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Author Topic: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades  (Read 853 times)

sdBev

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Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« on: July 09, 2018, 11:23:44 AM »

I am having an increasing problem of my rotary blades becoming dull quickly.  I can remember blades that would last 3 months. I am retired so able to do a lot of cutting during that time.  1 project a week would be a low estimate. Now I can hardly use a blade though a single cotton knit T. My  peoblem started with blades lasting a month instead of 3. Then I got a package where the blades at the top lasted a month but the blades at the bottom would become dull quickly.  2 seemed to be dull as soon as placed in the cutter. Now it seems that every blade is good for maby 2 cuts, if that. Just installed a new titanium blade, which quit cutting midway through the first cut.

I thought maybe the old mat was too damaged and replaced it about 6 weeks ago. Thought maybe I wasnt pressing hard enough until the day I pulled the fabric out of a groove created when I tried to make a cut. IOW the blade didnt cut. It caused a depression in the mat and pushed fabric into the depression.

Ive racked my brains. The only change in the room is a new air purifier installed 3 months ago.  Problem was occuring before then.  We have had a more humid spring/summeróI am dumping the bucket once every day- but the new blades are in a protective package covered in a light coat of oil. The only other cause I can come up with is buying unknown brands from Amazon.  Ive just ordered a new package of 5 from Nancys Notions which reminded me of why I started buying from Amazon. (Blades + shipping $25. About twice the cost of Amazon Prime.).

Im stuck. Do you have any idea why the blades are dulling so rapidly? 
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 03:37:36 PM by sdBev »
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sdBev

vtmartha

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Re: Dull Rttary Cutter Blades
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 11:51:45 AM »

Bev, I usually attribute my dulling blades to the type of fabric Iíve been cutting.  You can get name brands of blades from Amazon.  You might try some of those and see how you fare.  I did not find Kai there but I did see Olfa and Gingher.
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Melinda_B

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Re: Dull Rttary Cutter Blades
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 12:31:42 PM »

I also use a sharpener for my blades.  I have one of these http://www.scrapdragon.com.au/dual-rotary-blade-sharpener-sharpens-45mm-rotary-c and I'm sure they are available in the US, probably on Amazon
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sewvt

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Re: Dull Rttary Cutter Blades
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 01:45:55 PM »

I'll just throw this out there to see if anyone else has a similar experience. 

For me, blades seem to last longer in the ergonomic style handles.  Maybe it's the way I use them, but with the straight handles, the blade seems to twist slightly on the mat, creating dull spots on the blade and skips in subsequent cuts.  I do quite a bit of free-hand cutting for garments, as opposed to quilts.  That said, the no-name blades I bought in bulk didn't last as well as Olfa blades which I also buy in bulk from Amazon.
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rttary Cutter Blades
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 03:47:06 PM »

Bev, I usually attribute my dulling blades to the type of fabric Iíve been cutting.  You can get name brands of blades from Amazon.  You might try some of those and see how you fare.  I did not find Kai there but I did see Olfa and Gingher.
I agree, but the last blade was dull after cutting 1 side seam of a Tshirt of a cotton knit. No way should i have to use 3-4 blades to cut out a Tshirt. 

Big thanks for suggestion to look by name.  I had searched just by rotary cutter blade.
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rttary Cutter Blades
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 03:50:05 PM »

I also use a sharpener for my blades.  I have one of these http://www.scrapdragon.com.au/dual-rotary-blade-sharpener-sharpens-45mm-rotary-c and I'm sure they are available in the US, probably on Amazon
YES! There are several. Thanks for that suggestion.  I had forgotten about sharpeners. I wore out my last sharpener and didnt replace it because the blades were lasting a long time and came way down in price.  But they are no bargain now if I cant cut out a Tshirt with a new blade.
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rttary Cutter Blades
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 03:57:51 PM »

I'll just throw this out there to see if anyone else has a similar experience. 

For me, blades seem to last longer in the ergonomic style handles.  Maybe it's the way I use them, but with the straight handles, the blade seems to twist slightly on the mat, creating dull spots on the blade and skips in subsequent cuts.  I do quite a bit of free-hand cutting for garments, as opposed to quilts.  That said, the no-name blades I bought in bulk didn't last as well as Olfa blades which I also buy in bulk from Amazon.
Interesting, sewvt.  I had not thought  about this possibility and I have had blades develop a visible flat spot.  Usually good reason for replacement.  I didnt particularly care for the one ergonomic handle I tried.  Waiting to read others comments on this idea

I too mostly free hand cut garments.  Havent made a quilt in several years; just finished living room drapes so still doing some home dec. Rotary cutters especially reduce the hand fatigue with those long seams.
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sdBev

Towanda

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 01:27:59 AM »

I wonder if it is the type of mat that you are using. After reading your comments, I realized that my blades dulled more quickly when I was using a white mat. I changed to a green mat and the blades seem to last longer. I had a lot of grooves in the white mat but I don't notice them with the green mat.
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DragonLady

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 01:33:37 AM »

I wonder if it is the type of mat that you are using. After reading your comments, I realized that my blades dulled more quickly when I was using a white mat. I changed to a green mat and the blades seem to last longer. I had a lot of grooves in the white mat but I don't notice them with the green mat.

By "white mat" do you mean a hard, rigid sheet like a cutting board?  I think that would probably allow faster and more precise cuts, but would dull a blade within a very short period -and the scratches on the mat would ruin it quickly, too.


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DragonLady

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 01:36:26 AM »

Quote
I didnt particularly care for the one ergonomic handle I tried.


Do you press down really hard? A rotary cutter really should just glide through the fabic, and the ergonomic style handles should help prevent repetitive motion problems.  But if you press down too hard, the handle will be uncomfortable and I think the pressure will probably dull the blade.
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theresa in tucson

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 02:38:55 AM »

JoAnn's sells a white plastic mat that is a bit smaller than the fold-out cardboard cutting mat.  That could be what Towanda was referring to.  They say it is suitable for rotary cutters but I have no experience with them; I'm a scissors gal.  I had one for years until it finally broke apart; too many moves between the dining room table and its hiding spot underneath the rug in the foyer.
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mudcat

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 03:25:44 AM »

If it's an off brand that might be part of the problem.  I order Olfa blades via WAWAK (cheaper than Amazon and free shipping if you spend > $100 which is easy since I now buy my thread there).  I've not noticed a problem with fabric but when I use the blade to cut pdf sheets it seems to dull them faster.
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sewvt

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 01:26:18 PM »

One other thought - I use the 60 mm size pretty much exclusively and I don't try to cut out sharp/small inside curves or other fussy cuts.  I just rough cut around it and do the rest with scissors later.  In the early days, I tried doing everything with the rotary cutter and that's when I noticed that any slight twisting (IE rotating the blade when it's not moving forward) seemed to create dull spots on the blade.  It's harder (for me, anyway) to twist the blade with the ergonomic handle. 

FWIW, I have Olfa mats which self heal well.  I had another brand (Dritz?) and found bits of mat flaking off between the cuts in the mat.  I have a spare handle marked "P" with a piece of tape and blades that aren't doing it for fabric go into that for cutting paper.
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PJSewingal

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 02:00:17 PM »

Good conversation.  I have a white mat that I have had for many years.  It was not cheap and is 32"x 60".  It is really showing its age and has a few ridges in it.  I have thought about replacing it but it was never as smooth as the Olfa mats, which means slippery fabrics sort of stick to it, making it easier to cut them.  I always use a rotary cutter for garments.  I have not noticed blades getting dull that quickly, but I don't do a ton of cutting out since I am a slow sewer (and not retired).  I'll have to gauge that the next time I cut out something.

I have a rotary blade sharpener I bought from Nancy's Notions.  I also had the one Melinda linked.  I have not really found either one to sharpen the blades that well, but maybe it is just me.
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 03:50:32 PM »

Gosh, so many good thoughts! 

Yes I use a white cutting mat. I replaced an old green mat about 10 years ago with the white mat. Have not had such severe issues with the blades dulling until beginning about Feb 2018 and it has steadily been getting worse.  I still have the old green. DH wanted me to keep it for a while because he thought he had a use for it.  We put the white mat on top. DH never came back for the green and it's not a problem, so it sits beneath the white. I did wonder if the white was suddenly creating a problem.  It is quite damaged now and bought another white mat. New white mat did not help. In desperation, I removed both white mats and tried the old green.  No change.  However, I'm already planning to buy a green one when make another replacement, which considering how I am scoring the new mat could be soon. Sooner if you guys come up with solid information that the white mats really do dull blades.

Just in case the 2 mo old mat could be the problem, this is the one I bought also from Amazon

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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 04:02:22 PM »

Quote
I didnt particularly care for the one ergonomic handle I tried.
Do you press down really hard? A rotary cutter really should just glide through the fabric, ...
Didn't used to. I know that sometimes I don't keep even pressure on the blade and can get skips from that. But I know it. I feel it immediately and usually its because I'm trying to cut 4 feet of fabric with my 28" arms. I thought maybe that was the problem and started pressing harder. As I said, that's not the problem, thank heavens because I was getting hand and arm fatigue something I haven't had since I started using a rotary cutter. Oh and I was damaging the new mat with gouges from pushing down so hard.

After the recommendation here, I looked on Amazon for  ergonomic handles. There was the one I tried and didn't like plus there are several I just think would be awkward instead of ergonomic. I'm one who couldn't stand the ergonomic keyboards and hated many of the 'chairs' they said would be good for us. I'm weird. I accept it.  Still I looked for Youtubes hoping to see I was supposed to hold the handle differently than what I imagined. Sadly, many of our notions manufacturers don't seem to think Youtubes are a good marketing ploy.  At least that's what I think since there weren't any Youtubes.  I searched for the specific the named handles I found on Amazon, hoping I'd find one that surprised me and I would buy.
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 04:05:33 PM »

... when I use the blade to cut pdf sheets it seems to dull them faster.
I keep a red-handled rotary cutting for paper only.  Anyone who walks in my house knows they can use that one but will die if they touch any of the others.  Definitely made a believer out of DH; he  always asks "This one OK?"
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2018, 04:09:30 PM »

One other thought - I use the 60 mm size pretty much exclusively and I don't try to cut out sharp/small inside curves or other fussy cuts.  I just rough cut around it and do the rest with scissors later.  In the early days, I tried doing everything with the rotary cutter and that's when I noticed that any slight twisting (IE rotating the blade when it's not moving forward) seemed to create dull spots on the blade.  It's harder (for me, anyway) to twist the blade with the ergonomic handle. 

FWIW, I have Olfa mats which self heal well.  I had another brand (Dritz?) and found bits of mat flaking off between the cuts in the mat.  I have a spare handle marked "P" with a piece of tape and blades that aren't doing it for fabric go into that for cutting paper.
I have a 45 and a 22 plus a paper cutter, and pinking blade. I use the 45 most of the time.  Really should use the 22 more but usually just grab the scissors when I need that much detail. Knowing that I lose more fine cutting ability with each increasing size of blade, I thought I didn't want the 60mm. I'll have to give that more thought.
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 04:14:05 PM »

Ok another wrinkle in this discussion
Does anyone have this cutter:

I want it.  Put it on my Xmas list since birthday and mother's day and valentines day are long past.
There's another one that is cordless but, gees, the cost is over $300!

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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 04:17:53 PM »

and let's talk about sharpeners
Is the True Cut good?


How about this cutie?

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sdBev

PJSewingal

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 07:11:54 PM »

I have a version of the True Sharp (your first one) that I bought from Nancy's Notions.  Someone in my ASG group said it was good.  I didn't find that it sharpened the blades all that well - they dulled quickly after being sharpened.  YMMV...
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Paula
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2018, 01:00:51 AM »

I have a version of the True Sharp (your first one) that I bought from Nancy's Notions.  Someone in my ASG group said it was good.  I didn't find that it sharpened the blades all that well - they dulled quickly after being sharpened.  YMMV...
I was afraid of that.
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2018, 01:17:28 AM »

After a frustrating day, Ive decided it is 99% the blades at fault.  The blade that cut 1 Tshirt side seam before becoming dull yesterday, would cut nothing today.  Put in a brand new blade  >:( >:( >:( It wouldnt cut either.  I wondered if it was even turning and tested on the mat only carefully watching the blade. Yes it rolled smoothly. Did nothing to the mat.  Tried a light cotton. Blade made a dent/depression in the cotton.  Wondered again if it was the handle. Put the new blade in the paper cutting rotary handle. Didnt cut.  Light bulb moment, put the paper cutting blade in the fabric rotary cutter. I move blades from fabric cutting to paper cutting when they cease to cut easily.  This blade has been  cutting paper for a few months. It cuts fabric!  Skips, but it cuts. Think the paper cutter blade is from  an old batch purchased from Nancys Notions. 

I am cutting with scissors until new blades arrive from NN.  Boy do I miss a good rotary blade.   I may not buy sharpener from Amazon either.  Love Amazon but this has been too too frustrating.  I need tools I can depend upon.  Besides, still thinking about the 60mm cutter idea.
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sdBev

Meg

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2018, 10:05:46 AM »

I had a batch of Alto blades which were really good, but that was several years ago.  Iíve tried not tightening the screw really tight, to allow the blade to move more easily - that helps.  I wonder if you got a batch of rejects which shouldnít have been packaged up?
A friend of mine had an electric blade sharpener - my goodness, but it was LOUD!  You really needed hearing protection to use it.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 10:24:28 AM by Meg »
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Towanda

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2018, 03:08:32 AM »

I was using the white mat from Joann's. After a while, it developed serious grooves and it was painful to use. I used my frustration to justify buying a new mat. I've been using Kai rotary cutters for the last year. I love them.  I've had all of the major brands but the Kai feel better in my hand. The blades automatically extend when you push down and retract when you remove the pressure. This helps because it prevents accidents when I get distracted. I love the Kai blades. They are sharp and last for a while. Kai's sale just ended and I bought the 28mm. (for some reason I bought 2 of them by accident). I bought some extra blades to have them on hand.  I already own the 45mm & the 60mm cutters.
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2018, 02:41:33 PM »

I was using the white mat from Joann's. After a while, it developed serious grooves.... I already own the 45mm & the 60mm cutters.
Did the cutter skip whenever it crossed a groove? Sadly, due to this issue,  Ive already made grooves in my newest mat. Im anticipating the need to replace, even if I solve the blade problem.


Also sad, I remember why I started ordering sewing supplies through Amazon.  Placed my order with NN Sunday. Monday recieved confirmation. Tues shipping email with no info.  Wed shipping email via Fedex expected to arrive next Wed. I search Amazon for Olfa blades. Packages will be arriving later this afternoon. Sorry, NN for items commonly avail, you must compete with Amazon. No price advantage, long delivery time, NN loses.
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sdBev

sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2018, 12:46:49 AM »

UPS delivered new Olfa blades today.  Installed one and immediately tested.

OMG what a wonder.  For the first time in weeks I lightly guided the cutter. No pressing down to cut. No skips and no need to cut in the same place multiple times or dig out the scissors. No hand or arm fatique.  No new dents in the mat. Just wonderful. 

Was only cutting aisle runner. (For those unfamiliar its a nonwoven fibrous product very similar to the nonwoven interfacing of old. Several of us use it to trace patterns.) Will cut a ponte tomorrow.

 Put the cutter up until tomorrow. Didn't do anything special for storage. Although I am considering storing in a plastic bag with a dehumidifing substance.  For now, I really want to know if something in the environment is causing the blades to dull quickly or if my problem has been substandard blades.
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sdBev

Towanda

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2018, 11:36:49 AM »

I was using the white mat from Joann's. After a while, it developed serious grooves.... I already own the 45mm & the 60mm cutters.
Did the cutter skip whenever it crossed a groove? Sadly, due to this issue,  Ive already made grooves in my newest mat. Im anticipating the need to replace, even if I solve the blade problem.


Also sad, I remember why I started ordering sewing supplies through Amazon.  Placed my order with NN Sunday. Monday recieved confirmation. Tues shipping email with no info.  Wed shipping email via Fedex expected to arrive next Wed. I search Amazon for Olfa blades. Packages will be arriving later this afternoon. Sorry, NN for items commonly avail, you must compete with Amazon. No price advantage, long delivery time, NN loses.

Yep, the cutter would skip but fuzz from cutting thread got stuck in the grooves. It was a pain in the butt. I would end up scrubbing the mat to get the fuzz out of the cracks.  NN slow shipping is why I rarely order anything from them. I ordered from Kai over the weekend and the package arrived on Tuesday. The best part is that the shipping was free.
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2018, 01:40:36 AM »

Well good news. Olfa blade has been in cutter over night.  Today I cut a pair of pull-on ponte pants.  The Olfa blade cut through 2 layers of ponte just as easily  as it did  though the aisle runner yesterday. Did not get dull at all over night. Seeming more and more  like the off-brand blades were my problem.
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2018, 12:15:38 PM »

Sure looks like those off-brand blades were not a good deal, Bev.

FWIW, I'm increasingly careful about ordering from Amazon. It's full of look-alike knock-offs. I always check to see that the seller is a reputable one. I learned this from a small businessman who designed and sells an item on Amazon as well as on his own website. It wasn't long before his design was ripped off by a Chinese vendor and is also sold on Amazon. It looks the same but the steel used to construct it is thinner and of course it is not as durable. My friend complained to Amazon about the rip off but they did nothing.

I ordered some straws from Amazon a month ago--they arrived stuffed into a regular gallon-sized ziplock bag--no commercial packaging of any sort. I could just imagine someone grabbing a handful of straws with their grubby hand and stuffing them into a ziplock bag. Eeeeew. I sent them back.

Kathryn
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sdBev

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Re: Dull Rotary Cutter Blades
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2018, 12:53:05 PM »

Kathering
I used to be able to check the reviews. There was a time they were reliable and I would take my time to add reviews as well.  Now the reviews are being filled up by , oh Iíll be polite and call them, questionable sources.  I have one app that reduces the reviews to verified buyers and discards other questionables. Drops the number of reviews significantly and changes the average rating.  It has become a known problem that Amazon seems unable/unwilling to control. Just noticed Nancys Notions revised site is going to allow reviews from known purchasers only. That could help, except the unethical have been known to work around that too. I remember when we first started buying things from Japan. We used to say we had some of that new cheap Japanese junk. After a while, think it was a decade or two, the Japanese learned that as a whole Americans were more appreciative, willing  to pay more and made repeat buys when the quality was markedly better.  I keep hoping the Chineese will get that point too.  Certainly, I wont be buying any more off brand rotary blades.  I d rather pay the higher price and search for a reliable blade.

Well didnt mean to hijack my own thread.  I think my problem is solved.  I have made it a point to cut with the Olfa blade every day since I got them.  Using the same blade and it is Still just as sharp today as when they arrived.
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