Have taken the Home Mat Board Cutting Plunge

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Sean, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Well, NZ isn't exactly a mat board friendly nation, so I figure it's best I cut my own mats to reduce long term costs. After some research I purchased a mat cutter on ebay, got a good deal on a LOGAN 650 PRO 40" MAT CUTTER. It seems to be a high spec machine, and hopefully idiot proof! It also has a 45min instructional video. I'm wondering if anyone has this model, and if so any insider tips to the model (or mat cutting experiences) would be interesting to know about. Thanks
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    WOW Sean, you went towards the high end. I just got the small Logan portable a few weeks ago. The biggest challenge I have is keeping things square. Might have to get creative and whip that problem. Other than that, change blades before they start making ragged cuts. After the requisite number of flubs, it ain't so bad.

    Oh, and after 30+ years of engineering work, NOTHING is idiot-proof.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Haven't used that one, but I think I've seen it, and it looks like a good one.

    With any of them--keep lots of extra blades on hand, and change blades often.

    Every time I do a large mat, I change blades, and if I'm doing 11x14's, I change every few boards. I use an old-style Dexter mat cutter and t-square, so you might be able to make a blade last a little longer if you have a more heavy-duty setup with a cutter that is fixed to a channel on the straightedge, but blades are cheap enough that it's worth it to change often and get clean cuts every time.
     
  4. eric

    eric Member

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    Cool! I use a basic Logan Compact. Change blades a lot. Especially, during humid days when the boards get a little more moisture. It tends to bunch up at the corners. I use mine on the floor with my knees on the blade guide, and it helps to keep the matt from slipping as well.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Thanks for the tips,

    Yeah I figured if I am going to take the time to cut my own mats then spending a little extra on the cutter could save a lot of aggrevation. The difference between the mid and high spec Logan models were like $100 so went with the high spec one..
     
  6. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I've got one of the Logan hand ones but it has a matching ruler with a channel that the cutter runs along as a guide. Works great... stops you wandering away from a steel rule. I think its called a 'Adapt-a-rule'

    As everyone has said... change blade often. Also pay attention and learn what happens at the start and finish of cuts. Because the blade pokes in at an angle, I find I have to start the cut inside my marked line and finish after the next marked line. Hopefully you end up with no overcuts and the cut bit drops out without any extra work with a blade!!!! I cut on an old piece of matt board (on top of a self healing mat) as I find the self healing mat is too tuff for the blade to run along/in smoothly. With the matt board base you can run the blade a bit deeper to ensure the cut is clean. Nothing worse than not going right threw the one your cutting (well there is one thing.. cutting from the wrong side of the line). The other trick I learnt from someone, was to rub the edges of the cut window with the back of a spoon. Just softens them slightly and IMO looks better. Try it on a test cut and see what you think.
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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  8. Jeanne

    Jeanne Subscriber

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    Hi Sean, I use a 750 (I think) and it's a wonderful tool. People have already mentioned the sharp blade business. The other important thing if you're buying big board to cut down: don't assume that it's square, because more often than not it isn't.

    Have fun -- I think you'll be impressed.
     
  9. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I've got the 650 logan and like it better than the other logans because it doesn't have bladeholder thing sliding across the matte leaving a shiny stripe. The only thing I don't like is running out of razorblades and finding out theyre different than the ones for the other models.
     
  10. 127

    127 Member

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    I used a basic rotary cutter to cut 16 or so mattes recently.

    the only advice I can give is that it gets much easier after a little practise. the first couple of that batch were hard going (I'd done a few before but not many), but after doing 16, I was cutting them faster than the person I was working with could get them in the frames.

    Ian
     
  11. sparx

    sparx Member

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    Just to make sure you get the point i would also like to say 'Change the blades often'!
     
  12. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Well Sean, as a graduate of the Lee Charmichael school of matt cutting all I can add is keep a lot of fresh blades around, keep a good backing material (think Lee gave a scrap of 8 ply board to use), and a comfortable place to work - THIS IS IMPORTANT. Once I found the right place to work, and how to mark the board, it started going really fast. Never hated cutting a matt, but now don't mind doing the work at all.

    Good luck - oh yeah!! You are required to mess up several sheets to begin with - I think it helps break in the cutter. :wink:
     
  13. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Les McLean has an article in Sept issue of B&W Photography magazine on mat cutting. Though article is primarily directed to one brand of mat cutters, still a useful read. He mentions using a shell/bone (don't have mag with me) to clean up the edge.
     
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  15. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I have the lesser Logan, too, and the thing I would add to "change blades often" is be sure your measuring tools are square. I bought a nice T-square at the art supply store and all my mats came out wrong. Turns out the square isn't. I bought a metal square at the hardware store and haven't had a problem since.
    juan
     
  16. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    I use a Dexter hand cutter I picked up on ebay for $5 and a heavy corked back ruler I found on Light Impressions. After a few failures I am making perfect mats. I majored in advertising design in college (way before photoshop days) so I am used to measuring and trying to be exact. The old adage measure twice and cut once applies. I also find if I lose concentration I screw up

    As others have said changing blades often is important. I get two 11X14 mats cut (8 cuts total) from each blade. Just to see I've tried a third mat from the same blade and by the last cut the edge was not clean.
     
  17. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Well, Sean, I think you probably know to keep plenty of blades around :D! haha
    I have the 750 as well, and I love mine! That video is very well done, but it also shows how to use all the other mat cutters (one video fits all) so you'll have to either sit through or fast forward through things to get to yours...if you've never done this before, you might want to 'cut along'!
    I think the machine is sent with a backer board, straight cutter and bevel cutter. One thing important is to remove the backer board if you are using the straight cutter, and make sure it is in place if you are using the bevel cutter.
    I made up some sheets to help me figure out mat sizes for double and triple mats. If you think it would be helpful, I could post them here somewhere for download, or email them to you. There is a lot of good info at Logan's website as well!
    Happy matting!
    Jeanette
     
  18. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Oh...almost forgot!! That thing Les was referring to is called a "bone folder"...now, before you get all nasty here, it's called that because it is used to crease heavy paper to assist folding it...and it was made out of animal bone a long time ago when animals had bones & you could use them for stuff. :tongue:
    You can find bone folders at arts & crafts stores usually in the stamping and scrapbooking sections.

    Jeanette
     
  19. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    As an aside for checking square, measure diagonals to make sure they are the same (watch out, a trapezoid is also checked this way).

    To check a framing square (not a "t" square): Place the square along the edge of a work table which is a known straight line. Draw a line along the leg which is perpendicular to the edge against the table. Next, flip the square over and draw the same line with the square on the table edge pointing in the opposite direction. This will double any error and allow you to see any variations. Sorry about the complicated nature of this description.
     
  20. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    another useful tool is a WHITE emery board or a small bit of WHITE sandpaper (fine) glued to a popsicle stick. If you forget to change your blade and a fuzzy edge, even the bone folder will not work to clean it up. If you are careful and go at the same angle you can lightly sand the fuzzies off. DO NOT use colored ones. They leave the same color they are behind. It also works in those corners you left a slight bit of material in if you don't get it cut just right.
     
  21. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I've thought about doing the whole mat cutting thing at home too, since I've started doing my own prints via alt process. Can you give me a list that would be suited for a beginner?
     
  22. mark

    mark Member

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    go to the framing shop and ask for scraps. Always put a board under the one you are cutting for a clean edge.

    Use the scraps the practice your cuts. Since you are cutting from the back of the board you will need to over cut the back to match up the cuts on the front. Practice this. No matter how hard you try to clean up a mat that was noy cut right you will never be happy with it, at least I am not. Practice, practice and practice some more. heck, that is what scraps are for right?

    Oh yeah I thought one or two people mentioned this but I will reiterate what they said in case you missed it. KEEP LOTS OF EXTRA BLADES AROUND AND CHANGE BLADE OFTEN :smile:
     
  23. mark

    mark Member

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    I like the Low end Logan Cutter. It is cheap and does the job. It was my first one and I have not needed another.

    http://www.dickblick.com/zz171/07/products.asp?param=0&ig_id=1025

    There is a video that logan makes that is helpful but I found someone to show me how to do it. A nice frame shop worker is a very useful resource. Buy scraps from them to practice cuts with. The scraps, and practice will save you a bunch of money in the long run.

    It is not a hard process but being a bit anal helps.
     
  24. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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  25. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I have the 650 and love it. I've noticed that the right angle guide for the cutoff can be out of square, two screws hold it in and the bar has a little wiggle room, so that should be checked on occasion. Be careful to put the blade back up after doing a cutoff, it's easy to overlook and can give you a nasty slice when getting ready to cut the opening as well as messing up a good piece of matboard if you start cutting with both blades down.

    I have mine on a desk set at right angle to the wall so I can stand at the end of the cutter and cut by drawing the blade towards me, much easier on the back than trying to push it sideways from the front.
     
  26. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thought I might add a couple more questions (I'm good at that :smile: )
    Today I had to go to the gallery to get 2 prints mounted on white mat board (50cm x 40cm = $25 AUD each)
    1) Cutting your own - does it make financial sense in the long run? (How longer run?)
    2) How much room would you need?
    Thanks to all.
    Kind regards,
    Nicole