Activity Feed Forums Sign Making Discussions General Sign Topics Knives for cutting vinyl and a heat gun, what do you use?

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    March 2, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Hi Karen, for me, it’s an OLFA Knife with snap-off 30 Degree Blades.

    Have to say, I also prefer to keep a genuine Stanley Knife handy too. 😀

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    March 3, 2021 at 7:28 am

    Hi Karen.

    I’m usually found with one of these in my mouth.

    Could have been a surgeon only I never had the patients. Usually buy 20 boxes at a time from a school supplies outfit, much cheaper than sign suppliers. Steinel heat guns all the way. Expensive but German so they just work

    • Martyn Heath

      Member
      March 3, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Could have been a surgeon only I never had the patients 🤣🤣 i like that

  • John Thomson

    Member
    March 3, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Swan Morton retractable fitted with 10a blade is what I normally use.

    Retractable Stanley for some heavier cutting.

    John

  • Richard Wills

    Member
    March 3, 2021 at 11:36 am

    A dozen or so S&M #3’s, with 10A blades for the majority. Olfa 9mm with ABB-50 black blades in my back pocket, particularly good for cutting work off the little graphtec, and general opening of stuff. Not so good when pulling wallet out in the pub (remember pubs?). I find the Olfa blades don’t give the same precise control as the scalpel.

    Oh, and blunty boxes placed all around the workshop.

    Just need a decent holder for the scalpels.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    March 3, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    I did use Swan-Morton knives in the past but found our guys always having accidents with them. I stopped using them and went to a Stanley knife for everything!

    Went to Grafityp in Birmingham once and was given a brand new knife to use during a wrap install, and yes, you guessed it, I stuck at least an inch of the blade into my ar$e!
    They did offer to take me to the hospital right away, but I declined as i would have missed my train home. the blood was actually running down my leg and out onto my training shoes. not one of my proudest moments. anyway, that was the end of Swan-Morton for me!

    • Martyn Heath

      Member
      March 4, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      i think we have all been there. 😳

    • Michael Cunney

      Member
      March 22, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      🤣Did they take the picture before telling you, or tell you and then ask for a picture??

      The scalpels are lethal but I do prefer them, much easier for trimming letter edges etc than trying to navigate a chunky Stanley around tight corners.

      • Robert Lambie

        Administrator
        February 12, 2024 at 9:20 am

        I think it was Nigel Pugh from Grafityp, that took the photo. He was also the one who offered to take me to the hospital. 🤣

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    March 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    I’m too tight to bleed now, just a puff of gas comes out!

  • Karen White

    Member
    March 4, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Thank you for the replies so far guys. So I am not out of the loop on my current choice of scalpel, by the looks of it! 🙂

    @KevinMahoney

    Thanks Kevin. I looked that gun up and it comes in at about £90.00 is it really worth that?
    What does it do different that makes you want to stick with that one?

    • Kevin Mahoney

      Member
      March 4, 2021 at 11:59 am

      I’ve found during a wrap installation, some of the cheaper ones have burned out quite quickly after extended periods of post heating, even some of the heftier 2 kilowatt ones. The steinel ones with the laser attachment have never let me down. Not worth the money if you’re not wrapping on a regular basis though, a £30 bosch one is fine for day to day use

  • Karen White

    Member
    March 4, 2021 at 11:33 am

    @RobertLambie

    Sore one! 😳

  • Pane Talev

    Member
    March 4, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    I have two, battered and drove over Bosch heat guns. But they still work!

    As for knives, always OLFA.
    Liner removal knife also a good friend of mine.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Pane Talev.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Pane Talev.
  • David Rogers

    Member
    March 5, 2021 at 12:58 am

    Swan Morton retractable..
    .the one with the steel shank (blue version), and 10A blades.

    Heat Gun…trusty old 2kw Black and Decker variable heat.
    Tough as old boots… dropped a million times and just keep going.

  • Jeff

    Member
    March 7, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    I think a “retractable” ANY knife has to be better than a permanently open knife!
    Safety-first and all that…

    Personally, I cant see by the simplicity of an Olfa. from how it feels in your hand to how easy a blade is to change. Plus it holds multiple blades at a time.

    Heat Gun wise, I think it depends on what you do. if your a sign maker then most guns OK. the cheaper tend to burn out or break the fastest. If you are using a heat gun all day every day i would certainly look and the more solid guns like Steinel.
    For me, a Bosch does the trick just fine. had my gun ages now and still going strong.

  • Richard Wills

    Member
    January 31, 2024 at 11:45 pm

    Zombie thread resurrection – a cautionary tale.

    30-degree olfa’s lives in my back pocket (love the supersharp black blades).

    Didn’t pay attention today to a clickety sound, sitting down.

    Washed my hands, semi dried them, then did what we all do, and used my jeans to do a final dry.

    Over the edge of 5mm of exposed blade x 35mm of travel, up my right ring finger, at which point copious anglo saxon words were used, repeatedly.

    4 hours in minor injury, one of those being to stop the bleeding so they could glue my finger shut, to dress it.

    Dressing plays havoc with the mouse right-click, and the finger hurts like #ell.

    Need to find a slim-knife belt-holder. And listen out for clicketies.

  • David Stevenson

    Member
    February 1, 2024 at 10:23 pm

    I’ve a few weapons of choice depending on the job.

    For general day-to-day cutting vinyl on the bench, I prefer a Olfa XA-1 with 30-degree blades. Find it very accurate with virtually no blade wobble.

    For wrapping it’s a NT cutter. These are great as they hold 5 blades so no time lost messing about changing blades. The plastic body prevents scratches as you run it along the edge of doors etc. Only downside is for normal day-to-day cutting they tend to crack at the front it applying constant pressure.

    Finally for the ignorant work like scoring Skybond for snapping etc, it’s a Olfa NOL-1. It takes an 18mm snap-off blade which again is handy, just don’t do a “Robert” and stick it into your pocket with the blade out!

    I’m with Kevin with the Steinel heat guns especially for post-heating due to the thermometer attachment, at 90 quid a pop though you need to make sure you don’t drop them as the ceramic inside tends to break and get stuck in the fan causing it to overheat and burn out (ask me how I know!)
    We’ve got a couple of Amazon specials at £25 each too that have been dropped multiple times and seem indestructible.

    Hard to beat for the price.

    • David Stevenson

      Member
      February 2, 2024 at 7:32 pm

      Sorry, this one for wrapping.

      • Leslie Anderson

        Member
        February 14, 2024 at 10:46 pm

        where do you buy this type of yellow knife David?

  • Simon Worrall

    Member
    February 2, 2024 at 3:19 am

    I use the 9mm olfa snap off blades, the 30 and the 45 degree ones.

    However, the 30 degree blades have some issues.

    1. you cant snap them off on a table, you have to use the thing on the end with a slot in it, which I usually lose, so I have to carry pliers. Even so it sometimes takes two or three attempts to get a proper snap without breaking the blade – wasteful.

    2. They are not very accurate for ruler cutting…the blade bends easily if you are not real careful, and if you sight down the line you have just cut you might see it weaving from side to side. The 45 degree blades are much more rigid.

    To be real accurate its best to use the 18mm blades, or even the 25mm blades, since these hardly bend at all.

    For heat I use a plumber torch almost exclusively. It’s so much quicker and less hassle than an electric heat gun.

    And for a squeegee, I use the Avery white Teflon ones with one felt edge.

    • Pane Talev

      Member
      February 7, 2024 at 1:20 pm

      “you cant snap them off on a table” – You’ve gone soft.

      I snap them off my table, no issue.

  • David Hammond

    Member
    February 2, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    I’m a new convert to Olfa retractable blades, used 10a’s for years.

    As for heat guns, I hate ones with the temperature dial… I want Off, on, and on a bit more. Usually the cheapest ones from Screwfix for me, as I occasionally run them over.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    February 4, 2024 at 8:12 pm

    @Simon-Worrall1

    For heat I use a plumber torch almost exclusively. It’s so much quicker and less hassle than an electric heat gun.

    Blow-torch guns appear to be used much more in the USA and Australia, than across Europe or the UK.
    I can see pros and cons in both types of heating tools, but I can’t understand why the blow-torch appears superior over the heat gun other than portability convenience. But then you have an inconvenience continually buy refills.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    February 4, 2024 at 8:21 pm

    @DavidHammond

    As for heat guns, I hate ones with the temperature dial… I want Off, on, and on a bit more. Usually the cheapest ones from Screwfix for me, as I occasionally run them over.

    I am the same, I dislike all the gadgets and functions added to the new guns.
    For me, I want one button… ON – OFF
    no settings or second and third stage heat. just full ON or OFF.

    I agree that any gun, will do. at the end of the day, your applying heat to the material or surface.

    Where the cheap guns lack, is…
    * Shorter life heating elements inside the gun.
    * Lower peak temperature.
    * speed to reach peak temperature.

    That said, this really only becomes apparent when your continually working on wraps, day in day out.

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