Freehand Knifing of Rotogravure Sheet Vinyl

By Ray Thompson, Jr.

When installing resilient sheet vinyl, there are three methods you could utilize: freehand knifing; straight or direct scribing; and pattern scribing. The method you select is dependent upon several factors, including ease of cutting, flexibility and the configuration of the room.

Freehand knifing is the most popular method for rotogravure sheet vinyl installation, mainly because of the material’s flexibility and its ease of cutting. Further, freehand knifing allows you to make a custom fit while the sheet vinyl is in place.

Of course, before beginning your work, make sure the installation area is clean and free of debris and/or dirt by sweeping or vacuuming.

Freehand knifing is used on most rotogravure materials and some other materials. With some homogeneous and heterogeneous materials, the direct scribe method or the pattern scribe method is used, which I’ll address in an upcoming issue of ProInstaller.

Let’s get started on freehand knifing!

Photo #1: Cutting the inside corner to lay flat.

Start by cutting the inside corner diagonally. Not only is it easier, but cutting diagonally will yield a more accurate cut than if you had started on the left or right side first.

Photo #2: The selection of knives you can use.
A great multitude of knives and blades can be utilized. These are just a few of the cutting instruments available.










Photo #3: Cutting the inside corner on the right and left.

After making the diagonal cut, cut the inside corner down so it lays flat. If you are going to cut the entire wall with a knife, you can proceed with the entire wall. 



Photo #4: Cutting down the straight wall with wall trimmer.
If you are going to use a wall trimmer, you can cut both the inside and outside corners at about three to four inches. This allows the trimmer to do the finish trim without having to cut at any of the corners.










Photo #5: Cutting down the straight wall with knife.

If you do not use a wall trimmer then a knife cut will do. You do not get, as uniform of a cut but, that will be hidden by a sanitary base or baseboard. 



Photo #6: Cutting the outside corner.
At the outside corner leave about a 1-1/2″ up each wall, then make a diagonal cut at the corner. After doing that, cut the corner 3″ to 4″, which will let the outside corner lay flat.









Photo #7: The jamb saw for under-cutting the doorjamb.
The use of a jamb saw makes for a neater job in the end. If you do not own a jamb saw, then you can use a handsaw and a scrap of material.







Photo #8: Relief cutting the doorjamb.
Rotogravure material has a tendency to curl over time. Therefore, if you fully cut the material then tuck it under a door casing, it will make for a neater installation.









Photo #9: Cutting the doorjamb.
At the doorjamb, the material is cut a little full and then tucked under the doorjamb, this allows for a nice, long-lasting clean fit.










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