Worth every single penny
Some things don't seem worth money on paper, but prove to be worth every single penny when you finally take the plunge and buy them. One item that falls into that category is the £200 Lion paper de-roller you see below.
I’ve struggled for years to try to flatten inkjet paper that comes on a roll. I’ve tried leaving the paper under books for weeks in the vain hope that the curl in the rolled paper will be removed, but to no avail.
Then, I saw a YouTube video of someone using a roller blind to remove the curl in the paper. He claimed that his $10 dollar roller blind did the same job as the £200 de-roller, except when I tried it, I got a crease right through the middle of my prints because the roller blind fabric is too thin, so the edge of the paper tends to push through the fabric and imprint itself on itself as you roll the paper round. So as much as his claim that using a roller blind did the same job as the £200 de-roller at a greatly reduced price, he was incorrect. It did the job, but it did it badly as it damaged the paper.
Well, there are so many opinions out there, and the best way to find out if something is good or not is to try it for yourself. My good friend Kyriakos who lives nearby owns a de-roller so I went to try it out and found that it works perfectly. No creases in the paper because it has a thick laminate surface and the surface as it’s being wound round the pole is kept apart from touching the paper by a sandwich layer at the outer edges that keep the laminate away by around 4mm.
Why does such a simple tool cost so much? Is it worth it? I know you might be feeling that £200 to re-roll paper is a crazy amount, but it’s no different from the argument about expensive tripods.
When we all first start out, we think a $200 tripod is all we need. We find the idea of spending $1000 on a tripod crazy. It only keeps the camera steady right? But after a few years with a poor flimsy tripod that doesn’t stay where you want it to be, or the ball head creeps once you let go, you soon start to realise the value of that $1000 tripod. I know myself that the money at first doesn’t feel like it’s worth it, but I feel very different these days. I certainly wouldn’t go cheap on a tripod in future and as for ball-heads - well, they are useless if they creep at all once I’ve tried to set them.
Same goes for a paper de-roller. I will gladly upgrade from a $10 roller blind that creases and damages my inkjet prints to a £200 de-roller if it does the job and does it well.
You don’t value products by how much they cost. You value them by how good a job they do and the de-roller does its job fantastically well as you can see from the two pictures above showing the curled paper (left) and it flattened once I used the de-roller on it.
Above is another photo, showing a set of curled prints (I’m preparing for my special edition Altiplano books), and further up the desk is a set of prints after they have had their curl removed.
Alternatively, buy cut-flat paper rather than roll paper?
Well you could do that, but it’s a lot more expensive. Rolled paper works out to be a lot more cost effective than the cut sheets you buy. Plus, you can print endlessly on a roll whereas with the cut paper you have to load each sheet individually (if it’s thick rag paper) into the back of the printer one sheet at a time. So I ended up abandoning cut sheets to go for rolled paper. And now that I have the de-roller, I’m no longer stressed about my prints having a curl in them.
We shouldn’t rate products by how much they cost us. But we do. We should rate them by how well they do their job. Tools that do an excellent job, are in my book, priceless.
The de-roller does it’s job very well. It removes the curl in rolled paper of most thicknesses, and it’s built very well to ensure that the paper isn’t damaged in the process.
As with most things - you get what you pay for.
It comes very highly recommended.
Lion paper de-roller :