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When some close friends and I exchange birthday presents, we treat each other to small, inexpensive, but useful gifts or novelty items that we wouldn't perhaps buy for ourselves, but would like to own; like fridge magnets with a funny jokes, and pictures or perhaps a Picasso nose to hang your specs on - you know the sort of thing.
Having just recently celebrated and lamented, in almost equal measure, the official addition of another whole number to my age, I found my cheap and cheerful gift this year, to be very handy indeed.
On opening the little parcel, my first thoughts were that my friends had sadly lost the plot, for staring out at me was what appeared to be a child's tooth brush - a blue one at that!
Nano-seconds later, and very much to my relief at discovering my pals were still sane, I saw emblazoned on the card to which it was attached, the words 'Scotch Gift Wrap Cutter.'
Even then, it never looked capable of slicing neatly through the softest of butters, let alone paper. Being tightly sealed in its clear plastic wrapping which took took and age to open, gave me plenty of time to speculate how such an instrument, resembling a toothbrush could ever be used to cut paper.
When I finally released the cutter from its plastic prison, I could see on the underside, where the bristles of a toothbrush would normally be situated, what could almost be described as a lower jaw, or tongue.
Looking at it from the front, it put me in mind of the gaping mouth of a fish.
Inside this 'mouth,' safely tucked away from all but a tiny toddler's fingers, is a very sharp blade, reminiscent of a scalpel blade, embedded in the jaw, with the cutting edge pointing upwards.
The handle, made of a strong plastic material, was curved to fit snugly into the palm of the hand - left or right.
On the underside of the handle, close to the lower jaw, is a V-shaped groove, described as the curling edge, which is designed to be used to curl gift-wrap ribbons. On the upper side of the handle and on the tip of its leading edge, is an embossed guide-line, which makes it easier to cut in a straight line, when lined up with the intended cut-line of the paper.
Why, I hear you ask, is this any more useful than a pair of scissors or paper-knife?
I wouldn't say that it is more useful, but is just as useful when it comes to cutting paper and it does give a much cleaner cut.
I have never been any good at cutting wrapping paper neatly without a tearing it or crinkling the edge, especially the thinner stuff. So for me, if this cutter could help me make a better job of the task, I would be well pleased.
Although it is a long way from Christmas yet, a few birthdays are looming, when I shall be able to put this cutter to good use, but for the purpose of this review I had a few practice runs, on large sheets of paper and found that it cuts far more swiftly, cleanly and accurately than my scissors.
~~~~How to use the cutter~~~~
Fold the paper to make a crease along the intended line of cut. Open out the paper and insert the edge into the mouth of the cutter, with the crease lined up with the line embossed on the tip of the handle, hold the paper down and just push the cutter forward, keeping the crease and embossed pointer in line. Curves are also easily cut by first drawing the curve onto the paper and following the line using the same method as for a straight line.
To make those curly decorative ribbons, place the strip of ribbon in the groove on the underside of the handle, hold the ribbon firmly with the thumb and pull the ribbon through and across the curling edge - simple.
I found, so far, that this cutter cuts beautifully straight lines; the edges are as if guillotined rather than torn by a paper-knife, the action is swift and accurate - well - as accurate as the handler.
I really have found it so much quicker and easier to use than scissors or a paper-knife. The real test will come at Christmas time, when I am more hurried and perhaps a little less patient. I think though, this cutter will cut through the time I spend on wrapping parcels as neatly and swiftly as it cuts through the paper.
Although this instrument is perfectly safe for adults and older children, I think it is highly likely that a small child could easily insert their tiny little fingers into the mouth of the cutter, the results of which do not bear thinking about; so I would recommend it be kept well out of their reach.
For any dog or puppy owners, whose darling pets are still tempted to chew on any available object within their reach, this caution must also be heeded.
They can be purchased from Tesco and some garden centers, on Amazon and 3MSelect.co.uk. I have seen them for as little as 99p and as much as £6.00, so shop around.