- 19 Jan 2010
- Reaction score
If you ever thought a tablesaw without a riving knife was dangerous... at least you'll probably get a 'spare part' that could be sewn back on with this machine, but in every other respect it should be considered terrifying to any living creature with opposable thumbs.
That said, this guillotine works superbly and comes with two knives, both resharpenable and both presently fairly sharp, and it's an excellent tool for small publishing tasks such as trimming buisiness cards, flyers, etc. I suspect that's what it was intended for.
It's fully manual (as long as you are careful to keep your fingers!), and has capacity of roughly 12 1/2" cut, 12 1/2" maximum length into the blade, and presently about 2" thickness of paper stack. It will cut card of any thickness, and with care you can work to an accuracy of about 0.25 mm.
It's possibly Victorian, or Edwardian, and it's been slightly modified down the years, in particular to use modern guillotine knives, which were fitted when I bought it years ago. these are about 1/4" thick, sharpened with a single bevel at about 15 or 20 degrees, and about 3" tall. Out of the machine they have proper wooden keepers into which they bolt and you do not mess with them.
Needless to say, to cut that thickness of card or paper requires an extremely sharp knife, and a lot of force. The force comes from a human and a huge, heavy lever. Setting up the machine requires the lever (and thus the knife) to be locked up out of the way, however the mechanism for doing this is quite inadequate. I have never known it slip, however I find that simply encouraging people to look at it means they immediately acquire a proper respect for Victorian technology. Some have even been known to mutter, "No way!", make excuses and leave.
I have used it for book(let) publishing: trimming tops, bottoms and opening edges square after saddle stitching; for making invitation cards, business cards, song books, etc., for making paper chains for Christmas decorations (supply your own glue!). If you frame pictures it will trim mounting card, and possibly even the 3mm MDF I use for back boards (not tried that). It has been very useful, but the difficulty of making it safe means I couldn't use it in any context where an employee was present. I must emphasize I can't imagine that modifying it to modern safety standards would be easy.
It might serve for a club or society, but only if it stayed in private ownership, and wasn't used communally. At risk of repetition, there are no interlocks, etc.
So, if you like old cast iron, and have a need, it's yours for collection. It dismantles for transport easily*, and needs to be bolted to a table (I used a sawhorse/workmate thing which worked very well). All bolts and fixings are with it.
It dismantles fairly well for storage/transport, but when assembled, I can't lift it.
It has to go before Christmas, as we have an inquisitive two-year-old grandson coming to stay, and some things, like my chisels, etc., are simply too risky to leave lying around. This, sadly, is one of those things.
I can't deliver it I'm afraid, collection only, from West Bristol, but we are close to the M5 and easy to find.
*Dismantling is the only time I've actually cut myself, butthat wasn't on an offically sharp bit.