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Rotary cutter experience

Art_B. | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Comments or advice on rotary cutters? Do they work for you?


  1. Jean_ | | #1

    They are wonderful! Don't know how we managed so many years without them.

    1. Theodora_D. | | #2

      *They are indeed wonderful, but they can be dangerous because the blades are extremely sharp. It is useful to get into the habit of refusing to put the tool down unless you are sure it is closed. Supervise children closely and forbid the cats to use them.One can cut multiple layers with them, up to 10 layers depending on the thickness of the fabric, but this must be done with care.The blades come in at least two sizes, with the larger size useful for more extensive cutting. Some how that has something to do with the size of wheels which is a sort of metaphysical problem I get bogged down in, after all, only one point of a wheel touches a surface at any one time, but I operate on faith and the bigger blade (wheel) is useful for heavier tasks.There are also now ergonomically shaped blade holders, those I don't know too much about. If you are cutting heavy layers of fabric repeatedly these tools can put strain on the hands and wrist.Replacement blades can be a bit costly, but there are now regrinding tools that alleviate the cost, but I have no yet used one, so i can't comment on how good they are.My use of the rotary cutter has been in cases where you are cutting to a predetermined size using a ruler and the cutting mat. I know that they can be used to cut "free-hand" around patterns as well.There are blades with wavy or pinked or decorated edges, I believe.They are generally used in conjunction with rotary mats, a self-healing gridded cutting surface, also extremely wonderful. And one needs to invest in a number of coordinating rulers of different sizes.And as with all tools, sometimes the simpler tool does the job better and scissors (teeth) might be best for your particular application. It depends. But I an glad to have my rotary cutter in those instances where i use it. It cuts wonderfully precise strips, square, rectangles and polygons of various sizes.

      1. silkscape_ | | #3

        *I too wonder how I got along without my rotary cutter.; I am a garment sewer primarily and I "freehand" it around the pattern pieces. However the caution is correct.......you need only barely touch your skin to cut yourself.One caution when purchasing a cutter...mine, purchases maybe 5 years ago, has the blade retraction button (that you push for the blade to "pop" back into the safety) very close to where my thumb naturally rests as I am cutting. So, I'll be cutting along and POP in goes the blade. Also, buy blades when you see them on sale...they are expensive and those blade sharpener things really don't work.

        1. Luka | | #4

          *Art,They work real good on tarpaper, cardboard, (Like cereal boxes), and plastic sheeting, too.b : )

          1. Sarah_Kayla | | #5

            *There is nothing better if you are doing something like cutting zillions of strips to make a quilt, or re cutting pieced fabric to do seminole patchwork. If I want to be sure that strips of fabric are cut precisely on the grain, I would pull a thread and cut along it. There are times I prefer the rotary cutter, and times I prefer scissors. It is a woprthwhile not very expensive investment. Don't forget the buy a mat as well, that can be pricey but necessary.

          2. Art_B. | | #6

            *Thanks for the advise. Guess what stocking stuffer my wife's getting for Christmas. She makes a few hundred simple quilts a year for Lutheran world relief, so if they work as well as you have all stated, she will get good use of one.

          3. Theodora_D. | | #7

            *Art,In that stocking, put a coupon for going and buying a nice huge cutting mat and some rules to go with!

          4. Paula | | #8

            *These rotary cutter come in four sizes now, they are 18mm, 28mm, 45mm, and 60mm. I am sure you want the 45mm size.I only like to use the OLFA brand. There are many different brands on the market. I do not like the FISKERS brand, although a lot of quilters do. I am not a quilter, I am a dressmaker. The reason that I will not use a Fiskers cutter is because it has an orange guard sticking out in my view of what I am cutting, and because I am cutting on patterns with curves etc. I need to see where my cutting lines are. I am not using a ruler to guide my cutter along.I find the the most reasonable place to purchase these cutters is Atlanta Threads and Supply [ATS] 1-800-847-1001. Call for a free catalog, they have a lot of other great stuff too.They also have terrific prices on cutting mats. Buy one as large as your table if you are doing garments, if you are doing quilts a smaller one will do. I like the hard service white mats by Sew/Fit Co. which are sold through ATS. All cutters will work for both right and left handed people, some styles will need to be reversed.I have not bothered with the expense of buying a blade sharpener. I found that buying generic blades from South Star Supply are the best deal. They only cost around $2.00 each when purchased in a pack of 10.Learn how to use the rotary cutter for a SEAM RIPPER. It works great. Hold the cutter like you would hold a pencil, but turned the wide way. Place your index finger over the blade so the blade cannot turn. Between your other hand and the remaining fingers of the hand with the cutter hold the seam to be ripped apart and gentle tap away on the threads of the seam, cutting and gently pulling the seam apart as you go. It only takes a little practice to get the hang of it. The 28mm size works best for this, but I usually use the 45mm size anyway.I have no affiliation with any of the companies or products mentioned here.Happy cutting to you.Paula

          5. Luka | | #9

            *Wow, Art. Tell the missus my hat is off to her in a big way.The more I learn about youse guys, the more I respect ya's.b : )Paula, a bit of paint or a black sharpie magic marker would take care of that orange color problem. Might be worth it for the difference in price.

          6. Paula | | #10

            *Luka, No, no, no, it is not the ORANGE color. I just do not like the guard on Fiskers cutters, because I do free-hand cutting and I need to see what I am cutting with out looking around the guard. ATS has the cheapest cutters. Olfa size 45mm are only $8.25 each. In the above post from me I mentioned Southstar Supply Company but neglected to give a phone number. Here it is; 1-800-288-6739. They have generic cutters for $17.95 for a pack of ten in the 45mm size or a pack of 20 of the 28mm size. Great deal. They work just as well as the name brands and they fit ALL brands of cutters.Paula

          7. Art_B. | | #11

            *Thanks for all the advice. Got wife a 60mm Olfa and 30" by 60" mat (that's all the bigger there was unused counter in her sewing room) and she loves it, especially works much easier than scissors for cutting upholstery fabric samples for quilts. Now waiting for the first blade to get dull so I can design her a rotary motorized hone/strop sharpener. Commercial sharpeners I've seen look kind of "cheesy"

          8. Jean_ | | #12

            *You do that, Art. Then we can all send our blades to you for sharpening!!

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