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Author Topic: Having problems with my mat cutter (Logan 650)  (Read 9705 times)
Bill Koenig
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« on: January 05, 2010, 06:51:14 PM »
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I have a Logan 650 mat cutter that's not even a year old. It sits on a heavy flat table, it isn't warped at all, so we'll rule that out as a problem. The mat guide is parallel so that's not a problem.
I set the blade depth so it just scores the backing sheet, I use a piece of scrap mat board making sure to move it after every cut. I start and stop the cut as directed, making sure not let it creep.
What's happening is I get two perfect corners diagonal to one another, but the other two corners are under cuts and hang. Taking a close look, it appears that I'm getting a under cut in both directions ever so small.
I called Logan, they told me to set the blade deeper. This didn't help, in fact after turning the screw a full turn, the under cuts started to go away, but now the blade is set way to deep.
Has anyone else had this problem? If so, how did you fix it?
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2010, 07:44:51 PM »
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I don't have the 650 but use the basic Logan compact cutter. I start my cuts with the guide on the cutter just on the outside of the line and end the cut with the guide also just on the outside of the line. Yes there is a slight overcut, noticable on close inspection, but that sure beats any tear out that scraps the mat. Experiment to find what is acceptable for you.
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2010, 07:53:22 PM »
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I'm get great results from a 660.

Perhaps you are using the various ruler and guides on the cutter.  Those are essentially worthless.

The only way to make cuts with the 650/660 is draw lines on the back of the matboard, 4 lines per mat, and to cut from line to line.  Find the actual starting and stopping points by experiment, then on a little piece of tape near the cutter head make drawings of where the actual starting and stopping points should be in relation to the red and green marks.  The saving grace of those cutters is that the cuts are very true and straight, but you have to take the "calibrations" with a grain of salt.  But actually, the marking technique is the best way to get perfect cuts with even the high end manual cutters.  Of course the best to cut mattes is with a CNC matte cutter like a Wizard system, but you need to do a whole lot of mattes to justify that.

I don't cut very many mattes anywhere, but I was close to a 100% success rate using the above techniques.  If you limit each blade edge to no more than about 80 inches of cut, any overcuts you get are basically invisible.
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neile
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 11:12:36 PM »
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Quote from: Bill Koenig
I have a Logan 650 mat cutter that's not even a year old. It sits on a heavy flat table, it isn't warped at all, so we'll rule that out as a problem. The mat guide is parallel so that's not a problem.
I set the blade depth so it just scores the backing sheet, I use a piece of scrap mat board making sure to move it after every cut. I start and stop the cut as directed, making sure not let it creep.
What's happening is I get two perfect corners diagonal to one another, but the other two corners are under cuts and hang. Taking a close look, it appears that I'm getting a under cut in both directions ever so small.
I called Logan, they told me to set the blade deeper. This didn't help, in fact after turning the screw a full turn, the under cuts started to go away, but now the blade is set way to deep.
Has anyone else had this problem? If so, how did you fix it?

Hey Bill,

I have the 660 (longer brother of your cutter). When you are doing your cuts, are you using the start and stop indicators on the cutter head to figure out where to start and stop? In my case, through a lot of trial and error, I've found that I have to start my cuts with the green indicator slightly overlapping my pencil lines, and my red indicator just a wee bit overlapping the pencil. This is when I cut Crescent Select Rag Mat. Other matboard it's totally different.

It may just be a case that you need to run a little past what the cutter head is telling you.

I've personally found that blade depth adjustments screw everything up completely for me, and I have more luck just mentally adjusting where the start and stop should be.
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2010, 10:04:59 AM »
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When I started using a mat cutter about a year ago I went through a period of time where I was having similar problems. I checked and rechecked everything that i thought wasn’t set at the factory.

Then through a process of elimination, I figured it out. What was happening is that the part f-t calls the “mat guide slide” – this is the primary piece to which the mat guide connects, was not square. So I started from the beginning. I got a good carpenter’s squaring ruler and put the long side against what f-t calls the clamp. This is the fixture upon which the cutting head is mounted. Using that as my beginning point I made sure that the mat guide slide was perfectly square. I even used a 6x magnifying glass to verify that the gap between the ruler and the guide was as perfect as could be. Once I worked this out, I then put the mat guide on and carefully squared that to the mat guide slide. After that the problem was solved.

On mine, the mat guide slide and the mat guide are very sensitive. Due to this I spend a little time at the beginning of each session to verify that everything is square.

What was happening to me is that because the mat guide slide was slightly off, when I sized mat board that imparted that slight error onto the mat board. Later when I went to cut out the window in the mat board, that error was exacerbated due to the same original problem. The end result was about what you described.

My mat cutter came with a DVD and they have a section on squaring the mat cutter. I would think that Logan has this also. Take a close look at it.

Oh yeah, and be sure to replace the blades frequently. I do so after cutting about 20 pieces. Only a few things have quite the flavor of suck as when the tip of the blade fractures in the middle of a cut and you end up tossing another piece of mat board.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 10:09:59 AM by Justan » Logged

Bill Koenig
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2010, 12:33:01 PM »
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Thanks for the reply's. Bill, yes I draw lines as well, but used the start and stop points that the manual told me to use. Tonight I will experiment with different starts and stops.
The mat guide seems to be quite parallel to the cutting head rail, but I'm going bring my dial indicator home and check it with that (in my day job I'm a machinist)
I will report back with my results.
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Bill Koenig,
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 12:42:17 PM »
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What I've found was that I needed to start in the middle of the green dot, not the edge above it, that the manual says is the starting point. What I don't understand why it changed, I used to start on the edge with good results.
I am getting some inconstant over cuts, what I mean by that is some of the corners look good, where maybe one corner has a larger over cut than the other 3, but that's still better than any undercut. I've read somewhere that if you don't have a small amount over cut, your not not doing it right to begin with, so how do you define a over cut?
I do have a tool called a Burnishing Bone that supposed help hide the over cut, but I'm not sure if I'm using it correctly, can anyone point me to a link that might enlighten me?
I checked the parallelism of the mat guide to cutter rail with my dial indicator and was surprised to see that it was parallel with in 0.005 of a inch over its length, but the wood base from end to end, is warped about 0.035 being high in the middle. But pressing down with enough force should cut that error in half if not more. I guess the fact that the base is made of particle board what I'm seeing isn't that bad, that's probably why there newest model is made from 100% aluminum.
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 12:56:59 PM »
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Quote from: Bill Koenig
What I've found was that I needed to start in the middle of the green dot, not the edge above it, that the manual says is the starting point. What I don't understand why it changed, I used to start on the edge with good results.

If you switched types of matboard, manufacturing batches of matboard, or the depth of the backer board, any of those would impact the start and stop point. I've finally got to the point where I always order the same matboard and use the same matboard for scrap, and my cuts are consistent (but not at all on the start/stop point suggested by the manual).

With regards to the burnishing bone, I use to very lightly tap the top layer of paper down to hide the overcut. Sometimes it works better than others. I don't rub or burnish with it because that'll add a sheen to the mat that is very visible.

Neil
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Bill Koenig
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 01:51:06 PM »
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Thanks Neal for clarifying the burnishing bone, I ordered one a while ago, but never used it on over cuts because it made the over cut look worse than it did before. It did work well on the core of the mat if the blade left if a little rough in places, or on rough edges.
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Bill Koenig,
framah
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2010, 02:56:21 PM »
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Thickness of the mat you are cutting will affect where you start  and stop if your depth is too shallow.

Mats differ in thickness from one company to another... Crescent, Bainbridge, Rising, Artique, etc.

The ideal blade depth is for the blade to cut the slip sheet 1/3 of the way thru, not barely scoring the surface.  Blade depth should not need to be changed for different 4 ply mats  if you set the depth properly.

If you are cutting ok on one corner and not on another, something else to look for is that you are in exactly the same place in relation to the cutting head each time you make  a cut. If you are in a different position, you will be looking at the cutting guide marks from a slightly different angle. This might not seem like much but it will cause you to start the blade into the mat a bit earlier or later than you need. You may be setting the start of the cut from what you think is the guide line but in reality, you are a bit behind or in front of it which will give you either an over cut or an under cut.

Just thought of another thing to look for... You draw guide lines on the back of the mat... is the blade plunging into the mat exactly in the middle of the line or is it a bit off the line. If it isn't hitting the line in the middle and then when you use that  line as a guide to where the next cut starts, you will be off on your cut. Hope that one makes sense. I have had mat cutters that were off a bit and I had to adjust where I looked when setting the blade for the next cut.

It is visually better to have a slight undercut than an overcut. You can finish the undercut with a mat blade using the angle of the bevel as a guide. On the other hand, it is usually better to have a slight overcut so there is no tearout from where it was still attached from being undercut.
 Optimally, you should have neither.

Alot of practice on starting your cuts is necessary to get consistent results...

I always burnish the edge of the mat cut with the burnishing bone and I was taught how to use my finger nail to do the same thing. If you are getting a visible sheen, then you might be holding it a bit wrong and maybe pushing too hard. Again, practice makes closer to perfect. You don't need much pressure to reset the edge of the mat cut.  For the over cuts, yeah, i'll sort of push them back down.

Ask more if you want more.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 02:59:19 PM by framah » Logged

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Bill Koenig
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 05:27:03 PM »
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Quote from: framah
Thickness of the mat you are cutting will affect where you start  and stop if your depth is too shallow.

Mats differ in thickness from one company to another... Crescent, Bainbridge, Rising, Artique, etc.

The ideal blade depth is for the blade to cut the slip sheet 1/3 of the way thru, not barely scoring the surface.  Blade depth should not need to be changed for different 4 ply mats  if you set the depth properly.

If you are cutting ok on one corner and not on another, something else to look for is that you are in exactly the same place in relation to the cutting head each time you make  a cut. If you are in a different position, you will be looking at the cutting guide marks from a slightly different angle. This might not seem like much but it will cause you to start the blade into the mat a bit earlier or later than you need. You may be setting the start of the cut from what you think is the guide line but in reality, you are a bit behind or in front of it which will give you either an over cut or an under cut.



Just thought of another thing to look for... You draw guide lines on the back of the mat... is the blade plunging into the mat exactly in the middle of the line or is it a bit off the line. If it isn't hitting the line in the middle and then when you use that  line as a guide to where the next cut starts, you will be off on your cut. Hope that one makes sense. I have had mat cutters that were off a bit and I had to adjust where I looked when setting the blade for the next cut.

It is visually better to have a slight undercut than an overcut. You can finish the undercut with a mat blade using the angle of the bevel as a guide. On the other hand, it is usually better to have a slight overcut so there is no tearout from where it was still attached from being undercut.
 Optimally, you should have neither.

Alot of practice on starting your cuts is necessary to get consistent results...

I always burnish the edge of the mat cut with the burnishing bone and I was taught how to use my finger nail to do the same thing. If you are getting a visible sheen, then you might be holding it a bit wrong and maybe pushing too hard. Again, practice makes closer to perfect. You don't need much pressure to reset the edge of the mat cut.  For the over cuts, yeah, i'll sort of push them back down.

Ask more if you want more.



Hi Framah,

Thanks for the reply. I will try to answer your questions the best I can.  Just for the record I'm using the Logan 650.
I set the mat guide to the size I want, then I draw all 4 lines using just the mat guide, and no, I'm not paying any attention to the starting position of the cutting head on the rail, so if I'm reading you right, the cutting head should always in the exact same place on the rail at the start of the cut, of course it will end in a different place because one side is longer than the other.    

<If you are in a different position, you will be looking at the cutting guide marks from a <slightly different angle.

I'm not sure if I'm following you on this. If the mat is up against the mat guide, and that is parallel to the cutting head rail how could anything change? although, I did find that the base has about 0.030 of warp from end to end, being high in the middle.

<You draw guide lines on the back of the mat... is the blade plunging into the mat exactly <in the middle of the line or is it a bit off the line.


When I look at the drop, I can see all 4 lines, with the cut just to the left of all of them, about the width of half the blade, but I start the cut using the line perpendicular to the line that's parallel to the cut, using the the start position on my mat cutter. In order to hit the line on center, I would first have to reposition the mat guide first, but the manual doesn't say anything about doing this. What I've done is to try different starting points, until the under cuts went away
Again, I'm not sure if I follow you.
One last thing, to get the blade depth, I take a piece of mat board with slip sheet under, and start making bevel cuts until I brake through, and go just a little deeper to scratch the slip sheet.
I'll check for your reply when I get home later.

Thanks, Bill.

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Bill Koenig,
Peter McLennan
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2010, 07:22:46 PM »
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Quote from: neile
IWith regards to the burnishing bone, I use to very lightly tap the top layer of paper down to hide the overcut. Sometimes it works better than others. I don't rub or burnish with it because that'll add a sheen to the mat that is very visible.
Neil

I've been using one of my wife's larger-diameter knitting needles for this.  It's about 1/4 inch diameter and is very precise, easy to position and probably a lot cheaper than a burnishing bone.  I've saved several mats from the trash with this tool.


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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2010, 12:55:05 AM »
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I don't know if it helps, but since the Logan is somewhat similar to the Valiani Astra mat cutter you could have a look at videos from Valiani. The part related to adjusting the stops is in the video no. 3 starting around 4:50, the URL is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAYn57IyzhU (search for "Valiani Astra Manual Mat Cutter" on YouTube). Looking at the video was a lot better instead of reading the manual.

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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 08:41:01 AM »
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To the OP - have you tried using production stops? This goes a long way towards high precision.

Production stops eliminates all of the headache of manually positioning blade to the nth of an inch positions required for the start and stop points. It will eliminate the need to mark with pencil on the back of the paper. It's about the best tool to insure consistent results. Well that and a 4x power magnifying glass to make sure your start and stop points are exact.

If you haven’t done so, definitely try it.
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framah
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2010, 10:07:11 AM »
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Ok, Bill..
The way you are setting your blade depth is wrong. You aren't setting it deep enough!!  As I said, you need to have the blade go about 1/3rd the way into the slip sheet, not just scratching the surface of it. Do that first before trying to solve anything else.

When I talked about having the cutting head in the same place every time, I didn't mean on the rail. I meant in relation to you.

 You can start the cut anywhere on the rail you want, but you should try to "address" the cutter head the same way each time. The angle I talk about is between you and the head. Consistency  in HOW you do it is important in getting consistently good cuts.  (Zen and The Art of Mat Cutting) It is important that you become one with your machine, little grasshopper.  

I've never used a Logan cutter. I consider them to be at the bottom of the mat cutters out there. My opinion is they are for occasional  work and not meant for full time framing businesses. I have used a C&H cutter and now have a Fletcher cutter and when I draw the guide lines, I use the hold down bar which is set to the size I want. Then when I cut a mat, theoretically, the blade SHOULD cut right on the line.... but it doesn't actually do that.  Thus my asking you about where the blade goes into the mat in relation to the line.  Once you know how the machine works you can make the tiny adjustments in how you work which will allow you to get the good cuts you want. Single edge blades versus double edge ones  and which way you put the single edge blade into the holder will also make a slight bit of difference in  where the blade enters the mat in relation to the line. Even something like how you hold the pencil when you draw the line (or how thick you make the line)  will affect the relationship between the line and the blade.

That's why practicing on scraps over and over and over is so important to becoming consistent in how you do it.

This is SOOO much easier to show in person!!     I'm used to just doing it and am now having to put into words that you will understand something i don't even think about anymore. That,  plus I have a computerized mat cutter now and rarely ever use the table cutter.


Thoroughly diffused and clear as mud!!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 10:10:55 AM by framah » Logged

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Bill Koenig
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2010, 02:53:17 PM »
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Quote from: framah
Ok, Bill..
The way you are setting your blade depth is wrong. You aren't setting it deep enough!!  As I said, you need to have the blade go about 1/3rd the way into the slip sheet, not just scratching the surface of it. Do that first before trying to solve anything else.

When I talked about having the cutting head in the same place every time, I didn't mean on the rail. I meant in relation to you.

 You can start the cut anywhere on the rail you want, but you should try to "address" the cutter head the same way each time. The angle I talk about is between you and the head. Consistency  in HOW you do it is important in getting consistently good cuts.  (Zen and The Art of Mat Cutting) It is important that you become one with your machine, little grasshopper.  

I've never used a Logan cutter. I consider them to be at the bottom of the mat cutters out there. My opinion is they are for occasional  work and not meant for full time framing businesses. I have used a C&H cutter and now have a Fletcher cutter and when I draw the guide lines, I use the hold down bar which is set to the size I want. Then when I cut a mat, theoretically, the blade SHOULD cut right on the line.... but it doesn't actually do that.  Thus my asking you about where the blade goes into the mat in relation to the line.  Once you know how the machine works you can make the tiny adjustments in how you work which will allow you to get the good cuts you want. Single edge blades versus double edge ones  and which way you put the single edge blade into the holder will also make a slight bit of difference in  where the blade enters the mat in relation to the line. Even something like how you hold the pencil when you draw the line (or how thick you make the line)  will affect the relationship between the line and the blade.

That's why practicing on scraps over and over and over is so important to becoming consistent in how you do it.

This is SOOO much easier to show in person!!     I'm used to just doing it and am now having to put into words that you will understand something i don't even think about anymore. That,  plus I have a computerized mat cutter now and rarely ever use the table cutter.


Thoroughly diffused and clear as mud!!


Farmah,

Thanks again for the reply. I agree with you on the blade depth, I will take a closer look at that. When you say a 1/3 deep into the slip sheet, there are two ways to look at that. Are you referring to along the 45 degree angle of the cut? or perpendicular to the mat?
A mat that's 0.053 thick, will be 0.075 thick at 45 degrees. How do you judge your blade depth?

I think my mat cutter, which is 40" long, may be cutting deeper in the middle, so blade depth would be a issue.
The fact that the Logan 650 uses a partial board base, flatness of that base could be a problem. I keep mine on flat solid table, but there's slight warp in one corner.
In regards to the lines, I think what you are referring to is called parallax error. In my day job I'm a machinist, and I match lines with lines all the time, so that's not a problem.
If you take a look at the manual, the number one cause of problems is setting the blade to deep.
I thought I was buying a quality mat cutter, but I'm beginning to regret my choice, it just isn't consistent cut to cut, but it still could be operator error, I hope so anyway.
I don't use a wood pencil, I use 0.5mm 5H mechanical pencil which draws a very fine line, the 5H lead doesn't smear. I hold it at a slight angle when drawing lines.
I practiced cutting mats and mats and mats until the cows came home, just when I thought I had it right, something would change.
When looking at the drop, the distance (gap) from the drawn line to the cut is smaller in the long direction than in the short, in fact the gap in the short direction is twice as wide as it is the long way, shouldn't they be the same? This gap is equal on both sides, just twice as large on the short ends. I hope I didn't confuse anyone here with that last comment.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 03:03:57 PM by Bill Koenig » Logged

Bill Koenig,
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2010, 03:16:33 AM »
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I'm using a Logan 655 and have been fairly pleased with the results.  One thing that I didn't see mentioned in the responses was to be sure to not press down on the long lift handle - or whatever it's called - when doing the cut as this can cause a slight distortion in the line and/or cut.

Mike
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2010, 02:03:46 PM »
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Bill, Glad to hear about using the mechanical pencil!!    I used to do alot of drafting in my other life and still have mine and usually have a 6 or 8h lead in them for guide lines.

Parallax error is what I was talking about. Good to put a proper term to it.

1/3rd into the slip sheet is straight into it. When you do a test cut, have the slip sheet set so you will cut past the end of it and that way you can look at the edge of the slip sheet and see how deep you have cut. It doesn't matter what you are doing to the top mat, you are only making a series of cuts to set the depth.

As for the short cuts being different than the long cuts.. that's a strange one for shore! Do you cut the cuts in succession or do you cut opposite sides.. long side first then short side?
Which ever way you do it, try the other way to see if that helps. If all my sides are the same size I'll cut in succession, if they are opposites equal, then logically I would cut like sides together.
If bottom weighted, the succession method works.

I should give mat cutting and framing classes.. say while aboard a ship traveling to Antarctica!! Then we could all write the trip off as a business expense! The Antarctic framing school!!  Hawaii would work, also.  

Agree on the no pressing on the handle comment.
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2010, 08:54:36 AM »
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Quote from: Peter McLennan
I've been using one of my wife's larger-diameter knitting needles for this.  It's about 1/4 inch diameter and is very precise, easy to position and probably a lot cheaper than a burnishing bone.  I've saved several mats from the trash with this tool.


One way to avoid the sheen of a burnishing bone on mat overcuts is to use a small scrap of matboard instead.   I put a piece on top of the overcut, apply moderate pressure, and rotate the scrap piece back and forth, about 1/4 of a turn.    This heals the overcut better than any other method I've tried, with no sheen.

David V. Ward, Ph. D.
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David V. Ward Fine Art Photography
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2010, 09:26:54 AM »
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I bought a Logan 660 mat cutter a few months ago and found that using the "edge detector" helps with consistent starting points. It's the flexible piece of metal that extends from the adjustable production stop. You press down on this metal piece with you little finger while while setting the cutter head in position to begin your cut. The edge detector then stops as it cones in contact with the edge of the mat. You then start pressing down on the cutter to start your cut, releasing the edge detector as you begin cutting. This helps prevent "creep" of the cutting head as the blade is pushed into the mat.

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