The ‘Armour Bottle & Jar Cutter’ is an large , upright cutting device and, with the exception of a couple of wingnuts and the cutting wheel, made almost entirely of plastic. Despite a number of unfavourable reviews on the internet, I bought this cutter as a second option to try it out for product knowledge, with the intention of doing a review sometime on the blog, and to gain another option for getting under rims and for use on heavily curved bottles.
The design of the cutter itself looks promising from the photogenic packaging, but on opening up, you soon find out that despite it’s size, it’s quite flimsy and lightweight. The two major parts – a base with a movable guide arm and the main tower – slot together and are joined by a white plastic pin (pictured in photo), which retains tightly but is no where near good enough for regular removal and re-entry a number of times without it getting damaged. You’ve obviously left with the choice of leaving the device intact permanently , and not storing it in it’s box, or replacing the pin with a metal bolt so you can take it apart regularly. The base has an inbuilt bench hook at the front, to try to prevent sliding backwards in use.
The cutter head sits on a plastic wedge retainer which then slides onto the tower rail. A plastic slot section is then attached above it to use as a guiderail for the tapper. An additional wedge is available to slot behind the cutting head, enabling the cutter to tilt forward and hit curved and angled glass surfaces at the desired 90 degrees. The wheel head itself contains only a single steel wheel , with no spares supplied in the box. As always, the wheel is lubricated before use.
To the right of the base is a slot , which captures the arm, allowing for a V-shaped holding stop central to the tower below the cutting head. This works fine in theory, but in reality the small lip just fails to retain the arm under even the slightest pressure and pops off – It’s really useless! There is no fixing of the arm in this location, unlike the curve rail to the side. Neither position gives any real solidity to the bottle holding position, which is crucial in this design where you are in effect expecting to push the bottle/jar against a fixed cutting wheel, hold it on the base , and rotate the glass. This really just fails. Everything is too flimsy and loose to ensure a stable rotation at the correct pressure to ensure a consistent score line. Despite now being a confident and well practised bottle cutter, several attempts to use this cutter has failed to come up with a consistent score line of any acceptable quality comparable to other cutters, without resorting to a double handed guide-less rotation going backward and forward in multiple steps.
The whole design, in my opinion, is severely compromised by it’s lack of firm control and flimsy construction. It’s a real disappointment, as it looked like it was a natural for teardrop shaped bottles and jars, a couple of which I had kept back for it’s trial. I don’t like to be too negative in outlook, but this device really doesn’t cut the mustard, and would be very off-putting to anyone buying it to try the hobby. It’s off to the loft to gather dust, as I’m honestly reluctant to even pass it on or sell it on eBay. The accompanying book of glass designs is quite good, and worth a read to get some colourful ideas, though there’s little evidence of clean cut edges in there without heavy garnishing of polymer clay and paint – a hint of what’s in store maybe? I’ve only found one video online so far with this device in use, which was actually a promotional sales video for the product, and the ‘expert’ demonstration there was a a poor one also, with a poor finish demonstrated. Why it was put out instead of re-shot, I’m left wondering! I’d really love to be proven wrong with this cutter, and see some video of it being used very successfully. If you find any, let me know!
Pros: instructional design book is worth a few £s for ideas and information
Cons: flimsy, bad design, lacks any confident control, poor operation, one cutting wheel
Overall Score: 2/10