Anyone who's moved or traveled overseas knows that weight restrictions can be a huge pain. One of the much used, much appreciated tools that I had to leave behind was my cutting mat. The most important tools like my thread, needles and my Jade PVA glue I was able to bring. Saddly that was about it.
Now, delving into bookbinding takes a bit more than that and slowly I've been able to work up my tools once again. Someday I'll tell you about my hammer (another too heavy so maybe I should leave this behind item), and my knife, and others. But my cutting mat is my most resent and exciting acquisition.
I rip all the pages for my book by hand. It gives the book a nice feel and look. Originally I started doing this simply because I did not have a knife and cutting mat. But now, I prefer the look. It gives the book a nice, rustic, handmade appearance.
This is what I was using to rip my paper on. Yes, it's a piece of countertop. My in-laws had it left over from when they did their kitchen counters (I believe it's from where the kitchen sink went in). I made a grid on it with masking tap. You can see that there are different sets of lines for different measurment according to what dimensions I wanted each time. It served me well, especially since my only work surface was on the carpeted bedroom floor, but I am glad to say, "I'm moving on!"
Enter my new favourite tool.
This is an Olfa cutting mat. Well, specifically it's a rotary mat - not really for straight blades, but I don't use it for that anyway. At a size of 24" x 36" it will serve me well. The best thing is that I got it for only $35.00 off of Kijiji! Regularly it's around $75.00. Sure there are a couple scuffs on it, but other than that it doesn't look used. There are no gouges or cuts in it whatsoever.
It is so much nicer to use. When looking for a mat, most of them are in one inch increments, which isn't very user friendly for me. But this mat has the 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 inch markings all around the perimeter, as well as two making a cross sections in the lower left quadrant. All the measurments I need are right there, no more masking tape!
It makes for some happy ripping!