Cutting is the art of wrapping. For most of the part, it might be easy. But to cut off the excess film clean and precisely is a skillful job, which can separate a very good installer from a great installer. So cutting well is an essential skill not only for beginners but also advanced wrappers.
What are the tricks there then? In this article, we will be covering this point by point, from what types of knives and blades you should use for cutting, to what you should do and avoid.
Types of Knives and Blades
Basically, what you will use for cutting are plastic knife and metal knife, and mostly it is a light-duty utility knife which is either with a 45-degree blade or 30-degree blade.
And generally, there are several types of blades you might be using while cutting:
- Stainless steel blade
Stainless steel blade is the safest among all. With a 45-degree stainless steel blade, there is no chance to cut surface, yet for a 30-degree stainless steel blade, just make sure you do not pit the blade, and you will be able to keep the surface from being cut.
- Carbon blade
Carbon blade also comes with 30 or 45 degrees as well. But it is harder than stainless steel, so there are high chances of cutting the surface with this type of blade.
- Ceramic blade
Ceramic blades are extremely sharp and hard. It has the highest chances of cutting the surface among all the types above, and it is definitely the trickiest for usage.
What to Avoid
Thus when it comes to wrapping, you would probably want to make sure you do not use a carbon blade or ceramic blade, just to avoid damaging the paint. But what you should also try to avoid is to use a metal knife while cutting.
When using a metal knife, you will have to float the blade from the side. And the chances of scratching the main surface become very high in this case. Not only this, you might go too deep into the vehicle body with a metal knife, and create inconsistent depth with the extended blade, which ends up with a poor quality finish.
The worst thing is if you go too deep with your blade while cutting, it will very possibly come across the main surface and cut straight inside the body, which will lead to a costly repaint. So to be safe, plastic knife is your best choice.
What to do
Before getting to the point what to do, let’s clarify some terms here. Edge has been divided into two types during the cutting process.
For the one which the blade goes behind, and away from the blade angle, it is called “empty”. There is also the other one which the blade does not go behind, and it is called “solid”.
Mostly you will be cutting on the empty side, and your blade is parallel to the edge, which can guarantee zero damaging. You can feel free to angle your blade in and out.
Another trick is to cut with a very short blade, and you will have zero chance of cutting too deep and damaging the surface. Also with a plastic knife, even if you push against the surface, it will not jump out.
The important thing is to keep your knife angle staying at 45 degrees. This will give you a super straight cut.
Some other tips for cutting
- Click your blade before cutting – To make sure your blade is extra sharp
- Run a finger from top to bottom before cutting - To set the material up.
- Standard empty cut – Make sure you cut on the empty side with the blade being parallel to the side, as well as perpendicular to the edge, and you will get a steady cut from top to bottom. And remember the knife’s angle towards the surface has to stay at 45 degrees the whole time.
- And then with an empty solid cut, run a finger from top to bottom again – To round the material onto the solid side around the corner there, in the meantime, seals the empty side.
- Squeegee at a 45 degrees angle towards the solid side – To make sure the material does not wrinkle, and you get a really high quality, nice symmetrical cut from top to bottom.
So here are some of the critical skills of cutting for you. We hope this article can somehow help with your installation or answer some of the questions you had. For more wrapping tactics, keep your eyes on teckwrap.com. Happy wrapping!