Anyone using a Fletcher CMC?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Feb 7, 2001
Anyone have any comments on CMC preference? I don't know how soon I can get one, but it's time to catch up with the 21st century. I am considering the Fletcher and the Wizard. I know this is covered routinely, but what are you using and do you love it or do you tolerate it?
You're right, Cliff, I said that wrong. If I could have bought the one I wanted, I still would have gone with the Wizard. But their lease program sealed the deal for me!

I repeat, I love my Wizard!
I love my Wizard; my girlfriend in the next town over loves her Fletcher. Not much help, am I? The difference is she had enough money to buy but I needed to lease...

Works good for me!
They're all good. Your choice probably should not depend on what you read from others here, because your needs & wants & preferences are largely different than his or hers or mine.

How much speed do you need? If high production capacity is what you want, speed is important. For me, it's not an issue.

How many special features & fancy cutting patterns do you want? How many text styles & special shapes? Each software program is different, as are the cutting capabilities of the machines.

Do you want to design your own mat cuts in a specific program? If so, check out the CAD software compatibility of the machines.

Size? Price? Terms of lease or purchase?

This may be the highest-cost, highest-technology piece of equipment in your shop -- I know it is in mine. It is a long-term decision and not one to be made lightly, I suggest.

Get thee to Atlanta for DecorExpo next month, and/or to Las Vegas for WCAF in January. At these two shows you would be able to sniff around all of the models available. Talk with the experts who demonstrate them and find out all you can before you buy.

Then buy (or lease) with confidence.
"she had enough money to buy but I needed to lease..."

First, let me say that this should NOT be the deciding factor. You should be able to arrange a suitable/comparable lease in any case.

I agree with Jim. Go try them.

In addition to Jim's comments look at things like smallest radius cut possible, and angle of bevel.

Good Luck!
I bought a Fletcher (Valiani) 150 and it has changed our lives in the shop - for the better! When I think about it there are a number of things that I really like about this machine, but mostly because it cuts mats from the front. I invented a little doodad that shows me where not to put the ATG tape so I can still stick my double and triple mats together and cut the whole thing at the same time. No more rubbing ATG tape off the fallouts! I can still use smaller pieces for the 2nd and 3rd mats, which definitely helps in the cost department.
Buy? Lease? I bought using a credit card and then took advantage of one of those in-the-mail switch-your-balance-to-us-for-six-months-at-3.9%. The machine will come close to paying for itself in that time. The idea of having to pay so much per corner (I forget whose program that is) made my eyes cross.
hey Mike----you have a pic/explainatioon of your invention???? we'd all like to get a look!
I plan to check them out before I buy, but I,m looking for the day-to-day users that discover things they like or dislike about it that they may not have noticed during a demo. I used manual C & H for years and switched over to a Fletcher 2100. I loved it for the first few days and while there are features about the 2100 that are a plus over C & H, there are a few things that have become so irritating that I'm not sure I am happy with my decision to switch.
Diane, I suggest you keep your matcutter experiences in mind as you evaluate everyone's opinions on CMCs.

If you had asked Grumblers about their manual matcutter preferences, probably 90% of us would have told you we love our Fletchers, because it is the most popular in the industry, and that's what most of us have.

By the way, what do you find "so irritating" about your Fletcher manual matcutter? That seems unusual opinion. Is it something that could be fixed?
The title of this discussion "Fletcher CMC" needs the point made that the Fletcher Terry company once made a CMC but cancelled it. They now sell an imported CMC nade in Italy by Valiani. You could get comments by those with an old FT CMC or from those with a new FT/Valiani CMC - should be clear which machine the commenter has.
The spring inside the head keeps breaking. (3 times in one year on one the straight side, once one the beveled side). The knob that holds the blade cartridge on the beveled side is right in my line of vision with the tip of the blade so I have to change my stance to see the point of entry. And I really wish there was another ruled mat guide at the top of the sliding measuring bar. However, I love the blade cartridges and I love the extra wide bar. I have a 48" Fletcher but I still have a 60" C & H. I have to admit that in spite of the irritations the Fletcher has a smoother riding head on the bar as well as a smoother cutting action. Maybe I'll just try to add a mat a ruled guide to the Fletcher....
Diane, I replaced the beveled spring earlier this year(1st break in 3+ years) and got to talking with the fletcher person whilst ordering parts....seem this is just the 'nature of the beast'(a design flaw not bothering to get corrected???) it off in the hopes that new one wont do this or order 3-4 at a time so you're not sittin'-lookin' as yours seems prone to this malady
Diane, please go here and explain more, or e-mail me. I've pretty much decided on a Fletcher 2200(manual) but still hedging. That would be the place to grumble, if you have them. I'm still looking for whys/why-nots/what-to-look-for-when-I-get-it. Thanks.

And Deac, I think it needs to be a new one because of the insurance company...invoice and all that. Will check on Monday, good point.
Years ago I had a Wizard on a lease program and five cents per corner. The lease included more than enough corners to handle my monthly volume, I never did pay any extra for corners. The machine itself worked OK and did the job. In the few years I had it, just about every major component broke down and had to be replaced. Wizard never hesitated to ship out the replacement parts. I had them, usually with in a day or two. They never charged me a dime, not even shipping. Wizard is an excellent company to deal with, at least they where when I dealt with them. They even bent over back wards to help me end my lease with them when I bought my Fletcher 6100.

I purchased my Fletcher five or six years ago, it has never broken down, even once. It is an extremely well built machine and cuts a beautiful mat. Fletcher has great customer support and they have stood behind this cutter, even though it has been discontinued. They had sent me a letter saying they would continue to provide support, and parts, for a period of seven years. That was before they took on their new line of imported cutters. I expect they will continue to provide support well beyond the seven years.

To me, the difference between Fletcher and Wizard is their ability to get their product to the marketplace. Wizard figured out from the get-go, that custom picture frames, as a rule, are not wealthy people. They tailored lease programs that even a garage framer could afford. They made it easy for any framer to have a CMC. Consequently, their machines have dominated our industry.

Fletcher, on the other hand, is an old, well established, set in their ways, company. They only sell their products. They do not understand that most small frame shops can not afford to buy a twenty to fifty thousand dollar machine. They offer traditional lease to own programs through leasing companies, however, even that is unattainable to quite a few shops.

Their shortcomings in marketing led them to discontinue their Fletcher 6100. They just could not get enough of them into play, to warrant having a whole division of manufacturing and support personnel on their payroll.

In house leasing programs just did not make sense to them, and still doesn't. Fletcher sticks with the old tried and true methods of marketing, buying and selling. Fletcher's 6100 was many times superior to Wizards machines, at the time.

Had they just done something as simple as copying Wizards marketing approach, they would have easily dominated the market.

Wizard's and Fletcher's new line up of machines are apparently great ones, at least from what I have heard. I think Wizard will continue to be the leader, not because they necessarily have a better product, but because they understand how to get their product into more frame shops.

Both companies are great to deal with, you just need to be on a stronger cash footing to be a Fletcher customer.

This another of those Chevy v Ford v Dodge truck kind of thing

I don't think you will make a wrong decision either way

We have Wiz's and might use more corners in a month than most do in a year and we just haven't had the anywhere the near the problems as some.

But, I heartedly agree with our friend, JRB, when he suggests that problems are resolved at warp speed

In reality, we use about 10% of the options available, but go through blades like Sherman through Atlanta
Hi Bill and others,

As promised here are the details of my lo-tech contribution to the world of hi-tech framers. </P>

this image shows a wooden marking guage bought at Home Depot for $7.95 - made in England and has measurement scales in metric and inches. It came with a metal spike which I removed with hammer and pliers. The hole, where the spike was, I enlarged to a size that would hold a pencil loosely (3/8" I think). Then on the side I drilled a 1/16' hole and used a small screw to hold the pencil in there. </P>

This second picture shows the tool in use. If you want for example, a 3" mat including a 1/4" setback for the second mat set the guage at 2 5/8" and mark a line on all sides of the back of the top mat - I allow that extra 1/8" just in case I fail to stay outside the line during the next step. Then apply your ATG tape outside the line. press the back mat onto the back of the top mat. If the back mat is a lot smaller than the top mat add matboard "filler strips", so that the CMC clamps are grabbing onto two thicknesses of matboard. Now pop your double mat into the FletcherValiani CMC, design the double mat and press the mouse. You will be prompted to remove the centre after the top mat is cut. Do that, and press the mouse again to cut the second mat. I think that's it.

Mike, I think every one of us old guys had a few of those. I always used a screw eye instead of a Phillips screw. You just turned it with your fingers to tighten into the pencil, didn't have to hunt down the screw driver, also gave you more pressure control so you didn't go all the way to the lead.

Mike, can you still get those?? I thought they were obsolete, and have mourned the loss of mine for years! Home Depot, eh? YAY!! Hear that Bob?? We can still get them! :D
John, Thank you for your insights. Exactly the type of information I was hoping someone would share and then some! I have a running list of questions I want to ask each company and reading the posts helps me add more to the list.
Thanks for the screw-eye upgrade John, I think I'll do that. I like these "lo-tech" solutions!

And Val, I was surprised to find one of these tools in Home Depot, but in the Lee Valley Tools catalogue (you know, the one that every woodworker drools over!) there are a whole bunch of them, including a lot of brass and rosewood for the fancier shops.

Nah, I like the wood one! (rosewood, eh? Ooooh!)

Hey Baer, see this? We can still get 'em to replace our Old Favorite Mat Markers (I know, not the same but...!)!
Thanks Mike!
Diane, The Fletcher cuts smaller arcs and thus smaller designs and smaller fonts. It does this partially (probably solely) by having the blade at a steeper angle. Thus, the Wizard shows a wider (and I think nicer) bevel. It's a tradeoff, but if you know about it, you can at least have better data to make your decision with.

Good Luck!

P.S. I have a Wizard and have been very happy. THe Fletcher/Valiani came out after I bought. Probably would have made the same decision, but it would have been harder.
Thanks, Cliff. For my situation, beyond the time saver, I'm looking to utilize it for multiple opening double mats, specialty cuts and shapes like hearts and arches, and fancy extras. I really want to get into some lettering on mats.
What you listed, they all will do.

The Fletcher/Valiani can do things like fonts less than 1 1/2" and openings that look kind of like a decal edge. Stuff like that.

I saw much less than a 1/4 circle perfect. With the Wiz the best I've been able to do without breaking the blade is more like 5/16.

But, the bevel looks nicer on the Wiz IMHO.
assuming the the hardwares ARE pretty much equal in all systems('differing', perhaps, only in speeds & anlgle of blades), it then, imho, falls to the designing softwares...pathtrace, cad, ??????, and what ever. anyone out there with usage experience in more than one of these babies?? That, i think, will be the defining differences in the various systems...all softwares have their own idiosyncrasies and there are many many differences in the levels of dificulities amoung the various products doing the same/similar things..........anyone?????
I know there is a book or collection of Brian Wolf's design "recipes" for the Wizard. Does anyone know if these would be readily adaptible to the Fletcher as well?
:kaffeetrinker_2: Rick