How to Use a Rigby Cutter

By Nicole Schmoll ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Flat surface
  • Rigby cutter
  • Wool or other fabric
Rug making is an enjoyable hobby that can be performed with a rigby cutter.

Rigby cutters are useful for cutting fabric like wool, which makes them popular with rug and carpet makers. As carpet making involves cutting and sewing individual pieces of wool fabric, cutting those pieces to precise lengths and widths is very important. A rigby cutter is an invaluable tool that can reduce the amount of time it takes to cut the fabric for rugs and reduce strain on your hands. Rigby cutters also help ensure even cuts and overall uniformity for fabric pieces.

Locate a flat surface, preferably a sturdy wood or metal table and clamp your Rigby cutter to the table by sliding it onto the table edge and turning the hand-crank at the bottom of the Rigby until a tight connection is formed between the cutting surface and the table.

Make sure the cutting mat is installed on your Rigby to protect your table from the cutting blades. The mat should be included with the machine and is often green in color with light grid lines to aid in lining up wool for cutting.

Understand that your Rigby cutter can cut a variety of materials including cloth, leather, paper and vinyl, but it is most often used with wool to create strips for rug braiding, punching, weaving and basket making.

Adjust the cloth guide on the Rigby machine to a desired width between 5/8-inch to 2-inches depending on how wide you want your strip to be. Check the cutter head and cleaning fingers to make sure that they match; each is numbered from "3" to "8" and both heads and fingers are stamped with the number.

Lift the cutter head slightly and place the wool or other fabric on the cutting mat beneath the cutter head. Lower the cutter head and turn the small nut to tighten the cutter head down toward the cutting mat. Turn the hand crank on the side of the Rigby cutter, applying gentle yet consistent pressure and slowly guide the wool beneath the cutter head until the strip is cut from one end to the other. Repeat this process as needed until all the strips you need are cut.