Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by cgutzmer, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    I have been using #11 excel since I dont know when. I have heard lots of people mention scalpels in various threads. I would like to give them a try because of the things I have heard.

    I would like those of you that use scalpels to comment on the brand you use and the type of blade/handle you use (links would be awesome but not required) :D I do see there are TONS of different styles of blades that could possibly be used in different types of cuts.... but I dunno

    If any of you use both standard and scalpel blades comparisons would be cool.

    The things I would consider important
    1. ease of cutting a straight line (my standard#11's tend to wander - but that could just be me)
    2. width of blade (keep those annoying piles from building up on either side of the blade)
    3. breaking tips
    4. how fast it gets dull

    5. whatever else pops into my head :)
  2. josve

    josve Active Member

    I have tried scalpels Chris, and i found the blades wery thin.For me the blade wandered a lot, so I got back to exel with #11....
    They are very cheap, I got mine at the apotheque, and the blade can be used with the Exel handle.
    Cutting laminated karton + - 1mm was not very good, since the blade kind of lived it's own life along the ruler, and the cut became skew.The blade bent very easy.
    Of course it can just be me, and not the blades :) but thats my experience.
  3. Chthulhu

    Chthulhu Member

    Just checking the specs at McMaster-Carr, standard #11 hobby blades average 0.020 inches in thickness, while #11 scalpel blades are 0.015 inches thick. This is from only one source, though, and the maunfacturers names aren't listed; your results may differ.

    Chris, are you using a good quality self-healing cutting mat? It sounds like you need one ...
  4. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Blade Runner University


    I use a number 11 scalpel blade the most. The general rule is the thicker the paper the thicker the blade. It's not a good idea to cut anything over 110# with a scalpel. It performs well on 67 # and below. Most people, when first trying scalpels, are new to very sharp blades and use too much down force for the cut and end up breaking the blade. It takes a little time to shed the bad habits of years of abuse from Xacto blades but once you find the groove there's no going back. I still use Xacto industrial blades for heavy duty cutting and might graduate to Olfa snap blade cutters one of these days (Olfa is the inventor of the snap blade by the way). Ruler cuts require a strong blade. For really thick material I use an old Stanley craft knife. One other thing, make sure to buy the molded, ergonomic scalpel blade handels. They make a lot of difference in contol.

    A good place to shop for scalpels is here:

    Widget Supply

    Once on the site do a search on scalpel blades.

  5. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    I use a fiskars cutting mat i got fairly recently. I do think I press too hard and that may lead to my problem. I am just having a heck of a time changing the habit.
  6. Nekayah

    Nekayah Member

    Swan Morton scalpel blades are exceptionally sharp -- my favorite when I can get them (#11). Narrower than most blades, don't leave trough edges. Not expensive, esp if you buy them by the 100. X-acto blades go dull for me when I look at a new one and frustrate me unbelievably. Poor quality steel, I think. I haven't tried Excel. I use a standard flat handle because it fits well in a little case I use, but I would recommend one of the padded ones. But use care when you shift from Z-acto: these blades really are made for surgical use, and cut-off fingers aren't much use in paper modelling.
  7. Triop

    Triop Member

  8. Nekayah

    Nekayah Member

    One more thing: carbon steel, NEVER stainless.
  9. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Excellent - thanks Nekayah!
  10. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    None of the handles on widget supply look very comfy to use to me. What do you guys have?

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