Metal cutters make sharp, clean cuts… except for the “bobble” most make where the metal strip they’re constructed from is joined, which needs to be trimmed or smoothed out for a professional finish. Manufacturers such as Kemper make seamless metal cutters, but what do you do if you can’t find them in the size you want?
Go to the hardware store, of course! :D
Well… shops with cake decorating supplies are also an option and I’ll get to that below, but any excuse to go to the hardware store is a good one.
The Hardware Store
The plumbing and gasfitting section is a good place to start when looking for seamless cutters.
In the picture above, the large “cutters” are downpipe pops (whatever they are). They’re labelled with the sizes of the pipes they fit, not the sizes of the circles they cut (how strange!), and they make nice feature beads and statement pendants with sizes such as 50mm, 75mm and 90mm (not shown).
The smaller “cutters” at mid left are the detached ends of Gastite pipe couplers, which come in 16mm, 20mm and 25mm sizes (all shown). These are nice for earrings and smaller pendants, or for creating negative space in larger shapes. As you can see you get two “cutters” from each coupler: if you don’t need two of each size there are “reducers” that have either 20mm and 16mm fittings, or 25mm and 20mm fittings.
The small “cutters” at rear right are Polyplumb pipe stiffeners from the UK, photographed sharp side down. They don’t seem to exist in Australia, but if you’re elsewhere (or are keen enough to order them from overseas on eBay) their sizes suit earrings and small pendants down to large threading holes. In Australia, you can find alternatives in this size range in…
Kitchenware and Cake Decorating Shops
Many kitchenware shops stock seamless nylon or plastic cutters, particularly in large sizes for cutting biscuits, but metal cutters make cleaner cuts if you can find them.
Smooth piping tubes make good medium-size seamless round cutters. The tapering isn’t really noticeable when cutting typical clay thicknesses, and you can use either end depending on the size you want to cut.
For small round holes, plain icing tips such as those from Ateco or Wilton work well.
What If I Don’t Want Circles?
You can reshape seamless circles into other shapes, but that generally involves hammering on them or using other tools to apply a lot of force. Larger seamless shapes can be made by reshaping a “slice” of an aluminium soft drink can, which is quite easy as the metal is thin and soft. Probably a topic for a future post!