ATF Utility Guillotine Question

Hello Briar Press,

I have an inquiry about an ATF Utility guillotine that MCBA acquired last January (pic1):

I cannot tell if the blades are too short, if there is something mechanically wrong with this cutter, or if it is a wonky design, but when making a cut, the handle hits the bed of the cutter before you can cut all the way through the material you are cutting (pic2).

We have been building up with matte board to make clean cuts, but if the blades are in need of replacing, I want to make sure I am getting the proper blades. The current blades we have are: a 2.5” long straight blade with two sets of holes and the other is a 3.5” long straight blade, but has extensions for the second set of holes (pic3).

Does anyone give have any insight on this particular cutter? Or any suggestions?


Sara P.

image: babyblue1.jpg


image: babyblue2.jpg


image: babyblue3.jpg


Log in to reply   5 replies so far

could your handle be adjusted up ??? Most companies that sharpen blades will get you new knives.

It looks like your blade has been altered with higher tabs welded on to give the blade extra life. I’d say its practical working life is over. Make sure when you find a blade for it that you take into account the extra depth it needs to keep the blade off of the bed, and have another 50 years of cutting life.


Most blades have elongated holes to allow the blade to be pinch bolted to the blade carrier. This allows for the decrease in the blade dimension as metal is removed in sharpening.
If the fixed holes will not allow for the handle to be high enough to cut the stock, you have two choices.
The obvious one is to get a new blade with the elongated holes. It will last your lifetime.
The second alternative is to get several pieces of nicely planed wood. Various widths to allow for different measurements of paper to be cut. All to be the same dimension to fill the width of the cutter bed. Birch or maple or white pine would all work well. My guess would be 1/2” or 3/4”, but one would have to measure at the cutter. I would still place some chipboard or other scrap under the stock in order to not cut into your new board.

I have never seen a blade with elongated holes. The elongated holes are always in the blade holder. How could you ever thread an elongated hole or insert a bolt into it?
I agree that this blade had been altered to extend its life; a more common repair was a solid bar across the back of the blade. But from the photos I can’t see any adjusting bolts, that would bear against the back of the blade to level and adjust. It may be that this cutter is one that does not have any positive stop. If so the only control on depth of cut is when you stop pushing.

Thank you Eric. Certainly the elongated holes are not in the blade. My claim is early memory failure and that I wrote from home and not from my shop where the cutter resides. It may also have to do with too much ink sniffing.