Wednesday, January 9, 2008

paper tear bar

A good as time as any to talk about the paper tear bar that I use. I have a new shorter version on its way from Takach Press, so I probably have tear bar on the brain. This is my all around favorite tear bar for tearing, drawing, and cutting. When it first arrived a few years back I was a little disappointed, because it seemed a little lightweight compared to the one I used in school. The school tear bar was probably twice as thick with a beveled edge. I like hefty tools. I soon figured out that the secret to the Takach bar is in the folded edge. The cutting edge is ever so slightly lower than the rest of the bar, so as the bar rests on the paper a large part of its weight is concentrated at the tear line. The results are a tear bar that just does not move--even when tearing thin strips of paper.

The only negative I can come up with is something that can be seen in the below photo of the two pieces of torn paper. I made the torn edge on the left with the conventional tear bar. Note the typical "burr" (the reason we tear paper from the back). The Takach tear is on the right. The Takach bar puts so much pressure at the tear line that it leaves a slight footprint next to the paper burr. In the photo what I am calling the footprint looks like a slight shadow next to the burr. Some people may consider this more unsightly than the usual tear. I consider it a reasonable price to pay for the extra stability of the bar. And besides the tear should be on the back of the paper. Book pages don't have back sides, but when it comes to book pages I'm usually folding and cutting paper with a knife, or sanding the edges.

The stability of this tear bar is also useful for cutting binders board, and the raised folds of the bar are a little extra barrier between blade and fingers. The raised folds are perfect for my application of drawing multiple sets of lines. The ridge guides my hand and pencil/pen just a fraction of an inch from the edge of the bar. I have a video I'll post one of these days that shows how I draw the lines.

Post a reply if you have a preferred paper tear bar that you like using. I'm especially interested in finding the source of other quality models out there.


  1. hello-
    Alan Takach Here, I was wondering if I might use some of your wonderful description of our tear bar on our website?

  2. Alan,

    Yes, you may. I am a fan of the Takach press.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Thanks, Alan. The Takach site looks great. A lot of work no doubt.


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