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Spring cleaning!

Average: 5 (3 votes)


After regular use my cutting board is covered in lumpy bits of glue and smatterings of paint. Time for a spring clean.

Immerse the board in cold soapy water. Don't use hot! Hot water causes the board to distort. You'll never get it flat again!

Leave it to soak for fifteen to twenty minutes then vigorously clean of the glue and paint with a sponge.

Dry off with a soft cloth. Don't dry it on a radiator, you'll have the same distortion problem.

And there it is, shiny and clean, ready to go!

Cutting Matt. Protect your work surface

Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

You can protect your work top by covering it with a thick layer of newspapers but after three or four cuts the paper will be looking pretty mangled. If you are doing any more than a little cutting then cutting mats are essential. The self healing surface of a cutting mat mean that they last for ages. 

Cutting mats don't react well to heat though. Don't lean them up against a radiator or stand your coffee on them.



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Scalpel - for cutting out holes

Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

When you are cutting holes into parts you'll need to use a sharp knife. By their very nature, sharp knives are dangerous. Be careful. Cover the blades when not in use and always store the knife where it won't get knocked and fall onto someones foot.

Make sure you have plenty of spare blades for your knife as paper is surprisingly abrasive and your blades will soon loose their edge. X-acto and Swan Morton both make excellent craft knives.

I use Swan Morton standard scalpel handles and 10A blades both of which I buy from eBay. They are generally very reasonably priced.

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Glue - sticking it all together

Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

For paper modelling the most useful glue is PVA. The type used as white school glue. PVA glue is water based, so there are no strong fumes but if over used it can make your paper models go wrinkly. When sticking paper or card you need only a thin layer of glue on one surface. Once your parts are lined up correctly, nip the parts together to make drying quick.

Is glue a tool or a material? Whatever, the glue spreader is a tool - for sure!

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Ruler - paper engineering tools

Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

There are three main materials used to make rulers. Wood, metal and plastic. They all have advantages and disadvantages. Plastic rulers are perhaps the most useful as you can see through them, this lets you make sure that you have everything aligned much more easily. Plastic rulers are easily damaged by sharp knives, unlike metal rulers but, unlike metal rulers, they are cheap and easy to replace.

If you are going to be creating your own designs make sure that you have a ruler with clear measurement markings. Here again, the plastic ruler wins out. As the marking are on the bottom of the ruler, in contact with the paper being measured, there is less chance of parallax error. Go plastic. But buy three.

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Scissors - Choosing and using one of the main tools for paper cutting

Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Scissors come in a variety of sizes and prices. For paper engineering you'll probably need a couple of different pairs of scissors. A small pair, with short blades for doing intricate work and a pair with longer blades for scoring and for cutting out straight lines.

If possible, try your scissors before you buy them. Make sure they cut cleanly. Check the full blades for nicks or catches and make sure that they open and close freely. If they are stiff they will quicky become tiring to use.

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