Matt Cutter, Which, Where

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It's time for that dreaded, unsexy purchase: A professional matt cutter, so I can do something with this stuff I am baking under my enlarger. I need help on selecting a matt cutter brand since I don't know anything about what's being used. Since it's the only one listed in B&H, I assume it's Logan Graphics, but which model? (I do fortunately know HOW to use one from school).

Also, please steer me in the right direction of place for good price (new) on said matt cutters and also Rotatrim paper trimmers if you might. Thanks. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@worldnet.att.net), October 30, 2001

Answers

I have had for many years a Longan compact mat cutter, for the price, ease of use and conveninece you cannot beat this mat cutter. The only draw back is that the support table is too narrow and you have to put a book under the mat to prevent from getting bowed cuts, once you do this, you can get beautiful mats for a very reasonable price. Of course if you are related to Bill Gates then you can buy one of the B+H mat cutter, they are wonderful and have all the gizmos and gadgets to make it almost automatic, but for the price I vote for my Logan....Hope this helps.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (jorgegm@worldnet.att.net), October 30, 2001.

I once asked a professional picture framer to recommend a matt cutter to me. He showed a small device to me an said this is what I use if I am not into production. This cutter costs around $15 an then you need a good ruler. This thing is called OLFA Mat Cutter and is made in Japan OLFA Corporation OSAKA 537. And there are "V" type blades included.

-- Gudmundur Ingˇlfsson (imynd@simnet.is), October 30, 2001.

Hi, I use a Logan matt cutter (a small handheld device) a large cutting board, a heavy duty Steel rule, and a couple of G-clamps. The most important part is a good supply of new sharp blades. Regards Bob.

-- Bob Ashford (bob@ashfordplatt.com), October 31, 2001.

I've been using a Logan Simplex for 7 or 8 years now and continue to have success. The secret to good consistent cuts is having a sharp blade installed. I've cut hundreds of mats with no problems.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (info@razeichner.com), October 31, 2001.

I'm not familiar with the OLFA, but I swear by my Logan. I bought one with a board and guide rail to hold the print, and a hand cutter that you push instead of pull. The whole setup was about $120 from Light Impressions. It is the fastest thing I've ever used, short of a professional table model.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), October 31, 2001.


How good do you want the cuts to be? If you want them to be gallery perfect, don't buy a mat cutter. Order your board from Superior Archival Mounts and have them cut your windows. Over time this is more expensive than cutting your own, even taking into account the initial investment in one of the Logan cutters. However, if you want the windows gallery perfect, and you cut them yourself, you'll end up throwing away enough mat board to eat up the difference in price. You have to be cutting mats sort of day in and day out to get really good at it. Otherwise, it can be really frustrating. Another point that applies to me and may to you: Got lower back problems? Don't cut mats. It strains the lower back. -jeff buckels (albuquerque)

-- Jeff Buckels (jeffbuck@swcp.com), October 31, 2001.

I looked into one a year or so ago and found these folks helpful.

http://www.framingsupplies.com/

I decided to wait a while before I bought one. I've used Logan and Alto and found them both fine.

Dave

-- Dave Willis (willisd@medicine.wustl.edu), October 31, 2001.


You can learn specifics about (and at least see and compare) various mat cutters at the Light Impressions web site: http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com/servlet/OnlineShopping?Dsp=10000 &PCR=30000:230000:238000&R=6067

B&H's Rotatrim prices are as good as anybody's

-- Terry (tcdvorak@aol.com), October 31, 2001.


Dave is right about framingsupplies.com. Their prices are the best I have found, and they have all the accessories. I have been frustrated by the several mat cutting setups I have used over the years, but I spent the money and got a Fletcher and it has allowed me to get the quality I wanted. Although you will find professionals who are able to make good cuts with minimal equipment, if they do a lot of cutting, they probably have top equipment. You have to figure how much it's worth to you. If you tend to print a lot of the same sized prints, Jeff's suggestion about having it done for you is good. I don't have a standard printing size that would accomodate that. And I often need it done NOW, so I couldn't wait.

Robert is right about sharp blades: they are essential for a good cut. Beyond that, no matter how much you spend on a mat cutter, practice a lot.

-- Don Welch (donwelch@hotmail.com), October 31, 2001.


How much do you want to spend? The Fletcher 2100 is a beautiful machine. Not inexpensive, but professional results every time. Be sure to get with stops--also a squaring arm if you are cutting 40" sheets. Check it out at www.unitedmfrs.com. Yes, be sure to change blades often. Merg

-- Merg Ross (mergross@aol.com), October 31, 2001.


The cheapest place I have found to get Logan matt cutters is at: http://italianartstore.bizland.com/store/Logan.html

The Logan - LG650 Professional Mat Cutting System at $365.00 compares well with the professional versions such as C&H and Fletcher, which cost significantly more. The above site also caries the full line of other Logan matt cutters. If you order a Logan matt cutter, one of secrets to cutting good matts is to always be sure the blades are sharp. This means that you will need a least one fresh blade for every matt. Be sure to order lots of extra blades when you order your matt cutter, because the Logan blades are proprietary.

-- Michael Feldman (mfeldman@qwest.net), October 31, 2001.


I'd also vote for the cheap handheld Logan cutter if you're not turning out large volumes of mats. Get a heavy straight edge (light impressions has them) and some big strong hardware store clamps and if you're careful you can get professional results. (Although it doesn't hurt to make sure your photos are stunning, diverting attention so that nobody studies the mats...) Sharp blades matter, a lot. I change them every other one I cut, which might be overdoing it but it sure solves problems. If I go a long time without cutting them I forget some of the technique and I tend to screw them up again, like cutting the bevel going the wrong way. The cutting part is easy, really, it is carefully drawing the lines and making the measurements which result in most errors.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), October 31, 2001.

I use the Olfa - cheap and cheerful but surprisingly good. Had one for years and still haven't used up all the supersharp blades that came with it, though I've mucked up a few kitchen tables in the process. If cutting mats with a hand held cutter like the Olfa the most important thing bar none is to get a ruler with non-slip rubber pads on the bottom - nothing worse than sliding off at an angle cos the ruler slipped (only ever happens when you're cutting the fourth side).

-- Stuart Whatling (sw@dial.pipex.com), October 31, 2001.

I went with the Logan Compact Mat Cutter board and Logan cutters. The cutters have guides which fit over the rail of the board so nothing slips. It has been an excellent choice for me and board and cutter came as a kit and cost less than $75.00 from Dick Blick art supplies.

Regards,

-- Doug Paramore (Dougmary@alaweb.com), October 31, 2001.


the cutters mentioned are nice...but if you want the absolute best..most precise..repeatable,,allmeasurements made on the cutter...try the english made keencut. i bought mine when i lived in colo and they ere in boulder. their number then was 800 240 5336. with this cutter you NEVER overrun a corner. as you can see..i like mine. good luck. when you mat your own its a different feeling. frank

-- frank ferreira (vaf@bellsouth.net), October 31, 2001.


My wife has managed a framing shop/art gallery for 15 years....she likes the Fletcher and some of the Logans....you need to see and try before you buy....go to some frame shops and ask them what they think. Also dont go for the cheaper versions.Even some of the more expensive versions can be a problematical.... some just dont cut the mustard....again try before you buy.And if you are near a major city there are always art convention shows similar to the photo show coming up in N.Y.C.at Jacob Javitts that cater to frame shops with all the latest framing equipment,matt cutters, etc. Good luck!

-- Emile de Leon (knightpeople@msn.com), October 31, 2001.

I like my Logan Simplex #700SGM. The current model is #750. $240 at B+H. Very easy to use. One thing to try is to take the best price (don't forget shipping cost) you can find to a local store and ask them to match it. Worked for me and saved possible shipping problems.

-- Chuck Pere (jcpere@aol.com), November 01, 2001.

I use the Olfa cutter, but wouldn't recommend it. The one I have is 6 years old and perhaps the newer are better. The blade is too loose in it's handle and can easily shift from it's straight trajectory. I have modified mine so that the blade is maintained tight and it works all right, and use it with a self made chassis and guide.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), November 01, 2001.

Andre---to what has been already said, I can offer the following.

After years of using a straight edge & dexter & then later a Logan Simplex, (after much cussing) I saved in order to purchase a professional machine & I opted for a Fletcher 2100 (48inch) series with the "extras". I paid $1100 at a trade show just last week and I'm in the process of learning its characteristics. I liked the idea that it is all metal as compared to composit materials when obvserving the differences between a C&H & Fletcher.

Yesterday, I was in Denver at Colorado Moulding (303-922-1919) by chance, and their October sale flyer caught my attention. They are offering a Fletcher 40 inch cutter for $868 and the 48 inch cutter at $912 and this is wholesale dealer prices--state & fed tax numbers, etc.. Raymond in Vail.

-- Raymond A. Bleesz (bleesz@vail.net), November 01, 2001.


Thanks all for wonderful feedback. Much to consider, and all of it very informative. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@worldnet.att.net), November 01, 2001.

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