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January 4, 2009 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for an affordable mat cutter for home use?

I learned how to cut mats AGES ago (like, 15-20 years ago) and haven't done it since. But now I have quite a few nice prints that I'd like to frame, a basement full of woodworking tools and glasscutting equipment, and more time than money to pay a professional for the amount of things I'd like to frame (which is a LOT of things. I've been saving them up for 5-6 years.)

The largest prints I have are 24" (though it would be cool to do something larger someday, it would be rare). Most are smaller than 18-20" on one edge.

My husband is going to get it for me for a birthday gift. I imagine that something under $200 would be in line with what we're thinking, but I'm willing to hear about a mat cutter that is more if it is really, really worth it.

Any brands or models that the art students of Mefi fancy?
posted by jeanmari to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just got the Logan 450 Mat Cutter from Dick Blickas a gift for my boyfriend. The cutter was more expensive in store, but they also had a 20% in store coupon which brought the price down.

I did a bunch of research and this is what I found to be best for the price range.
posted by Vaike at 3:48 PM on January 4, 2009

The logan models are really workhorses. Find one you like at a local hobby store, then wait for it to go on can get them for half off.
posted by notsnot at 4:18 PM on January 4, 2009

Another vote for the logan 450
posted by aubilenon at 4:24 PM on January 4, 2009

If you're only doing occasional matting, you can get by with a good, scratch resistant work surface, some straight edges (think metal yard rule,) clamps (for holding the straight edge,) and a simple hand held mat cutter.
posted by wfrgms at 5:53 PM on January 4, 2009

Nthing the Logan 450. Besides cutting the mats, I've used it to cut prints and boards (including foamcore down to size with the straight cutter. When I don't need it, I stick it back in the box and put it in the closet. This thing saved my life during art school!
posted by arishaun at 6:40 PM on January 4, 2009

Logan 450 all the way.
posted by EastCoastBias at 7:32 PM on January 4, 2009

I bought the Logan 750 somewhere online (sorry, I can't find the e-mail invoice and I can't remember) a few years ago. I definitely remember I got a pretty good discount from the list price, and I think I spent about $200. Most of the projects I've matted have been around 20"-24" on the longest side. It's been totally worth it.

Not sure about the 450, although it seems like many people like it. Personally, I really like the squaring arm on the 750.
posted by penchant at 11:42 AM on January 5, 2009

I've used a much earlier iteration of this for about 30 years now; works very well, especially since I upgraded to the improved pivoting cutter. Never tried a Logan, but from the looks of it, you've got to unscrew/screw 2 knobs and recalibrate the position every time you need a new width. The Altos has lift-and-drop presets (limiting you to 1/8-in. increments, never been a problem for me) rather than continuous adjustability, but provides what I'd guess would be a faster, easier switch between sides, definitely appreciated when doing a bunch of identical mats. And I definitely like the Alto's cutter compared to the pix of the Logan oneā€¦

I'm an artist not a framer, and I'm no mat-cutter expert, but since I bought the Altos way back when, I've kept limited track of what the more industry-standard tools were like, and its always seemed that little made-this-in-my-garage Altos has been the innovator, with corporate stick-in-the-mud Logan finally playing catch-up with a few Alto's-like features. Maybe I'm wrong, but I like the idea, and supporting the little innovator.

btw, mine is all metal, and I notice that you've got to pay $100 more for a metal version these days. Can't vouch for the plastic version, but I doubt it'd be a problem in a non-production situation.

FWIW; an option worth considering.
posted by dpcoffin at 12:09 PM on January 5, 2009

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