Rotary cutters are well-loved for their fast and clean cuts. However, the sharpness of the blade that makes it a great sewing tool can also make it dangerous when used incorrectly.
Rotary cutters with ergonomic release handles are the safest rotary cutters to use. These cutters only release the blade when the handle is squeezed. As soon as you let go, the blade retracts to safety.
This helps avoid accidents since the blade is never accidentally exposed.
Here’s What to Look For In a Safe Rotary Cutter:
The safest rotary cutters have ergonomic handles that only release the blade when squeezed. As soon as you let go of the handle, the blade is no longer exposed. It returns to safety when you set the cutters down. They also have an additional lock button to lock the handle when not in use.
Table of Contents
Are Rotary Cutters Generally Safe to Use?
When used as intended, rotary cutters are quite safe.
Their sharp blades make clean cuts exactly where you need them on your fabric. However, these blades have to be treated with caution to keep them safe for the user.
A rotary cutter with an unattended, exposed blade can be dangerous. Dropping or grabbing an exposed rotary cutter by accident can be quite dangerous to a mature, adult user.
If you have children or pets in the house, the risk factor increases. You must keep your blade locked in a safe position whenever it is not in use to protect yourself and others.
If you build a habit of always retracting your blade into the safety position between cuts, you are greatly reducing the chance of an accident. Purchasing a rotary cutter that retracts the blade by default is a great choice to enhance safety in your sewing room.
It is much harder to make a mistake when the rotary cutter is designed to help you succeed safely.
Which Rotary Cutters Are Safest?
The safest rotary cutters are the kind with ergonomic handles that only release the blade to the cutting position when squeezed.
As soon as you let go of the handle, the blade is no longer in the cutting position. It returns to safety every time you set the cutters down, greatly reducing the risk of an accident.
These models also have an additional lock button to lock the handle when not in use. This added layer of security is great when you are done sewing for the day.
You will have to manually release the button when you’re ready for the handle to open and close again.
There are countless makes and models on the market today with this safety-release handle design. If you are looking for some of the best quality options, you can’t go wrong with rotary cutters from Fiskars.
Fiskars offers a design with a blade guard that will extend anytime you release the handle.
You can see the Fiskars Easy Change Ergo Control Rotary Cutter for pricing and purchasing options here on Amazon!
How Sharp Can Rotary Cutters Get?
A new rotary cutter blade is extremely sharp. These are cutting tools designed to cut through multiple layers of fabric cleanly and precisely with minimum effort from the user.
Larger rotary blades can take on leather, denim, and other thick materials easily. Rotary blades do their job well, thanks to the sharpness of their blades.
Unfortunately, accidents with a rotary cutter can be far more severe than with scissors. Make sure only responsible adults handle your rotary cutters and do so with care and caution.
How Can I Store My Rotary Cutter Safely?
Even when your blade is locked in the safe position, it is still not completely risk-free. It is a cutting tool, and if you were to get your fingers too close to the edge of the blade in the plastic shield, you can still get cut.
For maximum protection in between sewing sessions, you will want to store your rotary cutters in a special case. You can purchase rotary cutter cases that seal up with a zipper to keep your cutting tools completely isolated when not in use.
These cases can either store two rotary cutters or a single rotary cutter paired with its replacement blades. You can find these cases in different colors and styles so they will look attractive while keeping your cutting tools safe.
Depending on the members of your household, you might want to store your cutters even further out of reach. If you have kids with access to your sewing room, take extra precautions to ensure the rotary cutters are inaccessible to their tiny fingers.
What Are Some Safety Tips for Using Rotary Cutters?
Keeping a few safety tips in mind when using your rotary cutters will help you have the best experience possible.
Let’s look at what you can do when it’s time to work with your rotary cutters:
1. Always Use a Cutting Mat
Always use your rotary cutters on your designated cutting mat. There are self-healing mats available that continuously bounce back for a smooth, flat cutting surface. If you forget to use your mat, your rotary cutters can easily damage any surface they are used on.
This will not just ruin your furniture, but it can damage the blade as well. Your rotary cutter blade will get dull if used on hard, resistant surfaces. By using it exclusively on your cutting mat, you are helping to give the blade a longer lifespan.
2. Never Set the Blade Down in the Cutting Position
It’s important to build a habit of always retracting the blade before setting it down on the table. If you have a rotary cutter that automatically retracts when you release the handle, this will be easy for you.
However, if you have a blade that needs to be manually retracted, you will need to be vigilant about your habits with this kind of cutter. You will need to build the muscle memory of pressing or sliding the button to move your blade in and out of the cutting position.
If you set your rotary cutter down on the table with the blade out, it is in a potentially dangerous position. Again, this is especially important if you have kids or pets around that could accidentally make contact with the blade.
Even if you’re the only one in your sewing room, if the rotary cutter accidentally falls, it can hurt you or damage your furniture.
If you’re focused on your sewing project, you might accidentally bury your rotary cutter under a layer of fabric. This is not a problem if the blade has been safely stored, but if it is accidentally left out, it can be a hazard to you and your fingers as you reach for it.
3. Use Caution When the Safety is On
By this point, we know that it is essential to be careful when the blade is in the cutting position. However, it’s important to still be cautious when the blade has been retracted as well.
Rotary blades typically have a plastic blade guard that serves as safety when the blade is not in use. We tend to think that once the blade is in its safety case we no longer have to be careful.
This isn’t true– these guards offer protection, but the blade is still close to the surface and should continue to be treated carefully. If you get your finger too close to the blade while it is resting in its plastic guard, it is still capable of making a thin cut on your finger.
4. Change or Sharpen Dull Blades
Your rotary cutter should make beautiful, clean cuts when it is sharp and working properly. If you find yourself exerting a lot of effort to make your cuts, it is a sign that your blade has gotten dull.
Dull blades can be hazardous since you are using a lot of muscle to force them through the material. If you notice a dull blade, you will want to sharpen or replace it right away.
A sharp blade will make perfect cuts with minimal effort from the user.
If you need to change blades or remove your blade for sharpening, make sure it is properly reinstalled after the job is done. Your blade should be screwed on tight enough that it won’t wobble when used or be in danger of falling off.
However, make sure it is not too tight because that will restrict its movement and ability to make a smooth rotation.
5. Use Thick Rulers
Rotary cutters are ideal for making smooth, straight cuts in your fabric.
You can run the blade alongside a sewing ruler for a perfectly straight line. However, you want to use a thick, heavy sewing ruler with your rotary cutter.
Thin rulers do not create enough of a barrier for the blade of your cutter as you move it along the edge. With a thin ruler, the blade can easily jump onto the surface of the ruler.
This can prove to be dangerous if your fingers are in the way when the blade makes the jump.
By using a thick rotary cutter, there will be a high enough barrier to keep your blade in place. It can smoothly cut alongside the ruler without the danger of jumping to the ruler’s surface.
6. Be Aware of Your Body
Finally, always take a second to be aware of the position of your body and hands when using your rotary cutter.
You might be so focused on the curves of the pattern you need to cut that you don’t notice your opposite hand getting dangerously close to the path of the blade.
Instead of contorting your body in an awkward way to make the cut, simply rotate your material or pattern to a better position. You can also move to a different side of your table to cut from a better, safer angle.
Remember, you can always use your rotary cutters along with a pair of sewing scissors. If you have small notches or tight curves to cut, you might be able to make these cuts safer and more effectively with your scissors instead.
Rotary cutters are an ideal tool for quick, clean, and precise cuts.
What makes them a powerful sewing tool is also the reason they need to be treated with caution. Its sharp blade needs to be treated with safety in mind to have an enjoyable and safe cutting experience.