Carbon fibre composites require special care when cutting to prevent irreparable – and possibly very expensive – damage. Fine-toothed hacksaws work reasonably well but even the sharpest ones tear through the substrate in violent fashion and can dislodge fibres if you’re not careful. Effetto Mariposa’s new CarboCut uses a non-toothed blade coated with bits of tungsten carbide to gently remove material with little risk of damage.
CarboCut actually cuts a bit slower than standard saws in our experience, but if you’re patient enough to do the job correctly and let the blade do the work for you, the reward is a fantastically clean surface that looks like it’s already been sanded down.
The blade is roughly twice as thick as standard hacksaw blades, though, meaning that most saw guides will have to be modified to fit. In addition, since the sides of the tungsten carbide-coated blade are just as abrasive as the primary edge, heavy users will find they have to replace their saw guides more often. The upside is that the tungsten carbide material is incredibly hard so you’ll have to replace blades far less often than usual.
Although the CarboCut works as advertised, we can’t help but balk at the £34.95 price tag. Sure, you get a well made cast aluminum handle and a high-quality steel frame in addition to the fancy tungsten carbide blade, all made in Italy. But unfortunately for Effetto Mariposa, we’ve used similar blades for years now that can be had for a couple of quid at our local home improvement store (they work fantastically for cutting ceramic tile in case you’re wondering).
Those cheaper blades seem just as durable when limited to use on carbon fibre (over a year of heavy use passed before we needed to buy a new one) and their standard 12in length is more likely to fit in a hacksaw frame you already own than the shorter 10in format that Effetto Mariposa prefers for easier storage in toolboxes.
Making matters worse is the fact that CarboCut replacement blades are sold in packs of five for £29.95, suggesting that the hacksaw frame effectively costs buyers £29 apiece. Seeing as how these blades last so long, who on earth is ever going to need five in one pop?
If the idea of sawing through your new high-end carbon frame with a common ceramic tile blade offends your sensibilities, then the Effetto Mariposa CarboCut will allay your fears and satisfy your need to spend extra money quite nicely. For the rest of us, there are other options that do the job just as well but at a fraction of the cost. We’ll choose door number two, please.