Which Mat Cutter Or Mount Cutter Is Best For Home Use?
One of the most difficult and expensive things for artists is the mounting and framing of paintings. Most artists simply love the creative side of work and would rather that the business of selling their creations took care of itself. I wish.
This hub has probably sprung to the forefront of my mind, because at the time of writing I really should be in my framing studio, mounting and framing the two paintings that I'm taking to exhibition in 3 days time. So I figured that wiriting about mounting paintings is 'almost' as good as really getting on with the job, isn't it?
Pre Cut Mats
I really do find mounting and framing work an expensive chore, so here are a few ideas to make things a little easier.
Pre cut mounts are a great way to speed up the tedium of mounting your work, but, if you're going to use them, I would do a little research and see what's available to buy easily, and more importantly what will fit the frame and your work.
If you want to use a pre cut mount, the best thing to do is to decide what size frame you are going to have BEFORE even putting pastel to paper, then buy a pre cut mount to fit the frame, then size your work to fit the aperture of the mount. Remember to make your work 1cm larger all round than the mount aperture, so that you have something to tape the mount to.
Get someone Else To Cut Your Mat For You
If you don't wish to curtail the size of your painting, then you can have someone to cut your mat for you. Look for custom framing services locally, or research custom framing online, either work well, but online is probably cheaper and may have more choice of mount. However, you will need to buy a frame before having your mount cut and then will need to be very clear with your instructions, so that the person cutting the mount knows exactly what the outer measurements and dimensions of the aperture are.
Hand Held Mount Cutter
These are relatively cheap mount cutters. They comprise a plastic handle with a pointed, retractible blade set at and angle, and a plastic foot that you butt up to your straight edge. You 'simply' measure your work to get the aperture size you need to cut, but beware, these little cutters make the cut 1cm outside your measurement, due to the plastic foot. So, for example, if you wish to make a cut at 16cm, you will need to draw a line and have your straight edge at 15cm.
Confusing? That's not all. unless you are very skilled with the mount cutter, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to cut through the mount in one go, as this creates a 'wobble' at the beginning of the cut. To eradicate this, I score the mount board with the first cut, then make my second cut the one that goes through the board.
It's difficult to cut through really thick mount board with these cutters, so you can't have fancy mounts. A double mount is probably the fanciest you'll want to create, and then you may well lose the will to live whilst making it.
That said, this is the mount cutter I frequently use, as it's cheap and easy to set up. One other tip is to keep the blade really sharp (or change blades VERY frequently). I use a knife sharpening block, to sharpen the flat side only of my blade and this works well.
Logan Intermediate Cutter
Although this mount cutter calls itself intermediate, for me it's the Rolls Royce of cutters. It will cut mount up to 32 x 40" and comes with a parallel mat for setting border widths of up to 4". It's 90 degree squaring makes cutting true corners much easier than with the hand held mount, and has a production stop, so you can't overcut (in theory, although I seem to manage to overcut ALL THE TIME - IT DRIVES ME NUTS). The Logan also comes with a straight blade for cutting the outsides of the mount to fit your frame, and a bevel blade for the inner aperture.
It also comes with a booklet about creative mounting (oh the stress) and five spare blades, which is great, because it aint cheap.
However, if you have a lot of work to mount, as I do, then it's worth every penny.
Now, I think I may have some ironing to do before I start cutting those mats.......