Feb 102013
 

Everyone who walks into my paper crafting studio realizes right away that I’m a tool junkie, but also that I love Fiskars® products. If you enter “fiskars” in the search box for my Web site, you’ll see multiple posts in which I discuss Fiskars® toys. Well, I’m sitting in front of my computer this evening to tell you about another one, the new Fiskars® AdvantEdge™ Punch System. This system, when you pull everything out of the box, includes a frame that holds your paper and punching tool in place, an adapter for Fiskars® Interchangeable Border Punches, and one AdvantEdge™ punch called Flower Garden.

System out of the boxYou can, of course, purchase additional punches that will work with the system, but they need to be AdvantEdge™ Interchangeable Border punches or standard Interchangeable Border punches.

On the left is a design produced by the Flower Garden punch. On the right is Ironworks.

The Fiskars® AdvantEdge™ Punch System features what the company calls “lock-and-slide technology,” which basically means that you lock both your punch and paper into the frame, punch the paper, then slide the punch over to the next spot and punch again while your paper is perfectly aligned. Using the Flower Garden punch that comes with the system, you can see that your first step is to insert the punch into its carriage. You lift up a magnetic paper rail, slide your paper beneath it and into the punch slot at the same time, then drop the rail that locks your paper into place. Then you push down on the handle (which does take a bit of effort), and your first punch is done. The carriage slides to the right to a notch in the frame and locks into place, at which point you push the handle down again, extending your punch design. Repeat this process for the full width of your paper, and your design is finished.

Using AdvantEdge punch

If you have a smaller standard sized Interchangeable Border punch, you can insert it in the orange adapter. On the bottom are some “wings” that you need to open up. Drop this into the adapter, and insert the adapter into the carriage of the punch frame. You’ll notice a notch on the left side of the frame, which is where the left wing of your punch needs to fit inside. If you forget to do this and start punching, your punch will not be properly aligned, and you will likely break off a wing. I know this because my husband, who also loves gadgets, tried to use the punch this way, and did indeed break off the wing. (He felt badly and replaced it right away!) From this point forward, the procedure for punching your design is exactly the same as the procedure for the larger, heavier AdvantEdge™ punch.

Using Std Interchangeable Border Punch

The smaller standard-sized Interchangeable Border punches produce an edge design. The one below is called Lacy Doubles.

DSCN7728

In a previous post, I discussed using a clear vinyl over-the-door shoe organizer for paper crafting tools. This is where I put my punches. You’ll notice, however, that the punches are stackable; there are handy notches that keep them in place. Because the AdvantEdge™ punches are heavy (1 pound, 10 ounces each), you’ll want to make sure the surface on which they are stored is sturdy. Be careful that you don’t drop these on your feet, either—I’ll bet you could break a toe pretty easily if that happened!

Punch storage

You’ll also notice that the handle for the frame stands up when not in use, making it inconvenient for storage. For now, I wrapped a wide rubber band around the frame to fold the handle flat for storage, but I will likely replace it with a cloth-covered elastic headband.

DSCN7720

So, what can you do with these punches that you can’t do with others? Well, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical about purchasing the Fiskars® AdvantEdge™ Punch System at first. Yes, even I, a confirmed Fiskars-lover, was unsure. The price, at $49.99, was not cheap, and the price of the AdvantEdge™ punches was a little scary at $29.99 a punch. What clinched the sale for me, however, was a 35% off discount at Archiver’s on both the system and the punches, the ease of use, and the results. No one else that I know designs a punch with a design this wide (2-3/4 inches). You can use the punched borders to decorate a package, scrapbook page or card, and wrap candles, a bar of soap, a glass jar, small bags or tiny gift boxes. The narrower standard-sized Interchangeable Border punches produce what is essentially a ribbon, which has a wide range of applications.

You don’t have to use the entire border, but can instead cut apart elements and use them as scrapbooking, card or journaling accents.

I discovered through trial and error that you can fold up to 3 layers of aluminum foil inside a folded piece of typing paper, and then punch a design. When you’re done, you have a pretty, shiny design! Be aware, however, that the Fiskars® AdvantEdge™ Punch System is designed only for paper or card stock, not other materials, so you are using the tool at your own risk when you experiment with anything else.

DSCN7738

I can imagine using a punched design as a stencil, spray misting, chalking or sponging over it. The “stencil” can be re-used as a design element. I’ll bet these punched designs would work well with mono printing, too, if you have a Gelli pad.

Using as a stencil

Though I do like my new tool, I must admit that there are both pros and cons to the Fiskars® AdvantEdge™ Punch System. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the pros outweigh the cons.

Pros:

  • The system is easy to learn how to use.
  • The lock-and-slide technology makes it easy to align both your paper and your punch for consistent results.
  • The wide AdvantEdge™ punch is unique on the market (so far), punching deep, double-sided borders.
  • The system accommodates standard-sized Interchangeable Border punches at a reasonable price of $11.99 each (even cheaper online!), giving you a nice range of designs from which to choose.
  • There are lots of creative ways to use the border punches.

Cons:

  • The price of the system and individual AdvantEdge™ punches is steep (but can be overcome if you shop for sales or look online).
  • Improper insertion of the standard-sized Interchangeable Border punches will break them.
  • The handle on the frame does not fold down and lock into place, making storage tricky unless you bind it with a rubber band or elastic headband.
  • The AdvantEdge™ punches are heavy, so you need to handle them with care. You’ll definitely want to keep them out of reach of young children.
  • AdvantEdge™ punches are a little difficult to remove from the carriage. However, I discovered that if you turn the frame around, you get a better grip on the punch and can more easily remove it.

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Aug 202012
 

Last week I began a new project, a gardening journal, so I did less blogging and more creating. It’s not easy finding a balance sometimes! The journal is not yet finished, but I’ll post photos of it when it is completed. Meanwhile, I have been using a new paper crafting tool from Fiskars that I have to tell you about. If you have been reading my posts for a while, then you know that I am a big Fiskars fan (see The cutting edge of paper crafting tools). A week ago I used a 43% off discount coupon at Archiver’s to purchase a Fiskars® ProCision™ Paper Trimmer that is apparently the newest paper trimmer on the block. It is so new, in fact, that I could not find a Web site (including Fiskars) that advertises it.

What’s so special, you ask, about a paper trimmer? After all, I have 4 other ones that do a perfectly good job. The ProCision™ is a deluxe tool that cuts thicker materials including multiple layers of card stock and lightweight chipboard, and it uses a spring-loaded rotary bypass blade that never needs sharpening. It features a dual-rail system made from steel that eliminates blade wiggle, which means more accurate cutting.  And better yet, the ProCision™ slices so precisely that you can do cuts up to 1/16th of an inch and barely blink. (Yes, the paper trimmer has a metric ruler, too.)

The rubberized feet on the bottom of the paper trimmer keep it stable, preventing it from slipping. You can cut paper up to 13 inches on one side, and up to 2-1/2 inches on the other side of the blade. A paper guard prevents you from getting fingerprints on your photos when you trim them. When the paper guard is raised, the blade does not operate; when it swings down, it activates the blade. Best of all, the ProCision™ folds flat for storage or travel.

So, what am I going to do with my other Fiskars paper trimmers? Fortunately, some of them have already found new homes—specifically, in my husband’s and son’s home offices. I will likely keep my SureCut™ Deluxe Craft Paper Trimmer because it allows me to score in 1/16th inch increments, and it has grid lines for standard envelope measurements.

Visit your local Archiver’s today to get your own ProCision™ paper trimmer. (And no, I wasn’t paid to say that! If you know of another source, I’d love to hear about it.) The normal retail price is $119.99, but if you use a discount coupon, you can buy it for less. (Note: On 8/25/12, I discovered that Scrapbook.com sells the trimmer for $119.99, so if you don’t have an Archiver’s near you, you can order the tool online.)

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Nov 042009
 

Like many other Etsy sellers who sell handmade paper goods, my paper crafting studio is filled with designer papers, adhesives, embellishments, and tools of all types and sizes. There are so many tools, in fact, that they spill into other rooms in the house, wherever they will fit. But among my favorites are those from Fiskars, the business that many of us think of as the “scissors company.” Over time, my personal collection of Fiskars cutting implements has grown to include pinking shears, rotary cutters, scoring blades, a button shank remover, embroidery scissors, paper cutters, paper punches, garden shears, and more. My first Fiskars product, however, was a pair of orange-handled fabric shears that I used when I learned how to sew.

Clockwise, from top center: Fiskars pinking shears,
cardboard cutter, rotary cutter, embroidery scissors,
button shank cutter, fabric shears

The story about orange scissor handles goes back to 1967, when Fiskars manufactured its first plastic-handled scissors. The designer wasn’t sure whether the final product would have red, black or green handles, but in the process of making prototype plastic-handled scissors, he used leftover orange resin from a molding machine intended for Fiskars juicers. Much to his surprise, the orange scissors were popular—so popular, in fact, that employees chose orange over black by a vote of nine to seven for the final plastic-handled Fiskars scissors. Three dozen years later, in 2003, the color orange was trademarked in Finland as “Fiskars Orange®.” You’ll see that color in most of Fiskars’ consumer products and packaging today.

Fiskars table top paper cutters

Fiskars itself is a 360-year-old company whose roots go back to Finland, which is where its corporate headquarters is located. It employs more than 4,000 employees worldwide, and produces a wide variety of home, office and outdoor tools.

Fiskars paper punches

The company was founded in 1649 by a Dutch merchant named Peter Thorwöste, when Finland was under Swedish rule and Sweden was known as the center of iron manufacturing. Thorwöste was allowed to build a blast furnace and bar hammer in the village of Fiskars (Finland) so that he could manufacture cast iron and forged products. Although most of the bar iron that Thorwöste produced was sold in Stockholm (Sweden), he also fashioned nails, thread, knives, hoes, iron wheels and other equipment.

Over the centuries, steam engines, plows and cutlery were added to Fiskars’ list of manufactured goods, and its manufacturing facilities spread to other countries. Meanwhile, all manufacturing in the original ironworks facility gradually ceased operation. In 1992, however, the Fiskars company decided that the way to breathe new life into the old Fiskars Village was to invite artisans, designers and artists to move into the old ironworks facilities, where they could form a cooperative and work. Today Fiskars Village has become a center of Finnish art and design. You can meet some of the artisans through FiskarsVillage Cinema Series.

Left to right: Fiskars embossing tools, cutting mat,
eyelet punches, embossing plates,
and texture plate embossing tool

As you view the work of BBEST artists below, it will be apparent that I am not the only one who has benefitted from using Fiskars paper crafting tools, or variations of them from other manufacturers. Although there is no doubt that Fiskars has many competitors today, the fact that it is more than three-and-a-half centuries old—as well as Finland’s oldest company—suggests that Fiskars has a great deal of practice in developing “cutting edge” paper crafting tools.

You can learn more about Fiskars, its history, Fiskars Village and its craft division by visiting these Web sites:

© 2009 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at http://boomersandbeyond.blogspot.com.

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