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Thread: Paper cutting preferences

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    811

    Paper cutting preferences

    Time to buy a new paper cutter for the darkroom. Guillotine or rotary? Brands?

    None of them have great reviews until you get into the $400+ models which handle 40 + sheets. I only need to cut 1-5 sheets at a time. And I need it to be straight, square, and not jagged or trailing off at the ends. Budget ~ $100.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    north of the 49th
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    1,190

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    Rotatrims have never failed me.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Forest Grove, Ore.
    Posts
    3,977

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    To trim photographs as part of mounting, I found a used, earlier (yellow)16x20 Rototrim model that works great. I paid $150 for it.

    For cutting test sheets, I found a used, 11x14 rotary paper cutter that cost about $60 on EBay.

    I was lucky to find my paper trimmer for $150 used.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    812

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    Most of the pros I know use guillotine cutters. I assume good ones are expensive unless you can find something used in good condition. I have a Rotatrim. They are not the cheapest but I don’t make large prints so my relatively small model was affordable - at least it was at the time. I don’t think you can get a new one for $100.

    Quote Originally Posted by esearing View Post
    Time to buy a new paper cutter for the darkroom. Guillotine or rotary? Brands?

    None of them have great reviews until you get into the $400+ models which handle 40 + sheets. I only need to cut 1-5 sheets at a time. And I need it to be straight, square, and not jagged or trailing off at the ends. Budget ~ $100.

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    7,962

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    I've always had more trouble keeping cuts straight with a guillotine than with a rotary cutter. YMMV.

    There are inexpensive rotary cutters that might serve for light to moderate use. How large do you need?

  6. #6
    In the desert...
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Nevada/N.Arizona/ Florida Keys
    Posts
    583

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    I'd like to find a good one for cutting sheet film

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
    Posts
    2,896

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    Rototrim for me too. I have two other trimmers sitting in storage and just use my 24" Rototrim for everything now. Once squared well, it is reliable, accurate and robust.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wooten View Post
    I'd like to find a good one for cutting sheet film
    Dave, I imagine a 24" Rototrim would be suitable for your film-cutting purposes too. You may have to add stops (thicknesses of tape, etc.) to position the film in the dark, but I can't think of anything else offhand that would give you as clean a cut.

    Best,

    Doremus

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    15,781

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    Dual-rail Rototrims. I have both the 24 and 42 inch versions. They've been dependable for decades. But top end Dahle guillotine trimmers aren't much cheaper, and certainly aren't as safe in the dark. Only a hundred dollar budget? What does it cost to get a finger reattached? You might want to put that in perspective. But given your budget parameters, the less than ideal cut of a cheaper linear cutter would still make a lot more sense than a cheapo guillotine version - their sheer sloppiness tempts one to use them too aggressively.

    That being said, cutting sheet film down to correct size is a more demanding application than just cutting printing paper in the dark. If the film is just a little off, it won't fit in the holder properly. Not an application where you want to pinch pennies. Another hundred dollars is just another box of 8X10 film these day, and just how much of it do you want to gamble with and waste trying to get the film squarely sized to begin with, before you even shoot it?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,171

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    Rototrim here, too. I've had it for 40+ years and never an issue.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    117

    Re: Paper cutting preferences

    From a safety aspect I dislike guillotine cutters. I use Rotatrim, double rail and the Dahle. Both used them for 30 years, both never let me down.
    I own the gear, but those don't make masterpieces. My everyday experience.

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