Scissors, Cutting blade and exacto Blade question

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by gian7675, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. gian7675

    gian7675 Member

    Hi ya!

    Just wondering if ordinary scissors would do the job of cutting up Cardstock or is there a downside to using scissors?

    There are ordinary cutting blades(cutters) the cheaper ones and the more expensive Exacto Blades but is there a difference when you use bith for cutting?

    I try to avoid using cutters or blades when cutting up paper because...well..errr...I almost sliced off my 2nd to the left most finger when I was cutting up some paper years ago. Got traumaized :( that's why I stick to good old fashioned scissors. :)
  2. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    You can do a whole model with scissors or the blades.
    I myself prefer scissors until I get to the small detail work.
    The intricate parts need the point of that excel blade, IMHO, of course.
    They do make scissors for detail work too but I prefer the blade for that.
    You just have to figure out what your comfortable with and go with it but there are many facts to consider in weighing your decision.
    Also, the more you use each method, the more you will get a "feel" for what you like.

    There is a difference to consider between the two and that is the end result of the cut edge itself.
    Blades tend to "plow" through the paper and push it off to the sides, creating a "burr".
    Scissors on the other hand have a "squishing" separation of the paper and tend to have a "pointed" edge.
    Try each method on a piece of scrap and look at the edge with a magnifying glass and you will see what I mean.

    Each method has it's advantages and disadvantages. You just need to "discover" your own preferences.
    More to consider;
    Scissors are easily sharpened and last a long time, so a great value for the money compared to blades.
    Blades can be sharpened but not so easily and they tend to be on the costly side unless you buy in bulk. (100 at a time)

    Well, I hope you are closer to an answer now and I am sure there will be plenty more opinions here soon, for you to check out as well.:wink:

    Happy modeling!
  3. gian7675

    gian7675 Member

    Thanks for the info! I do notice that they have different kinds of cuts in the way you described them :)

    I'll go and try your suggestion and practice on scissors, cutters and Exacto Blades and look for "my feel" for which cutting tool.

    Thanks again! :)
  4. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    No problem! Anytime!8) :grin:

  5. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

    I haven't used blades in cardmodelling... yet ;) Scissors are fine for me although I think knives would give cleaner cuts.
  6. dansls1

    dansls1 Member

    I can't get the control I want out of scissors, so everything other than occassionally pulling pieces off of a page for the detail cut with blades - but that's obviously just my preference ;)
  7. MOS95B

    MOS95B Member

    I prefer the knives myself. I think it's due to my vision and clumsiness. I can get down and look where I have the straight edge and blade a lot easier than I can see around the scissors blades. And, I can let the straight edge guide the blade a lot better than my hands seem to be able to use the scissors. As far ae the little lip a knife leaves, it's not that hard for me to flip the part over and "burnish" it with my thumbnail.

    However, I still use my scissors quite a bit. When cutting out parts with the knife, I don't cut all the tab notches (usually) I cut around the outside edge of the part with the knife, then go back and cut out all the little triangles between tabs with my scissors.

    But, like others have said before, it's a matter of preference. Maybe I actually just feel more like a man playing with my little knife.... ;)
  8. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

  9. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    So far I have bought a Fiskars Craft Knife which they no longer show on their site. I have not officially used it on any models so far. I thought the triangular shape of the knife handle would be comfortable which is somewhat... I think their blades are rather lackluster considering I use a .99 Regular sized box cutter with .99 snap blades and have an easier and more controlable time navigating even the smallest parts on some works.

    It's akin to using a sledge hammer to drive finishing nails but to me it's easy to hold onto and my fingers don't cramp. Again, a personal preference.

    The only issue is like what was mentioned above with blades gouging and scissors shearing the medium. Since I use a knife, I tend to gently trace my cutting path and then go back over it with only slightly more pressure. This way I have near fingertip control and do not drive a furrow through my medium. Perhaps I owe this ability to painting 35mm figures in practice.

    Scissors are great in that you the cut is cleaner but with my hands ... even the largest finger holed scissors tire my hands or cramp them.
  10. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Has anyone tried Chinese-style scissors?

    I'm thinking of the ones with the standard (or larger) sized handles, but very short blades? I have often wondered if they would be more accurate or useful in some way, would you have more control perhaps?

    Hard for me to tell, I never use scissors, except for rough-cutting parts from sheets. :)
  11. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    I'm going to show it again.............. there ain't any better than these:
  12. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    I use both in my modelwork, but predominately use blades (Exacto #1 or #11).

    Scissors have the advantage of being faster on longer straight cuts, but the disadvantage of being unable to do fine detail work.

    Blades are slower, but much more accurate. And you just can't do latticework without a blade.

    And Bowdenja's right about those scissors. They rock.
  13. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    I use #11 Excel blades in a soft grip Fiskars holder most of the time. I also use those scissors that Bowdenja referenced. They are good for some detail work. I also use some standard Fiskars scissors for rough cuts.

    When I use a blade I have a Helix ruler that has a channel down the length of it to help make sure my fingers don't get in the way of the blade. The ruler also has some rubber inserts on the bottom so it does not slip on the cardstock.

  14. blueeyedbear

    blueeyedbear Member

    I have a pair of the small Fiskars scissors that Bowdenja likes. They are great! They also make a larger pair with the soft handles that saves your thumbs doing heavy cutting. Fiskars also makes a nice little pair with conventional handles and a finer point.

    But, if you want to see some FINE scissors, go to a good fabric shop. The one in Longview, Texas has to clean their display case every time I go in there and drool over some of them! Really high quality tools.

    And I heartily endorse the Excel 16017 K17 No Roll Art Knife. Good grip, nice size, and won't roll off the table. Easy to replace blades in and has two spare blades in the end of the handle. I used one from about 1990 (through at least 75 or 80 plastic 1/72 scale planes) until a couple of months ago, and I almost cried when I broke it! I found a replacement from! Go browse their site whether you need anything or not!

    Happy modeling!:)

  15. Kevin G

    Kevin G Member

    I use only exacto blades in a number of different handles. Have not found anything that scissors can do that my blades can't so I don't use them. Yeah blades can get expensive and are harder to resharpen but I don't build enough for that to actually be a problem for me. If I did use scissors though I would use the ones that bowdenja showed for sure.
  16. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Scissors shear the paper, the pressure is vertically downwards so you don't get that 'dragging' along the cut which can happen with a knife. But then the knife tip can get into places the scissors can't reach, so I use both. The fiskar ones mentioned above are excellent, once you get used to the spring pushing back against your fingers; they are very comfortable to use. If you get conventional ones, make sure they fit your fingers well, otherwise prolonged use can make painful marks, especially on the back of your thumbs. They never seem to make the handle loops big enough!

  17. Kevin G

    Kevin G Member

    Having never used scissors for any of my models brings a couple of questions.
    Does the difference in cut affect the model? Lets say you are cutting out a hull side for the bow of a ship, you print 2 of them cutting one out with scissors and one with the blade. Assuming that you cut them out exactly the same with the only exception being the difference in the edge due to the type of cut are you going to notice the difference when you apply the part to the model?
    Is the difference going to affect smaller parts more than larger parts?
    Just thought I would ask some questions before I go spend $20.
  18. DrBill

    DrBill Member

    I second John's point about the Fiskars scissors. They can cut very cleanly through a 1mm piece of cardboard, and can handle remarkably small details, even in thick stock. I also use a pair of Fiskars "Softgrip" scissors (about 4" long, orange grips with grey inserts) for cutting regular card stock. I use scalpels or #11 Xacto blades for long straight cuts (with a straight edge), odd curves, tiny details, and so on. It doesn't take long to get to the point where you can look at a part and know what method (or combination of methods) to use to cut it out.

    BTW, when cutting circles or difficult curves with scissors, I usually make an initial cut about a millimeter outside the line for the part, and then cut the part itself out. This minimizes the amount of material you have to remove when making the critical cut, and minimizes the deformation problems you sometimes run into when the non-part excess is larger than the part itself.
  19. shrike

    shrike Guest

    I'll leap in here, altho I know I'm just repeating parts of another "cutting things" thread.- Maybe it's time for a sticky thread on cutting devices and techniques?

    I agree the Fiskars Micro-tip scissors are hard to beat, although I have the conventional handles - same blades just a matter to personal preference.
    Excel brand blades are much better than X-acto - sharper and cheaper as well.
    I like the Xacto X-2000 handle with the rubberized grip and the little bump that keeps it from rolling too far.

    After working with #11's in graphics for years, I'm finally coming to grips with using good scissors for some cuts. Some people have sworn by #10 curved blades, I swear at them.I think that it all comes down to what you are used to, and what works for you.
  20. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I've started to use #11 scalpel blades rather than the Excel/Xacto #11 blades for fine work. They are cheaper, fit in a standard handle and are an order of magnitude sharper than the hobby blades. The only downside is that you've really got to remember to be careful with scalpel blades - "cut down to the bone
    before the brain registers" really applies to these blades.



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