Friday, December 4, 2009

Cutting Binder's Board

Cutting binder's board can be quite difficult, particularly when working with a heavier weight board. There are many approaches to take when cutting these boards, but I'll lay out a few I feel are important to discuss and address some of the pros and cons of each.

Guillotine: Arguably the best way to cut your binder's board most accurately and uniformly is with a guillotine - however, it is also probably one of the most difficult tools to get your hands on. But, if you are a keen follower of this blog, you will in fact know that TALAS has its own guillotine, and we would be happy to cut your board to your specifications (minimums apply). Now only would this expedite your bookmaking process, it will also severely cut back your shipping costs!
So, what makes this machine so much better for cutting? Well, it has to do with several things. First off, the clamp used to secure your boards is incredibly strong, and will prevent your boards from sliding during the cutting process. Secondly, the blade. The blade of the guillotine is insanely sharp and resilient, able to cut through even a tall stack of boards! This is extremely useful when cutting a larger number of boards which are meant to line up, and also to trim down your sewn book blocks.


Kutrimmer: Ranking in at #2 would be the Kutrimmer. A fantastic tool for anyone willing to make the investment. This cutter has a truly superb clamping mechanism (second to the guillotine) that keeps your material put during the cutting process, and can also accomodate a large number of papers or thick boards. While it may not be as accurate as the guillotine it still does a great job, and has guides calibrated down to 16th of an inch to ensure accurate cutting!
Is a Kutrimmer any different from my run-of-the-mill paper cutter??
The answer is YES! For those of you have ever used a Kutrimmer can relate - the vice that secures the material to be cut helps counter the natural torque associated withthese tools (that will try and rotate your material out towards the blade, and result in a not-so-straight cut).



Heavy-Duty Knife: Probably the most common way of cutting these boards. We recommend the Olfa L-1 Heavy Duty Cutter for the job. To begin, make sure you have a sharp blade, and beware that when cutting boards of this density, your blade will become dull extremely quickly - so don't be afraid to change it sooner then you ordinarily would!
Always measure twice and cut once. Sure you've probably heard this before, but it's really true and all too often comes back to haunt. Take your ruler (preferably one with a cork or cork-like anti-slid backing), and carefully cut applying even pressure, always away from your body.

Do not expect to cut through the board in one pass, depending on the thickness of the board, it may take many passes to get through to your cutting mat. When cutting boards I like to really get above the knife to ensure that I don't begin cutting at an angle; resulting in accidental beveled edges and subsequent edge filing to straighten the cut.
While this is probably the most common way to cut binder's board, there are a lot of variables, and problems that will arise that I feel are important to acknowledge.

First off, we've all heard horror stories of people who accidentally cut into their hands - although there's no advice I can provide you with that will all together alleviate this issue, I can advise you as to ways to best prevent such an injury:

- Always look where your fingers are before making a pass - this seems obvious, but the reason for most blade/cutting related injuries.

- Be aware that knifes sometimes tend to "jump" and/or stray from your straight edge. These unintentional marks can be aggravating later on, and also make it more difficult to follow the correct line in future passes - as your knife is likely to want to follow that stray path time and time again. Keep in mind that it is also always possible for the knife to "jump" up onto the ruler and jeopordize the well being of your fingers and nails. To help vest avoid this casualty, try and cut slowly (never rush) and don't apply too much pressure all at once. It's ok if it takes you a few extra passes!

- Beware that your knife does not angle down under the straight edge, and thus create one of those less than ideal, beveled edges I mentioned earlier.

Karate Black-Belt: We've all seen similar things in the movies... but binder's board is pretty dense stuff - and although I've never tried it myself (nor do I know anyone who has, and nor do I recommend trying) I'm gonna say, this is probably not such a good idea! And I say it's best to stick with one of the aforementioned cutting options...

1 comment:

  1. These unintentional marks can be aggravating later on, and also make it more difficult to follow the correct line in future passes - as your knife is likely to want to follow that stray path time and time again. best hunting knives

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