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Mount Cutting FAQs

I only need a few mats per year, so what is the best mat cutter for me?
We would recommend the Mat Master System 660. This team system consists of a bevel cutter and a 66cm - 26" rule. The bevel cutter attaches to the rule to make it easier to operate. This system is ideal for the beginner. The rule is heavy duty Aluminium and has two strips of solid rubber piping running the full length of the its base providing a secure non-slip grip on any surface. This is a most important feature of the FrameCo rule because the Logan ruler will move. The Model #210 bevel cutting head has an easy to grip handle which will not cause you any hand pain. So the cutter is comfortable and easy to use. There is also a start-stop silver marker line which guarantees clean corners without overcuts. This is an inexpensive mat cutting system and would be ideal for someone who wants to cut 10 to 20 mat per year
Is it mounts or mats - What is the correct name!!
No matter what you call the board its all the same! ... Matboard is more commonly used in North America, while mountboard is more common in the UK. In France and some other European countries the boards are called passepartout. The problem is in the classification of the grades of the matboards. There are different names for the various grades of acid free, how the pulp is buffered, and the life of the board. At FrameCo we only stock "white core" boards. These boards have a crisp clean white core which will stay white for many years. The matboards found in most art supply and picture framer shops is standard board. This has a pale brown/cream core which darkens very quickly.
I am an amateur photographer, what is the best mat cutter for me?
Maybe you belong to the local photographic club, you are keen to learn and improve your photographic skills, but don't do enough to warrant any expensive equipment. The Mat Master system 660, which is a kit containing the bevel cutter and a 66cm - 26" rule would be sufficient for you. You only want to cut 10 mats per year! However if you have invested in your own colour printer for home use, and enjoy the challenge of enlarging, stitching and panorma printing then one of the Mat Master cutters with a built in base board and hinged cutting arm would be more suitable. This range of cutters are made to match the sizes of the matboard available on the market. The cutting capacity of these cutters are...All the FrameCo Cutters have both metric and Imperial measuring scales.

* Mat Master 860B..Cuts 82cm - 32" or a full half sheet of mat board.
* Mat Master 1060B..Cuts 102cm - 40.5" or a full length sheet of mat board.
* Mat Master 1260B..Cuts 122cm - 47" or a full "jumbo" sheet of mat baord.
* Mat Master 1660B..Cuts 160cm - 60" or a full oversize sheet of mat board.

The Mat Master range of mat board cutters repesent a fresh approach to the design of affordable bevel mat cutters for the home based framer. They are precision engineered from aluminium and stainlees steel for years of trouble free use. They do not require a high level of skill for successful operation, and are ideal for the home based amateur or small business photographer
Should I use a special self-healing mat under my mat cutter
No. Because your bevel cutter has a blade set at 45° angle, the blade will get caught under the surface of the plastic self healing mat. This can break off the tip of the blade, and cause the blade to bend. This bend in the blade causes that unsightly hook at the start of the cut. It is best to use a sheet of soft cardboard, such as the FrameCo box board. This will not stratch the coloured side of the mat board, and it also makes an ideal work surface for the tops of your benches. Never use mdf hardboard or newspaper under your mat cutter. Always use cardboard under your mat cutter for safe cutting and clean bevel edges. Then you will acheive perfect clean bevel cuts.
"Push" style bevel cutters Vs "Pull" style cutters..which is best?
All our testing and 10 years of manufacturing experience has shown us that a "Push" style cutter is best. They are easier to control and do not "creep" at the start of the cut or overrun at the end of the cut. The professional mat cutters all have a "pull" style cutters, a tbut this is because the cutting head is attached to the guide bar. When the head is actually attached to the guide bar or rail, there is better control and most of the "problems" are eliminated. However, all the DIY mat cutters on the world market, including all FrameCo cutters have a detachable cutting head. It is this reason why we favour a push style cutter. FrameCo does have a "pull" style cutter, the model #301, a well built heavy duty cutting head. This is useful for people who have a physical problem with pushing a cutter away from them. But this cutter is a little more difficult to oprate than our standard #201 Bevel Cutter. In fact we think our standard bevel cutter is so good we include it with all our mat cutting machines..from the basic 660 system to the delux 1060B cutter.
If the rule slips while I am using my cutter - what am I doing wrong.
The most common reason for the rule to slip is that you are pushing too hard either downwards and/or against the side of the rule. When using your bevel cutter, lower your arm and elbow so that you push the cutter along the rule rather than against the side of the rule. Afterall, you are only cutting a thin (1.4mm - 1/4") piece of soft matboard with the sharp blade of your bevel cutter. So, it should be quite effortless. If you find that you have "white knuckles" when using the cutter then you are pushing too hard. Think and aim to push the cutter along the edge of the rule, rather than pushing downwards and sideways. That will give you smoother and more even cutting.
I am "left - handed" can I use the Mat Master Cutters?
The FrameCo #201 Bevel Cutter is available in both left and right handed models. All the cutter sustems can be used left handed through using the left haded cutting hwad and positioning the cutting rule or base in a more convienent position. However, we do now produce all our base board mounted systems ( 860B, 1060B, 1260B Systems) in left hand models. This is where we have built the machine completly for left handed use. At this time - May 2006 - these models are available only on a limited basis, however we do expect stocks of these units to be available shortly. Call your nearest FrameCo office for further details.
What is the cause of "overcuts" in the corners of the mat
The main cause of overcuts, is that YOU have moved the cutter past the finish line. The best feature of the range of FrameCo cutters is that overcuts and undercuts are YOUR fault!!!! The problem with most other DIY cutters on the markey is that the fault is in the cutter...so it is more difficult to correct. When the problem is mainly human error it can be fixed. If you have an overcut then you pushed the cutter just a little too far past the line. So, next time do not cut so far. Its the same with undercuts. If the cutout does not fall out everytime, then you are starting too early, or just before the line. Remember to always use a 2H pencil and hold the pencil on the same angle each time you make a line. Even the angle of the pencil, and the thickness of the line can make a difference to your overcuts. You do not have to accept overcuts. They are not normal, and it is possible to acheive a corner without overcuts with all the FrameCo cutting heads. This is an importance difference between Logan and FrameCo cutters.
What is the cause of "Hooks" in the corners of the mat?
Hooks are those small curves which show up at the start of the long cut. They are caused by the blade deflecting and therefore the cut is not straight. Generally the problem does not occur with a Mat Master cutter because the blade is well supported, however the problem will happen if the settings on the cutting head are not correct. The main reason the blade bends is that it is out too far. If the blade is not supported it will bend. The only reason you would change the blade depth settings is to cut fomecore with the Deep Cut Blades...and if you do change the settings then make sure you reset the depth. Here are some suggestions of what to look for if you are experiencing blade hook..

* The blade is cutting too deeply..the blade should be set so that it just passes through the board being bevelled...The blade depth on all FrameCo cutters can be adjusted for both the standard and Deep Cut Blades..the instructions included with the cutters shows the correct depth adjustment.
* If using a Cutter+Rule system (eg Mat Master 660) do not use a self-healing mat or hardboard as an underlay support....ONLY use boxboard or a soft cardboard to cut onto.
* When using a base board cutter ALWAYS fit a slip mat under the board to be cut.
* Lower your arm and elbow so that you are pushing the cutter along the bar and not downwards.

After cutting my mats, the "drop-out" does not fall out cleanly.
Firstly, do not worry too much. This "problem" is common, and can be easily corrected. Do not pull or push the middle out. Instead take a spare blade and run it along the bevel edge up to the corner to finish off the cut. The middle of the mat will come away without tearing the corner. It would be wonderful if the middle dropped out every time and your corners showed no overcuts. Well, that is not going to happen everytime, even on a professional cutter fitted with production stops, the same problem occurs. What is happening is that your start cuts needs to begin a little earlier....so next time start the cuts a little before the line to test the correct starting point. This is not too complex to master. With a little practice you can cut a mat so that the middle piece drops out cleanly without any overcuts.
Marking out the Mat: Tips on how to make your pencil lines for mat cutting.
Marking out accurately on the back of your mats with pencil lines is essential for clean crisp corners without overcuts. Always use a 2H pencil, and always hold the pencil at the same angle. A 2H pencil has a harder grade lead so the point will be finer and your lines will be easier to follow. Even the angle you hold the pencil at is important. When moving the pencil down the edge of the rail of the mat cutter a line drawn with a pencil held nearly vertically will be in a different position to a line drawn with the pencil at a 45% angle. This can make a difference to the start and stop positions of the cutter. Marking out is also the more tedious part of mat cutting. One of the main advantages/features of a base board mounted cutter is that you have a back stop for setting the border width. So marking out is quicker and easier. An alternative is to use a "Line Maker" ...read more... this is a gauge where you can set the border width, then run the gauge down the outside edge of the matboard the pencil line is laid down at a set distance from the edge.....quicker and more accurate. Mat cutters with a base board have this system built in, so you do not need a line maker.
Can I set up to do my own framing and Mat cutting...case study?
I wanted to take a minute to say thanks. My wife Gayle and I have several lithographs that need framing, but the cost of having them framed has delayed this project. By researching on the internet I came across your website, it was very user friendly and straight forward��I requested a catalog and price sheet which were received very quickly. I phoned Maryann Dinsfriend and she took the time to answer all my questions and invited us over to Paso Robles to see your facility. This last Monday Gayle and I drove over to see Maryann and she was very knowledgeable and took the time to go over all of the FrameCo tools and products. Maryann had me cutting and grooving mats and I could see that by using your tools that I would be able to frame my own art work and, even with the cost of the tools, come out ahead. I have told my friends my intensions and all of them have something they want me to frame. I am currently unemployed and my plan is to get into the framing business. I am looking forward to my new endeavor and I know that by using FrameCo tools that I have a very good chance at success.
Best regards,
Mike & Gayle Christner - USA
Editor�Mrs & Mrs Christner purchased a FrameCo Deluxe Mat Cutting and Joining package to start their framing venture.
What are the reasons "Why I should choose a Mat Master Cutter".

* All models include the FrameCo Speed Stop System - for accurate and easy double mat settings.
* Aluminium base with rubber feet - prevents movement and warpage even in hot, humid climates.
* Mat Guide scale - measures up to 17cm - 7" so wider borders can be cut.
* Dual locking screws on the long Mat Guides - no movement when cutting long bevels.
* The #201 Cutting head has a comfortable handle - no fatigue or finger pain when cutting a number of mats at a time.
* The #201 Cutting head incorporates a start/stop indicator - for accurate corners everytime.
* The design of the #201 Cutting head supports the blade when it enters the mat - no hooking or creep when starting your bevel cuts.
* The design of the #201 Cutting head gives better control on finishing - less chance of overcuts.
* All models include a slip Mat Stop - so the slip mat does not move when cutting.
* All models include a robust hinge - so the hinge will never break.
* All models are easily calibrated - for squareness and so accuracy is maintained.
* All models have production stops - so the FrameCo system is quick and easy.
* All models can be fitted with a wide range of options - better value and versatility.

Case study....
Cheers Gary, I'll certainly give the Document Pad a try for the dirty marks. I think I've got everything else from the catalogue. If anyone out there is wondering whether to buy the FrameCo tools or not, no worries. They are well made and good value for money compaired to other brands. I've been framing my own and others art work for about ten years using a Logan mat cutter and a Proman saw (no measuring system) and a keen eye. Just bought the FrameCo tools, what a boon! I'm now getting cuts to within a mm. The how to PDF's are also a great asset. I've also picked up a few great tips from the Forum. All in all life is now sweet!
Cheers everybody
Harry Freckleton Scotland
The bevel on the mat openings are reversed sometimes!

If the bevel edge of your window is reversed, then you have had the cutter on the wrong side of the line. . When cutting any mat with a single or mulitple number of holes in the one mat, you must ensure you have all the bevels running the same way, To do that you apply a simple mind rule as you are cutting the mat. . The rule is..."Cutter head over the opening"...if the side you are cutting has the cutter head over the border, then the bevel will be reversed. So the cutter should always be on the inside of the pencil line.

However, somtimes it is desirable to have the bevels running inwards -reversed. That means the mat will have no bevel edge.This is called a " reverse bevel mat" For some images such a fine line drawings, the bevel on the mats may complicate the picture. So reverse the bevels. The fine shadow cast by the reverse bevel on a plain background can sometimes be all the image needs! There is a "How To Note" available on cutting reverse bevels.

How to cut narrow - 1 inch/2cm - borders?
When using a baseboard mounted mat cutter, it is not possible to set the border width back stop to cut narrow borders. The width of the rail prevents the back stop coming in that close. So insert a spacer between the back stop and the mat being cut. eg...to cut a 1 inch width border, set the border width gauge on 2 inch, but insert a 1 inch spacer under the rail. The edge of the mat being cut will rest against the spacer and you will be able to cut a 1 inch border.

If you cannot find the answer to your question click on the special FAQ "Answer Link" below and we will email you with suggestions and advice from our framing panel. This is a free service to all FrameCo visitors.
FrameCo Help Desk -


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