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hand cut help

needing to hand cut cards for the first time -- read several threads, bought mat, exacto knife, metal ruler, and set to work. have about two dozen examples of what i'm extracting. after four very poor to poor efforts, i got my eye in, and have two that look ok, with straight edges and clean corners.

i'm wondering if i'm doing this all wrong -- i'm about to buy an $80-$100 x-acto paper cutter (guillotine, as i've seen it called here)

i have newfound respect for all the old-timers who've done this and done it well.

i'm happy to hear / looking for any advice on the best way to extract a 'hand-cut' card, before i touch another one in my stack.

cheers,
drew

Comments

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,095 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 6, 2023 9:51AM

    Are you using the zirconium blades? Changing blades often? Good lighting? Magnifying glasses?

    Guillotine cutters can solve some problems, but you better practice with it before you cut anything valuable. They can tear your item if you don't use the correct pressure between the blades. When they get dull, I'm not sure how to sharpen.

    I ended up going with an exacto knife. It gives me better control. Paper dulls blades faster than just about anything else. I use the zirconium oxide blades, and change them often.

    Good luck!

    P.S. welcome to the boards!

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • SDSportsFanSDSportsFan Posts: 5,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 6, 2023 1:01PM

    My first thought when seeing this, is.....

    1. Stop the bleeding
    2. Spray Bactine on it
    3. Put a Band-Aid over it
    4. If you're over 21, drink to numb the pain

    Oh yea, Welcome to our humble corner :)

    Steve

  • stevegarveyfanstevegarveyfan Posts: 578 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I use an $80 paper cutter. The blade is self-sharpening. I have never replaced the blade, and it cuts beautifully.

  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 731 ✭✭✭✭

    Cutting with straight blade yielded mixed results. I ruined a couple Hostess cards.
    I bought a wheel cutter and it was a game changer for me. Plus a clear acrylic straight edge. Great result cutting the All-Star Game program cards I was putting off for fear of ruining.
    But I've also read that some really dislike wheel cutters, so go with what makes you comfortable.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @stevegarveyfan said:
    I use an $80 paper cutter. The blade is self-sharpening. I have never replaced the blade, and it cuts beautifully.

    Can you post a photo please?

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RonSportscards said:
    Cutting with straight blade yielded mixed results. I ruined a couple Hostess cards.
    I bought a wheel cutter and it was a game changer for me. Plus a clear acrylic straight edge. Great result cutting the All-Star Game program cards I was putting off for fear of ruining.
    But I've also read that some really dislike wheel cutters, so go with what makes you comfortable.

    What brand? Doesn't the blade get dull?

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • The paper cutter can work great but its not a given any paper cutter will do the trick. Depending on what you need it to do. I had a Kutrimmer brand cutter like 15 years ago that was incredible. I used it to cut a couple BGS 10s and a lot of BGS 9.5s. It had a Kill Bill blade that just sliced through cardboard and made everything, corners and edges razor sharp. But then Beckett got weird and would reject if they were in a bad mood so gave up on it. Gave that trimmer to a friend and then when I reconsidered and asked if he still had it unfortunately it was misplaced in a large house. Could not find a similar looking one out there. So he gave me an Xacto trimmer he had which was a cheaper lesser model but it worked just fine in many cases. But, yes, the blade will get dull with repeated use. It can be incredibly disappointing and feel awful if you are operating with that dull blade and working on something important and it does not cut clean and ruins the card.

    So I went out and bought a new Xacto thinking problem solved but it was close to a complete waste. Not sure what was wrong. But I think the plate where the item lays and the blade comes down needs to be the absolute exact same width top to bottom so its not a little larger in one spot. Because even a couple hundredths of an inch can make it look wrong, like a miscut, wavy, with extra paper so that its wider in one spot. So yes, absolutely test prior to cutting anything valuable. Practice practice practice and make sure it looks right. Practice is important because if you do it often enough you will sometimes cut too much off and your card will be worthless. You want to make sure that never happens with a card that can be worth hundreds or a thousand dollars in a nice grade.

    Was fortunate to hit some home runs with some important cards and think part of that was I got the right person grading on the right day and maybe the right time at PSA at the right level. I have submitted plenty outside of those that missed badly and I can struggle to tell the difference between the 8s and the 9s and the 10s. I used a caliper to measure the borders so close to everything submitted was better than 55/45 centering and corners and edges are super sharp and crisp. So think that may be enough for now for me.

    What type of cards are you trying to cut? That may have an impact on how precise you need to be. Would think if you just need to stay outside a border or not go within a line you may have a little more freedom. If it is supposed to just look like a regular card from a pack I think its tougher. But cant say for sure. With PSA I was doing 1984 Nestle which looks just like 84 Topps except for the logo. So feel like it couldn't be too sloppy and had to look like it came out of a pack.

  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 731 ✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Cutting with straight blade yielded mixed results. I ruined a couple Hostess cards.
    I bought a wheel cutter and it was a game changer for me. Plus a clear acrylic straight edge. Great result cutting the All-Star Game program cards I was putting off for fear of ruining.
    But I've also read that some really dislike wheel cutters, so go with what makes you comfortable.

    What brand? Doesn't the blade get dull?

    Fiskars Walmart special. And yes, I'd imagine the blade will get dull eventually as I'm using laminate countertop scrap as a backer. Replacement blades are cheap enough. But it's not like I'm trimming cards on an assembly line. Just a handful of oddballs. I did recently buy a box full of 80's box bottom and food product cards to fool around with. I won't be cutting those until I build a better straight edge clamping system though.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RonSportscards said:

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Cutting with straight blade yielded mixed results. I ruined a couple Hostess cards.
    I bought a wheel cutter and it was a game changer for me. Plus a clear acrylic straight edge. Great result cutting the All-Star Game program cards I was putting off for fear of ruining.
    But I've also read that some really dislike wheel cutters, so go with what makes you comfortable.

    What brand? Doesn't the blade get dull?

    Fiskars Walmart special. And yes, I'd imagine the blade will get dull eventually as I'm using laminate countertop scrap as a backer. Replacement blades are cheap enough. But it's not like I'm trimming cards on an assembly line. Just a handful of oddballs. I did recently buy a box full of 80's box bottom and food product cards to fool around with. I won't be cutting those until I build a better straight edge clamping system though.

    I have a couple of these that allow me to clamp to my work table.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 731 ✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @RonSportscards said:

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @RonSportscards said:
    Cutting with straight blade yielded mixed results. I ruined a couple Hostess cards.
    I bought a wheel cutter and it was a game changer for me. Plus a clear acrylic straight edge. Great result cutting the All-Star Game program cards I was putting off for fear of ruining.
    But I've also read that some really dislike wheel cutters, so go with what makes you comfortable.

    What brand? Doesn't the blade get dull?

    Fiskars Walmart special. And yes, I'd imagine the blade will get dull eventually as I'm using laminate countertop scrap as a backer. Replacement blades are cheap enough. But it's not like I'm trimming cards on an assembly line. Just a handful of oddballs. I did recently buy a box full of 80's box bottom and food product cards to fool around with. I won't be cutting those until I build a better straight edge clamping system though.

    I have a couple of these that allow me to clamp to my work table.

    Oh shoot. I forgot I have a couple of those with the flat pads on them.
    I was going to use some toggle clamps like these, but those might work better.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Mine have the flat pads, this was the first picture I found.
    Toggle clamps would prolly work better if you can't work near the edge of the table, but they also limit your options as they are usually permanently mounted.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • stevegarveyfanstevegarveyfan Posts: 578 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @stevegarveyfan said:
    I use an $80 paper cutter. The blade is self-sharpening. I have never replaced the blade, and it cuts beautifully.

    Can you post a photo please?

  • GroceryRackPackGroceryRackPack Posts: 2,320 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a similar cutter like that...it makes my cardboard spacers/shipping squares just Perfect for my mailers... :)

  • georgebailey2georgebailey2 Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭

    General question.
    For contiguous cards with either a dotted or solid line, in order to get a numerical grade, do some 'have to die in order for some to live'? Or as Kirk said in ST III, "The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many."

  • stevegarveyfanstevegarveyfan Posts: 578 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @GroceryRackPack said:
    I have a similar cutter like that...it makes my cardboard spacers/shipping squares just Perfect for my mailers... :)

    Lol, I use mine the same way! Wish I could buy them already cut to those exact dimensions.

  • GroceryRackPackGroceryRackPack Posts: 2,320 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @stevegarveyfan said:

    @GroceryRackPack said:
    I have a similar cutter like that...it makes my cardboard spacers/shipping squares just Perfect for my mailers... :)

    Lol, I use mine the same way! Wish I could buy them already cut to those exact dimensions.

    5”x 5” for my raw singles…

    5”x 6½” for my PSA singles…

    6”x 14” for my BBCE racks…
    :)

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @georgebailey2 said:
    General question.
    For contiguous cards with either a dotted or solid line, in order to get a numerical grade, do some 'have to die in order for some to live'? Or as Kirk said in ST III, "The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many."

    It's completely up to PSA. I have seen cards with missing lines get a numeric grade as long as there's enough border. The question is how much is enough.
    Of course PSA doesn't give any specific guidelines.

    Personally, I sacrifice a card if there's a danger of having both get the dreaded "authentic " grade.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • GrooGroo Posts: 38 ✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @georgebailey2 said:
    General question.
    For contiguous cards with either a dotted or solid line, in order to get a numerical grade, do some 'have to die in order for some to live'? Or as Kirk said in ST III, "The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many."

    Personally, I sacrifice a card if there's a danger of having both get the dreaded "authentic " grade.

    Biblical

  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 731 ✭✭✭✭

    Got back my first graded hand cut card using the rotary cutter with great results.

    I also cut a Hostess panel. I left a border and it turned out great....until I flipped it over.

    Unfortunately the printing is misaligned. Even leaving a border on the front, some print got cut off on the back.
    How would this grade? Can a hand cut card be labeled MC or is it Authentic at best?

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