Paper Cutters

Bought a bunch of 22 x 30 300gsm crane letra paper. Put it on my old Chandler & Price 30” hand operated cutter. Simple so far…Tried to cut it. No way. Tried to cut just one sheet. Almost no way. Needless to say, this is not working out. What is the minimum I need to knock this kind of sheet down to size? I really don’t like having/paying/schlepping to my local print shop to get it done, kind of defeats that old yankee do it yourself thing.

Thanks in advance.

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We print on Lettra and we have just ordered a QCM-1200E stack paper cutter. We have heard good things about it—supposed to cut up to 280 sheets of 20lb bond at a time, which I am guessing will be about 50 sheets of Lettra. Unfortunately the cutter is only 12”… we have our 22x30” sheets cut into 7x10” sheets. From now on I think we will be ordering 8.5x11” to zero out any paper waste from trimming.

If you are interested in the 1200E or 1700E I will be happy to report back regarding how well it does on Lettra. It should arrive later this week.


Generally speaking it’s difficult to see why a sharp and properly functioning C&P cutter wouldn’t do what your asking of it. I have a 26” C&P and have yet to find the paper it will not cut through. I’ve cut sample sheets of Crane’s and heavier stock without a problem.

Check the mechanism to make sure it is adjusted and functioning properly. Make sure the knife is properly adjusted and the cut stick in the table is in good condition. But perhaps the most important thing to check is the most basic: is the knife sharp? This can be judged from it’s ability to cut cleanly. Pulling sheets out of allignment; leaving a rough edge; or not cutting at all are indications it needs to be sharpened.


I have used both a big Chandler & Price cutter and a small challenge cutter (cuts tabloid sheets) and both worked good on lettra 110, (I did fairly large stacks..) I also have a small (12 inch) Carl heavy duty rotary cutter — but I don’t push it too far, and stick to one sheet at time until my new blades get in, even then I just don’t think the little rotary cuter can handle much more than a sheet or two at time.

On thing about lettra is it is soft and you can get marks from the pressure when you tighten the cutters down (chandler & Price and Challenge)… but if you don’t tighten it down good you will ruin your sheets (they move and then its no longer straight!) So use some cardboard to cushion it! (thats a good idea for anything you cut though, shame to ruin the top sheet!)

Nothing will compensate for a knife that is not sharp.
A previous comment suggested cardboard on the top of the stack to prevent marking/indenting the paper with the clamp. Corrigated cardboard will not do the job. Use what the printer calls chipboard.
Unless the cutting stick is quite new, you can get a poor/ragged cut on the bottom one or two sheets. I use chipboard on the bottom of the stack also. With care, you can set the blade to cut through the bottom chipboard and just kiss the stick.

Yes definetly don’t use corrugated cardboard, take several sheets of chip board (like what is on the back of a yellow notepad. What a great Idea to put a sheet of the chip board on the bottom too.. I will have to try that out.

When you us a hand cutter and bring the blade down slowly to the top of the stack and then try to push it thru, it takes a lot more pushing or pulling on the handle then if you swing the handle thru the whole arc and let the momentum of the counter weight carry the blade thru the cut. But that said, it sounds like a dull blade to me.
We have a local guy that sharpens ours up here in the frozen north, but have also used Messenger Knife in Portland Oregon with good results. Years ago there was talk of cryo freezing cutter blades after shapening to make them last longer but I think that turned out to be mostly a waste.