I usually get the Grand Calibur out for the intricate dies. It has a GREAT squeeze (so far) and works well.
If I am too lazy to get it out, I do roll my Cuttlebug back and forth a couple of times.....it is frustrating when it doesn't cut all the way through.
I have used a shim too - just another piece of cardstock but it seems so hard on the poor little Cuttlebug and I don't know what I would do if my CB broke - eekkeee! - can't even think about it.
and I think it is about time for new plates....I don't like spending money on stuff like that - I would rather buy paper, bling, anything but plates Lol!