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One of my 'shorter ones', you'll be relieved to hear.
Ever since the phrase 'identity theft' reared its ugly head, many people have become much more security conscious and are prepared to put themselves out, so as not to become another fraud victim thanks to careless disposal of information.
Even in our increasingly 'paperless' world (Paperless? That's a laugh!), there's still a wealth of paper out there, be it bank or credit card statements, utility bills or printouts that you yourself have taken from a secure on-line source (e.g. confirmation of an Amazon order or what-have-you).
Most of this stuff bears some information, which when pieced together could help some nefarious person build up a profile of you. Address, account numbers, which gas or electric company you're with and so on.
A couple of years ago, I spotted an electric shredder designed to handle A4 sheets of paper, five at a time. Back then, shredders were pretty expensive, still being the realm of 'proper office' catalogues at 'proper office prices'. So, you can imagine that I was quite pleased with parting with £20 for one. The same applies to laminators - another escapee from the office. Back then, they were £200, now they're £20.
Over a long period of time, my 'brand-x' shredder served well, not only me, but friends I'd lent it to as well. However just lately, I noticed that it was obviously getting blunt. Its 4 mm strips of paper were no longer all separating, leaving me with frequent 'pleated'
sheets of A4 instead.
Being now steadfastly entwined in this 'identity-theft prevention' lark, I started to look around for a replacement, preferably not too dear, but with a quality and facility uplift if possible.
REXEL V35 - this little beauty matched all my criteria.
At just under £40 for LX.com (what Littlewoods Index Extra has become), it certainly fitted my needs.
It was:- a) not too expensive and b) made by someone I'd heard of.
To clinch the deal, it makes a more secure job of destroying paperwork.
Not only does it cut 4 mm stripes accurately, but at the end of every 4 cm it chops them off, leaving the remains scrunched up for good measure.
Thus someone trying to reconstruct a piece of A4 paper from that lot would have to tape something like1400 bits of annoyingly crumpled paper together, and that's assuming these were the only things in the collection bin.
The smaller nature of the debris makes a better job of filling the 18 litres bin which the main electrical mechanism sits atop, so there'll be less trips to the main household bin this time.
Since our green-waste recyclers don't like shredded waste, it's annoying not to be able to recycle in the normal way as with newspapers, but I've found something I can do with at least some of it.
Anyone acquainted with selling stuff on e-bay will be aware of the need to package goods well, to avoid bad feedback. You certainly don't need to give some of those trading on e-bay the slightest excuse to bad-mouth you, or worse still, do a charge-back after receiving the goods.
These paper clippings have just about the right consistency to hold fragile goods in the same way straw does. Of course, if you've the slightest security worries of doing this, then just shred any old piece of scrap paper - it doesn't have to be your instructions from 'M'.
To be honest, it's a little noisier than I'm used to, but part of that is the extra 'chomping' mechanism which is busy creating the crossways cuts. I also get the impression it's more powerful.
In general it despatches an A4 length in 6 seconds, although thicker material takes longer. It just about handles the cover (but not the pages at the same time) of a modern maroon passport. Ruth had an old one that she didn't know what to do with, so I've solved her dilemma in the interests of opinion-writing research.
As with all shredders, it still behoves the user to make sure that no staples or paper clips are present - no doubt it WOULD handle the odd copper staple, but you run the risk of seeing it go the way of its predecessor, blunt cutters and all.
The main switch on the front has 4 settings, one of which is 'Off'. The others are 'Auto', 'Forward', and, you guessed it, 'Reverse'.
'Auto' seems to be the most useful, as it takes no electricity until a sheet of paper is introduced centrally to the slot of doom.
Unfortunately, you often find that the micro-switch against which the paper presses is too stiff to let one sheet of paper alone push it around, and a bit of jiggling of the paper is needed to get it to register its presence. Putting multiple sheets in solves the problem.
Alternatively, you could switch it to the manual 'Forward' position before introducing paper, but this prolongs the time that the self-honing blades spend honing themselves, by which I assume they mean that they get smaller all the time.
Reverse is useful for those occasions when the machine jams, either because you've overloaded it, or because it's hit a particularly chewy staple you failed to spot.
The instruction manual is refreshingly curt, being a fold-out sheet like a road map, but in several languages, so there's nowhere near as much to read as you'd think. Curiously, it mentions a 'Duty Cycle' of '1 minute / 5 minutes', but then doesn't actually explain what it means by the data. Could this be 1 minute switched to forwards/backwards, but 5 minutes when used in auto mode (since it rests in between sheets)?
Maybe it means 5 minutes of cutting single sheets or 1 minute of cutting 5 at once - who knows?
Whatever is meant, it clearly signifies that you shouldn't overheat the thing.
It certainly seems better built than my last one, and that alone would justify paying nearly twice as much for it, but given the extra cross cutting facility, it's streets ahead. The charcoal finish, is I think, preferable to the previous 'PC cream' of the old one.
Oh yes, and it comes with a two-year maker's warranty too, which can't be bad, given my last experience.