Even though the computer has taken over as the preferred method of keeping records, the use of paper by both individuals and businesses is still widespread. That means that the machines that are used for handling paper are still in use. Now, one of the most important paper handling equipment is the guillotine paper cutter, and it’s the basis of this article.
While a sharp guillotine cutter can help you cut through a thick bunch of paper, a blunt one can give you a lot of trouble and slow you down. To avoid that, all you have to do is keep it sharp. But how do you sharpen a paper cutter?
We’re going to look at how to sharpen paper using different methods so keep reading.
Before we delve into the different methods of sharpening a paper cutter, we feel it’s important you know this –
Is It Sharpening or Honing That You Really Need?
Before you go out and sharpen your cutter’s blade, first figure out if it’s sharpening or honing that’s really needed. Because you see, the blade is very thin at the sharpening edge, and through normal use, it can bend a bit and give you the impression that it’s blunt.
In such a case, it’s straightening that’s needed; not sharpening. How to do that? Just whisk it against a sharpening steel. Alternatively, you can cut aluminum foil several times using it.
If after doing that the blade is still not cutting properly, and by looking at it you can see it’s actually blunt, then you can go ahead and sharpen the blade using any of the methods described below.
Remove the Blade
This is obviously the first step. To remove the blade from the mount, remove the little bolts that hold it using a wrench. The easiest way to remove the bolts is to start with the ones at the end, working your way to the center ones. Why? Because the blade will be held in place by the center bolts till it’s removed.
Don’t forget that the blade is still a cutter and could cut you, so handle it with care.
Sharpening with a Bench Grinder
If you’re looking to complete the task quickly, then you’ll find a bench grinder most helpful. Due to the high speed of the grind-wheel’s rotation, a high amount of steel can be removed at a fast rate, so be careful not to wear and weaken the blade while trying to sharpen it.
The grit size needs to be high, and as you sharpen the blade, you need to mind the angle so as to have evenness. The orientation of the blade is also important; sharpen the slanting side.
To achieve evenness and make it easier to sharpen the tool, why not use a sharpening attachment? You can get one from a hardware supplies shop or online store.
Sparks get released when you sharpen tools on a grinder, so it’d be advisable to use some form of protection for your eyes.
Sharpening with a Stone
Like knives, paper cutter blades can be sharpened using a grindstone. In fact, the two implements are pretty much the same, only that cutter blades normally have a flat side and an oblique side so you will only be sharpening the oblique side.
Since the cutter blade is also long, you’ll need a larger grindstone than you’d need for a knife so that with every stroke, the blade cuts across to its entirety. And once again, keep the blade at the correct angle (around 20°) while sharpening it and try to achieve uniformity by not moving too much.
With several strokes across the stone, the blade should get sharp and glossy. You can even try cutting an object like a rubber glove with it and see how well it cuts. Once you’re satisfied with the degree of sharpness, hone the flat side and reinstall the blade.
Oh, and about the sharpening grit size, a fine-grit stone (1000-grit or higher) should do.
If you don’t have time to sharpen the blade or haven’t sharpened a blade before and want to achieve great results, then the best option would be to have a professional do it for you. There are numerous sharpening services in most towns, and the best way to find them is via the internet. Just type “sharpening services near me” and Google will display a list for you.
Have a Spare
Depending on the rate with which you use your paper cutter, it might be essential to have a spare blade in the store. That way, you’ll ensure that your work doesn’t come to a halt when the blade gets dull. By removing the dull blade and replacing it with the sharp one, you can continue with your work, then sharpen the dull one later and keep it in the store.
If you’re using the guillotine cutter for work-related purposes and you normally use it a lot, then you can even keep several spare blades.
Tips for Sharpening a Paper Cutter Blade
Those are the major ways of keeping your paper cutter blade sharp, but before you go, you might want to have a look at these paper cutter sharpening tips:
If you’re not sure how to disassemble the cutter and remove the blade, check what the cutter’s user manual says or call the manufacturer if you still can’t pull it off.
A paper cutter blade usually has two sides – a flat one and a slanting one. Sharpen only the beveled or rather the slanting side.
Before sharpening your blade, set the correct sharpening angle. We’ve seen several people recommending 20°, and we’d recommend the same, but it’s also about how you hold the blade; the angle is mostly intuitive.
Try lubricating the sharpening stone to prevent the accumulation of metal filings on the stone’s pores.
Ensure that you sharpen the blade evenly. You can do that by maintaining uniform pressure with your hands (particularly the non-dominant one).
Hone the blade once you’re done sharpening it to straighten any bent edges. The flat side is the one to hone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I sharpen my paper cutter blade?
Yes, absolutely. All you have to do is disassemble the cutter to remove the blade, then once it’s out, sharpen it on a grinding stone or a grinding wheel or even just hone it.
How do I sharpen a guillotine paper cutter?
The first step is to disassemble the cutter. Then, identify the sloped side and sharpen it at an angle of around 20° using a stone or grinding wheel.
Can I use aluminum foil to sharpen my paper cutter blade?
Well, an aluminum foil doesn’t really sharpen a blunt paper cutter blade, but it keeps a sharp blade from going blunt. To keep your blade sharp, use it to cut aluminum foil sheets from time to time.
How frequently should a paper shredder be lubricated?
It normally depends on the type of paper shredder. Micro-cut shredders have more complex cutting mechanisms so they should be lubricated each time before use and when being used continuously for an extended duration, they ought to be lubricated at least thrice per hour.
A cross cut shredder’s cutting mechanisms are less complex, and thus the machine can be lubricated less frequently, maybe once per hour or per two hours when being used continuously.
How do I lubricate my paper cutter?
The correct procedure is to oil a paper then use the cutter to cut it. Just sprinkle some vegetable oil or any oil that is approved by the manufacturer on a paper, then cut the paper using the machine. Cut several more oil-covered papers with the machine to maximize the effectiveness of the lubrication.
As you’ve seen, sharpening a paper cutter blade isn’t that difficult after all. If you can’t figure out how to open the cutter and release the blade, refer to the user manual. Remember, the side to sharpen is the beveled one, and the sharpening angle should be little, perhaps up to 20°.
We hope you found this guide helpful. Go and share it with your buddies.