Cutting Paper

Whether or not you aspire to printing books and pamphlets, a paper-cutter will prove useful. Due to safety regulations, closure of small foundries and forges and shortages of skills, new ones are either crummily made or outrageously expensive.

Thankfully there is a floating population of those long-since outlawed from schools and offices because they lack safety guards; most of them date from an era when things were accurately machined and built to last. Most cities have a firm which specialises in sharpening trimmer and guillotine blades, too — try Yellow Pages or ask a local printer who he uses.

Don’t be frightened; if you can safely use an un-guarded Adana and are sufficiently politically incorrect to have an IQ in excess of 3 or 4, you’ll be perfectly safe, and in any case they are less dangerous than the fearsome alternative of sharp knife and steel straight-edge. Just don’t let the cat use it!

The unguarded card or board-cutter (1) is most versatile, being capable, with care, of cutting lengths far in excess of its blade. Small guillotines can quickly trim the un-even edges of quite thick partly bound books.

Notes on Guillotines
Notes on Guillotines

This guide kindly contributed by John R Smith of the Old Forge Press. Originally appeared in the newsletter of the Oxford Guild of Printers