Tools of the Trade – Cutting Blades

I thought I’d take a moment today to discuss the tools that I use.  Specifically, cutting blades.  In architecture school, there were two camps.  The Olfa blade camp, and the X-Acto blade camp.  While both companies probably made both sorts of blades, for us, the terms had specific meanings.  Olfa referred to blades that were big and chunky, almost like box cutters.  Mine looks a lot like this one:

X-Acto referred to what most people think of when they hear the word x-acto, a thin triangular blade.  Like such:

As I mentioned, there were definite camps, and people tended to prefer one over the other.  For me though, I found it was helpful to have BOTH on hand, since they had very different strengths.

Olfa blades are strong and sturdy, perfect for cutting straight lines, no matter what the material.  They just have a strength that the x-acto blades didn’t have.  Plus if you were cutting through thicker materials, they can get pretty long if you extend the blade.

But try to do any sort of small scale work, and the x-acto is definitely the blade to use.  Not only can it swivel and cut curves much more easily, but it really cuts almost any smaller shape much better than the olfa.

However, no matter what blade you chose to use, the most important rule to remember is to keep a sharp SHARP blade at all times.  This means you should change your blade WAY more often than you might think.  I even knew people who changed x-acto blades after each cut.  Now that is probably taking things to the extreme, but I always am reminded of this principle when I do get around to changing my blade, because the feel of the blade as you cut is so drastically different when you have a truly sharp blade as opposed to the dull one, it always amazes me I waited so long to change it in the first place!

I hope this helps you decide what tools YOU need for your next craft project.  I’d be interested to know, which blades to you prefer, and what projects do you use them for?

Ciao, Allison

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2 Responses to Tools of the Trade – Cutting Blades

  1. Pingback: Project 14 Week 18 – Cork Covered Pencil Cups | the 3 R's blog

  2. Pingback: Project 21 Week 23 – Crayon Alphabet | the 3 R's blog

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