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Sprue cutters. How long do they last?

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  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Sprue cutters. How long do they last?
Posted by wpwar11 on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 5:24 PM

Maybe 8 or 9 ago I purchased USA Gundham's single blade nippers.  I can tell a significant difference between these cutters vs. my old Hobby Lobby pair.  However, over the last couple weeks the cutting action just isn't as neat and clean.  is it common for cutters to last a year or so?  Can the blade be sharpened?  If so, whats the best way?


  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 6:24 PM

I've got a pair of Tamiya cutters I've been using for 10 or so years, that still seem as sharp as ever. As hard as styrene is on thinner things like X-acto and single-edge razor blades, it makes me wonder how they've held up so well...but as long as they keep working, I'm happy.

Just as an aside, I've had great luck with Tamiya-brand tools. The quality seems excellent across the board. Yes

BTW, as far as sharpening goes, nearly any blade can be re-sharpened...but if they've gone so quickly, I'd assume that either the metal or the hardening/tempering -- or both -- are bad, so resharpening is only a short-term solution at best.


George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 7:04 PM

I'm partial to my trusty Xuron 410As.  That being said, I'm not really able to gauge how long they last if used strictly for modeling.  I use a set of 410As at work every day too.  I cut everything from plastic ty-raps to aluminum wire with them, and sometimes things that are way too much for them to be expected to handle (like RG-400 coaxial cable with a solid center conductor and double shielding).  Even with being used as my go-to cutting workhorse, I get about 2 years out of a set, with them still being quite capable at the end of that 2 years.  When I buy a replacement, the fresh, new replacement goes into the modeling toolbox, and the one already in my modeling toolbox comes to work with me.  Best $13.00 I think I have ever spent on a sprue cutter...and, incidentally, they do an amazing job cutting the ends off of plastic ty-raps on aircraft nice and flush so they don't wait in a wire bundle to slice the next guy's hands open when he works on the plane.

My opinion on sharpening is the same as Greg's, with the added statement that I often like to go with the old saying "time is money" and am also very conscious of the law of diminishing returns.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    September 2021
Posted by DooeyPyle67 on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 7:04 PM

I've got a pair of hardware store side nippers that's over 30 years old. Still cuts clean as when I bought it brand new. I did buy a pair of hobby nippers as a spare for tight spots. That one I've had for 10 plus years. If you keep them clean, they'll last you a long time.

I've been wanting a pair of nippers called Godhand. Very expensive but boy, I do want a pair. LOL!!

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 7:05 PM


Please note that you can buy excellent side cutters in the electronics supply shops. Those are made to cut at least copper wire. In comparison styrene is as soft as butter, so don't cut piano wire with your sprue cutters and they should last for a really long time. Some expensive cutters are even made to cut piano wire - styrene is nothing to them, but they are sometimes sharpened at much wider angle - this might lead to the parts to be cut out being distorted.

Cutters I use have one flat and one angled side. This is useful for cutting very close to the part, leaving close to nothing for being sanded off. Grinding the cutters on that flat side would effectively sharpen the blades.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 7:17 PM

I bought a pair of DSPIAE single edge cutters , 3 years ago , they're like cutting through butter , I also have an old $5 pair I use for the thick sprues . 

it's also how you use them can have an effecton them , put them as far into the jaws as possible , helps protect the points on them


  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:55 AM

So its clearly obvious a good pair will last.  Time to take a closer look at how I use these cutters.  Thanks all.  

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Thursday, October 14, 2021 9:41 AM

I have used sprue cutters in the past for cutting PE too.  That seems to be a bad idea.  While much of the blades are still sharp, there are now little nicks in the blade.  On my latest build I am resorting to an X-acto knive.  Nice to be able to insert new blades.  To maintain the life of the blade as long as possible I put the large 45 degree blade in my large handle.  I find using a #11 blade for PE uses up blades pretty quick.  I find the large 45 degree blade is lasting a lot longer.  The sprue cutter will remain a sprue cutter!


Don Stauffer in Minnesota


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