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The Spellbinders Grand Calibur is simply 'magic' and really has me under its 'spell'. It is a die cutting and embossing machine which can both cut and emboss up to A4 size which makes it extremely use for both small and large projects and gives it a major advantage over many other machines. It can be used to cut paper, card, vellum acetate and more. The Grand Calibur is widely available from crafts shops and online and costs around £90.
For this you get the die cutting machine and the plates you need to use with it in order to die cut and emboss-to use some other brands of embossing folder you may need a different embossing plate and this can be brought separately if required. Dies and embossing folders are also brought separately and prices vary greatly. The machine was primarily designed to be used with the Spellbinders range but you are able to use the majority of other brands of dies and embossing folders which makes it very versatile.
The machine itself is manual (there are now a number of electronic die cutting machines such as the Silhouette) and to use you sandwich the required plates with your card and die or embossing folder and turn the handle allowing the plates to pass through the machine. The machine entrance has instructions as to which plates you should use to both cut and emboss. The plates do become marked over time, but last very very well even with plenty of use. However when required replacement plates can be purchased.
The machine is brightly coloured either pink or purple depending on where you have purchased it from. Given the size it can cut and emboss, it is reasonably small and compact although quite heavy. It has a handle enabling it to be carried easily so you could take it to a craft club or crop.
The handle used when you are passing the plates through the machine is very easy to grip and turns easily applying even pressure. I have found with some other die-cutting machines such as the Cuttlebug that the pressure applied is not always even resulting in dies not always fully cutting however I have never had this with my Grand Calibur which has always cut and embossed smoothly and crisply.
Sometimes if you are cutting elaborate dies, you do need to poke the little shapes out - you can use a pokey tool for this or use wax paper as this makes the shapes pop out. If you wish to use wax paper you lay this onto your die before adding your card or paper and pass through your machine as normal. This is not a fault or criticism of the machine and would happen with any elaborately cut die with any machine.
Whilst this is designed for adult crafters I see no reason why children of 8 plus could not use with supervision as it is easy to use and very durable and well made. Dies are not sharp and do not cut you when handled. My friends children love to use my machine to cut shapes for their crafting when they visit.
I love the versatility of this machine and being able to cut and emboss A4 makes it an extremely useful and essential piece of kit, allowing you to create larger projects. As it always applies even pressure you never have to pass the plates through the machine multiple times as I have had to do with other machines.
This is by far the best manual die cutting and embossing machine I have used. Highly recommend.
This review also appears on CIAO under the same username.