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Large Cut-Off Set

Large Cut-Off Set First-Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of First Look October 2009 Manufacturer The Small Shop
Subject Large Cut-Off Set Pros Great set for holding PE parts tightly while removing them from the fret
Cons Nothing noted MSRP (USD) $15.00


The Small Shop is a manufacturer of hobby tools for the modeler. They make tools for making accurate bends in PE, curving and rolling PE and manufacturing nuts. They are located in Kalama, Washington USA.

This large cut off set is used to hold larger PE frets tightly while detaching parts from it.

Especially for ship modelers and railroad hobbyists.

Features of it are:

  • It is 100% made in the USA
  • It has two 8” x 10” black Plexiglas bases
  • There are 1 large and 1 small clear presses, each with a knob
  • It makes removing PE parts from the fret a cinch!
  • The close and accurate cuts mean little or no cleanup of the parts
  • The cutting blade will not skip or break like when cutting on glass
  • The clear press plate allows you to see and hold the parts
  • The press combined with the acrylic base keeps PE parts flat
  • PE doesn’t deform, as when using a cutting mat or a scissors
  • The black bases provide excellent contrast to the parts
  • It helps keep PE organized
  • Parts do not fly away into the shag rug to be eaten by the carpet monster
  • Set is used with a X-Acto knife (#10 blade) not included. This is the blace with a curved cutting edge
  • Instructions are included
  • Minor assembly of the presses is required. The clear handles are super glued to the press plates

To use the set, remove the paper backing from one side of each of the 2 black acrylic tiles prior to use. Leave the paper backing on the other side to protect the finish for later use.

Assemble the presses. One of the press bases is 1” x 1 ½” clear acrylic with longer side chamfered. Glue the 1” clear acrylic knob (also chamfered on one end) to the center top (smaller side) of the press plate with the chamfer up. Use a drop of super glue or acrylic glue.

  • Place a PE fret on one of the black acrylic tiles.
  • Place the clear press over the PE part or parts you wish to remove from the fret.
  • Use a sharp hobby knife or scalpel with a curved sharp blade to cut through the connecting nubs along the edge of the press using a gentle rocking motion to free the parts.
  • Lift the fret to leave the desired part(s) on the tile.
  • Slide unfinished parts onto one of the other acrylic black tiles.
  • Move the cleaned and folded (finished) parts to the last tile.
  • The black color of the tiles gives good contrast, making the parts easy to see.
  • The hard black acrylic finish of the tiles doesn’t let the blade skip or break, yet it is firm enough that it does not let the parts deform.
  • Keeping and moving parts on the tiles save them from becoming lost.
  • The presses keep the parts from deforming or flying away.
  • No need to cut up the frets with a scissors anymore.

The set came in a zip locked cello bag with the instruction sheet. It was packed into a very sturdy priority mail box.

I want to sincerely thank The Small Shop for this review sample.