Equipment: Rotary Blade Sharpener

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Top 50 Contributor
Posts 133
on 21 May 2009 8:42 AM

Question for you all - do you use a rotary cutting blade sharpener?  Are they any good?

I'm not a quilter, but I use a rotary cutter, and currently most of my projects use both paper and fabric stitched together, so you can imagine the paper element blunts blades quite quickly.

All my quilting friends I've spoken to all say they never sharpen their blades, they either buy new ones or use a service where you send away to get them sharpened. 

Your thoughts would be welcome please.

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 64
on 21 May 2009 9:19 AM

I bought one of those sharpeners for rotary blades and didn't have much luck with it.  I didn't think that it sharpened the blades very well.

Sue Bleiweiss

http://www.suebleiweiss.com

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 350
on 21 May 2009 3:59 PM

I went to cooking school so I can tell you from a knife perspective. I have some very expensive German and Japanese knives. I never use the sharpeners that you buy and do yourself.  When you sharpen a knife, you are taking part of the blade off.  With the cheaper blade sharpeners, they don't hold the blade in the correct way and you don't get a sharp edge, one side may get sharpened more than the other. That will affect your cutting performance when you are cutting your fabric.  Also, if you sharpen the rotary blade incorrectly, you can create burrs and little craters in the surface if you do not sharpen it uniformly throughout the length of the blade. I would imagine it is the same with rotary cutter blades. If you do it at the wrong angle or do it incorrectly, it can cause your fabric to be cut roughly or somewhat at an angle.  I have gotten rough cuts from a dull blade before. I would either get a new blade or get it professionally sharpened.  It is well worth the money.  Also, a dull blade is flatter and will not cut through the cloth as easily- that is why you will notice more pulling and stretching when you cut.  Your measurements will be more off then.  A sharp edge will cut through with less resistance and you will not feel that pulling. 

Belinda aka crazyartgirl

Blog:  http://alteredbelly.blogspot.com/

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 64
on 22 May 2009 5:12 AM

As a culinary school graduate myself, I'm always aware of how sharp my cutting tools are whether it's my knives, scissors or my cutting blades. I don't think there is a service to sharpen rotary blades, at least I've never heard or seen of one.  They're so inexpensive that it's cheaper to just buy new ones.  I do recommend that my students who work with both paper and fabric keep separate cutters for working with each, just like you should do with your scissors.  And I recommend that as soon as the blade stops giving you clean even cuts to change it. 

Sue Bleiweiss

http://www.suebleiweiss.com

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 133
on 22 May 2009 6:44 AM

Mhmm, just as I thought.  Here in the UK I do know of a blade sharpening service for rotary blades.

May be  blades are cheaper in the US, here they are £4.50 - £5+ each... and the sharpeners are advertised at £12.50 - £25.  I'm very fussy over keeping my scissors and craft knives separate for paper and fabric... anyone who wants to touch my scissors gets heavy interrogation (especially the husband who I found using cheap scissors as a screwdriver!) 

My problem comes because I'm using both fabric and papers in layers in my work, so I can't cut separately.  Its so much easier if I'm cutting strips to use the rotary and a quilting ruler... I could in theory draw a line and cut with (dedicated) scissors - but then I have the issue of  pencil lines marking the paper, and not easy to remove if you're using handmade papers or the like, without also rubbing away the paper surface.

Perhaps the inefficiency of the sharpeners is a deliberate ploy to make us spend out on more blades!!! :)

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