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