Cove Mats


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Aug 1, 2003
Does anyone have a simple formula for cutting cove mats? I have an article of Brian Barnett's, but not very clear instructions. I know you make a quick box and the more you cut from the corners the greater the depth.
Stuart Altschuler teaches a class on these, aka "tray mats" or "pan mats". He has a formula for the angles/depth/width ratios, but I could never make it work. Calculating the geometry, and penciling it on the mat, and cutting the lines accurately are three difficult things, as a slight error is amplified.

I generally plan to tolerate inaccuracy in one or another of depth, angles, or frame perimeter, depending on which factors are fixed and which are variable for a given project. For example, sometimes I can wait and size the frame to fit the perimeter of the package after it is finished.
In addition to the complexity of determining the proper angles for a “tray mat” (which I, too, have never mastered), a true “cove” mat would have to have arcs (and not necessarily perfect ovals) cut from the mat board material as well to make it concave.


This is way beyond anything that I would have in my arsenal.

<font size=-30>Crud! Now I’ll be thinking about this all day.</font>
Why not just use a scoop liner...?

Cutting the corners out like that sounds like a hassle that just wouldn't be worth it.

edie the makingmylifeeasiereveryday goddess
They are very easy to make using the templates and formulas from "Circle Master Company - 420 East Canal St., Picayune, MS 39466 - 601-798-8150
I don't know if they are still in business or not. If not I can e-mail you the charts for doing the layout for pan mats with 5 different angles. Let me know.
3LB coffee can.... over a 3" cut will give you about a 1 1/2" deep cove mat....

KISS me every time...

Old age and tenasity will overcome the lack of CMC :D

But I'm more with Edie.... to many times have I seen cove and pan mats self distruct with time.
even when they have been "plastered" on the back with wheat paste bonding hinges.
I'd experiment with a single corner on a piece of scrap until the angle/curvature is right.
The scrap piece then becomes a template for tracing out the final piece.
I'd cut only half of each corner and 'pinwheel' like a bevel accent.
The extra 'arms' provide additional strength and anchoring points.