Safety Catch for Advance Guillotine



I’ve recently acquired this Advance Guillotine & I’m wondering if there’s a place to get a device to lock the blade in place when not in use. I know I can chain the counter weight down, but it’d be great to have something less clunky. I’ve seen a couple of safely locks added to other cutters, but I don’t know what they’re called or where to look.  Any advice on a good site to get something would be great.

I’m also looking to get a spare blade and a couple of cutting sticks if anyone knows a particularly great place to get those from I’d love to hear about them.

Thanks, Friedrich

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kyle van horn
10 years ago


The latch and the angle iron are held together with screws and bolts. The unit is held to the side of the cutter by two screws. The holes for these screws had to be drilled and then tapped. I know that tapping threads into cast iron isn’t always reliable, but it worked ok in my case. I’ll also mention that I wasn’t paying attention and drilled the same size hole as the screw, which is too large if you’re tapping threads. Pay attention so you don’t drill needless holes in your cutter.

The sprung pin seats into another hole I drilled into the blade holder. I attached the pin-latch first to determine where it would want to rest/lock, then drilled a hole a bit bigger than the pin itself to ensure alignment. My cutter has adjustments that allow you to fine tune where the blade (and lever) start and end each cut. The drill bits were nothing special, just sharp – just go slow and use lots of oil.

I based this design on the pin latch that was built into the Challenge 193 cutters (the smallish, tabletop model they made that was badly designed and has no counterweight). The Challenge 265 model (that I have) offered the optional ‘latch blade catch’ that Eric mentions. It is mounted on the left side of the cutter, pivots – with a spring for tension, and catches against the bottom angle of the blade holder. The 265 at the school where I work has one. I went looking for something similar for mine and couldn’t find one. This pin latch was the best I could fabricate, though if you know a good welder who wants a fussy project, you could make your own. I’ll try to photograph it for you tomorrow. If you have a good blade company in TN, I’d look to them for having a blade made – Eric is right, you’ll need a lot of accurate measurements to get it right.


I’ve had that exact issue with cut sticks for my 265. I’ve started ordering them 27″ long and cutting them myself with a utility knife. I’ve also kept the previous cut sticks and patched in that last 1/32″ (mine is more like 1/8″) with some old cut stick. It’s an annoying but useful fix.

Eric Holub
10 years ago

I don’t know about this specific cutter, but I’ve seen some that used a pin plunger as a safety, and others that used a latch. This cutter may not have been built for either, just as none of mine has had anything. You need a receiver space for any safety mechanism to engage.
As for blades, you need to make a very exact drawing of length, width, thickness, bevel, and placement of holes (this is critical!). Nobody can make a blade for a “Challenge Advance” because there are so many possible variations on that theme. Long history, without specific records. Blade manfacturers used to know a lot more. They altered some other blade for my Dad’s C&P cutter by filling the holes with threaded plugs and making new holes to fit that machine. Nobody, absolutely nobody, would do that today.
Even cutting sticks can be a problem. My present Challenge 265 cutter is nominally 26.5″, but I’ve bought 26.5″ cutting sticks at the old Kirk Paper and off eBay that were 1/32″ short of the slot.

kyle van horn
10 years ago

I had a similar problem with a Challenge cutter at BPS, and we fashioned a self-locking mechanism for it. Here’s a photo: and here it is in action (pre paint-job):

It’s a “Retractable Spring Plunger”, purchased from McMaster Carr (, mounted to a bit of angle iron, and tapped and screwed directly to the cutter frame. I also drilled a hole into the face of the blade holder which the pin drops into upon return.

It works great, and requires both hands to start the cut, which is entirely the point of a safety. It also prevents someone from casually bumping the lever and dropping the blade. It won’t stop people from casually touching the blade as Eric mentions, but we usually cover the face of the cutter with a piece of cardboard when school groups visit. Everyone else gets to read the sign that says “EXTREMELY SHARP”.

As for blades and cut sticks, look around your area for a saw sharpening shop, and ask if they sharpen ‘Paper Knives’. If they do, they can probably make one for you too, and provide the cut sticks. It’s also possible to find replacement blades on ebay sometimes – many brands had common sized blades that worked for multiple models.

Good luck!

Eric Holub
10 years ago

One solution it to fashion a piece of lumber that wil fit through the sides of the cutter, at a height that will support the blade holder. Lots of work to measure and make, and even more to remove and replace often, but the advantage is that the filler piece will also cover the edge of the blade and prevent curious hands from feeling how sharp the blade is. People seldom feel a blade edge more than once, but try telling your insurance agent that.

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