Accessory Review: Screwpop Cigar Punch
by David "Doc" Diaz
Monday, January 28, 2013
PRODUCT: Screwpop Cigar Punch
MANUFACTURER: Screwpop Tool, LLC.
WEB SITE: http://www.screwpoptool.com/
OVERALL SCORE: 91/100
BACKGROUND: I frequently come across a wide array of new cigars and cigar acoutrements and it is not often that I will do a double take upon first seeing a new product. The first time I saw pictures of the Screwpop Cigar Punch tool I was impressed by the simplicity of the design and the functionality in such a small tool.
The Screwpop™ Cigar Punch is one of an array of cool tools from Screwpop Tool, LLC. The company currently has 6 iterations of these devices that are made to achieve the company’s goal of a tool with “lightweight, compact and functional design that could clip easily in most any environment.” The company was kind enough to send me two Cigar Punch samples for this review. I tested both samples over the course of several days. During the review time period, I opened up a 12-pack of bottled beer and several bottles of mineral water. I punch-cut 15 cigars of varying ring gauges and I searched far and wide for items that would fit in the storage space inside the barrel.
SET UP AND USE: [Score: 93] The Screwpop is
simple and intuitive to use. There is really nothing to set up, just
clip it on and go. The Screwpop is designed around a keychain concept
with a carabiner clip. This allows you to clip it to a belt loop, eyelet
of a zipper, keychain, cords, straps, luggage, backpacks and more.
The tool is made from Aluminum (body) and Stainless Steel (insert/gating/rivets). Its size is ½” x 1” x 3 1/8". According to the website, the weight is 0.75oz, although I weighed two different samples on my postal scale and they were both 0.6oz.
There are just two moving parts, the carabiner gate and the cap that conceals the cigar punch. Besides serving as a clip, the carabiner also plays a role in the function of the bottle opener. The cap unscrews to reveal the stainless steel cutting insert.
When I unscrewed the cap to reveal the stainless steel insert that serves as the blade for the punch, I also noted an “O-ring” on the threads. I couldn’t figure out the function for the “O-ring” until I looked at the company site and saw photos that demonstrate uses for the space on the inside of the barrel. This space can serve as a pill container, or contain anything else that will fit inside the barrel.
The “O-ring” ostensibly keeps the storage space watertight.
However, I have used many devices with “O-ring” closures
and this one does not feel right. Usually you can feel a
slight friction when the “O-ring” is making a seal, but I
could not feel this friction on either sample. It is possible
that a bigger “O-ring” might solve this issue, or perhaps
it’s not an issue after all (see 4. Storage space, below).
FUNCTION: [Score: 89] There are essentially 4 functions: Cigar Punch, Carabiner (i.e., clip), Bottle Opener, and Waterproof Storage Container. The design is clean and modern with a high-tech look and feel.
Cigar Punch: As a cigar punch the Screwpop has a larger diameter than most of the punches I have used. It really doesn’t take much of a hole to channel cigar smoke. As the diameter of the punch gets larger, it pushes toward the outside of the head of the cigar where the curve of the head meets the straight sides of the shaft of the cigar. If you push down the punch at those outer points, you run a risk of cracking the wrapper as the gradual curve of the head is bent at nearly right angles. I used the Screwpop Cigar Punch effectively with cigars of 48-62 ring gauge.
However, I would not recommend this punch for cigars smaller than 49 ring gauge. I cracked 1 wrapper on a 50 ring gauge cigar, but most of the time 50 ring gauge was safe. As I punched cigars less than 50 ring gauge, damage to the wrapper became more likely. The good news is that the Screwpop works great on large ring gauge cigars. I used it successfully on cigars up to 62 ring gauge. Those of you who prefer large ring sizes will really appreciate the diameter of the Screwpop punch.
The blade on the punch seemed very sharp and made numerous successful cuts during my testing. The typical cut was uniform and precise and proved to be very functional as the draw characteristics were typically more than satisfactory.
When you use the punch the round piece of the wrapper head that excised from the head of the cigar gets pushed inside the Screwpop’s container space. You will typically need to use a toothpick or other sharp instrument to get the tobacco piece out. Of course, you could just leave the tobacco piece inside the container space, you could probably fit quite a few circles of tobacco in the 1.5-inch space. But, I prefer to rid the chamber of the vegetable matter as soon as possible.
Carabiner (i.e., clip): Those of you who have used various types of carabiners will know that most carabiners have a spring function that automatically closes the loop when you release the pressure on the gate. The carabiner on one of the Screwpop samples would stay open after release, which prompted me to think that perhaps it was designed that way for a reason. However, upon checking the other sample, I noted that it automatically closed as expected leading me to believe that the sticking sample was defective. Though the sticking sample's gate could be manually closed, the carabiner was not functioning as it should. Carabiners are basically a coupling link with a safety closure. So, a properly functioning carabiner should always close automatically and solidly so you don’t risk them slipping from their perch and ruining whatever you have connected.
I liked the size and shape of the Screwpop carabiner. In fact, I would like to see a Screwpop model that has a carabiner on both ends so as to function as an “S-carabiner.” As is, the function of the carabiner on the Screwpop is limited to a clip that attaches the tool to something so you can find it easy enough. But, it could be so much more. By adding a second carabiner/clip on the opposite end, you would increase the value of the tool and would provide it with a host of new and different functions ("S-carabiners" are very handy and I use them for a number of applications). In any case, the Screwpop carabiner is solid and, when the gate is operating properly, the clip will serve you well.
Bottle opener: For those of us who have used a simple flat bottle opener–the kind with a bottle opener on one end and a can opener on the other–the use of the Screwpop tool will seem strange at first. The angle of the hand and wrist is much different with the Screwpop than with the more familiar traditional bottle/can opener. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for me to get the hang of it and I can say the Screwpop is a solid bottle opener. It attaches securely to the bottle top and with just a little leverage it performed perfectly.
Storage space: The space inside the tool barrel is approximately 1.5-inches in length. I was able to fit three 200mg ibuprofen tablets inside, though the cap wouldn’t screw down all the way. Nevertheless, if the container is truly air and watertight, it would be a great place to tuck a couple of pills. I couldn’t think of much else to put inside the container with the space being so limited.
I decided to test my theory that the “O-ring” might not
keep the inside of the tool watertight. I rolled up a bit
of scrap paper and put it inside the container area and placed
the Screwpop in a bowl of water overnight. The next day,
I took out the tool and dried the outside carefully and opened
it up. Pulling out the sheet of paper, I found it to be high
and dry. The issue of the “O-ring” is still not settled for
me, but at this point I would have to say the container is
air and watertight.
VALUE: [Score: 91] This Screwpop Cigar Punch retails for $9.95. The Screwpop Cigar Punch works efficiently in punching out a circle of tobacco on the head of a cigar. In my opinion, the Screwpop works best on cigars of 50 ring gauge and above, but I wouldn't necessarily count it out on cigars of smaller ring gauge.
The bottle opener functions solidly and would likely be a very handy tool to have on hand. Given that the tool can be attached to a belt loop or other place on one's person, it would no doubt become a tool that would be used often by a cigar smoker. If the Screwpop had an “S-carabiner” built in, I would like it even better.
Overall, I think the Screwpop Cigar Punch is a no-brainer tool for the cigar enthusiast. For $10 you can have a decent cigar punch, a rock-solid bottle opener, a clip for easy access (though I still think a second clip would make this tool more valuable), and a small Pill Fob. A slick tool for the cigar-tech-gadget-geek.
About the Author
David "Doc" Diaz is the publisher and the editor of the Stogie Fresh Cigar Publications. He has served as an educator, researcher and writer and has taught in the Health Education and Health Science field for over 30 years. He possesses an earned doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Doc is a Certified Master Tobacconist (CMT), having received this certification from the Tobacconist University and is a member and Ambassador of Cigar Rights of America (CRA).blog comments powered by Disqus