As much as I love my electronic die-cutter, there is a special place in my heart for a manual die-cutting machine. Sometimes you just want to cut out a little flower or something, and it hardly seems worth it to haul out the Cricut and fire it up.Â So today I’m reviewing one of the newest manual die-cutters on the market, the Grand Calibur by Spellbinders!
Here’s the product description, as it appears on the Spellbinders website:
The Grand Caliburâ„¢ is the latest in Spellbinders’â„¢ line of innovative cutting machines. It is compatible with all Spellbinders die templates. The Grand Calibur accepts 8Â½ x 11â€ paper without trimming, as well as cuts or embosses up to 8â…›â€ wide with the turn of a handle.
With an integrated handle design, and weighing only 10 pounds, the Grand Calibur is portable and convenient to use anywhere. It has a stability base that keeps the machine in place during use.
Die cutting and embossing sandwiches are easy to stack with color coded plates.
Using the same two-pass process as the Wizardâ„¢, (cut on one pass, emboss on the other) the Grand Calibur allows so many more die templates on the larger plates. Perfect for Grand NestabilitiesÂ®!
Larger shapes offer endless possibilities for scrapbooking, school projects, mini albums and more!
Compatible with Sizzlets, Cuttlebug, and Quickuts dies, as well as Cuttlebug Embossing Folders and Fiskars Texture Plates.
If you are familiar with manual die-cutting systems, this one will be easy for you to adapt to. There is a base plate, a cutting plate, an embossing place and rubber embossing mat.
To use, you make a “sandwich” on your base plate. The “sandwich” is a plate, your die on top of your paper, and then a second plate. The plates squeezed together as you turn the handle and feed the “sandwich” through the rollers of the machine. The pressure pushes the die against the paper, causing it to cut cleanly.
What makes the Grand Calibur exciting is its SIZE! It has a wide mouth opening that will accommodate an 8.5 sheet of paper with out trimming. The plates, too, are extra long – 11Â¾ x 8Â¼”-that’s cool if you want to make borders for your 12″ scrapbooks!
So I set up the Spellbinders Grand Calibur (SGC from here on out) on my buffet table. I engaged the lever on the front that engages the suction- and MAN, that sucker stayed put!! I don’t know if it was because the top of the buffet is granite or what, but it really locked down. Compared to may smaller die-cut machine, this is a HUGE improvement. The last thing you want is to be cranking away and have the machine wobbling all over the place.
I fed the plates into the machine- and started to crank. The crank action was smooth and easy, and the crank handle felt substantial. The knob is larger than most manual die-cutting machines I’ve tried, and it felt ergonomical in the hand. Nice.
Now, I found the longer plates somewhat cumbersome to deal with- there are twice the size of what I’m used to. And and I had to remember to “cheat” the machine forward on the counter- because that long plate is eventually going to have to come out the back! I actually had to nudge the plates forward a bit with my hip so that I could crank the machine with my right hand and hold the handle with my left.
And on the topic of the built-in handle- LOVE it. Of course, as you are cranking away you instinctively want to stabilize the machine by holding it on top. Spellbinders was smart to make the handle part of the design. As an added bonus, if you want to take the SGC with you somewhere, it’s not super-heavy- only 10 pounds or so. However, I can’t get my feed tray to flip up or anything, so that sticks out and I’m afraid I might break it if I schlepped it around. Just sayin’.
I’m happy to say that it works marvelously with the Nestabilities and Grand Nestabilities dies (I reviewed them here), and I also used embossing folders with great success. The Cuttlebug dies will work in this machine, too:
But that leads me to my saddest revelation- the Grand Calibur will NOT cut Sizzix dies. (Insert long scream here.)Â I think that this is a HUGE problem! I love all kinds of dies from all kinds of companies…and I’m sure most crafters are the same way. I love Spellbinders dies, and have used them in my Cuttlebug AND my Xyron Creatopia…and now that there are the Grand Nestabilities, I was hoping to move my little Cuttlebug to the side and let the Grand Calibur takes it’s place on my craft table. But if I can’t use the thicker dies, I’m conflicted….and stuck using two machines.
The bottom line is this: if you are completely brand-loyal to Spellbinders, this tool will not let you down. But if you have different dies from different companies, this may not be the machine to invest in. MSRP for the Grand Calibur is $129.99, but do a Google Shopping search- I’ve seen it for under $100.
- Great suction
- Handle is very handy. (So to speak.)
- Works perfectly with the Grand Nestabilities dies, which I LOVE.
- Compatible with all brands of embossing folders
- Compatible with Cuttlebug, Sizzlets, and Quickuts dies
- Only 10 pounds
- Needs a larger space on the table to accommodate the longer cutting mat
- Not compatible with Sizzix Dies.
Do you have a Grand Calibur? Love it or lukewarm? I’d love to hear from YOU!
If you are contemplating purchasing this item, I’d appreciate it if you’d consider using my affiliate links: