrounding the snips are a number of other useful widgets: a wire-cutting jaw, a twine/binding strap cutter, bottle opener, and a pegboard hanging loop. The ShopBoss also comes with a plastic holster that clips onto your belt. It includes a pencil holder, a tape-cutting hook, and a metal deburring file (a piece of ceramic rod).

After using this tool for awhile, I have to say, like it. But there are things that bother me, too. I like having one tool that can handle all of my shipping work, cardboard recycling, and some benchtop tasks. It serves all of these functions well. I like the holster idea, but the holster you get feels a little… off. Too cheap. The angle of the tool on your belt makes it a little awkward to draw, especially if you’re holding something else and are looking for a smooth grab, draw, unlock, and cut. And speaking of the lock button, it’s really hard to engage with your thumb, but I assume that will get earlier with use. The ShopBoss costs $30 retail. For that kind of money, I wish they’d invested a little more in a better holster. The ShopBoss is not available on Amazon yet, but if you can get the price down closer to $20, I’d say it’s a good buy.

If the functions that I’ve described above sound more like what you encounter in your day-to-day office/shop duties (than knife-pliers-driver), you might want to strap this baby on instead of a knife-based multi-tool. Or better yet, add both of them to your belt, sling that leather low, and get down with your geeky John Wayne bad-self.

See all of our “Toolsday” tool reviews here.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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