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  1. #1

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    Mat Cutter for a Beginner

    I've never cut my own mats, and want to try it. Will I be wasting my time with a handheld Logan and guide? What are the limitations, and how hard is it to cut straight?

  2. #2

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    Will you be wasting your time? No, but it will take a lot of expensive practice. If you're in the US consider getting a Logan 301 from a Michael's with one of their 50% coupons.
    Cutting straight is not so difficult, but cutting straight, parallel to the edge and getting every angle square can be a challenge with just a straightedge and a handheld cutter.
    The 301 doesn't completely solve all those problems, but it gets you really close. If you use pre-cut boards, or can work carefully with an accurate T-square to cut down full sheets, the 301 will do everything else pretty well.

    If you are near southeast Vermont, VCP will be doing a matting workshop early in '10.
    Last edited by bdial; 12-25-2009 at 04:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    I second bdial's sentiments exactly. When I worked at a photo school, students used to struggle endlessly (and expensively) with Dexter cutters. The tears and frustrations were horrible. When it came time for me to get into it, I got a bit of advice from the manager of a photography store who told me to watch carefully for the Michael's ads ordinarily found in Sunday newspapers. They alternate between 40 and 50 percent off. When they went to 50 percent, I cut it right out and walked into their store first thing Monday morning and grabbed a Logan Compact 301-S. It was worth every penny and I look forward to many years of no-hassle mat and mount board cutting. While you're at it, get a little box of 100 blades. Change them often! Don't be cheap!!

  4. #4
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Vandal View Post
    While you're at it, get a little box of 100 blades. Change them often! Don't be cheap!!
    consider me the 3rd to 2nd Bdial's comment . I'm looking out for a logan cutter for my b-day(present to self), since getting mattes cut is an expensive task !!!!

    and definitely change the blades often, I like to change them every other matt, or when they aren't cutting smoothly, or if I have to pull excessively. Some mattes are really dense, others, such as the rag matts, are much easier to cut, almost "fluffy", so they cut easily, but tear even easier! and when you're paying $20/full sheet of matte board. I made the mistake(3x IIRC) of trying to skimp on blades(the cheap ones at that too), and screwed up 2 full sheets. Definitely WON'T buy cheap blades again!

    michael's rocks though. great stuff, especially with the coupons . I used the school's matte cutters(big logans, bolted to the counter's by the finishing rooms)

    -Dan


  5. #5

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    301 it is! I was looking at that as well, but wanted to know if it was necessary to get the whole shebang.

    One more question: I can save a little bit and get a new-old-stock 301-M. Anyone know the difference between the M and the S?

  6. #6

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    My bride does some painting, so i graciously ;-) said yes when she wanted to purchase a Logan 650. After the drymount press the best $$ we ever spent on framing!
    John Bowen

  7. #7
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    If you can afford it, the Logan 750 is a much nicer and easier to use setup. I think its about $300 but that pays for itself fast when you consider what frame shops charge to cut mats. I have the 700SGM, which is an older model of the 750. It handles fullsize 32x40 sheets, built in t-square and ruler, and the cutter rides on a rail, making it impossible to make an unstraight cut. It doesn't take much practice to get good mats with it.
    Chris Crawford
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto View Post
    If you can afford it, the Logan 750 is a much nicer and easier to use setup. I think its about $300 but that pays for itself fast when you consider what frame shops charge to cut mats. I have the 700SGM, which is an older model of the 750. It handles fullsize 32x40 sheets, built in t-square and ruler, and the cutter rides on a rail, making it impossible to make an unstraight cut. It doesn't take much practice to get good mats with it.
    If I never needed to cut full-size sheets, would the actual window cutting be significantly better on the 750 vs the 301? I don't think I can spend that much anyway. Still have to buy paper and film!

  9. #9

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    I don't know the difference between the 301-M and the S but I will tell you one thing. Both, I'm certain, come with a very nice little instruction booklet that you should read carefully for best (and most economical) results. Mine also came with a lovely instructional video that comes in handy if you go rather long periods between mat cutting sessions. Make sure you get it! Good luck!

  10. #10
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    I have used that 301 for many years and have never been able to overcome the tendency to have a little curve to the line at the beginning. I finally tossed the logan cutter and use it with a dexter instead. I use the logan 301 to hold the board in place and I use the track for a straight edge for the dexter. Much better for me.

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