Cutawl users?

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Mike Jackson
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Location: Jackson Hole, WY

Cutawl users?

Post by Mike Jackson » Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:07 am


When I still lived in Oklahoma, I went ahead and spent the sizeable investment in a Cutawl (around $900 now). With the CNC routers, you don't see them much anymore, but at one time they were a workhorse tool in almost any sign shop—or so I was told. After a few hours of using one, it became clear it would take a lot more time to get even partially good with one. I saw one in use a couple of times, and on thin materials, they seemed to work well enough to be marginally impressed.

Our old Cutawl is in a box at the old shop, and I am sure they don't know what it is or what it is for. I haven't been compelled to purchase another one for our home/shop. Does anyone here have one and still use it? Did anyone ever get good or even proficient using one?

I suspect it falls into the same category as an Opaque Projector. At their point in time, they were valuable, but have both been replaced with better tools. A few years ago, I managed to find an original Cut-Awl book. It had some pretty interesting photos and designs.

These two photos come from the Cutawl book. The caption says the designs were Sand Etched into doors using stencils cut with the Cutawl.



Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
Vintage Ornamental Clip art
Jackson Hole, WY

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Roderick Treece
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Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:04 pm
Location: San deigo Calif

Post by Roderick Treece » Tue Aug 24, 2004 12:50 pm


I love my cutall.Another one of those things that got pasted down from father to son.Most people don't take the time to get used to it, but when you do it's great.You have to keep a sheet of cheap beaded foam 2" to 4" around to lay under your material when cutting.
If I had a big production shop I would probable get a router table but thats not going to happen.


Doug Bernhardt
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Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:29 am
Location: Ottawa Canada

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Tue Aug 24, 2004 8:41 pm

Would you believe....have been looking into buying a used one as of old boss(of 20 yrs.) has one am sure has not seen use in a more years than that. It was used extensively for doing cut-outs for movie/theatre posters and such in those "great days". And yes....I am, just a little nostalgic!!;=)

Danny Baronian
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Post by Danny Baronian » Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:03 pm

I've wanted one ever since I first saw one in a prop shop. I used it as needed in the shop for about a year. It took a lot of practice, more importantly a lot of patience to do a proficient job.

Years later I saw one in a sign supply house that was moving in the early 80's. They had three on the floor, and I believe at the time they were selling for about $ 1100.

I eventually bought a band saw and realized that was more suited for the work I was doing at the time. The band saw gave way to a CNC router, and now the band saw is rarely used.

Two weeks ago I got a call from a signmaker friend who had been informed of the death of a signmaker he knew, and would he be interested in any tools or supplies . In the shop was Cutawl in good shape, which he took to use for spare parts for his first Cutawl.

I'd hate to own the Cutawl company if it's still around. It is a well built tool, and for certain jobs did the work like no other, but that's one tool that probably won't be in production much longer.
Danny Baronian
Baronian Mfg.
CNC Routing & Fabrication

Patrick Mackle
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Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Monrovia, Ca.

Post by Patrick Mackle » Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:15 am

I have a cutawl, the same model you posted. Its a handy tool. Hope they continue to support it. I use mine to cut patterns for production sandblasting glass. I cut patterns out of tempered masonite lined with Nagahyde (upholstery cloth). The Nagahyde creates the sandblasted artwork, the Masonite holds it in registration. To fabricate this type of reusable stencil, I temporarly spray mount the Nagahyde to glass, cut the design openings, and epoxy the masonite filagree to the Nagahyde pattern. Later, I pull up the device off the glass cutting surface and get down to business in the blasting room. Once one masters the spindle tension- blade stroke and proper blade type, its a very cool tool. Oftimes I position the Cutawl upside down in a clamping fixture and steer the wood against the blade. Most of the time its much easier than manuvering the tool upon the wooden surface. For me it helps save time and materials, especially sandblast resist $$$.
By the way, at McLogan's Supply in L.A.. whose front glass door is graced with the stores logo in gold and MOP by Rick Glawson, there is a showcase of antique Cutawls, I think the earliest one looks like its made of wood! I'll have to take another look.
Well, back to work,

Tony Segale
Posts: 633
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:20 am

cut awl users

Post by Tony Segale » Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:32 am

Thanks for posting this topic, as I've been wanting to discuss my cut-awl for quite some time. I purchased one about ten or twelve years ago, I bet it hasn't been used for more than 16 hours. I'm sure it was operator inexperience, and I've been thinking about selling it for, oh, the last eight years. I paid $700 for mine, it's still in the original box with all the attachments and owners manual, so if any of you are interested, make me an offer and I'm all ears.

and he took that golden hair and made a sweater for baby bear.

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