First mat cuttong experience. Help needed
I finally got around to purchasing a mat cutter --Logan Artist Elite 450, and cutting my first ever mat and backing board.
I had a problem though, and something went amiss at some point.
The mat's outer edge dimensions and the backing board's outer edge dimensions do not match perfectly, and I ended up with slightly smaller than a 1/16" over sized top/bottom borders of the mat.
Do I have to start over, or is there some way to match the edges -- like a wood plane for paper?
I know, you will not see the border difference after the mat is in a frame, however, our matts are being graded and I am one of the few people in the class who have never cut a mat.
Last edited by mids1999; 04-27-2012 at 11:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Start over. If you are being graded the teacher will know you hacked it.
If you shave, split apart a new Gillette razor (or whatever your brand of multibladed cartridge razor blade might be) to get some thin, super sharp blades.
Cut the miters short so the center doesn't fall out. Finish to the miter corner by hand with the Gillette blade. You will be amazed at how clean the corners come out. And it will impress the teacher.
Wait. Are you saying only the outer edges are not even? Then just use an X-Acto blade and straightedge. Line up the edges that are already true and have the "extra" board sticking out on bottom. Align the straightedge on top and run the X-Acto blade in several light passes to cut through the excess.
Make sure to pay attentions to this part, I can't say how long it took me to learn to cut down mat board the properly.
run the X-Acto blade in several
light passes to cut through the excess.
1/16" difference of the outer dimension? I don't know if that even matters. I have the same cutter and have been cutting mat for my own use. I would consider it within tolerance.
One caution if you are going to trim it to match.....
If the excess is NOT even and you try to trim it, because the excess isn't even and SO SMALL, with different pressure on the blade from both sides, the cutting blade can bend and make the cut line not straight. I've experienced this when I tried to correct small imperfections. Go extremely slow and watch closely as you do this. You could end up making it worse. (I did)
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
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As small a difference as 1/16" between the mount board and the window mat shouldn't be a problem, particularly, if the intention is to frame the work. It might be a problem if you want to hinge the two together for unframed or portfolio purposes. Cutting as little as you suggest cleanly can be next to impossible with rag board. Unless it bothers you, it's probably best to leave well enough alone.
FYI: "backing board" is the term for the scratch board one puts under the board to be cut so that the cut will not become ragged.
BTW, when I called Logan's customer service, some years ago to inquire how to predictably bevel cut corners with their machines, the fellow on the other end admitted that all the bevel cut measured markings on their framers were not to be considered accurate. He further began a rant about how it takes years to properly cut mats and frame, this from a representative of a company which sells mat cutting equipment for non–professional and home use. It was in large part from my memory of this unwarranted interaction that I wrote Print Presentation. With proper "amateur" equipment, sharp blades, planning, and a little bit of care, anyone should be able to cut professional looking mats with a bit of practice.
Thank you everyone for the advice.
Yes, it is only the outside edges that are off. The window seems to be right in the middle.
Teacher had specified that everything had to be perfect; no soft corners, no ragged cuts, no differences in dimensions between the two pieces of paper.
What do you have available for cutting the outside edges of the backing and the overmat?
If you have something that will cut a 90 degree edge, you could try using a clamp and a T-square straight-edge - I would suggest cutting both overmat and backing board to match, and practicing first on scrap.
That might leave you though with two matched sizes that are both less than 16x20.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I use a razor blade for this kind of thing - but not the shaving kind. You can buy razor blades that have a normal very sharp edge on one side, and a shielded, or protected side on the other. They are made for doing hand cuts, or even shaving of over painted areas on windows, etc. They are also made to fit into handles for the paint shaving purpose.
The url below will take you to someone who sells them, but you can find others who sell them, they are cheap. I found it by Googling "razor blades graphic arts". They are great to have around for finessing bevels, as Bill suggested, and other trimming. A box will last a long time.
I always cut the mount board 1/16" under which gives me a little latitude to move the mat around..