In the sign making industry, it is necessary to treat each type of material individually for their specific properties, and selecting the best tool for each material can make a huge difference in your finished product. When selecting the best tool for the job, you can select a flute that is straight, upcut, downcut, or compression.
Upcut tools extract the material upwards while downcutters push the material downwards. Compression cutters have elements of both the upcut and downcut tool, with sharp grooves in both directions. This allows for easier cutting, higher cut quality, and an even finish on both sides of the material.
When choosing the most appropriate tool based on type of material, hardwoods are cut best with multiple flutes, and softwood with single fluted tools. Metal materials such as aluminum should definitely be used with upcutters due to the risk of dangerous friction and overheating that occurs with downcutters.
If you are finding it difficult to choose an upcut vs. downcut tool based only one side being finished, compression cutters produce a nice top and bottom finish on your material. Compression cutters are available in single, double, and multiple flutes; the higher number of flutes will achieve the best part finish.