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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Scoring Comparison...

THANK YOU Ann Nelson for writing this comparison and allowing me to share it! GREAT information!

Stampin’ Up! unveils its newest tool!
Yep, it’s a SCORING TOOL
(Available to order on September 1).

"But," I hear you say, "there are already TWO scoring tools out there—Scor-Pal, the original scoring tool, and Martha Stewart’s scoring tool."

You’re right. And I have all three. Which makes me an expert. So here is my expert opinion, and I am trying to be as fair and non-partisan as a Stampin’ Up! Demo can be. 

The size, look, and feel:

All three tools are sized to handle a 12 x 12 sheet of paper. Scor-Pal (SP) is medium gray, Martha Stewart (MS) is creamy white, and Simply Scored (SS) is dark gray.

The SP has half-inch-spaced scoring grooves, with a few extra lines for frequently used, non-half-inch measurements, like 4.25; etc. The SP has 1/8 inch hash marks for the first half inch on the top ruler, so that you can adjust the paper to get perfect scores for odd measurement
(e.g., to score at the 3.75" mark; move your paper to the .25" hash mark; then score on the 4" score line). Both MS and SS have grooves every 1/8 inch, making those odd measurements easier to find without straining your brain.

The scoring tools:

SP has a smooth, plastic tool that handily snaps into place at the top of the tool. It’s easy to pop out, and when brand new, makes smooth, even scores and stays in the groove, especially when you hold it correctly. (Staying at a more parallel angle to the platform works better… a 45 degree angle or less.) I also like using the tool as a creasing tool. It’s fast, and I don’t need to get out my bone folder. HOWEVER, after hundreds of scores, the plastic tool starts to wear down, flatten, and get thicker. (The one pictured below [bottom stylus] is new, scoring point on the left.) The scores become shallower, and the tool will slip out of the groove. You can buy new scoring tools, but you have to remember to do that, and then wait for delivery.

While some may disagree with me, I, personally, HATE the MS scoring tool (photo, middle, scoring point on the left). It’s too thin and sharp for my taste. It’s very easy to tear through paper (not cardstock so much, but the lighter weight designer papers), and it doesn’t flow as smoothly. It seems to drag on the cardstock, and slips out of the groove easier. Because I use my forefinger on top of the stylus to apply pressure, it hurts after a few scores. I also find it harder to use as a crease tool. And it doesn’t attach to the front. You have to get it out of the storage compartment.

I really LOVE the SS score tool (photo, top). It’s a stylus with two ends, one bigger than the other. The two smooth, metal ends score smoothly, stay in the grooves (again, keep the angle 45 degrees or less), and you have the choice of thicker or sharper score lines. The tool snaps into place on the bottom front of the tool, so it’s always easy to get to. Doesn’t work as a creasing tool, though.

Special Features:

The SP was the original scoring tool, and at the time, that was special enough by itself.

The MS tool has a storage compartment at the top, with two stickers to use for scoring measurements. You can store your scoring tool, and there is room for your bone folder, pencil/pen, etc. However, the door on mine will not stay shut if you turn it on its side, so I’m always having to retrieve my tools from the floor, table top, bottom of my bag, etc. The MS tool also has a nifty angled tool stored in the back of the platform, and it slides onto the left side and helps you score perfect angled lines for envelopes.

The SS tool has a storage compartment at the top as well, but to open it, you sort of lift up on the back edge, which "unhooks" the lid, which will then fold back. It will stay shut when it’s properly closed. It took me a minute to figure it out, but I’ve got it now! The compartment is divided, and the left side is large enough to hold a bone folder, pencil, extra scoring tool, etc. The right side is smaller and holds the other special feature: the scoring markers. Along the top of the scoring ruler on the platform, there is a little rectangle for each 1/8 inch groove. The SS comes with three arrow markers which snap into the rectangles pointing to the groove.

(See picture.) It’s perfect for marking projects with multiple folds so you don’t have to keep checking the ruler or using Sharpies to mark the grooves. (Both my SP and MS tools are marked up!) You can purchase extra markers in packages of six (which I did when I bought the tool… you ALWAYS need more markers!). 

Let’s not forget the feet!

The SP
(see photo, left) has 4, quite small rubber feet (1 in each corner) to prevent slippage… sort of.

The MS (photo, middle) has 4 larger non-slip feet, but the material is very spongy, and my sponges are already smooshed too flat to do much good.

The SS (photo, right) has 8, very study, textured feet made of translucent material that keeps the platform from slipping on your work surface. The feet are at the top, middle, and bottom of both sides, and there are two more in the middle of the platform at the middle and bottom. It doesn’t slip. Period.


Since SP has been out the longest, it has developed related tools. One of the add-on features you can buy is a self-healing cutting mat/work surface that fits on the SP platform so you can leave the SP on your work surface and use it for cutting and gluing, etc., and still get to your SP for scoring without hassle. There is also a special carrying bag you can purchase, or they have a bundled kit you can purchase (how I purchased it) with the bag, SP, extra tools, Scor-Mat, glitter cloth, and Scor-Tape. They have also created an improved SP, with more grooves for easier measuring, and a Scor-Buddy. It’s smaller, and costs less ($19.95).

Cost (for the tools with 12 x 12 inch platforms):

The SP is $39.95 + tax & shipping; the MS is $19.95 + tax and can be purchased at Michael’s (many people use a 40 or 50 percent off coupon, making the price very desirable); and the SS is $29.95 + tax & shipping.

Overall impressions:

Until now, I’ve preferred my SP over the MS tool. Love the 1/8 inch grooves, but hate the scoring tool, and the SP stylus was just a tad fat for the MS grooves. And, though the angled scoring tool is a very cool, I find I really don’t score on angles unless I’m making envelopes, and I really don’t have the patience for that. I love that the stylus snaps onto the front of the SP. I hate the MS storage compartment.
(Sorry, Martha.)

Now that I have the SS tool, though, I prefer it over the SP. I like the metal stylus with two tips. I have the choice of thin and thick score lines, and the metal won’t flatten and wear out. And I like the way it snaps onto the front, AND we still have a storage compartment, and it stays closed. What puts SS over the top for me, though, are the score-line markers. Finally—a tool that I don’t have to mark up with Sharpies. (I mark my paper cutters up, too—maybe we can work on that, next.) 

The price differences:

The SP is more expensive for the 12 x 12 size, and the MS is cheaper, even without the coupon. However, my MS score tool has spent most of it’s time on a shelf, and if I don’t use it, it’s not much of a value, so I’m glad I got it with a 50 percent off coupon. The price of the SS is below the SP, and has better features. It’s higher than the MS tool, but again, better features.

And the winner is:

Until someone thinks of a new way to add features to a molded plastic, 12 x 12 platform for scoring, in my expert opinion, the Simply Scored Tool by Stampin’ Up! wins. Really.

But even if it didn’t, as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I’d still have to use the SS tool to demonstrate at workshops and for classes. But I’m also going to be using it in private, because for me, it has all the features I want and need! And THAT’S a win!

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