5th June 2014
A good and reliable utility knife is a must-have item in any
household in my personal opinion. It is also an essential tool
for the tradesperson or DIY enthusiast. Ensuring you own a
quality version will help prevent accidents and deliver reliable
service and great results in every day use.
The Stanley 10-788 Quick Change Utility Knife is a tool I have
owned and used for about 5 years now. The model has gone through
some small design changes, nearly all cosmetic over the years,
so the model available now may not exactly match the one you see
here, but the major features, shape and components are all
essentially the same across the models.
Stanley 10-788 Features:
The 10-788 features a mostly metal body which gives the knife
good weight and that feel of quality. Having a heavy tool may
not seem beneficial at first, but for a utility knife, it
certainly helps as you need to apply a little less force during
cutting and scoring actions and when you are working with razor
sharp blades that this knife uses, forcing a cut is not a good
idea with a sharp blade that close to your hand and fingers.
The total tool length is 6.5 inches. The tool accepts standard
blades with the twin central U-notch design in the top of the
blade. It can accept standard flat blades as well as hook blades
too. In the hand, the Stanley 10-788 is very comfortable and
feels solid. There is a little rubber finger/thumb stop grip on
the top of the tool closer to the cutting tip. Resting a thumb
or forefinger on this grip stop spot provides added security and
comfort when using the tool.
It features a tool-less quick blade change design. This design
seems to have been the bane of some users. Looking at various
reviews, there are a lot of 1-star ratings from owners. Almost
all of these ratings are due to the user not being able to
easily change blades. I feel this is rather unfair on the tool.
The instructions, granted, are not that good. Stanley could do
much better in this regard. Do take a look at my video further
down this page for instruction on how to change the blades. Once
you sort this out, there are few other problems.
Basically, to change a blade, you have to push the blade
extension/retraction knob fully forward, even past the first
solid indent so it can go no further forward in the slot. Once
this is done, you need to press in and hold in the little yellow
button (on some 10-788 variations, this may be black). With that
pushed and held in, carefully extract the blade from the tool.
It should slide out relatively easily. To reinsert, keep that
yellow button pushed in and slide in the new blade (or reverse
the existing one to use the other side). When you think you have
the blade correctly inserted far enough into the tool, release
the yellow button and carefully slide the blade in and out until
you feel it look into those notches in the top of the blade.
When it feels secure, and you can;t pullt he blade back out
(with the button released), the blade should now be secure, and
you can retract it back into the tool casing. Remember that if
you have fully retracted the mechanism into the back (rear
position) and you still have blade exposed at the tip of the
tool, you have the blade locked in the rear notch of the blade,
and need to further insert the blade so it is locked into the
front notch on top of the blade, and hence the blade is fully
retracted inside the tool body. This is important as when the
tool is not being used, you don't have to worry about injury or
damage to yourself or materials when the knife is not being
Another great feature of the Stanley 10-788 is the onboard spare
blade storage. There is a button latch on the top rear-end of
the handle. Push this fully down while grabbing the black part
of the handle on the underside of the knife. Pull this down and
the handle releases to expose the spare blade holder inside.
(Again, see the video below for further detail here). You can
hold a good number of blades in the holder here - up to 10
according to Stanley. I am not sure if mine will hold 10 spares,
but certainly 6 or 7 spares, which should be more than enough
for any days work, bearing in mind that each blade is
double-ended, so 6 blades is the equivalent of 12 fresh cutting
There is also a slot for cutting string and twine which can be
used no matter where the blade is positioned. The slot is narrow
enough so as to prevent a finger or nail from being cut by the
Stanley 10-788 In Use
Utility Knives are very useful tools to have around. They have
as many uses as a can of WD-40 it seems. Obviously they are
great at cutting things, but don;t try to cut a tree down with
it. It can be used as a marking and scribing tool that gives far
more accuracy than a carpenter's pencil or marker. It can be
used to remove some forms of caulking and silicone from around
tiles, windows and frames.
Utility knives cut paper and cardboard easily (often these tools
are also called "Boxcutters", although this model is quite a
posh/exotic one compared to other cheaper boxcutting knives).
They are great to quickly slicing into those almost unbreakable
plastic moulded packaging that almost everything small seems to
ship in these days.
They are great for scoring edges before cutting with saws or
blades to prevent chipping, splintering or furring of cut edges,
particularly with wood that tends ot be prone to these problems
when cut. The Utility knife is also handy for scoring
plasterboard along lines before snapping to size.
The in-built string/twine cutting slot is very useful when you
are out in the garden, out camping, or on the jobsite to quickly
cut string or twine more safely than using the fully exposed
blade in a normal cutting action.
And of course, there are many other uses that are common, and
just as many not so common uses for this tool. Perhaps if you
have a really great, safe use for a utility knife such as this,
send me an email and we can start a bit of a list here on this
Please, please, please take any negative reviews you read about
this tool with a grain of salt, especially if the written review
rates the tool low due to blade change issues. There is
definitely a special little trick to changing the blades, and
once you figure that out, it is not hard at all. These reviews
are unfairly lowering the overall rating of this knife, which
really deserves better. The main point I am trying to get across
here, is that I recommend spending a little bit extra to buy a
heavier-duty utility knife such as the Stanley 10-788. There are
thousands of utility knife models on the market, some you can
get just for a dollar or two. Try to avoid any plastic-body
knives, or any that have flimsy blade retraction mechanisms.
These tools are cheap for a reason. Their quality is lacking,
and many are likely to be much less safer to use than a
higher-end knife. Spend the little extra, and it will certainly
pay off in the long run.
Given that when I first purchased this knife, I paid around
$15-$16, and now you can get this nice Stanely Utility Knife for
less than $9, it is a no-brainer in my opinion. Grab yourself
one and I am confident that you will enjoy this knife, and maybe
be throwing out those $2 cheapies soon after!
Note that I have always used standard steel blades with the
Stanley 10-788. You can also now get Carbide blades for these
knives, and these are claimed to be longer lasting and to hold
their edge better. I can't comment on this myself, but you might
want to grab some yourself as extras and give them a go. If you
do, and you find them to be superior (factoring in any extra
cost for these blades) then let me know. I'd love to hear your
For those having trouble changing the blades on the Stanley
10-788 Utility Knife, here is a quick HD video that shows you
exactly how to properly perform the task.
The Stanley 10-788 Quick
Change Utility Knife Can Be Purchased Below
And don't forget to grab some extra blades too... You can go
through them quick, but they are cheap enough if you buy in bulk
to not be a major cost concern for the time you will save using
a sharp edge.