When I did decide to purchase a cutter the Townsend wasn't even born yet. The options were Bliss, Fraser, Rigby and I had heard the word Bolivar, a Canadian cutter, but also heard it was expensive and with an extensive waiting list. The waiting list was enough to thwart any ideas for that cutter if the cost wasn't.
As I pondered my decision the Bolivar was eliminated but couldn't decide which of the other three I wanted. My thoughts were that having one with suction cups would be great and could put it on a table top ~ plus it was a wee bit cheaper than the Fraser. So the Bliss was my choice and I purchased it used from a hooking teacher reducing her stash.
But then a friend had a Fraser 500-1 and I could see how fast the strips came out of that cutter compared to mine. Once I had a little more disposable income I purchased a Fraser 500 and did like it better. Besides, now I had two cutters and could have different size strips on each.
Oh, but then the Townsend was born. And a happy birth it was and cheers were heard around the hooking world (yeah, I know I'm getting rather dramatic here aren't I?) While there was a long hesitation on putting out that money at first, I decided to purchase the Townsend cutter and 3 cartridges. I got the #6 for free (my choice) and purchased #7, #8, #8.5. Later I decided to purchse the #9 and just recently treated myself to the #10 (1/2"). I just LOVE my Townsend!!!
Prices of cutters and blades are different now than then so I'll give you today's known cost:
Bliss ~ Manufactured by Harry M. Fraser Company, has suction cups to mount on table. It takes more cranks to cut the same length of wool than the Fraser 500-1 but does not require attaching to a table or other object. Cost is $300 new from Harry Fraser and sometimes you can get them used either from Fraser, e-bay or other hookers who are upgrading to a Townsend. Blades cost $37.50 and are interchangeable with the Fraser 500-1.
Downside to these cutters is that changing blades requires to loosen and remove the blade and loosen the tension of a knob either on top or under the particular cutter. Then replacing the blade with the desired size and tightening the bolt and tightening the tension again until it cuts properly.
I would like to add that Fraser gives EXCELLENT service and I still own one of each and it is on those cutters that I have my small blades attached. Since I rarely use anything small just didn't want to spend the money for a Townsend cartridge for anything under #6 so kept my dependable Bliss and Fraser, just for small cuts IF I needed them for eyes or flower centers.
The Bolivar Cutter has 3 types of cutters. The Standard has 3 fixed blades (you get to choose the sizes) and the entire unit rotates around in a circle until your cut size appears. There is a Model 5 which you can interchange blades, and also offer a single blade option. You can check out their web site at the link just above. The cost of the Standard is $600 plus shipping from Canada. If you check out their web site you can see the complex pricing schedule depending on which model suits you best and for what price.
No, I don't work or get any commission for this, I am just one happy hooker using the Townsend cutter. I hope that I've been able to answer some questions for you.
Have a great evening.