To sharpen or not?

I’m talking about the blade of my rotary cutter. (THIS is the post I meant to publish, so you’re getting 2 in one day :))

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They’re expensive! A pack of 5 runs about $50 plus taxes or more, depending upon the retailer. Fortunately, I learned I can print an online coupon for 40% off one, regular priced item at my local Michael’s craft supply store. Right now though, I can’t even afford that.

Being environmentally-friendly and trying very hard not to throw non-biodegradable items (or anything really) in the garbage, I hang on to all my old, dull blades. There has to be a way to sharpen them. Right? People sharpen scissors, kitchen knives and skates. Why not these as well?

And this morning I was finally compelled to Google it 🙂 My current blade is driving me nuts, it’s approaching the likeness of a butter knife. I prefer efficiency when I’m working and when I have to roll my blade back and forth AND back and forth to make a cut. . . . that simply isn’t time well spent. Nor is it enjoyable.

I typed in ‘how to sharpen a rotary blade’ and tried the very first trick (link at bottom of page) I clicked upon. It involves tin foil, something I don’t buy or use anymore (for environmental and health reasons), but actually have because I’ve been saving it for years in the hopes of being able to recycle it one day 🙂

This is my ‘inside’ bag. There’s 10 times more in my shed!

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I located 3 flat, folded pieces and used the 2 smaller ones to begin with. I can honestly say I was underwhelmed with the result.

SO, I employed the larger, much more layered piece. It has so many layers I couldn’t cut through them all.

 

Now, when I go to a particular website, and find a recipe or instructions on how to do something (like sharpen a rotary blade!), I always scroll through the comments. In many cases, I can’t read them all but I can glean the general idea of the success or failure. In this instance, most people said ‘great idea, I’m going to try it’ or ‘it DOES work, on scissors too’.

The author of the article claims it works as well. And I’ve no doubt it probably does. For them.

My verdict is this:

I really can’t say for sure if it’s a useful trick. I don’t notice a massive difference in the cutting ability of my blade or even a decent difference. Maybe it’s slightly better. Maybe it’s a placebo effect and there’s no improvement at all, lol. Perhaps it’s because I mainly cut denim. I don’t know. This was not the OMG, so amazing moment I was hoping for.

I was relieved to find one commenter who said ‘tried the trick, it does not work’. Someone else said it didn’t work for them either. At least I’m not alone. It didn’t hurt to give it a go though and it certainly didn’t make my blade duller. Now I’ll just do some more Googling and see what else is recommended. I have enough blades to experiment with.

http://pennyshands.blogspot.ca/2011/03/how-to-sharpen-your-rotary-cutter-blade.html

 

Creativity. Use it!

I’ve learned a lot about being frugal in the past year. Being financially strapped will do that for you. And I actually highly recommend it! Many of us never consider how many squares of toilet paper we use. Or how much further inexpensive rice or pasta can make a meal go. Toothpaste, shampoo, laundry soap. When we run out, we run out and buy more!

But what happens when you don’t have the money for “necessities”? You get creative. And frugal 🙂 You begin to understand a tiny blob IS enough. You ration your food (and hey, some people can handle that!). You start to realize we have so many luxuries we take for granted.

Yesterday, with the record breaking warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing, I was outside often. It’s time for massive yard work. And I’m easily annoyed when I have to remove my shoes and put them back on repeatedly.

I thought to myself, “I need some slip on shoes. But they’re all probably made in China!”. And I refuse to buy anything from there. I have plenty of reasons why; their appalling environmental pollution, their ivory trade, how they contaminated the honey industry, their animal testing. I could go on and on. I’ll restrain myself however 🙂

I’m also on a huge anti-buying spree in general. If I can reuse something for a new purpose, I do. I recycle. I refuse. I reduce. In other words, I try. This planet matters. There was a time, when I was young and foolish, that it didn’t. I have much to make up for!

So back to the shoes. I needed some slip ons. And I remembered I have old runners in my shed. Old runners that are too small! Yep. You’re a kindred soul if you figured out what I did. I cut the heels out of them! And now I have slip on shoes, lol. (One so far anyway). I don’t care if they’re pretty or not. I didn’t have to buy them AND I’ll get tons of use from them. Annoyance is gone.

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THAT is what I like to call ‘using your noggin’. Or mine, in this case. It’s like the broken crock pot that’ll become a planter in the garden soon. Or the weathered fence board I’m turning into a ‘No touch, no talk, no eye contact’ sign. Or the vintage door knobs from the house I grew up in becoming a coat rack.

My point is, throwing things away, into the never-stops-growing landfill, isn’t always necessary. Even if YOU won’t repurpose “garbage”, someone else will. Say NO to the landfill and ask friends or family if they want what you don’t. Or donate it. Place a free ad online, giving away FREE stuff. Heck, put it at the end of your driveway with a FREE sign on it. Someone will take it.

Now, I’m off to cut my other shoe. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!