Max cutting width of a guillotine - 300mm too much for it?

Hi everyone,

I recently bought this guillotine don’t know what brand/model it is yet. I posted a few pictures in case anyone recognizes the shape.

But my main question is to do with the maximum width that you can cut. You can fit up to 600mm in the opening but i am having trouble cutting only 320mm of 300 gsm cover.
I sharpened the blade quite well and it cuts fairly easy a piece of cloth by sliding it against the blade with some tension.

here are some specific questions:
- Is it important to get the blade sharpened by a professional?
- I am pretty sure it will cut the same width of a stack of paper 80gsm,so was the guillotine just not designed for heavy paper?
- Has it not been designed to exert that amount of pressure?
- What are the common capabilities of guillotines this size?

In advance thank you for your comments,

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Log in to reply   10 replies so far

I have a 16” tabletop knife and even with a sharp blade it takes a little coaxing to cut a 15” sheet of cover stock. I’m not sure what you have for a cutter but with a sharp blade you should be able to cut a wider sheet than half your blade. I would suggest that you always have your blade sharpened by a professional. It’s not expensive and it’s so nice to have a razor-sharp blade. Also, make sure to check your cutting stick if you have one. if that gets worn you won’t get a good cut no matter how hard you try!
Good luck!

Had a cutter blade sharpened by a local guy, after one or two cuts the cutter wouldn’t cut anything, took the blade to a company that sharpens cutter blades, they told me the blade had to be sharpened a certain way or it takes the temper out of it, my blade had rolled over, if you looked down the blade it had rolled over, it took a lot of grinding to fix it. I’ve tried filing the blade, but you can’t beat a professional sharpening. Steve, in Massachusetts the best place is Boston Saw and Knife, they can even get replacement blades for most cutters, i’ve used them for 30 years and never had a problem. Dick G.

I use Valley Machine Knife in West Springfield. The print shop that I worked at has used them for as long as I can remember and they do a great job. I have 2 blades so when one gets dull I put the other one on and drop the dull one off with them, it’s usually done in a day or two. My little tabletop just doesn’t like full sheets of cover stock!

I have a 750mm (30”) cutter with a very dull blade (it won’t cut through the last 4 or 5 sheets ever) that I haven’t had the time or money to sharpen. Even at that, I can cut through about 20 cover sheets 600mm wide. Your cutter should be able to do better than that, perhaps the blade has been damaged.

Thank you for your comments.

Anyone know someone that sharpens blades in Melbourne Australia?

The cutter has a wooded base were the blade stops. Is this what you mean by cutting stick Steve?
I have seen rubber versions of this so perhaps i should also try getting one of those.

The blade gets through the 1st sheet of cover with quite a lot of force on the handle. I take that sheet off and can see that the blade is cutting much better on the same side of the handle. Something might be skewed.

The other detail i noticed is that the press that holds the paper in place if about 2mm away from the blade. Is that normal?

Cutting sticks i’ve seen are either plastic or wood. Your cutting stick usually can be turned(if it is square) you can use all four sides, then turn the stickfrom left to right and cut four more times. You should be able to cut a while before turning the stick, also you can shim under the stick if its not cutting on one end. The press (clamp) that holds the paper sounds right, the most important thing is make sure the clamp never returns above the blade, very very very dangerous. If the blade isn’t cutting thru on one side you can use a piece of chipboard under the stock you’re cutting. Good Luck Dick G.

Yes, as Dick said wood or plastic cutting sticks. Mine are plastic but wood should be fine. He also makes a good point about the clamp not rising above the blade - I have a nice flat spot on the tip of one finger to help me remember that point - ouch!

Three problems come to mind by cutting close to the maximum width.

If the paper is soft (Crane Lettra) it is kind of spongy as the blade starts to compress the paper and it doesn’t seem like it wants to cut. Once it starts to cut it is easier.

It would take double the pressure to cut something 20” wide versus 10” wide.

If you try to cut a thick stack you probably aren’t at the most efficient position on the handle for getting the best. You can tell this often when you are cutting a thick stack. You’ll feel that it takes more force to cut the top sheet than the bottom sheet. The levering angles (not sure if that is the right term) aren’t the best at the start of cutting.

To have the blade sharpened, I would ONLY do this by a PROFESSIONAL and I mean someone professional at sharpening blades. We have a place called J & A Grinding that is in the same industrial park as our shop and a blade like yours would be $20 to sharpen. To me there is no way to do this on your own and be even remotely accurate.

The other thing you need to remember about paper cutter blades is only a certain portion of the blade is high speed cutting steel. We’ve had to retire a few blades over the years because we wore/sharpened passed the cutting steel.

Thanks guys, the sharp blade is coming tomorrow. I will turn the cutting stick as suggested by Dick as well.

I am not cutting Lettra at the moment. This one is hard stock but i will be cutting some cotton made stock in the future and will consider your suggestions Lead Graffiti.

Gee, am glad i put this post. There are a few interesting things here. So, the blade is composed of not only the one type of metal…

I will let you know how it goes when i try again on the weekend.