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  1. #1
    Marco Gilardetti's Avatar
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    Guillotin-knife or rotating-blade paper cutter for darkroom use?

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I can't make up my mind between the two main models of paper cutters, which I would primarily use to cut heavy weight photographic paper in the darkroom.

    I definitely had in mind to go for the Guillotin-knife style, because we have one at the office and it is very fast, extremely solid and reliable.

    However, the shop owner insisted that the rotating-blade types are more accurate and easy to use. However, the models he has shown to me looked made with tin and chinese plastic, with a itty-bitty guide bar and an awful work table. More a toy than a dependable tool.

    Which one do you use, and are there actually any good reasons to prefer a rotating blade unit over a traditional guillotin model?

    Thank you and good evening.
    I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
    (Tristan Tzara, 1922)

  2. #2
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    If you are cutting a sheet at a time then the rotating blade cutters are really superior. Quality units are available from
    Rotatrim. http://www.amazon.com/Rotatrim-RC-24.../ref=pd_cp_p_1
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  3. #3

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    Guillotin-knife style never cuts square for me. Always pushes the paper as it cuts. Go with a rotary style.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  4. #4

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    Here's a second on the rotating blade cutter, but you have to get a Rotatrim, not one of the cheapy little ones like you say he's showing you.

    Both types work better if you work on one sheet at a time. If you're willing to suffer flaws you can cut more sheets. With the rotary cutter the main flaw is ragged edges with little strings and things. With the guillotine cutter the main flaw is sheets that scoot and don't get cut square.

    Duncan

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I also like rotary.. and it is much safer. One really nice thing about them is that when you do need to replace the roller, it's inexpensive. I use a rotary unit to cut 8x10 to 4x10 and to cut 5" roll film to various lengths. I get a perfect cut about 95% of the time.

    (Guillotines can actually be more accurate but definitely not the office kind that most people use. There is a straight-down kind used in the publishing industry that can cut through many reams very accurately.)
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    (Guillotines can actually be more accurate but definitely not the office kind that most people use. There is a straight-down kind used in the publishing industry that can cut through many reams very accurately.)
    Oh, sure, for truly precision cutting of multiple sheets, one of the hydraulic ones with the need-both-hands-on-two-switches actuating scheme is the way to go. I'm betting most darkrooms aren't big enough to house one of those!

    Also a good point about rotary being safer. I still have a scar on the knuckle of my left thumb from a near de-thumb-itation when I was a teenager and working in the darkroom of a local photo store.

    Duncan

  7. #7

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    Go rotary and go expensive (i.e., Rotatrim), assuming you are cutting a print at a time for mounting.

    Cheap rotary trimmers are often not square, or are "adjustable," which means they fall out of square with use and you have to keep squaring them up.

    Even with a Rotatrim, I would try to get my hands on the one I was buying and test it for square (cut a piece of rather large paper using the cut edge for the reference edge for the next cut. If cut no.4 isn't exactly even, then the cutter isn't square).

    Buy the best and cry once.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com

  8. #8
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Definitely a rotary cutter. It's much more precise. So precise in cutting photos that you could shave thin trimmings from the photo. However, you'll wreck the blade if you cut mat board with it. Rotatrim is an excellent brand.

  9. #9
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    I have both but almost always use the guillotine. It cuts accurately if you hold the paper in place and it is quick in the dark if you are cutting paper sizes down. The guillotine can cut much thicker stock. I even cut mat board and card board with mine... the same cutter I have been using since 1990. That said, for 16x20 paper I would use the rotary cutter.
    Dennis

  10. #10

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    As Mainecoon said don't use a rotary for matt board you can ruin the blade. Just use a straight edge & knife.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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