Cutting Paper

Get­ting paper to the right size

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