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Subject: Sharpening a guillotine paper cutter? rss

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Eric Etkin
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Does anyone know if there's some easy trick to sharpening a guillotine paper cutter?

My dad told me years ago that I can sharpen scissors by cutting fine-grit sandpaper with them... could I apply that technique to this?
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Chris Schumann
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You should remove the blade and sharpen it on a large plate with very fine sandpaper or a sharpening plate. It may be less hassle to replace the blade... for you, but I'm a woodworker and already have sharpening stuff.
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Ron Parker
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For clarity, are you referring to a true guillotine cutter that cuts dozens to hundreds of sheets at once, or a bypass cutter like the ones you'd find in a school office? One of those acts a lot like scissors, and the other one doesn't. Edit: Actually, they both act a lot like scissors, but the guillotine has a much sharper blade that's harder to get to.

But I'd say I'm not even sure about the idea of sharpening scissors by cutting sandpaper. It doesn't make a lot of sense compared to just giving the outside edges of the blades a couple swipes on a whetstone.

Which, if you were indeed referring to a bypass cutter, suggests a solution: run a whetstone and then a hone along the bevel on the outside edge of the blade. If you were referring to a true guillotine cutter, you'll probably have to remove the blade to sharpen it, and you may want to get it done professionally by someone who sharpens knives.
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Eric Etkin
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It's a cheapie sharpener I picked up for about $30. I think it can cut probably about 4-5 pages at a time, max.

It's not yet dull, but I imagine its edge has worn considerable since I bought it, and the I haven't noticed the degradation much over the last couple years of light use.

I'm planning on doing some prototypes on thin chipboard... I've cut that in the past with decent results, but I'd imagine it's time to refresh the edge, especially before this new batch.
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Brad Fuller
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An easy trick to sharpen and keep these blades sharp is to frequently cut several sheets of aluminium foil. Just pull out a sheet of foil and slice it 10 or so times into little pieces. Unless the blades are really worn out this should work.
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Eric Etkin
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fullerbd wrote:
An easy trick to sharpen and keep these blades sharp is to frequently cut seveal sheets of aluminium foil. Just pull out a sheet of foil and slice it 10 or so times into little pieces. Unless the blades are really worn out this should work.


Excellent! Thanks!

Hmm... I wonder why this works?
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James H├ębert
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I have heard the same advice with regard to paper punches and corner cutters (re: cutting several sheets of aluminum foil).

I imagine it goes a ways toward "smoothing the bumps" on a blade's edge so that it cuts more cleanly. At least, for a while.
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MyO the HedgeFox
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fullerbd wrote:
An easy trick to sharpen and keep these blades sharp is to frequently cut several sheets of aluminium foil. Just pull out a sheet of foil and slice it 10 or so times into little pieces. Unless the blades are really worn out this should work.
This, by the way, is official for many cheap cutters. Scrapbook this piece of advice.
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Brian
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good ol' googlehttp://www.wikihow.com/Sharpen-Scissors

It works because a few layers of foil is hard enough to knock the burr off, yet soft enough to be cut. Sand paper does the same thing, but the 'sand' is harder than metal (Aluminum Oxide usually) and the paper gets cut.

All cutting edges come to a point and eventual this thin bit of metal gets bent over. Honing the blade, by what ever method, knocks off the burr and the broken spot is sharper than the bent over, round piece of metal.

Because of the 'scissor' action (shear), these kind of cutters are less dependent on a true sharp edge, like a knife. The more square edge is harder to bend over, and will work well with the honed edge also.

At some point you would have to actually resharpen the blade, but it seems like it can do well for quite a while for hobby use.
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