In pursuit of the truly straight edge cut: -- am I the only one having a problem?

Am I the only one having problems getting a truly square cut?

I have the XActo guillotine from Staples and have tried using it with 1, 3, 5 sheets of paper --- with a variety of cutting strokes (fast, slow, pressure up, little pressure, etc)
--- Have been vigilant about holding the paper in place

... but I cannot for the life of me get a true straight edge!

What am I doing wrong?

I'll happily return it -- but replace it with what?

The rotary cutters look intriguing but I'm suspicious -- and I really DO want a straight, not a curved, edge to my sheets.

A thousand thank you's to everyone who participates in this site -- I love it and hope to reply with some helpful answers/suggestions of my own soon!

-- Idea Diva

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Function of clamp


A straight cut is a function of the wiggle of the paper as the blade moves. If you want a truly straight cut, get you a papercutter with a true paper clamp that will hold the paper absolutely still while the blade moves.

I haven't really noticed any curve with my xacto or my carl rotary unless I'm cutting very thick stock that's beyond their capabilities. A few sheets of plain paper doesn't seem to be a problem.

My technique is to make sure the cutter is on a flat, sturdy surface (my dining room table). Place the sheets in the cutter, and if there's a paper stop, use it. Then place one hand on top of the paper (my left), making sure all digits are well clear of the blade. I lean onto the paper a bit to ensure my weight is pressing down on the paper. Then draw the blade down/across to cut the paper. Let go of the blade before letting go of the paper. Usually I check for a complete cut before I let go of the paper.

Making sure the blade is sharp is very helpful. A dull blade will shift an elephant as it moves across the page, not to mention leaving a raggedy cut.

With my xacto, I get best performance with a sharp, fast motion. The carl is fine with a slower motion.


My request

I truly appreciate your time and consideration in getting back to me, shris. It's all consistent with what I've been trying. Since this is a new paper cutter, I'm convinced I need to return it to Staples and try again with one of the other products recommended here.

Again thanks for letting me know I've done everything possible! All the best -- :: Idea Diva


Dahle has a variety of guillotine paper cutters with a bar to hold the paper in place. They are not cheap but they do a perfect job. We use the 32 inch one in our studio.


My request for help

Thanks for the reco -- this xacto (new!) needs to get returned to Staples. I'll give your Dahle a try.
Thanx:: Idea Diva

Encyclopedias and guillotining

Hold the paper down with a heavy flat weight - like a few volumes of an encyclopedia or an old video player - and try cutting the paper then.

If the support under the cutting blade is raised then put something under the paper to raise it to the same height as the blade base; perhaps a thin book. And then shove as many heavy books on top of the uncut paper as you need to stop it moving about.

Hold onto the section of paper you're cutting off (so the blade is between the books and the bit you're holding) so there is just enough tension in the paper to hold it in position but not enough to stretch it. Then cut the paper with a firm swipe of the blade.

And, just as said above, you have to let go of the blade before you let go of the paper.

Good luck! K

My request for help

Thanks so much, K --

Your suggestion is a good one -- except I need to be able to cut paper quickly, efficiently and without alot a fuss.

This is a new xacto and boy do I miss my old paper cutter from a zillion years ago -- sharp as a laser, heavy duty, 100% true edge. Used it to cut the finest, thinnest paper as well as poster board, bristol board -- zero problems. Unfortunately it went to the "Land of the Lost" during a move.

Staples will have the opportunity now to buy back this piece of junk ....

Thanks for your encouragement.

:: Idea Diva