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Thread: Best Beginner Rotary Cutter

  1. #1
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I am offically taking the plunge and starting a topper for my piano. I realize I could do it without buy a rotary cutter, but I figure if I buy one I will be forced to use it again.

    What do you think I should buy? I don't want to start off at the top of the line, but I don't want something that will be unpleasant to work with.

    Any suggestions and tips will be appreciated.

    Lisa

  2. #2
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Gosh -- I've never thought about the quality of my rotary cutter!! I bought mine in a set --- rotary cutter, mat, and ruler -- at Joanne's a few years ago for $20.00. It's cut MANY MANY yards of fabric. I've sharpened and replaced the blades....but they're so standard, I don't think there's any "good, better, or best". I'd say get the cheaper one and then if you want a new toy, go for the more expensive ones.

  3. #3
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I have a standard Olfa which works just grand...but don't forget the cutting mat and ruler :wink:

  4. #4
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    Most rotary cutters are very similar, find out of they will let you at least hold it out of the packaging and see if it is comfortable in your hand, Some are easier to bare the blade than others, you soon get used to the one that you are working with. since you should always put the guard on the blade when you lay it down, make sure it is easy for you to do.

  5. #5
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear I won't have to spend too much. I have seen sets that include a mat which has a flip side for ironing. That might be a nice space saver for small projects.

    Lisa

  6. #6
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I have three different makes, but the one I use all the time is the Olfa that shuts (or goes into safety mode) when you put it down. This is the safest one for me, because I am inclined to forget to put the safety catch on with the others. With my Olfa, I know it is safe the minute it is out of my hand, because the blade is only in operation when I am squeezing the handle. (You can also lock it in the safety position, if you have children around) Worth any extra money to me, compared to cheaper alternatives.

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Which ever one you start with will be the one you will feel comfortable using and uncomfortable using a different one. I like Olfa or Fiskars curved handled ones I take to classes. The best one I use at home is Gingher with the Gingher blades.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I have three different makes, but the one I use all the time is the Olfa that shuts (or goes into safety mode) when you put it down. This is the safest one for me, because I am inclined to forget to put the safety catch on with the others. With my Olfa, I know it is safe the minute it is out of my hand, because the blade is only in operation when I am squeezing the handle. (You can also lock it in the safety position, if you have children around) Worth any extra money to me, compared to cheaper alternatives.
    This Olfa Ergonomic one (45 mm) is the one I recommend to all my student. I am still cutting with the same Olfa that I bought 20 years ago! (I have changed the blade, of course. :lol: )

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I have three different makes, but the one I use all the time is the Olfa that shuts (or goes into safety mode) when you put it down. This is the safest one for me, because I am inclined to forget to put the safety catch on with the others. With my Olfa, I know it is safe the minute it is out of my hand, because the blade is only in operation when I am squeezing the handle. (You can also lock it in the safety position, if you have children around) Worth any extra money to me, compared to cheaper alternatives.
    I, too, tend to forget to shield the blade when I set the cutter down. Blood is so annoying to get out of fabric. And those cuts bleed for quite a while!

    I think if I was to get only one now - it would be a 45 mm with an automatic blade shield when it's not in use. I don't know if brand is that all-important any more. Like someone said, the first one you adapt to, will be the one you will probably like best.

    I think one is better off getting good quality tools the first time one buys them (by good, I do not necessarily mean the very top of the line). I think it saves a lot of money in the long run.

  10. #10
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    OK -- addendum to the question. If the brand isn't overly important, is the size? Is one cutting mat better?

  11. #11
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    I have several, and actually like them all equally. The main thing is use olfa blades and buy a very good mat. If you buy a cheap mat, like June Taylor which is quite hard you will dull your blades quicker.

  12. #12
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    i think the quality of the blade is more important than the handle. as long as the blades are interchangeable, choose the handle that's most comfortable for your hand. i buy only generic blades, they fit all my brands of handles, and i'm satisfied. the money i save let's me throw them away a leeetle bit sooner, but really not too much sooner. they hold up pretty well.

    the problem is that the handles come blister packed and you don't get to try them on. not every place lets you open them or has a sample. i know that joann's doesn't let you return anything once it's opened, so if it's not comfortable, too bad.

    i think starting with the 45's is most sensible. it lets you do wide curves (not tight ones) and of course straight lines. the 18''s let you do tighter curves but they wear out faster because they turn so many more times. and the 60's are really only good for straight lines. in the end you have to decide how you'll use it. you can always add another if there ends up being a size you wish you had.

  13. #13
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    My joints aren't that great, so the Fiskers gray 45mm with the handle that your fingers fit through really works well.

  14. #14
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I have had all types, and I don't see a lot of difference, but since I had a habit of cutting my self, I use mine with the automatic blade shield!

  15. #15
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    I like the self healing mats... as for the size ( of the cutter) I like the 45mm cutter, not too big, not too small :lol: I have several cutters, it just depends on what feels best in your hand . And when you get replacement blades I would stick with a name brand. Just my 2 cents
    Sharon

  16. #16
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    most people would, but why do you feel that way? i'm curious. i always did before and now i don't and i notice a very, very slight difference but not enough to spend 2x the money. maybe i just had good luck with mine. i can still cut at least 2 queens on one blade. sometimes 3. one blade cost me $1.50 in a large lot.

  17. #17
    camillacamilla's Avatar
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    My Clover cutter cuts just as good as my Fiskars cutter. What makes a difference to me is to change cutter blades when they get dull, or you are skipping all over the fabric, making a mess. the June Tailor cutting mat is hard, and not a good choice. It was my first mat, and I didn't know any better. I LOVE my Olfa mat. Self healing and much easier on the blades.

  18. #18
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camillacamilla
    My Clover cutter cuts just as good as my Fiskars cutter. What makes a difference to me is to change cutter blades when they get dull, or you are skipping all over the fabric, making a mess. the June Tailor cutting mat is hard, and not a good choice. It was my first mat, and I didn't know any better. I LOVE my Olfa mat. Self healing and much easier on the blades.
    i definitely agree. if the blades are sharp, it shouldn't matter what brand they are, should it? that was why i first tried the generic blades. as soon as i realized i got good value from sharp blades and they didn't get dull fast, i bought a lot of 100. i have a friend who worries about dying before she uses up her stuff. if i die before i use them up, so what? i'll be dead.
    right on the mat. self-healing! and shower scrubbies for cleaning out those little lints that get caught in the cuts!

  19. #19
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    I have three Olfas - one of each size. I use the 60 most often and they work great.

    However - that being said - they are uncomfortable to hold I think. I was at a quilting Expo - and saw the Martelli ergo 60mm and tried it out - It was fantastic and fit the curves of the hand perfectly. When I get the chance I will order it from Hittle. Here is the Hittle link

    http://jhittlesewing.funoverload.com/sewing/catalog.php

    Here is the Martelli Link as well

    http://www.martellinotions.com/products.asp

  20. #20
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great advice! I'm going shopping in the morning and will come home with something. In my area, the selection may not be great, but I'm sure I can find a 45mm blade and a self healing mat. I'll let you all know what I get.

    Thanks again! Lisa

  21. #21
    Power Poster SulaBug's Avatar
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    I have always used the Olfa brand.
    My Mom gave me my first one, so I
    have just stayed with it!!
    :D :D :D :D :D :D

  22. #22
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I bought a 45mm Dritz rotary cutter, mat and ruller in a kit today at Joann's. It was on sale for $20 which seemed pretty good to me. Of course, I know nothing so maybe it isn't good.

    I've cut some strips with it and it seemed to do what I expected it to do.

    That being said, I've already figured out I cut the strips narrower than I intended! Yikes! Oh well, not to worry. The plan is to make a piano topper that resembles (stress the word resembles) piano keys. My topper will just have more keys than I thought! :D

    Thanks so much for all your kind advice.

    Lsia

  23. #23
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    :thumbup:

  24. #24
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    I think safety features and ergodynamic features are most important in a rotary cutter. I like the 45mm size. I haven't been cut yet, but have had a few close calls. With my new cutter, the blade retracts when you release the handle. Also, you can lock it closed when not in use. Great feature if there are small children about.

  25. #25
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    as usual, i'm going to be contrary.

    i've used fiskars, olfa and generic blades. they all wear out at the same rate. the only time i buy name brand now is when i catch them on sale for the same price i'd pay for generics. trust me ... that ain't often! :lol:

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