Paper Cutter Recommendation

As I venture into this world of Letterpress, just purchased a Victor Press, I am looking for recommendation on a paper cutter.

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I’d recommend a guillotine style cutter, an older, cast iron model which will be less expensive, stronger, and cut better than a new one in my opinion. Chandler & Price, Challenge, and Craftsmen are all well-known makers but there are plenty of others less familiar that made good cutters. I’d get one as large as your space and budget will allow. A lever cutter would be sufficient as oppossed to a motorized/hydraulic one.

It’s less expensive to buy paper in full-sized sheets and you can often get such sheets on the second-hand market or even free. If you get say a 19” cutter you may soon find yourself wishing for a larger one. You can cut small pieces on a large cutter but not visa versa. Of course, your space may be a limitation.

I have a Chandler & Price 26” cutter that I’m very happy with. I kept a constant watch on Ebay, Brair Press, and Craigslist and finally one became available on my local Craigslist for $200 about an hour’s drive away. I was glad to get it.

It’s better if a second knife comes with it since new knives are expensive and having a backup means you can keep working while the other is being sharpened. But only one knife wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me. Unless you’re in daily production, if you have to loose the knife for a week while it’s being sharpened it will probably make little difference.

Here are a few current offerings for sale with some comments:

Ebay Item: 250459447303 - a 19” cutter but a great deal if you live close enough.

Ebay Item: 130285967345 - a nice large cutter but in my opinion too expensive, unless you have the money and just want one now. It’s been on Ebay for a while and you might contact the seller and make an offer.

Ebay Item: 220410807590 - a Challenge 19” cutter. Very nice and a very good price.

Briar Press Ad: - here’s one I would snap up if you are close enough to get it. It looks bad but all the parts seem to be there and disassembly will make it easier to move.

Briar Press Ad: - A month old but maybe still available. It’s 30” and $600 but looks like a really, really good one. Have the biggest cutter on the block! Honestly though, if you have the room and the money it’s a good deal and I’d snap it up.

You’ll want to check your local Craigs List too. Personally, I wouldn’t pay more than $500 - $600 for a cutter and preferably less, of whatever size. But then my budget was and is extremely limited.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ


I didn’t have the money or a lot of space for a floor model cutter, so I ended up buying a 12” guillotine-style stack paper cutter off ebay (The Perfect Cutter). It does limit me to the size paper I can cut, but it’s a tabletop model and it’s convenient to move around. I am able to cut coated metallic 110# cardstock as well as Crane’s Lettra, so it’s enough for me. I do wish it was bigger, but it’s enough for my work. Good luck!


Hi Dennis,

Another approach is to take parent sheets to a commercial printer for cutting down to a manageable size, and having a smaller cutter in your shop for trimming. The cutters that the big guys have do a fantastic job — very precise, very square — for just a few dollars.


Thanks to all for the comments. Rich, I will check out the ebay items. The smaller one on Briar Press looks very interesting, needs redone a little but would probably be great! I have a few weeks a head of me, so I am not in a rush.