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Thread: How often do you change your blades?

  1. #1
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    I've been teaching myself how to rotary cut. Its been going great so far. Today I decided to finish cutting my binding strips, which started off great but then it gave me problems. In some spots it hadn't cut through the second layer of fabric. Then I'd have to go back and make another swipe...and half the time my hand would shift and the ruler would be off and I'd cut in the wrong spot. I was applying the same amount of pressure as I normally would and after it wouldn't cut right I would apply just a little bit more and it still wouldn't cut all the way through.

    I think my blade needs to be changed, but I've only cut a yard of fabric (mostly into 2 1/2" strips and then a 12x14" panel). Seems like it would be too soon to change blades. But I'm new to rotary cutting so I don't know how often the blades should be changed. How often should blades be changed?

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I have a Marteli Rotary cutter and one of their blades in the cutter. I don't remember the last time I changed the blade but I have at least 18 quilts and 11 aprons cut out on this blade and it still is good
    I find that the Marteli blades last much much longer in the cutter than the Olfa or fiskars blades do.

  3. #3
    lllog's Avatar
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    I cut fabric for customers in my shop and I haven't changed blades for several months.

    A hint when cutting fabric:

    Always keep your ruler pressed on the bolt side of the fabric while pulling the othet edge away. That way, if you need to recut, you are less likely to messup.

    Lanny

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    It may be that when you are starting to cut, you are bumping the blade into the ruler. Or pushing the blade into the ruler instead of alongside of it. This will cause knicks in the blade and the skipped cuts you are describing :D:D:D

  5. #5
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I seldom change a blade & have made many quilts. Some fabrics tend to have some toughter to cut spots, & may take a second swipe. I don't take my hand off the ruler until the piece I have cut is free & clear. I have better control of ruler & rotary cutter when I cut toward myself, even though this is not the way they teach.

  6. #6
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    I change mine, when the blade either begins to miss cutting threads or I need to press down too hard to cut through the layers.

  7. #7
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I don't know when you are "supposed" to but I change mine only when they do not cut without a lot of difficulty. I'd much rather buy fabric lol

  8. #8
    bj
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    I change mine when I realize I'm working way too hard at cutting something out!

  9. #9
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    It may be that when you are starting to cut, you are bumping the blade into the ruler. Or pushing the blade into the ruler instead of alongside of it. This will cause knicks in the blade and the skipped cuts you are describing :D:D:D
    I try to make sure the ruler is right up against the ruler before cutting, but I don't really push up against it while cutting.

    But one thing I noticed was possibly my blade wasn't screwed on very tightly. I had taken the blade off because black lint had built up underneath the blade guard and I took the blade off to remove it. I made sure the blade was put on right, but maybe I didn't screw it back on tightly enough. It was on pretty tight, but on further inspection I noticed it could wobble the slightest bit. I tightened the screw so that the blade would still turn, but would move from side to side. Unfortunatly I'm out of fabric for the moment so I can't test out this theory.

  10. #10
    Super Member Quiltforme's Avatar
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    The spots that I miss is from the cutting mat If you have used the same spot over and over you might have a divot?? try a different area on your mat. Just a suggestion.

  11. #11
    Super Member quilt queen 2's Avatar
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    I was finding a couple of years ago that my blades were not lasting and using the sharpner wasn't helping some of them A quilter on another board suggested I make scrappy quilted cases for them and get into the habit of sliding them into the open end of the case when not cutting.This seems to have helped with the length of time they cut well!

  12. #12
    Cyn
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    When mine starts missing places regularly, I change blades.

  13. #13
    deema's Avatar
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    I change it when it's causing me too much stress to cut. lol

  14. #14
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I was just having the same problems, and thought the blade sure wore out fast. turned my blade around, not any difference. Well, went to fabric store to pick up a few things and decided to get one of the June TAYLOR cut and press mats because it was bigger than the old one I had at home. That mat is a lot harder it seems, and the rotery cutter is working like new. I also think I was pressing too hard on the softer mat, and I believe that was what made some of my strips not quite the same size., the fabric was actually going into the mat.

  15. #15
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    I was just having the same problems, and thought the blade sure wore out fast. turned my blade around, not any difference. Well, went to fabric store to pick up a few things and decided to get one of the June TAYLOR cut and press mats because it was bigger than the old one I had at home. That mat is a lot harder it seems, and the rotery cutter is working like new. I also think I was pressing too hard on the softer mat, and I believe that was what made some of my strips not quite the same size., the fabric was actually going into the mat.
    I have a June Tailor mat. I bought it years ago at Wal-Mart when I started quilting, but never really used it until now. This one has a hard surface.

  16. #16
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    Try turning the blade around and adding a drop of oil on it. Just make sure that it's only a small drop and you let it set for awhile then run it though scrap material.

    Also, clean your mat well. I have a very old Dritz (10 years) and as long as I keep it clean (I don't use the lines on the mat). I wipe it down with the dishcloth when I do dishes......

  17. #17
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_V_Goddess
    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    It may be that when you are starting to cut, you are bumping the blade into the ruler. Or pushing the blade into the ruler instead of alongside of it. This will cause knicks in the blade and the skipped cuts you are describing :D:D:D
    I try to make sure the ruler is right up against the ruler before cutting, but I don't really push up against it while cutting.

    But one thing I noticed was possibly my blade wasn't screwed on very tightly. I had taken the blade off because black lint had built up underneath the blade guard and I took the blade off to remove it. I made sure the blade was put on right, but maybe I didn't screw it back on tightly enough. It was on pretty tight, but on further inspection I noticed it could wobble the slightest bit. I tightened the screw so that the blade would still turn, but would move from side to side. Unfortunatly I'm out of fabric for the moment so I can't test out this theory.
    You might have put the cutter together wrong. It shouldn't wobble. On my Olfa - there is a black washer thingy - if it is backwards then mine is not tight.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_V_Goddess
    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    It may be that when you are starting to cut, you are bumping the blade into the ruler. Or pushing the blade into the ruler instead of alongside of it. This will cause knicks in the blade and the skipped cuts you are describing :D:D:D
    I try to make sure the ruler is right up against the ruler before cutting, but I don't really push up against it while cutting.

    But one thing I noticed was possibly my blade wasn't screwed on very tightly. I had taken the blade off because black lint had built up underneath the blade guard and I took the blade off to remove it. I made sure the blade was put on right, but maybe I didn't screw it back on tightly enough. It was on pretty tight, but on further inspection I noticed it could wobble the slightest bit. I tightened the screw so that the blade would still turn, but would move from side to side. Unfortunatly I'm out of fabric for the moment so I can't test out this theory.
    check to see if you put the nut back on the right way. there should not be play in the blade. the older white colored mats are terrible on blades. if your blade is sharp, you really should not have to press hard. remember how a new blade cuts ?? It should be that way all the time.
    I find it easier to change often than re-cut threads. a little drop of oil under the blade when you change is good too. be sure to cut through some scraps in case of oily residue.
    but don't wipe ! good way to get cut.

  19. #19
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    You may have nicked the blade on your ruler. Happens a lot to beginners.,
    As for having to "reswipe" and then being off the line, only cut the area that missed, don't go over the whole cut.
    And, always keep a spare blade handy.

  20. #20
    Senior Member dewie45's Avatar
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    My sister told me to keep my hand over the blade not behind it. This has helped me quite a bit. It's much easier to keep an even pressure and since my hands can be weak at times I need all the help I can get. I find that very often when a somewhat new blade is not getting through the layers it's because I have let my hand drop back to far. I hope this makes any kind of sense.

  21. #21
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    Mom taught me everything I know and she told me that when I get ready to cut, line the blade with the edge of the ruler and tilt the cutter just a tish. It holds the fabric and the blade in place and you aren't hitting the ruler (dulling the blade) and you are also protecting those busy little fingers. I change blades when I FEEL it is time to. (You generally can tell). I have a sharpener and I turn the blade (which I learned from you) and I manage to use the blade for quite a while. Edie

  22. #22

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    Just be sure to change blades out when you are having to push down harder to get them to work. This is the time when nasty accidents happen and a trip to the emergency room is in order. I'd much rather change a blade out for $5 than waste all that fabric money on medical bills. The pain and suffering are not worth it.
    We all tend to try to save money these days. But we waste time and money when we don't take the time to change things like rotary cutter blades and putting a new needle in every 6-8 hours of sewing.












    b

  23. #23
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    I had the same trouble with mine. I finally bought a new cutter and am amazed at how easily it cuts without pressure! Don't know if cutters can go bad but I'm sure pleased that I replaced that one.

  24. #24
    Super Member quilt3311's Avatar
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    You may have nicked the blade on the ruler. I've already put in a new blade and accidentally ran the blade over the edge of the ruler and nicked it. That happens if you have a pin in the fabric somewhere and run over it. Guess who has done that before?? That would be me.
    I use the Martelli cutter and since switching to that have no trouble getting off, when I cut. Also you might try getting one of those handles that clamp down on the ruler, mine is actually a suction type one that I got at the hardware store, they are supposed to be put on a shower wall to give a hand hold there. It helps to keep the pressure consistent on the ruler. Hope that helps.

  25. #25
    Senior Member quiltbuddy's Avatar
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    I seem to have trouble with the small blades when I have to go around small templates.

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