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I was a state-ranked cellist during high school and played in a local symphony until I finished my doctorate.
Unfortunately, the practice time to get to that point took a toll on my body. The subtle repetitive motion injuries (not to mention, a diagnosis of a connective tissue disorder) put a big kink in my grand plans to keep up my cello skills for life.
Not only did I have to slow down on playing, but I now have a bum thumb and fingers, wrist problems, and lots of regrets about how I treated my body.
I also have difficulty using rotary cutters and other sewing tools safely and without pain. So, when I discovered the Martelli rotary cutter, I decided to invest in one to see if it would outperform my others.
Fast forward, and now I’ve had time to finally write my Martelli rotary cutter review.
I’ll first cover some details about this ergonomic rotary cutter and then follow up with my likes and dislikes so you can see if it’s right for you!
Quick Review Summary
I highly recommend the Martelli rotary cutter for users who hurt when using a regular rotary cutter.
My neck, back, wrist, and hand heartily approve of the new positioning even though there was a learning curve to achieve a clean cut.
For users with a rotary cutter they already love that causes no pain?
Well, the Martelli cutter is a little pricey, changing blades was difficult, and I worry that the little spring on the cover will one day give out. Stick with what you love, but consider switching should you want something more ergonomically pleasing.
Sizes of Martelli Rotary Cutters Offered
I currently own the 60mm Martelli rotary cutter; I purchased this size because it’s recommended for the 24″ strip ruler (above), which is incredible. (Also, I love their fussy cut templates for quilting.)
I also considered the 28mm size, but I felt like the cutter was too bulky, and the visibility of the blade was not as excellent as on the 60mm.
Not to mention, my Olfa 28mm rotary cutter is so tiny and lightweight that it is comfortable enough when I use it. And, between all my fabric cutters (AccuQuilt, Sizzix, Cricut, and ScanNCut), I always have a machine available to make curved cuts if I don’t want to pick up the 28mm.
I purchased new Olfa rotary cutting mats a few years ago that fit my cutting table perfectly. I did not need a new mat and couldn’t rationalize the cost of replacing a perfectly functional mat to get the matching Martelli cutting mat.
I can thus confirm that the Martelli rotary cutter works well with NOT Martelli branded mats, too!
Amazingly, the Martelli cutter also does less damage to my Olfa mat than my older Fiskars 60mm rotary cutter. This is a win!
How to Hold the Martelli Rotary Cutter
First, this takes some getting used to.
Theoretically, you should hold the Martelli rotary cutter with your dominant hand and curl your middle, ring, and pinky fingers around the handle. Then, your thumb fits on the opposite side of the cutter and your forefinger on top of the cutter, as shown above.
How I Have to Hold My Cutter Sometimes
Unfortunately, since my first finger doesn’t extend without my loyal thumb extending itself backward (apparently, that’s a Linburg-Comstock issue0, I sometimes have to hold four fingers around the cutter and my thumb on the opposite side of the blade holder.
It’s not as stable of a grasp, but I can still apply enough pressure and retain a comfortable position.
First, left-handed sewists (like my grandmother!) can purchase a specific left-handed rotary cutter. Of course, righties can grab a right-handed rotary cutter.
Next, the ergonomic grip of the Martelli cutter makes it more comfortable to hold, and I find my fabric cutting more accurate due to fewer hand cramps and more stability. And, because it distributes weight well, I don’t have to stand and hunch as much and can also sit and cut.
Also, the blade cover slides up automatically when you start cutting. While this is a handy safety and convenience feature, it does mean you must start cutting a small distance before you actually want the blade to cut, though.
As a note, though I can’t discover a rhyme or reason why, sometimes the cover only slides open halfway. I can still use the blade without problems, but the cover is just hanging out there.
You’re probably reading my Martelli rotary cutter review to learn where it falls short. So, here goes!
First, it’s a pricey rotary cutter! And, the Martelli replacement blades are expensive compared to other brands.
Yes, I know I could maybe use generic 60mm blades, but because one of the perks of the Martelli cutter is its purported 3-5x longevity, I feel like I needed to purchase Martelli blades.
I wish I knew why the blades last 3-5x longer (I’m not even sure mine did?) so I could understand the increased cost. To my non-blade-savvy mind, a sharp metal blade is a sharp metal blade, right?
Second, the blade was more difficult (and a little more dangerous) to change than I expected. Also, unscrewing the blade violates righty-tighty, lefty-loosey, as you unscrew clockwise and screw back counterclockwise. It totally blew my mind!
Next, I worry the spring in the rotary cutter will stop working one day. It just feels like it’s not going to last forever. My Olfa cutter is from my Mom’s sewing stash and is probably 30 years old (obviously has a new blade), and it has no parts that will ever break.
Last, I wish the blade came in a selection of handle colors. Red (right-handed users) is not my favorite color, and I’d be willing to invest a few extra dollars in a prettier rotary cutter.
Judge me if you will, but my sewing room is perfectly curated with pinks, mint green, and no splashes of red. My craft room is my happy, creative space, so I like things a certain way!
Martelli Rotary Cutter Review: Final Notes
In conclusion, while there are a few aspects of the cutter that I’m not in love with (blade change, for one), I still recommend the Martelli rotary cutter. It’s especially perfect for sewists and quilters who cut fabric frequently or have conditions that prohibit them from comfortably using other rotary cutters.