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Thread: Rotary Cutter skips.

  1. #1
    sobaboo's Avatar
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    Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong? I can cut using my Gingher scissors However when it comes to using a Rotary Cutter, I am scared to death that I am going to cut myself. When using the rotary cutter it skips and leaves places uncut (Single or double thickness). What am I doing wrong? I am getting ready to start a quilt and the rotary cutting would be a time saver and to say the least I am getting frustrated with the cutter and about to cut all strips with my scissors and have a hand soaking party.

  2. #2
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    Try a new blade. A nick in your blade will make it skip. Just be careful while cutting and take your time.

  3. #3
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Couple of simple things can cause skipping. First double check that you have a new blade. A dull blade will have "unsharp" spots that will cause skipping. Secondly, are you applying even pressure as you cut? Press down firmly & consistently as you cut.

    Hope these tips help. Once you get the hang of it the rotary cutter will definitely help save time cutting your fabrics. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    1) Not pressing hard enough/consistently.
    2) Blade is dull or chipped and needs replacement.
    3) Possible cutting thru too many layers of fabric...

  5. #5
    sobaboo's Avatar
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    This is a new rotary cutter, Fresh out of the package. Could it be the way I am holding it? How much pressure should be used on it?
    Thank you for your help.

  6. #6
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanniejo
    Try a new blade. A nick in your blade will make it skip. Just be careful while cutting and take your time.
    Exactly! Don't rush, do change your blade and don't stress if you have to make a cut more than once - it happens. Try to keep the number of layers to a minimum. Buy an inexpensive ruler "gripper" to keep your fingers out of the way.

    And, um... Yes, I think that's it. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sobaboo
    This is a new rotary cutter, Fresh out of the package. Could it be the way I am holding it? How much pressure should be used on it?
    Thank you for your help.
    You might still try changing the blade, just to rule it out. Who knows what happened to it in the factory before it got to you?

  8. #8
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    One last thing to consider with your rotary cutter - make sure you have only one blade loaded in it! When you buy blades, they have an oil between them and can stick together. It's not very obvious to the eye when you load the blade, but it has a negative effect when cutting fabric. Sometimes it will look like you have two cuts (very close together)and sometimes it seems the cutter skipped part of the fabric - and that can happen with the same cut on fabric.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    Joann's has a glove to wear for cutting....protects your hand

  10. #10
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    Yes, change your blade, even though it may be 'new'. As JulieR said, you never know what happened at the factory or how old it is, how long it sat on a shelf somewhere.

  11. #11
    Super Member RkayD's Avatar
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    Make sure you stand over your fabric while your cutting. Not having it the right height for you can effect how you cut. They have finger guards that you can get to put on your ruler. I've even seen some people put on safety gloves. If you make sure and keep your pinky finger on the mat as you hold your ruler straight that helps with slippage. It also helps if you get one with a squeeze handle that way the blade isn't out until you are ready to cut. The rotary cutter is a wonderful tool as long as you respect its personal space. =) Good Luck!

  12. #12
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Is your cutting mat on a hard, solid service. One quilter was having problems because she was using her mat and rotary on the carpet. If I use my ironing board surface I do not get good cuts.

  13. #13
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    A level table helps too. If the table has slight dips in it that will make it skip too.

  14. #14
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    If its new, probably you are not putting consistent pressure, I have found this is often the problem with me. Just go slow, and always double check that all fingers are out the way. I am very careful to always lock my blade and be weary of where my hand is that is holding the ruler, and tap on wood have yet to cut myself in ten years. Also, the ergonomics of your table might be making it awkward for you to apply pressure, might be too high or too low

  15. #15

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    I got a batch of bad blades once. I thought I was going to pull my hair out because I thought it was me.

  16. #16
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    It may be also that you are too hesitant because it is so new to you. I watched my sister use her rotary cutter with such confidence whenI first started, and I was terrified. I often let her cut my fabric for me.

    But it was lack of experience. Or at least I am now confident enough that I rarely have problems. Maybe you should practice on fabric that isn't something you care about?

    Anyway, with experience....and a sharp blade...you will do fine.

  17. #17
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    Keep your cutter straight against your ruler and not on an angle. Use firm consistent pressure and stand so that you are over your work. I love cutting but I can't cut properly sitting down or if the table is too high. Get an experienced quilter to watch you and offer some suggestions as it may not be obvious to you exactly what is the problem. Also realize that cutting is not easy for a lot of quilters. When we have hands on at guild evenings, cutting is the least preferred job. It will get better with practice. Don't try to cut when you are tired or the light is poor. Stick on ruler guards are available if you are worried about cutting yourself. Also make sure to use Invisigrip or those little plastic grips on your rulers to avoid slips and slides. Good luck with this.

  18. #18
    Super Member snipforfun's Avatar
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    I used to use one of the white mats and eventually I had lots of skipping. I switched back to my olfa Green mat and all was fine.

  19. #19
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    what brand cutter?
    does it happen to have two blades in it, rather than one?

  20. #20
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathyvv
    One last thing to consider with your rotary cutter - make sure you have only one blade loaded in it! When you buy blades, they have an oil between them and can stick together. It's not very obvious to the eye when you load the blade, but it has a negative effect when cutting fabric. Sometimes it will look like you have two cuts (very close together)and sometimes it seems the cutter skipped part of the fabric - and that can happen with the same cut on fabric.

    Good luck!
    This is so true. I had this happen to me and the fabric looked like I was shredding it. Those two blades together are almost impossible to see (smile). Great advice here. Check the blade!!

  21. #21
    Member phylklos's Avatar
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    sobaboo; I find my cutters work best on at least 4 layers of fabric, rather than 1 or 2. I believe that was what they were designed for, way back in the dark ages of quilting. Cutting tracks on an older the mat can also cause skipping; flip it over and use the second, smoother side. Use your ruler for measuring strips and squares, not the grid on the mat. I use the mat grid strictly for squaring/straightening a length of yardage. Hope this helps you :-) :-)

  22. #22
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    Stand over the fabric you're cutting. Get a firm grip on your rotary cutter - but don't white knuckle it. Give it firm pressure but don't press so hard you're making it "stall out" - roll - think roll like a rolling pin. lean ever so slightly the top towards the ruler so it doesn't go off to the side and take your time. No need to speed here. It takes time to get the hang of it, but never be in a hurry when cutting strips. Also, do check that it doesn't have two blades on - very carefully. (Try a magnifying glass - if it does use a tool to separate them - not fingers. Careful not to nick it.

  23. #23
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Yep check the blade for, chips, could have been dropped or running over a pin, (how would I know that) also grooves in the cutting board. Practice made a big difference tho.

    One more thing, when I learned, left the part I was cutting off exposed, so could softly scoot it over to see if all was cut, without letting up on the guide, but the grid was straight, can cut both ways now with guide over the strip I'm keeping.

    Don't think I've ever cut me tho ;) did cut the phone cord in half the other day :(..... Woops :)

  24. #24
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    Your mat can be the problem also. Is it clean, can you see any deep cuts it the mat or is it worn.

  25. #25
    Super Member quilttiludrop's Avatar
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    There are a lot of nuances with rotary blades. I know I press harder than I should frequently. Lint can get up into the cutter also.

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