Cutting Mats- Do You Use One? Where Can I Buy One Without Going Poor?

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ArthurAstroCam

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So, I see these everywhere, especially on YouTube videos, where they seem to be the only way to display small items. Are they useful? Where do you buy one that is not insanely overpriced for what they are?
 

Antares JS

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So, I see these everywhere, especially on YouTube videos, where they seem to be the only way to display small items. Are they useful? Where do you buy one that is not insanely overpriced for what they are?

Not sure if you are intending to use it for another purpose (what's this about displaying small items with them?), but the point of a cutting board is to protect a surface that you would rather not scratch up with a knife, so yeah, pretty useful. You can get one for a few dollars at any shop that carries kitchen supplies.
 

Bravo52

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"Self Healing Cutting Mat" is what you are looking for from Walmart, Amazon or even Hobby Lobby. They tend to have the best prices on them. I have a 24X36 that I bought from Hobby Lobby (fabric department) many years ago for less than $15.

I would not recommend ordering online (last resort) since they can hold their shape if curled. Buy local and get a flat one!
 

Scott_650

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I use a couple different cutting boards - bought a three different size nylon set and a bigger wood one at Dollar Tree - I’ve never used the vinyl self-healing style but they do look useful. Typically I only use the nylon boards to press papered fins and the wood one for cutting, IMO cutting through a part into the softer wood board is easier on my knives than the formica top on my build table (which is an old “desk topper” formica/plywood piece I saved from the crusher at work years and years ago - heavy as all get out!).
 

ArthurAstroCam

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"Self Healing Cutting Mat" is what you are looking for from Walmart, Amazon or even Hobby Lobby. They tend to have the best prices on them. I have a 24X36 that I bought from Hobby Lobby (fabric department) many years ago for less than $15.

I would not recommend ordering online (last resort) since they can hold their shape if curled. Buy local and get a flat one!
Are they rigid enough that I could place one on, say, my TV tray, I could still work on a stable surface?
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Not sure if you are intending to use it for another purpose (what's this about displaying small items with them?), but the point of a cutting board is to protect a surface that you would rather not scratch up with a knife, so yeah, pretty useful. You can get one for a few dollars at any shop that carries kitchen supplies.
When guys display and talk about electronics, or rocketry, on YouTube it does seem to be the standard way to display them. I just want one to build my Big Bertha kit, and have a good surface to cut and work on.
 

Bravo52

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Are they rigid enough that I could place one on, say, my TV tray, I could still work on a stable surface?
Yes. but... I wouldn't use them (or anything) on a "TV tray" because it won't be the mat that is the problem. I don't think a TV tray is a "stable surface". You'd be surprised how much pressure you can put on a hobby knife when cutting.
 

neil_w

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"Self Healing Cutting Mat" is what you are looking for from Walmart, Amazon or even Hobby Lobby. They tend to have the best prices on them. I have a 24X36 that I bought from Hobby Lobby (fabric department) many years ago for less than $15.

I would not recommend ordering online (last resort) since they can hold their shape if curled. Buy local and get a flat one!
+1

They are somewhat rigid but not strong enough to self-support. Need to be on a reasonably flat surface. They come in many sizes, I would recommend at least 12"x18" for typical LPR build work.
 

Antares JS

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Are they rigid enough that I could place one on, say, my TV tray, I could still work on a stable surface?

If your TV tray rests on the floor in front of where you're sitting, sure. If your TV tray is one that goes over your lap and rests on the cushion on either side of you, I wouldn't recommend it. The former style is what I build most of my LPR's on while something fun is on TV in the background.

When guys display and talk about electronics, or rocketry, on YouTube it does seem to be the standard way to display them. I just want one to build my Big Bertha kit, and have a good surface to cut and work on.

I've never paid attention to that. I would guess offhand without seeing any of these videos that a colorful cutting board provides a better color contrast to show you what they want to show you than the bare surface does.

Regardless, if you don't want to scratch up your work surface with your knife, you want a cutting board.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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+1

They are somewhat rigid but not strong enough to self-support. Need to be on a reasonably flat surface. They come in many sizes, I would recommend at least 12"x18" for typical LPR build work.
Thanks- my wooden TV tray should accommodate that just fine. I can always work in the center if I have the cutting mat on top of it. I think I am raiding Hobby Lobby after work! Of course, I will also scope out Estes stuff while I am there.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Yes. but... I wouldn't use them (or anything) on a "TV tray" because it won't be the mat that is the problem. I don't think a TV tray is a "stable surface". You'd be surprised how much pressure you can put on a hobby knife when cutting.
It isn't an el cheapo WalMart TV tray, it's solid wood, folding, and stable,
 

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Take a picture and/or post a picture of what you’re talking/asking about, that would most likely allow everyone to give you the best ideas/advice.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Take a picture and/or post a picture of what you’re talking/asking about, that would most likely allow everyone to give you the best ideas/advice.
Hard to do when you are at the office. Regardless, a great excuse to raid Hobby Lobby after work.
 

rharshberger

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+1

They are somewhat rigid but not strong enough to self-support. Need to be on a reasonably flat surface. They come in many sizes, I would recommend at least 12"x18" for typical LPR build work.
+1 on the 12"×18", in addition I also have a small 6"×8" that I keep in my range tool box.
 

JLP1

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I use 2 of these on my work bench, they come in several sizes. I have one that's 24 x 36 and one that's 12 x 24. Anything I cut with a razor or hobby knife goes on one of these. Most of them are ruled and marked for all kinds of cutting. They are self healing for most cuts but can be damaged if you get down to heavy or lay a running dremel tool down the wrong way.

1642609464275.png
 

heada

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Cutting mat (green with grid lines) vs cutting board (thicker, typically used in a kitchen to cut/chop food)

Yes, get a cutting mat and use it in the hobby. It'll protect whatever your work surface is. That x-acto blade will cut/score/damage most surfaces without one.

Cutting boards - yes, use one in the kitchen. It'll protect your counter top and keep your knife sharp longer. (I've made dozens of hardwood, end-grain cutting boards)
 

TigerHawk

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waltr

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These Self-healing cutting mats are also available at fabric, sewing and craft stores.
I use an 18 x 30 inch one my mother used for sewing.
 

manixFan

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I just bought three mats on sale at JoAnnes fabrics, easy to find a coupon and save some additional money. They had two different brands on sale. Cheaper than online. The brand I got is ‘Zoid’, it’s light blue on one side, dark on the other. I was originally looking for a different brand but they were out of stock. They are for rotary cutting so they should hold up well.


Tony
 

dr wogz

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I have a few, but never use them. The smallest it 6" x something, the largest 18" x something.. Always found them too small, that they slip & slide over your work surface, and spilt glue ruins them. I spilled acetone or some other solvent on one of them, so the lines all disappeared, and it's all wonky & wavy now..

From my R/C plane days, I use a sheet of gyprock on my build table. (and my table is a sturdy 4' x 5.5' top, topped with an old door: long & flat!) The 4' x 8' sheet of gyprock is cut into quarters, so I have a stash near by! (in thirds actually) And how much is a piece or sheet rock?! $12?!

Gyprock is sacrificial. And, you can stick pins in it (great for when you need to make a balsa skins 12" x 8" - like on a certain MDRM..) When it gets beaten up, flip it over, or replace it.. I've used gyprock for my stained glass projects too: pin a fence when & where needed, and it can take the heat from an 80W iron!

And recently, I've acquired an old piece of glass (tempered - bonus!) that I cut on. Cutting paper or the like (Monokote!!) on glass with an X-Acto is super smooth & doesn't dull the blade as you would think..

Glue globs scrape / chisel off either quite well..

But then again, I also use an hobby Olfa knife with snap-off blades.. https://olfa.com/collections/professional/products/9mm-sac-1-stainless-steel-graphics-knife
Doesn't roll, blade retracts, and I can snap off a blade whenever I need to.. Replacement blades come in a pack of 5, and has 7 snap off blades.. ( $$ saving!)

Of course, people get them, thinking they can take punishment & abuse. They then try to cut a 1/4" sheet of balsa with a box cutter, in one pass.. gouging the cutting mat beyond repair / intended use


Get an old desk or something sturdy. A TV tray is meant for light duty, and it meant to fold up. You will soon have it fold on you, and at the worst possible time!
 

ArthurAstroCam

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I have a few, but never use them. The smallest it 6" x something, the largest 18" x something.. Always found them too small, that they slip & slide over your work surface, and spilt glue ruins them. I spilled acetone or some other solvent on one of them, so the lines all disappeared, and it's all wonky & wavy now..

From my R/C plane days, I use a sheet of gyprock on my build table. (and my table is a sturdy 4' x 5.5' top, topped with an old door: long & flat!) The 4' x 8' sheet of gyprock is cut into quarters, so I have a stash near by! (in thirds actually) And how much is a piece or sheet rock?! $12?!

Gyprock is sacrificial. And, you can stick pins in it (great for when you need to make a balsa skins 12" x 8" - like on a certain MDRM..) When it gets beaten up, flip it over, or replace it.. I've used gyprock for my stained glass projects too: pin a fence when & where needed, and it can take the heat from an 80W iron!

And recently, I've acquired an old piece of glass (tempered - bonus!) that I cut on. Cutting paper or the like (Monokote!!) on glass with an X-Acto is super smooth & doesn't dull the blade as you would think..

Glue globs scrape / chisel off either quite well..

But then again, I also use an hobby Olfa knife with snap-off blades.. https://olfa.com/collections/professional/products/9mm-sac-1-stainless-steel-graphics-knife
Doesn't roll, blade retracts, and I can snap off a blade whenever I need to.. Replacement blades come in a pack of 5, and has 7 snap off blades.. ( $$ saving!)

Of course, people get them, thinking they can take punishment & abuse. They then try to cut a 1/4" sheet of balsa with a box cutter, in one pass.. gouging the cutting mat beyond repair / intended use


Get an old desk or something sturdy. A TV tray is meant for light duty, and it meant to fold up. You will soon have it fold on you, and at the worst possible time!
Hasn't folded on me yet, thanks to the secure way it locks up.
 

Alan R

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I bought some plastic placemats at the dollar store. Use them for gluing and cutting. Sometimes I slice through them but hey, they only cost $1. Toss it and lay down a new one.
Add some of that shelf rubber stuff under it (also only $1 for a big roll) and they don't slide around.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Picked up the 12x18 at Hobby Lobby last night. The first time I have ever been in one. None of the aisles or departments are clearly marked, and it is virtually impossible to find anything. But I did find this. And, their Estes prices are very good.
 

Rocketless

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So, I see these everywhere, especially on YouTube videos, where they seem to be the only way to display small items. Are they useful? Where do you buy one that is not insanely overpriced for what they are?
They go on sale every couple of weeks at Hobby Lobby
 

ArthurAstroCam

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They go on sale every couple of weeks at Hobby Lobby
If you can find them! The Hobby Lobby near my office is dark, dingy. And nothing is marked. No overhead signs to find aisles or departments. I have never seen anything like it. Not sure if they are all this way.
 

James Duffy

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The Hobby Lobby near my office is dark, dingy. And nothing is marked. No overhead signs to find aisles or departments. I have never seen anything like it. Not sure if they are all this way.

They are all that way. Hobby Lobby generally locates their stores in older strip centers that have been abandoned by other retailers. It's a core operating principle for the company.
 

tsmith1315

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Not at all that way around here. The 2 near us are spotless, well lit and organized. Both are in good locations, and the closest is a large, new free-standing store.
 
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