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Old 09-18-2009, 10:39 AM
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Glass Cutting Mat

Hi,



I'm having a bit of a problem with my cutting surface. I'm using an A3 self healing mat and in general itís great but I keep breaking the tip off my knife. I've tried a couple of different brands of blades and I still have the same problem. The tips seem to break off inside the mat itself within the first few cuts.

Today I came across a glass cutting mat (see pictures below) and thought it might be a solution to my problem so my question is do any of you use a glass cutting mat and if so how do you find it compared to a normal self healing mat with regard to both my blade problem and for general use?

Thanks
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:42 AM
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light touch is usually good on a self healing mat

there are times where I go a bit deeper than usual, and then the tip breaks

that is only my opinion, take it as such

Rick
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:23 AM
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Back in the day before digital plate making came into practice, I used to cut film and such all the time on the glass surface of a light table. Glass works great...just use a little caution, just like with the self-healing matts if you apply too much pressure you will break off the tips of your blades. I found that the olfa snap-off type blades or even regular old single edge razor blades worked better than #11 xacto blades on the glass cutting surface....could be to the strength of their steel. Plus xacto brand blades are crap - they break way too easy - I think that's how they stay in business. Try excel brand, they are much stronger and hold an edge much longer. Just beware, if you use alot of pressure you can etch the surface of the glass no matter what type of blade you choose. The glass is not as hard as you think.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:22 PM
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I use this Fiskars knife handle with #11 scalpel blades, pictured below . The blades are stronger than xacto and hold their edge as long as excel blades. They can be bought in 100 packs for about ten dollars. I have used this combination on cutting mats and the pictured tempered glass surfaced, backlit, lazy susan thingy with no problems or blade breaks. Xacto blades are cr@p! use Excel or scalpel blades. For cutting requirements like 2mm formers, Olfa makes some excellent heavy cutting craft/utility knives.
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Glass Cutting Mat-rotary.jpg   Glass Cutting Mat-scapel.jpg   Glass Cutting Mat-knife.jpg  
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:43 PM
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I used to use a glass mat, and found the accuracy was far better. However it did dull my blades very quickly. I now use a self healer, and a lighter touch. With experience I can now cut as accurately as I used to on glass, but my blades last much longer
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:03 PM
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Yep, I used to use glass as a cutting board for balsa wood models. I would not recommend it. Easy to slip and cut yourself.

Aside from that, I use the x-acto #2 handle with the #24 blade. I could practically cut through the self-healing mat and not break the tip. These blades last much longer too!
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:34 PM
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I have used lots of different cutting mats and I've found that Olfa cutting mats are the best, because they seem to be the easiest on the blades. Olfa mats seem to be a softer material and so don't put as much strain on the tip of the blade.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:45 PM
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I worked on a glass sheet for a few months, and I found that my blade tips broke more often than on a self healing mat - especially when trying to cut a relatively sharp curve. In addition, if you press too hard, the blade will create scratches in the glass, causing your blade to dull even quicker with subsequent cuts. I went back to a cutting mat.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:51 PM
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Thanks guys for all the advice. Up until now I have mostly been trying exacto blades and implex blades (I think they're an english brand) and to be honest I don't really get that long out of them. Excel or scalpel blades sound like the way to go (for me anyway).

Are Excel blades American? I've had a look on the internet because they don't seem to be available here in Ireland, plus I only have one craft shop near me. Nearly all the sites I've found them on only ship within America or Canada so I don't know if I will be able to get them. :(

On another note, I did find a useful blade for the implex range mentioned. It looks exactly like the exacto #22, straight top with the cutting edge on a curve, but the implex one is the other way round. It has the cutting edge running along the flat section and the curve is on the top. I find it great for long cuts and because it doesn't go to such a fine point as say the #11, the tip doesn't break. I've used a few so far and havn't broken one. Just worn them out.
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Old 09-18-2009, 03:19 PM
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A self-healing cutting mat is good for almost all the work I do, but sometimes the pieces being cut are little wider than the thickness of the paper. For instance when cutting spokes or engine linkages for micromodel size locomotives.

When this is the case, the paper tends to twist because of the downward pressure of the knife, and I find that very thin pieces will also move away from the blade while the cut is being made. Not a good situation.

A sharp knife and gentle touch are very helpful, but sometimes even this is not enough. I have tried harder plastics such as Lexan but the blade still disturbs the surface some and it is far from ideal.

Cutting on a piece of glass there is no distortion. Ordinary window glass works fine, but if you can get something a little thicker there is less worry about breaking it. I use a tempered glass shelf from my refrigerator. (I took it out to make room for more beer.) And if you scratch it, you can just turn it over or move to a different spot.

To avoid the work moving away from the knife, it is helpful to stick the piece onto the adhesive portion of a Post-It (TM) note with the adhesive turned up, and not to remove any of the waste until the whole thing is cut.

This little "N" guage Mallett compound locomotive is from Ray Morris. I made several pathetic attempts to cut the engine linkages before finally hitting on the cut on glass technique. And yes, it's pretty rough on the knife blades.
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Last edited by Thomas Meek; 09-18-2009 at 03:21 PM. Reason: Left out photo
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