cutting steel backed plates / OT: water damage on wood type :(
Just wanted to point out Accucutter as another good machine for cutting steel backed plates. Its a bit expensive but I get enough use out of it to justify it.
A newer version of the model we use:
If the blades are out of alignment, it will bend the edge instead of cutting. It takes a bit of fiddling (and a bit of time to remember where I put the hex set...) but its easily fixable. We've never had the blades on it changed or sharpened. If you actually touch the blades, they do not feel sharp. They're squared off.
In a pinch (if I need to cut a curve, or if the Accucutter was out of alignment and bent the edge and there is not enough margin to put a cut next to where I first tried to cut) I will use scissors to trim the plates. I don't find the bending of the edges to be an issue with inking- its just a little hazardous, as they tend to be quite sharp!
And now for something entirely different (and "off topic"). I was doing the "I'm a professional modern letterpress printer who pretends shes a hobby printer ever now and again" thing tonight and printing wood type on my Vandercook 3 (finessing my rainbow roll skills). I do not own a type cabinet (I know...) so I just have a few cases stacked on a table at the back of our shop. Over the winter, with all the horrid snow we got in New England, the roof leaked on and off and one morning I came in to find my wood type splattered. I did not think it would do any permanent damage.... but today I found out it did. The smooth surface of the type does not ink properly because of the water spots. I scrubbed them down with type wash and a cloth with no success. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I can do to smooth out the finish again?