View Full Version : CIA (?) Company classic mat cutter???

May 2nd, 2011, 01:12 PM
Hi Everyone,

I received a call from a customer today looking for parts for her mat cutter... she tells me it is a 48" "Classic" mat cutter with the name "CIA Company" on it, anyone ever heard of this? Because I can't seem to find any info at all.



Terry Hart cpf
May 2nd, 2011, 01:46 PM
Could it be C&H ?

May 2nd, 2011, 01:46 PM
More than likely, its says "C & H" and she's having a hard time reading it.

Jim Miller
May 2nd, 2011, 01:49 PM
I bet it's a C&H Classic. I had one. Nice cutter, but the brass head/chrome bar design requires cleaning and lubrication at least a few times a day. Otherwise, the brass wears quickly.

Bob Doyle
May 2nd, 2011, 02:26 PM
What about Carithers? Could that be the name? They did become C&H right?

BTW What is she looking for in terms of parts?

May 2nd, 2011, 03:01 PM
That would be Carithers, designed by Herb. Then it turned into C+H. Great cutters. Mine is 25 years old and works well. Herb and his son Charlie used to go to all of the shows to do demos. They had a framing school in Jackson Mississippi which I attended. Those guys were dedicated to our industry!

Jeff Rodier
May 2nd, 2011, 03:11 PM
Nice cutter, but the brass head/chrome bar design requires cleaning and lubrication at least a few times a day. Otherwise, the brass wears quickly.

Cleaned mine once a week and cut several hundred to a thousand mats on it each week. Never wore out a single part. Many people have a tendency to overtighten the head assembly on the guide bar.

Rob Markoff
May 2nd, 2011, 03:26 PM
Agreed- CIA is Carithers International

I have a 60" cutter still in use - and it is a fine machine. My machine has a brass cutting head with four points of adjustment to account for wear. It is still true and accurate. We take the bar off to cut mats larger than 60 x 60 since the Wizard will only hold a 40 x 60 board.

I also still have my Oval Cutter and use it to size oval glass or cut fome-cor for backing on oval frames.

CIA was bought by 3M (also still have a 60" Art Mate - though it is a CIA Wanna Be) - the mat cutting division was bought by Nielsen/Bainbridge and rebranded as C+H.

Parts aren't rocket science" and almost anything needed can either be sourced from a good industrial hardware store (like hinge roll pins that do fail) or other fasteners. A good machine shop can fix/fabricate anything else.

Like a prior post - what parts are needed?

May 2nd, 2011, 05:37 PM
I understood C&H was Herb Carithers first go at mat cutters. His wife was Cathy and so C and H but Herb told me the company name was C&H when he bought it. He sold C&H but couldn't resist getting back into the business hence the "Classic" series of mat cutters. More precise, more adjustments, and the best manual mat cutter I ever came across. 3 of these in our shop and we cut hundreds of thousands of mats on them - actually still have all 3. Each framer would start the week by cleaning, oiling and checking accuracy every Monday morning. Perfect corners, perfect Vee grooves. A great mat cutter. I understood the classic line was eventually taken on by Larson Juhl.

CIA - Carithers International Associates - PO Box 16997, Jackson, MS - 39236 - 601-956-8378

That's the label on our cutters.

May 3rd, 2011, 08:37 AM
Hey thanks everyone! The Grumble is such a valuable source to this industry, I'm glad I logged on:)

She originally said to me that it was a C & H but upon reading the info on the machine to me she discovered that it said C.I.A. I believe she purchased it from another framer years ago, this guy most likely told her that C.I.A. was now C&H in case she needed parts, this is most likely why she had it in her memory.

She was looking for a new head but I have not seen the machine yet. I'll be dropping by tomorrow to have a look as she is saying that her mats are all bowing, perhaps she just needs new bearings? Anyways, as mentioned, I will be going to look at it tomorrow, I'm glad I have a lead on a source.

Thank you to everyone who offered help, I really appreciate it.


Terry Hart cpf
May 3rd, 2011, 09:56 AM
There's no bearings on a C&H. Unless there's excessive wear or warping the most common culprits are proper blade depth adjustment & just plain technique.

Jeff Rodier
May 3rd, 2011, 10:01 AM
There are adjustable tension blocks on the head rather than bearings. Loosen a couple of screws, shift the tension blocks and retighten the screws. 3 minutes and it will cut like new. Be careful not to overtighten the head.

Rick Granick
May 3rd, 2011, 10:12 AM
I have a machine like that one too. The bevel-cut side doesn't hold the blade as securely as it used to. The blade seems to rotate clockwise a bit. Is there an adjustment or replaceable part that might help with this? (I mostly use the straight-cut side on this cutter to make shadow box strips etc. nowadays, but I do still cut the occasional mat on it, or use it for cutting out mounted items with a reverse bevel.)
:cool: Rick

Jeff Rodier
May 3rd, 2011, 10:18 AM
Rick, that is internal wear of the bevel cutting head. The ridge that prevents the blade from rotating has worn down.

Rick Granick
May 3rd, 2011, 11:05 AM
Wonder if I could retrofit it with an auxiliary ridge, maybe epoxy a piece from another blade in place...?
:icon11: Rick

Bob Doyle
May 3rd, 2011, 11:59 AM
Rick, you might want to talk to a machinist. maybe he could fix it up right, or head you down the right track....

Jeff Rodier
May 3rd, 2011, 05:12 PM
Auto Bondo might just do the trick.

Rob Markoff
May 3rd, 2011, 05:17 PM
Auto Bondo might just do the trick.

I tried that but it just wore a slot in it after a while (on a different cutter) - Maybe JB Weld is stronger?

Jeff Rodier
May 3rd, 2011, 05:34 PM
You know what they say Rob, if you can't fix it with Bondo or Duct tape you need a new one.:shutup:

Rick Granick
May 3rd, 2011, 06:19 PM
That's why I thought maybe "grafting" in more metal might be sturdier.
:popc: Rick

May 3rd, 2011, 07:44 PM
There's a trick or 2 in clamping the blade on a Classic mat cutter. It's easy to show but hard to put in words like so many technical things - I'll try.

The blade clamping plate is attached to the head at 2 points, one being the knob your thumb contacts when cutting and the other a hex head screw countersunk into the head. The clamp plate pivots on a line through these 2 points - you tighten the clamp knob lifting a corner of the clamp plate which causes the opposite corner to push against the blade clamping it. If the knob and countersunk screw are too tight the plate can't pivot and clamp well. It's a fussy little adjustment but when correct clamps the blade tightly near the cutting edge.

This is for a Classic mat cutter not a C&H

May 3rd, 2011, 07:53 PM
Classic technical part 2

there are 4 adjustment screws in the head - hard to find little holes that use a small hex key to adjust. One you have to push the return spring aside to reach. These are adjusted just enough to keep the head moving along the bar without any rocking. On Monday morning I would take the head off the bar, clean, and lube it. Used a mat blade to clean any dust between the 2 parts of the bar - round bar and flat bar both sides. The bar was wiped with an oily rag - wiped clean - no oil left behind. Head was cleaned and when put back on the bar a little push with my finger would send it 60 inches to the other end.

Bob Doyle
May 4th, 2011, 10:11 AM
I tried that but it just wore a slot in it after a while (on a different cutter) - Maybe JB Weld is stronger?

If you have to make a bump out it is easier to drill it than it is to build up. And it'll be more stable and less likely to move. Building up will come loose and shift around.

Drill a hole, tap it and insert a screw. Then you can adjust the height of the bump by turning the screw in or out. Use brass or a light weight metal that will be worn down before the cutter head.