mount / mat question : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Is there an easier way to line up prints for mounting and matting? I've seen the board in Calumet's catalog and a simular jig in Adams' "The Print". I used two aluminum squares; one a framing and one smaller, but man what a figitty process. Has anyone found something easier and that works reliably? I plan to build a table for the mat cutter and paper trimmer, and would like to include a jig to line up prints for tacking. Thanks for your input, dee

-- dee seegers (, May 19, 2002


To position the print on the mount board use an overmat that is cut out larger than the photograph by about 1/4" on the top and sides and about 3/8" on the bottom and that is the exact same size as the mount board. Then place the print within the borders; position by eye and tack it to the mount board. Simple. No measuring. No rulers. No jigs.

The easiest way to get your overmats cut to the right size is to have Superior Archival Materials ( cut them for you. They cut mine now. I cut my own mat board for years with a wall- mounted cutter that had stops set on it and I could cut a mat in about a minute or less, but it is still easier (and actually less expensive since you don't have but an expensive mat cutter).

-- Michael A. Smith (, May 19, 2002.

It is not true that it is less expensive to have someone else cut your mats rather than buying a mat cutter. Even an expensive mat cutter[400-500] will pay for itself the very first time you mount a show consisting of more than 25 or 30 prints. Its a must have unless you just want to pass the cost to the customer and you are selling a hell of alot of prints.

-- John Elder (, May 19, 2002.

I eyeball the print into position on the board, then lay a ruled straight edge (that is nearly as wide as the top dimension from the top edge of the board to the top edge of the print) on the board and use it to position the print by lining up the top edges of the board and ruler and the bottom edge of the ruler and the top edge of the print. The ruler is not as wide as the gap but its easy to see if these edges are parallel or not. (for instance, a 3 wide inch ruler in a 4 inch margin is fine) Then I hold the print down with a piece of slip paper over the middle and tack it. This may sound sloppy but it is not. Our eyes are very capable of lining thngs up this way. Same for Michaels method above - your eyes will "bulleye" center with great accuracy. As for the overmatte - I Iet someone else do it.

-- Henry Ambrose (, May 20, 2002.

dee - i usually mark the center of the board and center the print so the bottom is about 1" up from the center point. i think when i worked in a frame shop they used to call it "bottom weighted". it IS easier to have someone cut the mat for you, this is true. they have the equipment and expertise to make great mats EVERY time, but it is a pretty good skill to have too. mat cutters do not cost that much, and board is not too expensive either. in roxbury massachusetts there is a company named hamil studios. they sell 32x40" sheets of acid free mat that you can cut down to the size you need. it is pretty much 3-4$ a sheet. i don't have their phone number, and i don't know if they deliver, but it is probably worth it to give them a call and find out :) try using 4 ply for the back, adn 2ply for the window. you can use linco corners - they are flat and clear, acid free &c and they fold to make perfect corners. they aren't theones called "photo corners" they come flat, not in the shape of a "corner". you can use linco linen tape to hinge your boards. the mat cutter is kind of expensive if you get something more than just a heavy straight edge and 45 cutter. i think mine is a "logan ez mat cutter" or something like that and i think when i bought it the cost was $50. you'll probably mess the first ones up that you make, but like anything else it is a learning experience and the more you do the better they will be. best of luck! -john

-- jnanian (, May 21, 2002.

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