Best paper cutting practices for Crane Lettra paper

I am getting my 23” guillotine style C&P paper cutter soon and am wanting to know the best paper cutting practices.

I will be cutting 300gsm lettra so that I can do some Wedding invites and such. I have heard some make reference to placing chipboard (?) or hard card stock on the bottom to have a clean cut and also adding something to the top of the stock to avoid making the top sheets. How many sheets should I cut at once? Any advice would be much appreciated.

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I generally have a 2-3 sheets of chipboard above and below any stack of Lettra that I’m cutting. I usually don’t cut more than 2” thick stacks to avoid compressing the paper too much. You’ll have to experiment with how much pressure you should use for clamping, but don’t overdo it.

I have never bought chipboard. Is it any particular weight that you use?

Is the stack thickness depend much on the size you are cutting to. I assume that the smaller the size the smaller the stack should be, correct? Or is that not an issue at all?

I think I have .022 thick chipboard. I got it from Uline, but you can get the stuff from a lot of different places, depending on where you’re located.

I don’t change the stack thickness based on the size of my piece. Whether I’m cutting down parent sheets or business cards, I try to keep under approx. 2”. That’s a rough measurement. I don’t take out a ruler or anything.

When planning your cuts allow a little extra so that all final cut to a piece are made on the back of the blade( the flat side) if you chop cut soft stock you can end up with a paper fuzz on the side that faces the beveled edge of the blade. This fuzz then ends up in your ink and will give you hickeys and fill in type.

Just so folks remember: Chipboard is usually one of those things that really dulls cutter blades. In commmercial shops if there is a need for lots of chipboard, it tends to be cut right when a blade change is due, as the chipboard is known to contain all manner of contaminants, including pieces of metal.

Not that there is really a solution to using the stuff, but keeping a few sheets of make ready stock around can be useful. Having a spare blade at hand is an essential for a cutter, so that a blade can be out for sharpening and a sharp blade is available.

Dull blades are one the biggest sources of paper cutting problems.

Stay sharp!

Chipboard eats blades, I just burn the top few sheets and bottom sheet, it’s cheaper.


as stated by others

chipboard is often full of crud

can do a job on blade

feel need

use scrap / set up / make ready

yours truly


Great information guys and gals.

If i do forgo the chipboard do I run the risk of marring my top sheets?

@ryanhowell- When you say it is cheaper to waste the top and bottom few sheets is that because of the cost of the chipboard or the cost and downtime for resharpening?

I ask because I have all manner of sharpening equipment. I am a professional woodworker by trade and sharpen everything from drill bits to planner blades. I have a feeling I will be sharpening my paper cutter blade as well.

On that note has anyone sharpened there blade themselves? Any suggestions there would be appreciated as well.

Again thanks for the feedback!

I use chipboard on the bottom of my stack of paper just because it seems to make a cleaner cut. I also put a few pieces of paper above my stack, but not so that I’m cutting through it, just so that I’m not bruising the paper when I clamp it down.

Here’s a question, though; when the paper edge starts looking rough when cut, does that indicate that I need to sharpen the blade? It seems like I have to sharpen the blade often, so just wondering.

I have an old (caste iron) Advance guillotine cutter.

lesbois, I was wondering if it was actually necessary to cut through the top sheet, thanks.

Maybe your edge is getting dull because of the chipboard? Seems likely considering the other comments.

As stated chipboard will do a number on a blade. Scrap stock is better. No you don’t have to cut through the top sheets, they are to protect the soft cotton stock from the pressure of the clamp. I used to just reuse the top few sheets from the first cut on successive stacks.

There is also a discussion, either here or on LetPress, about sharpening blades.

Blades are traditionally sent out to a grinding shop where they are ground sharp and true. Probably the same shop that grinds wood planer blades. Check with local commercial printers to find the shop they use.
Having said that, I will tell you that I often sharpen my own blade. One needs to be extremely careful and stay focused on the task. After removing it from the cutter, I stand it on the cutting edge on a very flat and true surface like my imposing stone. Check for any hollow spots. Place blade on very stable straight edge bench and clamp to the bench with edge out and bevel up. Then I stone it. It is like sharpening a knife, but in reverse. Take care to stone on the ends as much as in the middle or you will not be true.
Wipe blade, check again on the stone for true, clean and reinstall.
Adjusting the blade in the cutter is the subject of another lesson.

I think I got it!

Thanks again.