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Old Dec 03, 2012, 09:01 PM
ltc
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New XActo Z series blades

Has anyone tried these new blades?
http://www.dickblick.com/products/x-...series-blades/

Had a 55% off coupon for Michael's, so I picked up a 3 pack.
Interested to see if they are better than stainless steel #11 blades.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ltc View Post
Has anyone tried these new blades?
http://www.dickblick.com/products/x-...series-blades/

Had a 55% off coupon for Michael's, so I picked up a 3 pack.
Interested to see if they are better than stainless steel #11 blades.
Xacto has not attempted to keep up with blade technology us hobby guys need. Maybe this is a ray of sunshine.

I own and have xacto knives but have not been impressed overall with them over the years. Possibly this is because I like many started out using our fathers double edge safety razor blades. They were and still are laminated steel and carbon type blades and really sharp. Stainless blades do not seem to have as good a cutting edge and are thicker usually.

Actually for my balsa working planes I still access the same blades out of india on ebay. Apparently the third world still usues the double edged blades and they are cheap.

Even many brand names are listed that were originally popular in north america. Pretty inexpensive as well. Or if I go without shaving for several days. I use them in a safety razor as otherwise they block the blade with whisker hairs on the typical disposable common shaving tools.

You just loosen the handle to wash and clean a safety razor out. The round shape of the exacto handle has not been redesigned either and could be better in my opinion. It seems awkward to me in comparison to other tools on the market. Plus too many people have foot scars from them rolling off the edge.These are just my opinions and others may feel totally otherwise,
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by barrymore View Post
..... Plus too many people have foot scars from them rolling off the edge.These are just my opinions and others may feel totally otherwise,
A quick and dirty fix to avoid the knives rolling around is to stick the rear portion in a vise with the last inch sticking out. Tap the exposed end with a hammer to put a very small amount of a kink into the handle. It only needs to be a couple of degrees worth. Basically if you can easily see the amount of kink it's fine. It won't roll no mo'.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Many years ago I bought a 100 pack of AmericanLine blades at a hobby show. When I ran out, I couldn't find a source so i went back to Xacto- big disappointment. Then Xacto came out with a blue steel blade, touted to be better than their standard #11. Bought them - more disappointment!

I hope the new Xacto works. The really good news for me, is I found a convenient source of the AmericanLine. The OSH hardware chain carries both the #11 and the razor blades. Here's the link: http://www.osh.com/eng/product/ameri...blades/6637151

The test I use for sharpness, is to make a cut across the grain on a very soft piece of balsa wood. A dull blade mashes the wood, sharp blade leaves a very clean cut. I don't have a good test for durability.

Let us know what you think of the new Xacto!

- Norm
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 07:42 PM
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I used to replace my #11 blades frequently because they are pretty cheap. But, even when new, they're just not as sharp as I'd like. So, I bought a diamond hone... double sides (800 and 1200 grit, I think). It's about 6" long and about 1-1/4" wide and folds up. Very handy for all sorts of blades. I always sharpen new #11 blades on it and frequently touch them up as I make a few cuts. I change blades less frequently, of course, and keeping the hone on the building board makes it easy to give the blade a swipe or two. I have found that using the hone to keep a good edge on the blade is faster than changing blades, too.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 09:24 AM
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"But, even when new, they're just not as sharp as I'd like."

A piece of 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper works just fine. A little spit, and a few swirls of the blade, and you are good to go.

Les
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Still have a small - 3" or so long - sharpening stone with two different sides. All the #11 blades I've used for years now need a wipe down the 'smooth' side of that stone before using from new. As #11s are hard to find, I seem to have a lot of Revell's take on them, and am too tight to toss them and buy any more

Knife handles - those round ones are an accident waiting to roll off your bench and head for your foot. Oddly enough, in an era when cars are designed so you can have safe crashes in them, finding 'hobby knives' that aren't round in section is fun - been looking for one for weeks now after a 'failure' of an ancient one.

Read recently about looking around office supply stores for a widget designed to stop pencils etc rolling off desks. It looked like a triangular section piece of rubber a couple inches long with a round hole through the middle. You shove your round sectioned wotzit through it, the triangular outside stops it rolling off desks etc. Sounded a good idea for a round balsa knife.

D
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 12:56 PM
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I use a small white ceramic sharpening stone to touch up my blades. Gives them an edge which can shave the hair off the back of my hand with ease.

For those that find, like me, that the plastic covering films and even tissue paper takes the edge off single edge razor blades the white ceramic also does a great job of restoring these with a quick wipe around.

Another option is a bit of leather belt charge with a wipe of automotive polishing compound or Mother's Mag Wheel polish. Smear that on the leather and strop the edge on it before it gets too far gone and you're back to easy shaving like sharpness in a blink.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 02:11 PM
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I gave up on X-Acto a while ago. Hit up eBay for a #3 scalpel handle and a box of #11 scalpel blades. There are tons of options (usually marked for veterinary use). The handle is flat so it won't roll, the blades are far sharper than hobby blades, and the whole assortment is cheaper than hobby stuff. Plus, the blades lock in place instead of being gripped in a collet, so they don't come loose unexpectedly.

The only problem I've found is that you can't really find caps to cover a blade. Just drill a hole in a block of wood or something, and you're set!

Plus, there are about two dozen other blade profiles available. Not all blades work with all handles, though, so keep an eye on that. This thread made me think to buy some more, so I just picked up a box of #24 curved blades (better for slicing) and a big, sturdy #6 handle. It's a substantial contoured thing, instead of a tiny little pencil.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 02:41 PM
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For holding my various knives, I bought one of these Xacto knife holders (used a 55% off coupon from Michaels' ... ended up about $4.99 I think).

http://www.amazon.com/X-ACTO-Holder-.../dp/B0073CBHE6
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 04:14 PM
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I also use a whet stone and a leather belt/grit mix to keep the knives sharp. Problem is, I usually break/wear off the point before the rest of the blade is that dull.

I keep two knives on hand; one with the currently sharpest blade, and the other with the older blade. When I break out a new blade, I put it into the "sharp" handle, move the demoted blade to the second handle, and toss the old blade (AFTER wrapping it in masking tape -- you know how often parts fly off the workbench and home in on the trash basket!).

Regarding the triangular kiddie assist/anti-rolling rubber bits, I have three of them, in different colors. One goes on the sharpest knife, one goes on the second knife, and the third goes on a handle I use for the tiny razor saw X-Acto includes. Can't tell you where to get the triangles, as I bought mine over 20 years ago.

BTW, yes, I do have a lot of knife handles. After being in the hobby for over 40 years, I've accumulated about a dozen handles of all sizes...

CD
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 06:17 PM
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DON'T THROW USED BLADES IN THE GARBAGE! Buy a Sharp's container ot a local pharmacy. They are used for disposal of blades for checking blood sugar for diabetics and hypodermic needles. I just keep one on my bench. Contact garbage service for disposal.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 07:21 PM
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FWIW, I always wrap the blades in duct tape before disposal.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 07:23 PM
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I was just about to search and/or post regarding similar... so may as well piggyback this thread...

After a 20 year gap out of RC, it seemed like #11 blades lasted longer back then. Around that time, some company came out with a diamond hone tool, advertised in all the mags, specifically for us modelers using x-acto blades (never used it though, just included it for timeline reasons).

Anyhoo, they seemed to last longer than nowadays. But back then it was exclusively balsa. Nowadays there's a huge percentage of useage going to foam vs balsa.

So...is it my imagination, or is foam actually tougher on blades than balsa?

I was also going to ask (since i got a 100-pack of generic blades) if X-acto brand was still king...but above posts seem to indicate otherwise.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 08:25 PM
ltc
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Foam is tough on blades, especially EPP.
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