A tabletop paper cutter is a very useful tool to have, both for offices and for homes. However, one of the most frustrating experiences is to use a paper cutter that has dull blades or needs other maintenance. Performing regular maintenance, including sharpening of the blades, helps keep the paper cutter in top form and helps you avoid ragged edges of paper that are not cut correctly.
Read the instruction manual for the paper cutter when you buy it. Follow the manufacturer’s directions about how to care for the paper cutter. Only use the paper cutter in the manufacturer’s approved manner.
Keep it indoors on a flat, level, sturdy surface and try not to move it around if you can help it. Also, if you do move it, lift it by the bottom, not by the cutting blade handle.
Keep your paper cutter clean. Do not cut paper with wet glue or paint on it that might ooze onto the cutter blades or bed. Also, do not attempt to cut a stack of paper or cardboard too thick for the cutter. This can warp and dull the blades. Do not cut materials that are not suitable for cutting in a paper cutter, such as fabric or metal.
Wipe the paper cutter periodically with a damp cloth. Apply a few drops of approved oil on the hinge and spring mechanisms to keep them working smoothly. Replace the non-slip feet if they should become dislodged from the bottom of the paper cutter.
Most importantly, once a year or as often as needed, take the blades to be sharpened by a professional knife sharpener. Do not attempt to do this yourself; unless you are trained in the technique of blade sharpening, you can damage the blades of the paper cutter. You may have to remove the blades from the paper cutter’s bed to take them to the sharpening shop, so do this according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Hardware stores or lawnmower repair centers usually can sharpen paper cutter blades for you. In addition, there are places you can find online to send your blades to for sharpening if you do not have a professional near you.
Some models of paper cutters have a self-sharpening mechanism that keeps the blades sharp for a longer period of time, but they will still eventually need professional sharpening.
Some people hone the blades of the paper cutter between sharpenings by cutting two or three layers of aluminum foil twice on the paper cutter, then cutting a sheet of wax paper to lubricate the blade slightly. This method works for scissors and paper punches as well.
If the blades of your paper cutter become very dull, nicked or damaged, you must replace them with new blades. Contact the manufacturer for the correct replacement blades. It is a good idea to keep an extra set of blades on hand so that you do not have to interrupt your workflow if the paper cutter blades need sharpening or replacing.
Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.