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Vendor Spotlight: Westcott Multi-Purpose Trimmers

Reported by Susan Reidy

In the scrapbooking/papercrafting tool arsenal, probably the most used (besides adhesive) is the paper trimmer. For a crafter, finding the ideal trimmer is like finding the Holy Grail.

My tried and true trimmer was starting to cut wonky, so I was more than willing to try out three of Westcott’s multi-purpose trimmers. I affectionately call them Papa Bear (12 in. trimmer), Mama Bear (9 in. trimmer) and Baby Bear (9 in. trimmer that fits in a 3-ring binder).


All three are a lovely shade of aqua blue and are titanium bonded, which Westcott says adds to the performance of its cutting products. Compared to stainless steel, Westcott says titanium is three times harder, stays sharper longer and resists adhesives better.

Let’s start with Papa Bear (12 in.). First off, I like the size and sturdiness of the trimmer. It has a fold out ruler that extends all the way to 17 inches. The ruler locks in place when folded in so you don’t have to worry that it will swing out at an inconvenient time (say like in your bag on the way to a crop).

I also like that the swing out ruler is equally sturdy and stayed straight. The ruler on my previous trimmer would bend too far back, sometimes leading to uneven cuts and measuring.

Speaking of measuring, you can get rather detailed with the Westcott trimmer. Both the cutting arm and swing out ruler are marked in 1/16th increments. The surface of the trimmer is marked with a 1/2 in. grid.

One minor annoyance — the promo material inside the package was taped to the surface of the trimmer. When I lifted it off, some of the tape residue stayed behind. A quick spray of glass cleaner took care of it.

But, it’s a trimmer you say, so how does it cut?

Well, I ran into some difficulty there. I found the blade does not glide smoothly down the track. After a few cuts, I noticed that where there hadn’t been paper while trimming, the blade had actually cut the plastic of the bottom track.

This happened repeatedly, so I have several cuts, and even a few slivers of plastic, out of the track. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have impacted the trimmer’s ability to cut a straight line. However, I do believe it is part of the reason the blade is a little hesitant going down the track.

I tried the trimmer on several different weights and brands of cardstock including Georgia Pacific, Stampin Up! and Papertrey Ink. It does equally well with all three, making a clean, straight cut.


I like that it cuts accurately, meaning that it cuts where it is supposed to cut. Sounds basic, I know, but I have had other trimmers that cut just a tiny bit left or right of where it looked like it was going to cut. I think it helps that the cutting blade is on the far edge of the cutting arm instead of running down the middle.

Accuracy is especially important for trimming photos. I have piles of school/professional photos that have to be cut apart. The cutting arm holds the slick paper firmly so the blade cuts exactly where I want it to.


The Papa Bear trimmer made it easy to measure and cut these 2.5 in. x 3.5 in. elements and photos for the page above from my Week-in-the-Life scrapbook.


Let’s move onto Mama Bear. It’s appropriate I designated this as the female trimmer, since I think it works best of all. The cutting surface is 9 in. long with a swing out ruler (which also locks in place) that extends to 12 in. Measurements are also in 1/16th increments.

Unlike Papa, the blade glides very smoothly and doesn’t take cuts out of the bottom track. She can slice her way quite nicely through the various types of cardstock and photo paper, just like Papa. Although the cutting arm is smaller, it still holds paper in place so my cuts are accurate.

However, it can’t handle 12 in. x 12 in. paper, a standard scrapbooking size, nor is she big enough to cut an 8.5 in. x 11 in. sheet of paper lengthwise.

Both Mama and Papa come with a scoring blade, which is conveniently labeled as such. It’s also the same shade of blue as the rest of the trimmer, while the cutting blade is green, for instant identification.

Scoring on both sized trimmers works well — both make deep enough indentations for a good fold for card making without cutting through the cardstock. Here’s a card I made, utilizing both the Mama and Papa trimmers.

I found there is enough room to keep the scoring and cutting blades on the trimmers at the same time. However, it is easy to remove the blades and snap them back on, if you’re afraid you’ll cut when you want to score and vice versa.

After a few cuts, I did notice that both Papa and Mama created a tiny lip of paper at the cut line on the back side of the paper (the side that touches the trimmer surface). It’s not big enough to cause me any issues, but it is there.

Last but not least is Baby Bear. This little guy measures 9 in. long and has no swing out ruler. It does have holes so that it can be added to a 3-ring binder for maximum portability.

Baby comes with two cutting blades (bonus!) The cutting arm only lifts about a quarter of the way, which seems odd, but doesn’t make it any more difficult to use. You wouldn’t want to do any significant, detailed measuring on this one because the ruler on the cutting arm is only marked in 1/4 in. increments.

I like that it is big enough to handle an 8.5 in. x 11 in. piece of paper width-wise, which means it can still cut apart those aforementioned piles of professional photos. It also does a nice job cutting some 4 in. x 6 in. photos into wallets.

Don’t let its compact size fool you — this little guy cuts smoothly and is just as accurate as his parents. I like the small size so I can keep it handy in my junk drawer (we all have one, right?) for cutting photos and other quick household stuff (coupons, anyone?).

Overall, I like the Westcott trimmers. In the three plus weeks I used them, the blades didn’t dull, cutting just the same as they did fresh out of the package.

For crafting purposes, I find myself reaching more often for the Mama Bear (9 in.) trimmer. It is big enough to suit my purposes, can handle whatever cardstock I throw at it and cuts smoothly.

Pros:

  • Accurate cutting; sharp blade that lasts
  • Cuts through several weights of cardstock, photo paper and patterned paper.
  • Smooth cutting on the two 9 in. trimmers.
  • Sturdy swing out ruler that locks in place when not in use.
  • Scoring blade included with the 12 in. and 9 in. Two cutting blades with the 9 in., 3-ring binder option.

Cons:

  • The 12 in. trimmer’s blade did not move smoothly and actually cut the blade track.
  • The 9 in. trimmer isn’t large enough to cut an 8.5 in. x 11 in. sheet of paper lengthwise.
  • All trimmers left a tiny lip of paper at the cut on the backside of the paper (the side of paper that touches the trimmer surface).
Westcott’s multi-purpose trimmers are available at major retailers such as Costco and Target.

GIVEAWAY!
Westcott is giving away a prize pack filled with $150 in products to two lucky readers.

To Enter
Leave a comment on this post or any Vendor Spotlight: Wescott and answer one or all of these questions…

What trimmer are you currently using? What do you love or hate about it?

You have until Sunday, May 16th 6pm CST to enter. One entry per person, please.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Fiskars Craft Premium Portable Paper Trimmer

By on May 4, 2010 in Papercrafts, Reviews

Reported by Erin Bassett

Every crafter needs a paper trimmer, and I am no exception. I recently was on the search for a trimmer that was lightweight enough to take with me when I travel, yet well made so that I could get nice straight cuts. A friend of mine recommend the Fiskars new Craft Premium Portable Paper Trimmer, and after trying it out I decided to upgrade. It is a big improvement over their previous models that I’ve owned.

I really like that they widened the cutting surface to 6.25” and added markings for common cutting sizes such as 2” x 3.5”, 3” x 5”, 4.25” x 5.5”, 4” x 6″, and 5” x 7”. It makes it much easier for crafters that scrapbook, make cards, or other paper crafts.
Another great improvement is one that Fiskars describes as a “unique patent pending cut-line indicator [that] shows where the blade will cut, for perfect project alignment.” It looks like a thin wire that hovers over the blade track.
Having 1/16” increments on the cutting surface made it really easy to get precise measurements and cuts for this Easter basket I made with the Fiskars paper trimmer. To make this basket I needed to cut almost 30 strips of Bazzill cardstock and then weave them together.
All my cuts were straight and I found that I could cut two sheets of Bazzillcardstock at the same time accurately. The Fiskars website states that you can cut 5 sheets of 20# paper at a time.

There are other great features as well, such as a ruler extension that swings out and measures up to 15.25”, rubberized feet for stability, a “built-in paper clamp” that locks the cutting rail into place, and a bigger photo smudge protector on the cutting rail. One other upgrade that one will only be able to appraise over time is the “anti-wear veneer” which according to Fiskars website is made by printing on the underside of the deck of the paper trimmer so that the scale and grid never wear off.

Pros:

  • It’s lightweight and easy to use.
  • It has a “cut-line indicator” so you can see where you will cut accurately cuts multiple sheets of paper.
  • You can lock down the “paper clamp” on the paper, or to just keep the cutting rail from opening during transport.

Cons:

  • The bigger photo smudge protector can sometime make it hard to cut paper that’s narrower then 1-inch.
  • A scoring blade does not come with this trimmer but may be purchased separately.

The Fiskars Premium Portable Paper Trimmer 12″is available at Amazon.com

What portable paper trimmer is your favorite? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Disclosure Statement

Martha Stewart vs. Fiskars: A Trim Off

By on February 20, 2009 in Papercrafts, Reviews

Reported by Lexi Daly


One of the first tools every paper crafter needs is a paper trimmer. And so begins the endless search for the perfect one. For years, I’ve used the Fiskars Deluxe Portable Trimmer, but little bugs along the way have often made me wish for something more. Until recently, nothing caught my eye. Then I heard about the Martha Stewart Crafts Paper Trimmer, and decided to give it a try.

My relationship with my Fiskars trimmer has been very much a love/hate one. I love the portability. I hate that I can’t get perfectly straight cuts every time. I love the swing out arm. I hate that it swings out at 5+ inches, precisely where I cut most often. I love the grid and reference marks. I hate that they rub off with use. For the most part, the loves outweigh the hates, but the biggest hate, the cutting straight one, bothers me most. The advent of the triple track blade made this a lot better, but still the blade sometimes wavers, especially at the end of a cut. It also has a tendency to cut into the plastic track below sometimes, which also causes it to cut unevenly. Even so, I’ve purchased one after another several times over my years of paper crafting.

When I read about the Martha’s paper trimmer, I was really excited. I needed a change and I trusted the products in the Martha Stewart Crafts line. The trimmer is white and compact, with a track blade and a pull out ruler for cutting larger sizes. While the trimmer cuts nicely, with clean, straight lines, there are a couple of quirks that prevent it from being perfect. First of all, the paper guide/blade track lifts up from the left for the paper to go underneath. After using the Fiskars trimmer for so long, it just feels backwards. Second, the pull out ruler is oriented to measure a little differently. At first glance, it seems that the numbers are backwards, but they are done that way so that you can pull it out to the measurement needed and fit the paper into the space it creates. While I understand and appreciate the design, it’s just different from what I’m used to. Here’s the run down.

Fiskars Deluxe Portable Trimmer

Pros:

Cons:

Martha Stewart Crafts Paper Trimmer

Pros:

Cons:

The Fiskars Trimmer lists for $28.60 on the Fiskars website, and is also available at Michael’s as well as most scrapbook and stamp stores. The Martha Stewart Paper Trimmer is $19.95, available at Michael’s. Because both are available at Michael’s, coupons can make them cheaper. Overall, I think the Martha Stewart trimmer is really good. I just need to use it more. Unfortunately, the Fiskars is a no-brainer, so I still tend to reach for it first! Have you used them both? What do you think?