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Thread: Straight Edges

  1. #1

    Straight Edges

    Many years ago I learned to cut mats by hand. After advancing to LF photography, I continued using a Logan cutter calibrated to avoid over or under cuts, and a marvelous 24-inch straight edge obtained from Light Impressions long before they descended into mediocrity. These two items are pictured below. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight back then to buy a longer straight edge … at the time I never imagined I would one day move to LF and corresponding bigger prints. I’m now needing to cut mats larger than 24 inches on the long side, and basically have two options: I can buy a fancy machine such as the Fletcher 2200, or I can continue to cut mats by hand provided I am able to find a longer and reliable straight edge. Because I get off doing things the old-fashioned and familiar way, I prefer to try using the hand held Logan for this task, but I will need a 36-inch straight edge to do that because the 24-inch I have is too short. I post this message to ask for opinions and recommendations on suitable straight edges. (1) Can anyone tell me whether phenolic straight edges are as trustworthy as their makers would have prospective buyers believe - meaning are they sufficiently durable and straight to within measures of .001 to .003 inches over the entire length of the material; and (2) regarding alternative metal edges, namely steel or aluminum with a minimum thickness of 2mm and similar measures of straightness, is there a certain brand ideal for the use I have in mind? I am looking at Fowler in particular (http://www.fowlerprecision.com/Produ...524800600.html), but I am open to any and all possibilities that will satisfy my need for a non-slip material having a true straight edge. Regarding the non-slip part of this conversation, the great thing about the LI edge is that it has a recessed cork bottom that makes it quite stable when pressed against museum boards. Thanks in advance for all responses.

    N. Riley
    http://normanrileyphotography.com
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_2524.jpg   IMG_2522.jpg  

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    12,184

    Re: Straight Edges

    Go to the home repair store and look at big drywall squares, among other options.

    Best to buy upon inspection.
    sin eater

  3. #3

    Re: Straight Edges

    Thanks very much. A dry wall square is not flat, though I suppose I could cut one to the desired length to make it so. The thickness would be about right. I have no idea how I would confirm its straightness, but obviously it would be "straight enough" if the resulting mats look good. The option you suggest would certainly be much cheaper than other alternatives I've been considering.

    N. Riley
    http://normanrileyphotography.com

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Re: Straight Edges

    Quote Originally Posted by NER View Post
    Many years ago I learned to cut mats by hand. After advancing to LF photography, I continued using a Logan cutter calibrated to avoid over or under cuts, and a marvelous 24-inch straight edge obtained from Light Impressions long before they descended into mediocrity. These two items are pictured below. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight back then to buy a longer straight edge Ö at the time I never imagined I would one day move to LF and corresponding bigger prints. Iím now needing to cut mats larger than 24 inches on the long side, and basically have two options: I can buy a fancy machine such as the Fletcher 2200, or I can continue to cut mats by hand provided I am able to find a longer and reliable straight edge. Because I get off doing things the old-fashioned and familiar way, I prefer to try using the hand held Logan for this task, but I will need a 36-inch straight edge to do that because the 24-inch I have is too short. I post this message to ask for opinions and recommendations on suitable straight edges. (1) Can anyone tell me whether phenolic straight edges are as trustworthy as their makers would have prospective buyers believe - meaning are they sufficiently durable and straight to within measures of .001 to .003 inches over the entire length of the material; and (2) regarding alternative metal edges, namely steel or aluminum with a minimum thickness of 2mm and similar measures of straightness, is there a certain brand ideal for the use I have in mind? I am looking at Fowler in particular (http://www.fowlerprecision.com/Produ...524800600.html), but I am open to any and all possibilities that will satisfy my need for a non-slip material having a true straight edge. Regarding the non-slip part of this conversation, the great thing about the LI edge is that it has a recessed cork bottom that makes it quite stable when pressed against museum boards. Thanks in advance for all responses.

    N. Riley
    http://normanrileyphotography.com
    Machinist supply or check out the Starrett site.

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Northwest of Chicago
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    1,376

    Re: Straight Edges

    Look at straightedges from McMaster Carr. They have them up to 10 feet long.

    McMaster.com

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin USA
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    171

    Re: Straight Edges

    I have purchased, and use to safely and reliably cut 4-ply mat board, 24- and 36-inch "Safe-T-Cut Trimming Straightedges" made by the Alvin Co. in Bloomfield, CT. These are made of aluminum and designed especially for cutting mat board and similar media, and come in many widths and configurations (see at URL). They have a rubber backing insert on the back side of the straightedge that is designed to provide a secure non-slip grip to the mat board you are cutting. They also have an upright rib down the middle of the top side of the straightedge for firm holding of the straightedge during the cutting process. The edges have detailed rulers for measurement, and the overall construction is robust such that these straightedges should last multiple lifetimes for average LF photographers and printmakers.
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

    "If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ...Michelangelo

  7. #7
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    1,022

    Re: Straight Edges

    Most hardware stores have alum stock at various lengths, very similar to Fowler. If you want to true it, in order to be more accurate, it's easy to tie down a small grinder and run it by it....one can also do this on a table saw > little imagination = done. Also, this

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/g...-straight-edge at least they don't hide the price.

    Les

  8. #8
    Photographer
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    Pine Junction, CO
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    787

    Re: Straight Edges

    Leevalley.com has lots of options.
    Keith Pitman

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    north of the 49th
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    1,071

    Re: Straight Edges

    does your cutter ride on rails ? logan makes larger cutters that aren't going to cost an arm or a leg. I use a Fletcher 2100 or Keencut Ultimat (like the latter better).
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  10. #10

    Re: Straight Edges

    Thanks to everyone for the many excellent suggestions offered here.
    Fred L., no my cutter does not ride on a rail as happens with the Logan 350-1, for example.

    N. Riley
    http://normanrileyphotography.com

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