Signs Your Paper Cutter Blade is Dull

As is the case with all blades, knives and cutters, they will eventually become dull with continued use. This is the case with rotary paper trimmers, stack cutters and guillotines. While all blades will dull, it is sometimes hard to determine if a blade is dull or if the paper cutter is simply having mechanical issues. This article will cover the symptoms of a dull blade and what parts you will need to replace if your paper cutter is dull.

While there is an entire range of different styles of paper cutters out there, there are three main categories that are used by 90% of people. These paper cutters include rotary, stack and guillotine. Each of these cutters use a sharpened blade to cut paper, but the process varies greatly from one format to another. I would like to start off by covering dull rotary cutters, followed by dull stack cutters and finishing with dull guillotines.

Dull Paper Cutter Symptoms

Rotary Paper CuttersRotary Paper Cutters (found here)

ABOUT  – Rotary paper cutters use a round blade to roll across and cut paper, much like a pizza cutter slices through pizza. Some rotary cutters, dubbed self-sharpening rotary cutters, also incorporate a base blade, which usually looks like a strip of metal. As the rotary cutter blade slides along the rail, the round blade rubs against the base blade. This ensures a more accurate cut while also helping to keep the rotary cutter’s round blade sharp.

SYMPTOMS – The first sign of a dull rotary cutter blade are usually manifested in decreased cutting capacity. If your rotary cutter cut 15 sheets out of the box, but is now only cutting 7 or 8 easily, your rotary blade is becoming dull. Another symptom of a dull rotary cutting wheel is burrs forming on the edge of the paper.

REPLACEMENT – Replacing the rotary cutter blade is typically an affordable and easy process. If you have a self-sharpening rotary cutter, be sure to replace the cutting wheel and the base blade as well. While some cutters require the entire cutting head to be replaced, most only require the cutting wheel itself to be replaced, which is far less expensive than replacing the entire paper cutter.

Stack Paper CuttersStack Paper Cutters (found here)

ABOUT – Stack paper cutters use a flat wide blade to cut through hundreds of sheets of paper at a time. This includes simple 20# bond paper up to heavy-duty card stock. This blade is brought down horizontally, with manually leveraged pressure, an electric motor or hydraulic pressure driving the blade. These cutters are popular in print shops, copy centers and with businesses that have specialized cutting needs.

SYMPTOMS – A dull stack cutter blade will have trouble cutting through all the sheets of paper. This should not be confused with a worn-out cutting stuck. The bulk majority of the time that a stack paper cutter is struggling cutting through all the paper, the blade is usually misaligned or the cutting stick needs to be rotated.

In manually powered stack cutters, required cutting effort might increase with a dull blade. Another symptom is cutting lines or artifacts showing along the edge of a cut stack of paper, which is often the result of a nick or gouge caused by cutting through a staple or paper clip.

REPLACEMENT – Before replacing your stack paper cutter blade, be aware that most blades can be re-sharpened about six times. This will save you a lot of money over purchasing a new blade every single time. Blade sharpening should always be considered when purchasing a new stack paper cutter. If the stack cutter’s blade cannot be re-sharpened, consider buying one that can. You will save a lot of money in the long run. It isn’t a bad idea, however, to have an extra blade on hand to prevent downtime while the other blade is being re-sharpened.

Guillotine Paper CuttersGuillotine Paper Cutters (found here)

ABOUT – Stack cutters, often referred to as arm cutters, use a curved long blade with a handle on the end. This blade is manually pulled down, sliding up next to a base blade, cutting paper in a scissor-like motion. Stack cutters are ideal for accurately cutting a lot of paper at once.

SYMPTOMS – Symptoms of a dull guillotine blade typically start with diminished cutting capacity. If the cutter used to cut 30 sheets at a time, and now only cuts 20 or fewer, you may have a dull blade. Cutting through paper clips and staples with a guillotine will often result in a damaged or dull blade.

REPLACEMENT – Replacement blades are available for most guillotines and typically take just minutes to replace. Replacement usually involves removing the safety guard, removing the cutting arm and removing the base blade. Remember, always change the blade on the guillotine’s arm as well as the base blade.

Hopefully this helps you determine whether or not you have a dull blade. At ABC Office we offer replacement blades for most of the paper cutters we offer. This includes Dahle, Kutrimmer, Dahle, Rotatrim, Carl and many other brands. If you can find the blade you need, contact one of our associates at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of new paper cutters here.

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