Removing Adhesive Buildup on Knife (guillotine)

Is there a simple and safe method for removing adhesive buildup on the guillotine knife when cutting down duplex pieces? I’m using an adhesive designed for low transfer when making final cuts, but there’s still enough adhesive transferring to the knife that the adhesive will transfer back to newly cut pieces within 4-5 cuts. Anyone cutting duplex pieces have a safe solution? One thought was to have a stack of scrap chipboard ready to trim so the extra adhesive buildup gets transferred to the chipboard scrap. It may take 3 or 4 cuts on the scrap chipboard, but seems much safer than exposing the blade to manually clean it from behind. It would be great to hear any safe ideas or methods you might have.

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I know one thing that all of us printers should have and use is the Cut Resistant Gloves when working with cutters blades.

This’ll sound strange…. But you can cut a fresh stack and soak the cut end in acetone, then move the back gauge forward ever-so-slightly and then shave the stack, soak again with acetone, repeat. It helps if you have a spray bottle for the acetone- one of those goose-neck deals. This worked for me with mine (I have a power cutter, though, FYI), when I was cutting the spines off some perfect bound books for a strange project. Really gummy adhesive on those….. Also when I work with duplex stock that uses that potdevin heated adhesive I get a sticky blade, and often use this trick.

Of course, nothing substitutes pulling the dang knife from the machine and just giving it a good careful wipe-down with a microfiber cloth and some acetone. Wipe it with some light mineral oil after and give a few cuts on some scrap material next time you use it, before you go back to cutting nice stuff.

(Also forgive me for not getting into any of the obvious safety first stuff, but I take that as a given personally!)
Good luck!

Since cutting chipboard is the fastest route to a dull blade, I would recommend any of the other options mentioned.

Err, if it wasn’t clear in my post.. I meant you could soak the end of a SCRAP STACK with acetone- not your finished pieces. Understood? I didn’t mean to be suggesting you soak your finished pieces with solvent…… Duh… Poor wording, sorry.

One way to eliminate the buildup in the first place, when cutting through gooey adhesive layers, is to find a silicone lubricant (used in several industrial applications) and lower the blade to the cutting stick. If the cutter has power, shut off the power. Lift the clamp to expose the back of the blade.

Rub the back and tapered front of the blade with the lubricant. This application will help to keep the adhesive from building on the blade surfaces.

If you can find a bottle of lubricant without being a spray (used by electricians, plumbers and for aquarium owners) it is better, as the spray will release the mist into moving air, and will attach itself to surface where you will not want its ink repelling characteristics (ink plates, rollers, etc.). You should not do this if you are planning to color the edges of the stock after cutting, as there may be some of the silicone oil residue on the stock edges, although minimal transfer should occur if you are careful.
I use spray-on WD-40 very sparingly in my shop as it has a healthy amount of silicone oil in it’s spray.

Of course, as was mentioned by others above, use the utmost care when you do this as the blade is VERY sharp (or at least should be).

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Adhesives are either water based or petroleum based. I have found that using solvents like goo be gone works well or acetone if you need to use a more aggressive chemical. Then always spray your blades with silicone to repel adhesives while cutting to avoid build-up. Always use as little clamp pressure as possible on your cutter and cutting small lifts of your adhesive stock to avoid slippage under a low pressure clamp.

John, I’m sorry to have to correct you, but I’m afraid regular WD-40 has no silicone in it at all (perhaps some of their other products do, though). Here’s a link to the official MSDS which lists the ingredients. Note that it is entirely hydrocarbon based.

If you’re looking for a silicone lubricant, you’ll need to keep an eye out for siloxane or polysiloxane in the ingredients. Those are chemical names for what is commonly called silicone.

I should also say for others reading this that, in general, WD-40 is not something that should be used in your printshop. By design it oxidizes and forms a gummy, non-lubricating film. It was originally invented to be an aerosol replacement for Cosmolene that would be easier to apply to very large objects like missile casings. That is, it’s a rust-preventative coating for use in the storage of metal parts.

It is not a lubricant, no matter what the WD-40 marketing folks say! It’s OK as a penetrating oil, but Kroil and PB’laster are both better and won’t leave a gummy film if you don’t get them totally cleaned off. WD-40 would be fine if you’re storing your equipment for a time, but it isn’t very useful if your equipment is in regular use.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Ordinary, *common or garden* household Silicone furniture spray polish, One quick shot to the rear of the blade and the front of the clamp, lasts for ever and a day, virtually NEVER transfers to the stock,!! . . Often used here in conjunction with Programmatic, Guillotines/Paper cutters, (even the ones with air assisted float beds,??) with Big, Big reams with air assisted AND silicone spray, big reams can almost >HOVER> in to the back stop. + much less effort when knocking up against the Back stop.!!!

Also silicone shoe,waterproofing fabrics , spray.