If you ever do any modeling or layout construction, you will immediately find that you have to cut something. There have been any number of tools devised to hack material to bits, but you can get by with just a few of them. Hand tools are covered in this section, if you really want to butcher your materials faster, that takes power tools which are covered later.
For most work on plastic and soft metal, you can get by with just these two saws. The larger one is a harp jigsaw. Its thin blade and large blade clearance allows interior cuts with fairly tight turns. The smaller saw is a razor saw, the preferred weapon of choice for many kitbashers. A razor saw has a thin stiff blade with very fine teeth which allows clean cuts through plastic and soft metals.
If you are not to concerned about the finish of the cut, this folding camp saw is hard to beat for speed. The teeth are sharp and deep which allows them to cut wood quickly and not pack up with sawdust. You probably have to go to a RV store or backpacker's store to find this one.
Scissors and knives are indispensable for cutting paper and scoring plastic. The utility knife has an extendible blade that is scored so that when a blade is dulled, it can be snapped off which exposes a brand new cutting edge.
Notice all the plaster on the scissors handle, this will happen to tools that are used. I used this pair to cut paper towels while installing some hardshell and the plaster gets everywhere. DO NOT use the kitchen scissors if you value your life. Any tool or utensil that you borrow from the house should be replaced BEFORE THE FACT with a new high quality item. Then take the old one to the shop to be desecrated.
Wire and strip stock are easily cut with diagonal cutters. It is handy to have several sizes around to handle both tight situations and heavy stock. Cut steel ONLY with very heavy duty cutters.
A flush cutter has a jaw that is flat on one side so that one side of the cut is nearly flush while the other side has about twice the normal taper. This tool is very useful for cutting HO sized rail, but it won't work on hard metals or large scale rail. It is useful in cutting brass rod for use in making piping, handrails, cut levels and such as little or no filing is required after the cut. If you want to cut large scale rail, use a razor saw, a hack saw or a cutoff wheel on a motor tool.
© 1999 George Schreyer
Created Dec 4, 1999
Last Updated Dec 4, 1999