Monday, September 12, 2016

Inside the Paper Jungle: Picking a Paper Trimmer

From time to time, I'll be giving my readers a sneak peek into the new papercrafting products, supplies or tools in my Paper Jungle, and offering a review and/or recommendation. Unless I tell you otherwise in that post, I receive no compensation (cash or supplies) from anyone to provide this review. 

This month, let's look at paper trimmers, including my new favorite, the Cutterpillar Crop.

I have, literally, a large banker's box full of paper trimmers that I've accumulated over the six years I've been papercrafting. I started with a Martha Stewart deep-blade paper trimmer with a 12"x12" bed. I moved onto Fiskars, a Carl rotary, an old-school guillotine, and a large/heavy We R Memory Keepers trimmer.  I finally found a favorite and portable paper trimmer, in Stampin' Up's paper trimmer, and I bought two of those just to always have one handy.

Recently, while attending the Close To My Heart Convention in Orlando, one of my fellow Consultant/Friends showed me her Cutterpillar Crop Scrapbook and Craft Paper Trimmer.  She demonstrated it for me, and I got to try it to see how narrow a thin bit of paper could be trimmed. I was impressed to see a paper off-cut of a thin, curled bit of paper, truly less than 1/32" of an inch!

Here's a closer look:

Cutterpillar Crop is made by Simple Products of Draper, Utah ( It is the smaller and less expensive sister of the Cutterpillar Pro. I got it through for $59, including free Prime shipping; here's a LINK.  It's now $69.09 as of this post, which is still at least $20 less than any of my usual suppliers of such goodies.

The box says "This trimmer is designed for speed, precision and accuracy."  Uniquely, there is a battery-operated (four AA's) LED light that illuminates the cutting edge for more accurate cuts, "especially on photos and lighter stocks).  The trimmer is NOT recommended to trim heavy chipboard, thick plastics, cloth, adhesive or metallic stocks, and cutting those sorts of media with the Cutterpillar Crop will VOID your 90-day warranty!

The blade is a replaceable self-sharpening rotary blade, which should not need replacing -- ever! 

It glides along a metal "gear rod". Be careful NOT to carry or lift the trimmer by this rod, as it can shift your cutting accuracy. The blade cuts in either direction, in a push/pull. The arm moves out to open to 17.5" -- very wide!

To aid in your cutting accuracy, the ARM is marked in both metric and inches, as small as 1/16 inch. The bed,  however, is marked in 1/4" squares only. The markings are impressed into the plastic surface with NO darker printing anywhere on it.  I found this a bit difficult to use without darkened markings.

Therefore, I marked my own trimmer using a Sharpie permanent marker. I make many pop-up box cards where the critical size is 2.75", so that is why I marked both my horizontal and vertical sizes with a dashed line. I also make a lot of A2 cards which are 4.25" x 5.5", which is why I noted those sizes.  I also wrote on the rail to DO NOT LIFT, and marked with my name.

I will also likely mark the 1" in from the cutting edge, as it's a little difficult -- for me, at least, to get used to the right hand edge being in an inch from the ruler.

In this picture (left), I'm trying to show how the LED light bar DOES shine through a standard cardstock, i.e., the weight of a Close To My Heart cardstock. So if you're trying to trim along a definite line or border, turn on the light (the switch is on the front at the bottom of the gear rod) and shine on!

This paper trimmer isn't exactly portable, though the company recommends that you keep the sturdy box (with handle) to carry the box. I plan on keeping it on my desk surface, and using other trimmers at crops and such unless I find I can't live without this one. I estimate it weighs about 4 to 5 pounds, so it is well made with quality materials.

Instead, when I travel away from the Paper Jungle, I'll likely continue to use my flat, standard paper trimmer from Stampin' Up.  One of my very favorite things about the SU trimmer is the dual blades -- one is the cutter and one is a scoring blade for marking folds. You CAN remove either one if you so choose; for me, I marked the blades to remind me which cuts and which scores -- duhhhh, I learned from experience how often I mix one up and end up cutting my cards in half inadvertently! 

I'd love to be able to highly recommend the Fiskars trimmer sold by CTMH. I liked it very much when I first got it, mostly because the accuracy is aided by a wire that runs along the cutting/drag blade. The problem is, several of my wires frayed from the blade rubbing up against it, and the only way to continue to use it is to trim off the wire. How frustrating!  Fiskars realizes this is a problem, and DOES offer free replacement wires and segments to repair your trimmer, available by contacting Fiskars' customer service. Fiskars also now offers a rotary/gear-rod driven trimmer which I have not tried. 

I also still use my Martha Stewart paper trimmer, as the blade is exceptionally deep AND sharp!!  I use it to cut chipboard and glitter paper. I can attest to how sharp it is ... when I went to change the blade, I severely cut my finger and bled a LOT. I thought I'd need stitches. Ever the documenter, I did take pictures, but I'll spare you those. Gross!

Several of my crafting friends use the We R Memory Keepers paper trimmer (pink, at right) which is now discontinued. It is HEAVY, I mean really heavy, and unfolds to open a large 12"x12" bed. I most like the bed itself, with the various markings for cards on this cutter.  This was an expensive trimmer ($100+) that has been a bit of a disappointment in terms of cutting accuracy, IMO. 

So that's it on paper trimmers. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away!  Thanks for tuning in!


Ronald I Bremer said...

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