OLFA® FAQs

General

01. Does OLFA have a cutter that cuts circles in fabric?

Rotary Cutters & Blades

01. Does OLFA have a cutter that cuts circles in fabric?
02. How do I use the OLFA rotary circle cutter?
03. How do I change the blade on my rotary cutter?
04. How long should my rotary blade last?
05. Does OLFA manufacture a sharpener for its rotary blades?
06. My rotary blade is skipping threads. What am I doing wrong?
07. When I use a decorative edge blade, I sometimes "chew" up my ruler; what can I do?
07. When I use a decorative edge blade, I sometimes "chew" up my ruler; what can I do?

Mats

01. OLFA claims to have "self-healing" mats; what does this mean?
02. Can I use snap-off blades or utility blades with an OLFA rotary mat?
03. How do I reduce the strong plastic smell from my new rotary mat?
04. My mat is full of fuzz from working with fleece. How can I clean it?
05. What is OLFA's largest size rotary mat?
06. My rotary mat is warped; how do I flatten it?

Rulers

01. Why should I try OLFA quilt rulers?
02. I purchased an OLFA quilt ruler and want to know why it is difficult to see through.
03. After using my ruler on a quilting project, it looks like the "frost" is coming off. What am I doing wrong?
04. When I use a decorative-edge blade, I sometimes "chew" up my ruler; what can I do?

Specialty

01. What cutter do you recommend for repairing carpet?

Utility Knives & Blades

01. Does OLFA offer a basic utility knife that uses a dual edge utility blade?
02. What are the advantages of OLFA ULTRASharp black blades over standard OLFA silver blades?
03. How do I change the blade in my NA-1 cutter?

ANSWERS

General

01. What is OLFA?

OLFA offers a comprehensive range of premium cutters, knives, blades and accessories for industrial professionals, contractors, do-it-yourselfers, safety managers, quilters and crafters. Yashio Okada (1931-1990), founder of OLFA® Corporation, introduced the world's first snap-off blade in 1956.

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Rotary Cutters & Blades

01. Does OLFA have a cutter that cuts circles in fabric?

Actually, we have two products. For the professional, we have the Rotary Circle Cutter. OLFA's premium circle cutter is perfect for cutting fabric. The unique ratchet handle is easy to use and greatly reduces wrist fatigue. Designed for both right- and left-handed use, the circle cutter can be adjusted to cut circles from 1 7/8" to 8 1/2". Even better, no stabilizer is required for use. Simply determine the size of the circle required, set your cutter accordingly, and you're ready to cut! For occasional use, the CMP-1 will suit your cutting needs. When paper-backed fusible webbing is applied to the fabric, the CMP-1 circle cutter will cut perfect circles up to 6" in diameter.

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02. How do I use the OLFA rotary circle cutter?

The OLFA rotary circle cutter makes cutting circles and other curved quilting patterns a snap. Use it on both fabric and paper for speed and accuracy. The ratchet handle reduces stress on your wrist and makes it so easy to get a perfect circle or curve every time without the use of a stabilizer or template! Cut circles from 1 7/8" up to 8 1/2". Watch our instructional video.

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03. How do I change the blade on my rotary cutter?

This is one of the most important things you can do for your rotary cutter. Done properly, it will extend the life of your cutter and mat. Watch our instructional videos.

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04. How long should my rotary blade last?

OLFA® rotary blades are made of high-quality tungsten steel and are designed to be very durable and long lasting as well as extremely sharp. However, blade life depends on many factors, including the material you are cutting, frequency of cutting, etc. To maximize the life of your rotary blade, OLFA recommends that you always use an OLFA® Rotary Mat and apply only enough pressure to cut through your fabric.

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05. Does OLFA manufacture a sharpener for its rotary blades?

No, OLFA® rotary blades are made of high-quality tungsten steel and are the longest-lasting blades in the business. Because OLFA® blades are "razor" sharp, it is very difficult to sharpen them without nicking the blade. This could cause the user to damage expensive fabrics.

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06. My rotary blade is skipping threads. What am I doing wrong?

First, make sure you have a fresh blade on your rotary cutter. If you are still having trouble, check your cutting technique. You need to apply firm and equal downward pressure all the way through the cut to ensure smooth results. Don't over-reach and also check that your mat is in good condition.

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07. When I use a decorative edge blade, I sometimes "chew" up my ruler; what can I do?

When cutting up against a ruler with a decorative-edge blade, the normal practice is to use it the same way you do with a straight-edge blade. The key to using a decorative-edge blade and ruler together is to line up your ruler against the edge - but not press into the ruler as you do with a straight edge. Then, when you begin cutting - cut slowly. If you are using a ruler, you want a precise cut, and going slowly will ensure blade control and precise cuts.

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08. What do the numbers around the perimeter of the rotary blades mean?

The original rotary blade was designed to fit a safety cutter that positioned each section of the rotary blade in a fixed position to be used upon the dulling of the previous section. The numbers represented each of those sections. When OLFA introduced the original rotary cutter in 1979, the numbers became irrelevant, but have been maintained as a sort of historical feature representing the original rotary blade.

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Mats

01. OLFA claims to have "self-healing" mats; what does this mean?

OLFA rotary and cutting mats have a unique feature that we refer to as the self-healing process. This means that when the mats are used properly with sharp OLFA® blades, the cuts tend to form back together on the mat. This is made possible by the components used in production.

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02. Can I use snap-off blades or utility blades with an OLFA rotary mat?

No, OLFA® rotary mats are specifically designed for use with OLFA® rotary cutters and rotary blades. Snap-off or utility blades will damage OLFA® rotary mats. OLFA ®cutting mats are professional-quality mats designed specifically for use with OLFA® cutters and blades. They are twice as thick as OLFA® rotary mats.

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03. How do I reduce the strong plastic smell from my new rotary mat?

Due to production and distribution, a new OLFA® rotary mat can emit an odorous smell. To overcome this smell, we suggest the mat be wiped down with a solution of equal parts lukewarm water and white vinegar, then let it set for five minutes. Afterward, rinse off the mat and towel dry. Repeat as needed.

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04. My mat is full of fuzz from working with fleece. How can I clean it?

Fleece fibers are naturally attracted to your self-healing rotary mat. To clean your OLFA® mat, use a generous amount of room-temperature water and a few drops of mild detergent. Use a soft, mild bristle brush such as a toothbrush or mushroom brush to create a lather and gently clean your mat. Rinse with room-temperature water and wipe dry with a cotton towel. Please note that warm or hot water and direct sunlight may damage the mat.

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05. What is OLFA's largest size rotary mat?

OLFA's largest size rotary mat is the RM-CLIPS/3. This set consists of three mats that clip together, giving the user a cutting surface that measures 35" x 70". The mats connect for continuous grid and numerical measurements. OLFA's RM-CLIPS/2 consists of two mats connecting together for a 23" x 70" cutting surface. The largest single rotary mat OLFA manufactures is the RM-MG, which measures 24" x 36". These mats are perfect for protecting the surface of a quilter's cutting table.

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06. My rotary mat is warped; how do I flatten it?

Unfortunately, there is no way to flatten your rotary mat once it has been warped. This is why it is very important to take the time to read the care instructions on your mat. Proper care is the only way to secure the life of your rotary mat. If you have an OLFA® Rotary Mat that is warped, set this aside for use with paper projects.

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Rulers

01. Why should I try OLFA quilt rulers?

OLFA's rulers are the only ones with the frosted advantage. The frosted acrylic surface features black numbers and grid lines that provide excellent clarity on both light- and dark-colored fabrics. OLFA® Quilt Rulers are the result of taking quilters' recommendations and implementing them into a specific product. OLFA® Quilt Rulers have easy-to-read numbers and grid lines. They feature markings for right and left-handed use, and their unique angle cutting grid design (patent pending) helps you easily make 30-, 45-, 60- and 90-degree cuts, all from the same center point.

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02. I purchased an OLFA quilt ruler and want to know why it is difficult to see through.

OLFA Quilt Rulers have a transparent protective sheet over the front to prevent damage during shipping. This sheet should be removed before using to maximize the "frosted advantage" of OLFA's Quilt Rulers.

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03. After using my ruler on a quilting project, it looks like the "frost" is coming off. What am I doing wrong?

You are not doing anything wrong. Similar to a fingerprint left on a mirror or window, fingerprints show up on the rulers. Simply use a dry cloth and wipe off the back of the ruler, and you will notice the ruler looks the same as the day it was purchased.

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04. When I use a decorative-edge blade, I sometimes "chew" up my ruler; what can I do?

When cutting up against a ruler with a decorative edge blade, the normal practice is to use it the same way you do with a straight edge blade. The key to using a decorative edge blade and ruler together is to line your ruler up against the edge - but not press into the ruler like you do with a straight edge. Then, when you begin cutting - cut slowly. If you are using a ruler, you want a precise cut, and going slowly will ensure blade control and precise cuts.

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Specialty

01. What cutter do you recommend for repairing carpet?

Load OLFA's CMP-2 Heavy Duty Compass Cutter with an LH-20B Heavy Duty Snap-Off Hook Blade and cut out the section of damaged carpet. The hook blade cuts from the bottom of the carpet, making a clean cut, whereas a straight blade would put a bevel on the cut.

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Utility Knives & Blades

01. Does OLFA offer a basic utility knife that uses a dual edge utility blade?

Yes, OLFA recently introduced the UTC-1 Auto Lock Retractable Utility Knife. But, with features such as a heavy-gauge stainless steel blade channel, HandSaver cushion grip handle, and a five-position retractable blade, this cutter is anything but basic! For use with OLFA's standard, rounded-tip and hook dual edged blades.

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02. What are the advantages of OLFA ULTRASharp black blades over standard OLFA silver blades?

OLFA® ULTRAMAX blades are exclusively designed for maximum cutting performance. These blades are developed using a special double honing process for superior sharpness, and are 25% sharper than standard OLFA blades. ULTRAMAX blades are perfect for applications requiring specific measurements or finished work.

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03. How do I change the blade in my NA-1 cutter?

To change the blade in your NA-1 cutter, hold the cutter with the back of the handle pointed away from you. Place your thumb on the blade slide and apply downward pressure with your thumb while pushing the blade slide out the back of the cutter. Now carefully remove the old blade from the peg and place the new blade on the peg, and carefully slide the blade back into the handle.

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