Friday, 15 January 2016

Road Test: Do rotary blade sharpeners work?

Did you know that in many cases it is recommended that we use a new rotary blade for each new project? Imagine the money and pile of  used blades after a year if you are a fairly prolific sewist or quilter!

No that won't do at all and there does have to be a better way! So of course, like all responsible 21st century crafters, I went straight to Google for some sort of solution.

Foil was the first thing that I saw. Apparently if you have several layers of ordinary kitchen tin foil and fold it up to a pad, then run the blade through it, a miracle will occur and you will come out with a sharp blade.

I am sorry to say that it didn't work for me at all. Maybe I wasn't holding my tongue right!

No, it was clear that something a little more purpose built was needed.
Enter the TrueCut Rotary Blade Sharpener which was sent to me in return for an honest review.

I have been asked a lot of questions about how best to keep blades sharp so the time seemed right to decide if this piece of kit is an investment or not.

My task here is to review the blade sharpener and not to show you how to use it. The instructions which come with it are super clear but if you are a more visual learner, I did find this YouTube video from the company which shows the actual technique.

So, what are we looking for? Here is the product....

It feels like good quality from the outset. Not cheaply made at all. All of the components are made from stern stuff. It is 30cm long and a nice weight which means that it sits really well on the table top.

Firstly though, let's look at safety bit and a bit of science....

A huge advantage of this model is that you don't have to remove the blade from your rotary cutter first. Obviously, the more times you handle the blade itself, the higher the probability of a cut finger.

The low profile of the unit means a lower centre of gravity and it won't tip. That is safer too - a high narrow cutter is not so stable.

On the bottom, it has eight little blue feet which are really high quality rubber and once positioned, they won't move. 

I tried really hard to get the unit to scoot across my wooden desk but it stayed resolutely put.

There are some holes down one side and you could use them to screw the sharpener to something but it really isn't necessary. I used it on my cutting mat and it didn't budge at all.

One thing that I loved was the little Allen key in the bottom which means that you can take the sharpening stone out periodically and turn it to reveal a new surface and it is brand new again!

Using it is really easy as you can see in the video link that I found. it comes with a comprehensive instruction sheet too.

So what is doing the work for you? Undo the three cream wheels and pull the movable bar back and you can see a strip of grey...

That is the sharpening stone and this is what is producing the result for you. The stone is only on one side, hence you are instructed to turn the unit to sharpen both sides.

Hardly any pressure is needed to sharpen your blade so the unit is also good for people with gripping and joint problems. Bear in mind though, if your blade has nicks in to from running over pins, nothing will save it. To be fair, the talent of the blade sharpener is in repairing normal wear and tear to a blade.

But, the big question is......does it work? Well, in the interests of fairness, I sharpened two blades, one was a fairly elderly Olfa blade and the other a generic home brand one which came in a pack of ten. Both had had roughly the same amount of work. 

Not surprisingly, the Olfa blade fared a little better. I am assuming that the quality of the metal in that blade was also better to begin with and it responded well. The generic brand blades also had a marked improvement though and it is worth noting that if you do buy these blades, they will still sharpen well but you may have to put in a little more effort to keep them that way.

Neither blade came back to 'brand new' first time. That could be down to my technique though or they may need a little more TLC because this is the first time that I have sharpened them. I will give future updates to let you know how I am getting on.

I do think that this particular blade sharpener is worth the investment. I cannot speak for others on the market although they are available. Clean and accurate cuts are only possible if your blades are up to the job. 

The TrueCut Blade Sharpener made a difference to my blades and I am looking forward to using it again a few times and honing my skills as well as my blades.

Thank you to Groves for giving me the opportunity to do this road test. If you are in the market for a rotary blade sharpener, stockists information is available from  or by ringing 01453 883581. 

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

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Thanks for stopping by - I would love and welcome any feedback. Debs xxx