Cutting mats, buying scales, and starting out.

AC Mach

Dec 19, 2005
West Virginia & Maine
Okay I'm a newbie,
But we all were newbies at one time or another!
I am a photographer who had his own darkroom (now 100% digital) for 25 years or so. Yes I got a small 30" Logan mat cutter, and a Logan 201 circle & oval cutter. And I did quite well with both, sticking to pre-made frames. Now I am going forward with my work as requests for my photography have grown. Also as mentioned elsewhere on the grumble, I am setting up the framing dept. for a friend who is opening a Benjamin Moore Signature Store and Home Store. I will be doing all their custom framing. I have recently gotten my first miter saw (still need the scales. Clearmount or Phedra?????? Help!!!!), I have gotten my first v-nailer, and just got the Logan 650 and the v-Grover attachment.


I have watched the DVD that came with it, and looked up other info on the internet, including here on the grumble, but:

1. Does anyone have other suggestings on internet training in mat cutting or framing? I am out in the middle of nowhere (WV mountains) and usually do well with that kind of instruction. (Free is best!

2. What are the benefits or weaknesses of either the Clearmount or Phedra saw scales? I have the DeWalt 12" sliding miter saw with a nice blade that cost me an arm and 1 leg to purchase.

3. Where can one get a good deal on the scales?

4. What else should a newbie know?????

Thanks my head is spinning!,
AC Mach
Originally posted by acmach:
...Does anyone have other suggestings on internet training in mat cutting or framing? I am out in the middle of nowhere (WV mountains) and usually do well with that kind of instruction. (Free is best!
No. When it comes to training, free is not best. We get what we pay for, as usual; good training does not cost, it pays.

So, you just bought some equipment and you are setting up the framing department for a friend, and you will be doing the custom framing for this store? I respectfully submit that you probably are in over your head.

My suggestion would be to stall your purchase of any more framing equipment until after January 26, 2006.

Get off that mountain and fly your butt to Las Vegas for the West Coast Art & Frame Show. Buy the "VIP Option" NOW, and book all the classes you can handle before any more of them fill up.

You are lucky to need training within a month of the best annual framing education opportunity in the industry. And while you're there, you can find the best advice -- and deals -- on whatever equipment you truly need.

If you're thinking that you can't afford to spend $2,000 to go to a trade show, consider that you would probably get back that investment within a few months -- maybe weeks -- of your start up.

For example, if knowing the best way to join frames with your new V-nailer saves 5 minutes on each frame, at $10 per hour that's 83.3 cents per frame. Considering no other benefits of the trip, your 2,410th frame all by itself would celebrate the payback of your investment.

But your payback would come much sooner, because in the classes you would learn from the best teachers about how to run your business most profitably; how to cut all kinds of mats; how to make the most of mounting; how to save money on framing materials. Those are all lessons with long term benefits.

Heck, if you need to buy more framing equipment, you could easily save enough in "show special" prices to pay the airfare.

See you there.
Hey Jim,
Thanks for the reply and comments.
Yes I agree free isn't always the best and have been involved with janitorial services and supplies since 1977. The trade show for that industry also more than pays for it self. Again I agree with all your comments however my daughter is getting married in Maine at the same time and if her Daddy went to a trade show instead of the wedding, well it would kind of be a linching. OUCH!

I have gone to the Photo Expo in NYC many times over the last 20 years. Learned a lot, but the trade show seems less informative than it used to be. I do want to go to that show and try diffrent cammeras and combinations of lenses etc. but less of the little guys can afford to show there. Also there seems less show specials than there used to be at either the Janitorial trade show or the PhotoExpo. Is the WCAF show the same?

I also agree that the seminars would be of much benefit. Isin't there a trade show on the east coast???????

Thanks again
AC Mach
Yesterday after some research and reccomendations I received here, I purchased the clearmount scales.

Go to, their phone number is there and ask for Winnie.

She was very helpful and steered me to what I really needed and away from what I didn't.

Also they were running a special on some equipment.

Mention the Grumble to her. I let her know all the nice comments about her company and her service.
Bought directly from them. (go to the website)

Clearmount is one solid piece of scale, the Phaedra is a good scale as well but bolts on to each side of the saw and is more expensive. Clearmount bolts onto the saw bed not off the sides. Clearmount had easier clamps in my opinion.

Clearmount has a scale where the measuring is in the scale and not a sticker. Phaedra is a VERY good quality sticker but a sticker nontheless.

Given quality, price and accuracy I went for the clearmount. I used the Phaedra in another shop and you won't go wrong with either but I went with my gut.

Hope this helped.
Hey Bob,
Yes I read that also, If it is just an ink or paint I wonder how durable that would be. A sticker can be replaced like the Phaedra. But you can also silkscreen other chemicals that would be etched into the surface.

So I am not asking for the real technical answer, but just want to know I will still be able to read the scale in a few years. I am also leary of guarantees. But I have only heard of good things about Clearmount.

Again maybe someone who uses the CLearmount can comment.

Thanks Bob for your reply!
AC Mach
The disadvantage in the Clearmount system is that you lose some of the saw's height and width capacity - on a 10" saw that can be significant.

Pat :D
I was thinking about that Pat. I do have a 12" saw, but still. Do you loose that with the Pheadra? or is that not an issue due to the fact that the scale mounts to the side instead of on top of the saw table with the Pheadra?
Also Pat, do you or anyone else have a comment about the durability of the silk screened scale on the CLearmount compared to the sticker on the Pheadra?

Thanks all,
AC Mach