Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Replacing Rotary Cutting Blades

Today's tip is how to safely clean and change your rotary cutting blade.  In my many years of teaching I've seen many very imaginative ways that quilters reassemble their cutters after changing their blades.  Many bandaids and stitches have been necessary as well!
I clean my rotary cutters once a month by taking them apart, cleaning out the fabric dust, putting a drop of sewing machine oil on the black base under the blade and reassembling.  It's important to clean your cutters on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of fabric dust.  Fabric dust causes your blades to drag  and rotate unevenly while cutting.  This causes your blade to dull in certain areas and not in others.  We all know that can contribute to "skipping" while cutting and wearing out blades faster.
Take the cutter apart placing the pieces right to left as your remove them from the cutter.

Never touch a blade with your fingers!  Use a fridge magnet.

Use a scrap of cotton batting to wipe the fabric dust from all the surfaces and screw.

Notice the wear marks on the black surface showing uneven rotation because of a buildup of dust.
Put a drop of sewing machine oil on the surface before putting the blade back on.

If you're changing blades, write "old" on the old blade while it's still on the magnet.  That way you won't accidentally put the old one back in.  I keep a container for the old blades and use them for cutting paper and template plastic.

Put the cutter back together working from left to right to pick up the pieces.  The washer fits over the screw so it is curved up - "smiley".  

Using a Sharpie Marker, write the date on the new blade.  This will help remind you when it's getting old.

Please put a fridge magnet in your box of quilting tools along with a couple of bandaids......just in case!

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