Special Collections & Archives Blog

Adjusting a Board Shear

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 11:14 am

In Preservation, I cut heavy archival board with a large cast iron machine called a board shear. Mine was made by the Jacques Manufacturing Co, in Worchester, Massachusetts probably in the 1930’s and was originally used for box making. Book binders everywhere have bought these old machines to use in their work since nothing else can acccurately cut heavy board.

My board shear had the blade and plate sharpened this summer by a knife company in Virginia. This involved shipping 2 four foot long metal blades via UPS on a wood support.

As time has gone by this year, the blade began to rub against the plate on the deck. I contacted the company I purchased the board shear from –American Graphic Arts, Inc. for help. They advised me how to make an adjustment, which involved loosening a large lock nut, which allowed a second bolt to be loosened or tightened. This done, my student assistant, Trey Godwin, and I played with the adjustment until we had the right amount of rub of the blade, and the best and cleanest cut. When the adjustment was made, we tightened the lock nut, and now all our cuts are ‘sweeet’.


  1. I liked the info you contained in it. I would have never found this site if I didn’t find it Googling random things!

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