A Few Tips to Help When Selecting a Guillotine Paper Cutter
There are several paper cutter styles for the scrapbook craft person to choose from. The type you choose will be a personal preference. One we enjoy is the guillotine paper cutter. Most of us became familiar with this handy tool when we were in grade school, or maybe at the office. This style of paper cutter has morphed from a school/business machine to a number of choices available, at reasonable prices, to the home paper crafter.
These super handy cutters make cutting a single sheet to several sheets of paper a snap. They provide a clean crisp straight cut. As you look to purchase one of these devices, we’re sharing some tips and ideas to consider in your selection process.
• What is the size of the paper you will most frequently be cutting? The size of the paper you plan to cut is an important issue. As a scrapbook creator, you most likely will be cutting 8½” x 11″ or 12″ x 12″ materials. However, there may be times when you need to work with a larger item. In making your decision you need to consider that possibility and determine if paying a little more for a larger cutter is worth the expense. You gauge the size of the paper you can cut by the length of the cutter’s base. You won’t be able to easily cut paper longer than your cutter base. This is a crucial fact to consider when you look at cutters. The cutting arm may extend beyond the cutter’s base which can then tear longer material you may be cutting. The base, should also be firm to allow for smooth cuts. A flimsy base will not give you the accurate cuts you want.
- At the head or back of your cutter you’ll want a sturdy back stop that has rule marks to assist you in cutting the right size. Also, the cutting base should have ruled grids that can also help you in making those precise cuts you may need. They also allow for consistent cuts of the same size.
• How many sheets, or maximum thickness of a sheet can you cut at once? The primary feature of a guillotine cutter is in their ability to cut multiple layers or sheets at one cutting — called cutting capacity. This is a favored reason why some people prefer this style cutter. This ability saves time, and provides multiple cut sheets of uniform size. Like considering paper size, the number of sheets you wish to cut is equally important. Generally the more sheets a cutter can accommodate, the sturdier the cutter must be, and the more expensive the cost.
- For cutting quantities of more than a dozen or so, you’ll want to consider a “stack cutter” which can slice a whole ream’s worth with one cut. For the home craft user, however, this may not be needed. In the event you have occasion for such a need, consider paying a print service. Most of print shops have cutting machines that will handle large quantities of paper.
• What additional features do you need or want? Considering the primary function of a guillotine cutter is pretty basic–to cut straight line cuts. Their construction is based on that fact. The base will most likely be made of wood, metal or a plastic material to give it a firm platform. As noted above, you should look for a model that provides a ruler on the back stop and measurement grids on the base platform to help in gauging the size cut you may need.
Other helpful features can include:
1. an adjustable paper stop to help set the same size cut for multiple cuts while doing large quantity projects;
2. a clamp that will help keep your material in place as you cut;
3. an illuminated cutting line (on the more expensive models).
All in all the features you choose for your guillotine cutter will help determine how easy you may find your cutting jobs to be.
• Safety Issues. There is no place like using good ole’ fashion common sense than when using a paper cutter. The guillotine paper cutter has been designed to cut things with ease. That having been said, serious injuries can occur if you’re not careful when using this machine–fingers can get in the way. When selecting the right cutter for you consider some of the safety features that can come with them. There may be an added cost to have these safety features, but the cost may well be worth avoiding a serious injury. Consider these safety features as you select your cutter:
1. a spring loaded blade that will help prevent the blade from falling down while you may be adjusting paper in the cutter;
2. a latch to secure the blade down along the base when you’re not using the cutter;
3. a finger guard–generally attached to the base that runs along the entire length of the cutting base. This will help protect fingers during the cutting process.
• Value of a Brand Name. There is perceived expectation of benefit and value when you consider buying a brand named item. Guillotine paper cutters are no different. There is always some implied quality and value when youpurchase a product backed by the reputation of a good quality company. As you contemplate the purchase of a cutter, give consideration to a brand name that has the features you are looking for, and at a cost you can afford. Quality, as implied with a brand name, often comes with a price to match. Some brands you may wish to look at would be (no specific recommendation is being made here): Martin Yale, Akiles, X-Acto, Dahle, Westcott and Swingline.
• Look for a cutter that has a fair warranty. As noted above, there is some implied benefit to purchasing a brand name product. The reputation of the company often tells us the quality level we should expect from the item we purchase. That having been said, purchasing a guillotine paper cutter that has a written warranty would be a plus. Most warranties are noted to last for at least a year. If one comes with one of longer duration that would be a plus.
Guillotine cutters are a great tool to have in your array of paper crafting supplies. Having the right one for you will be very important as you tackle your scrapbook or paper craft projects. The cheapest may not always be the best. Shop around for those with the features you feel you need. Look at reviews, consider recommendations of friends and other crafters. Having the right guillotine paper cutter will help you enjoy your crafting and make things a bit easier.