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Thread: Best Mat Cutters

  1. #1

    Best Mat Cutters

    Who makes the best mat cutter and what model do you use?

    I am not asking for the cheapest not the most expensive, just the best combination of price and functionality?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    20

    Best Mat Cutters

    Hands down it is www.speedmat.com. Certainly not cheap. The cutter to handle 40"xanylength mats is ~$3000. But it is a sweet piece of equipment. It wall mounts. There are 4 stops; so cutting mutliple mats of the same dimensions is just zip-zip-zip-zip. Handles 4 ply and 8-ply with attachment. It has a pneumatic cutter option for real production environments (not me). It can cut glass (and I think plexi) with optional cutters, too. (Straight edge on the glass and plexi).

    I love it. I got tired of fighting the tabletop variety.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Best Mat Cutters

    Michael, for a little less price than Peter's suggestion I can recommend the Fletcher 2100 as a fine piece of equipment. You would want to get the production stops and squaring arm if you plan to cut full sheets. Check out UMS for prices.

  4. #4

    Best Mat Cutters

    I looked at the Fletcher 2100 and decided against it. I bought the Keencut Ultimat instead. I looked first to the Keecut because it is a metal base as opposed to the Fletcher particle board base. Further investigation shows that the Keencut is less costly than the Fletcher by the time you add all the accesories that Merg mentions. The production stops, squaring arm, alignment jigs are all included with the Keencut. By the time you add all those accessories to the Fletcher you have increased the price to $300 more than the Keencut. In use the Keencut is really a dream machine as far as tabletop cutters go. Very precise cuts are possible, very repeatable and it holds alignment perfectly. I agree with Peter that the Speedmat looks to be a great product but I didn't have the space or the budget for one of those.

  5. #5

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    Best Mat Cutters

    Dave, my Fletcher 2100 is about four years old and steel all the way, no particle board. Perhaps the design has changed.

  6. #6
    aleatorist David R Munson's Avatar
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    Best Mat Cutters

    Well here's a very low-cost solution that is easy to use and effective as well. Got this idea from one of my professors (hope you don't mind, Bill), and having been very satisfied with the simplicity of the thing I'll likely be building my own shortly. The basic concept is illustrated in the image below.



    The whole thing is built on a base of plywood (3/4" I believe). The only parts to the thing other than that are a piece of stock steel (A) and two hold-down clamps (B). There are also two screws that *loosely* hold down the steel, one at each end. In use, you draw lines where you want your cuts (D) on your mat board (C), slide the mat board under the steel, line up your line with the edge of the steel, and put the pressure on with the hold-down clamps. You use the stock steel as a straightedge to guide the cutter. I cut the mats with a Logan 4000 mat cutter (about $30, available here), though realistically you could do the same thing with any one of a number of cutter heads. I score the mats with one pass to keep the cuts from hooking in the corners and then do the actual cut, remove the mat, turn it 90 degrees and do the next cut.

    I wouldn't even be suggesting this if it didn't work so well. It's quick, simple, accurate, and ridiculously servicable and customizable. It's also very scalable (you could build one to accomodate just about any size mat for only a marginal difference in cost). Total investment runs about $50. Sure, not a damned bell or whistle on the thing, but at around 1/60 the cost of something like the Speed-Mat, I'm not exactly going to complain.

  7. #7

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    Best Mat Cutters

    Assuming you're not going into the frame-shop business, a look at the Light Impressions catalog might be in order. They show a wide variety of tools, cheap to expensive. I use a very old, worn-but-not-worn-out 40" C&H at home, and at work, a tinny copy of same made by 3M. They are nice but a straightedge and hand cutter can do very well... if you're careful.

  8. #8
    David Vickery
    Join Date
    Oct 1998
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    Texas, USA
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    216

    Best Mat Cutters

    Logan model 650 Framer's Edge. Bought new at a good price from an eBay dealer. It is super easy to use.
    Sudek ambled across my mind one day and took his picture. Only he knows where it is.
    David Vickery

  9. #9

    Best Mat Cutters

    Merg, My mistake on the Fletcher being a particle board base. I remember now that I also looked at the Logan 655 which is particle board.

    Dave

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Best Mat Cutters

    Thanks, Dave, and an added thought to Michael; whatever you end up with, change blades often! They are inexpensive and sharp ones make a tremendous difference. I prefer the .015 blades.

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