[Headline: Harry Higley’s Eversharp Film Trimmer]
[Subhead: A handy tool for nice seams]
[Author: Jerry Smith]
[Photo credit: Photos by the author]
[No additional callouts]
Let’s face it, when it comes time to cover an aircraft, some modelers may feel that they don’t have the ability. It requires technique, skill, and some creativity. Most aeromodelers don’t do it every day, so don’t despair. It is always good to plan how you will cover a model or replace and ARF’s covering.
You should cover the fuselage bottom first, then the sides, and the top last. The wings should be covered bottom side first, then the tail feathers, and then the top side. This will hide the seams if only one color is used. Nice seams make a big difference in your model’s appearance.
The seam should be over a solid surface. Making a crisp, uniform seam on a flat surface is easy to achieve, but not with scissors or a sharp knife. Using the tool I am about to recommend, creating clean seams is easy. Although I have modified the tool to give it more blade-cutting life, it will work fine as purchased.
I have tried many film covering/trimming tools on the market and found Harry Higley’s Eversharp Film Trimmer, also known as the Jim’s Film Trimmer, to be the most useful. It creates a uniform seam, which is important for adhesion as well as looks. However, there is more to this tool than its simplicity.
Most trimming tools use costly blades that don’t last long. The Film Trimmer uses an inexpensive, industrial, single-edge razor blade. Instead of wearing out in one place, the entire blade gets worn. How does it do this? The four left slots are cut at a different distance from the center than the four right ones.
When all eight cutting positions become dull, turn the blade over and its unused segments will align with eight new cutting edges, giving you 16 cutting edges with which to work. I think this is clever. All you have to do is keep track of the slots you have used. The one thing you can’t do with it is vary the width of the seam overlap. It’s built in and roughly 1/16 inch.
I was disappointed when I first used the trimmer. The recommended single-edge industrial blade is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Most of the blades have a clear rust inhibitor that interferes with cutting. You can remove it with thinner.
The blades are mainly used for scraping, but with enough of them, you can get the cutting done. This leads to the modification that I am about to describe.
My small razor plane uses a double-edge razor. I had a few on hand and decided to try one in the trimmer. It didn’t fit perfectly, but the retaining bolt with the washer lined up.
The double-edge razor blade came out even with the end of the slotted tool. This meant I needed to extend the tool end approximately 3/32 inches so the slots could be seen beyond the blade’s edge.
To do this, I epoxied an oversized piece of 1/32-inch plywood to the end of the trimmer. After it cured, I sanded the sides flush with the trimmer and left 3/32 inch protruding from the end of the trimmer. The slots were extended through the plywood with a Dremel cut-off wheel, which perfectly fit.
After completing the modification, I installed a new double-edge razor and put the trimmer to work. Wow, what a difference! Instead of having 16 slots with which to work, you have 32. The blade’s sharpness is outstanding and will not quickly dull.
I am happy with my modified trimmer tool, and you will be too. When you try it you will find it a friend for life.[dingbat]