I can remember buying my first rotary cutter and mat way back in the early 1980’s when they first arrived on the scene. It was amazing how it would cut layers of fabric quickly and accurately. What an advancement to us as quilters! Before rotary cutters, quilters used to make have to cut with scissors and used cardboard templates to trace shapes. Seems so primitive to us now! Rotary cutters have sped up the process of cutting fabrics exponentially and are now an indispensable tool in your quilting toolbox. Here are a few tips to help us manage our cutters no matter what size you work with (28 mm, 45 mm or 60 mm). These tips may even help you save some money:
1. Blade Changing – When the time comes to swap out a dull or nicked blade there are several pieces to consider that hold the blade to the cutter. It can be confusing as you try to get the pieces back together in the correct order after a blade change. I know because this has happened to me. Try taking a few pics with your smart phone showing the order of the pieces as you take the cutter apart. Pictures can help us with accurate assembly when all the bits are spread out on the table. There is also a blow apart diagram to refer to on the replacement rotary blade packages nowadays.
2. Blade Disposal – Before disposing a used rotary cutter blade in the trash, tape the blade to a flat piece of cardboard with masking or duct tape before discarding the blade so that no one gets hurt handling the trash.
3. Up-cycling Dull Blades – Save dull rotary cutting blades to be used for cutting paper or wrapping paper. Using a rotary cutter to cut pieces of gift wrap paper speeds up the wrapping process. (Be sure to use a cutting mat underneath the paper)
4. Sharpening Blades – TrueSharp has developed an appliance to re-sharpen your dull blades and extend the life of used blades. I have one of these appliances and they work okay to sharpen the blade somewhat. No amount of sharpening will make it exactly as sharp as the blade was from the factory, but the blade sharpener will sharpen blades noticeably for more use. Sorry, but if there’s a nick in the blade, the only use is for cutting paper… If you cut a lot of fabrics for your quilting projects, the blade sharpener is a worthy investment. This appliance is available for special order and takes approximately a week to come from the warehouse. You can order it by clicking on TrueSharp Power Rotary Blade Sharpener. Watch the video below to see it in action.