Help!! - Alto or Logan Mat Cutters


Grumbler in Training
Mar 14, 2004

Iam just learning framing and want to buy a mat cutter - I can't afford to spend loads of money. At my framing course we are using logan mat cutters on a rule, but I can't seem to get to hang of either the push or pull type - keep under cutting or not cutting right through the board. I have been told about the Alto 4501 and 4505 cutting systems and have heard good things about them. I have been searching the internet looking at other forums and am now totally confused. Iam leaning more towards the Alto as my experience with the Logan's has not been positive, but some say the Alto slides around and needs two people to hold it down.
Any advice would be most appreciated as I need to make a decision soon so I can just get on with matting my own photo's.

Thanks in Advance.
I teach a framing class on the logan but not on the rule! With the logan 301-s my students are able to walk away with a perfect cut mat I would say 90% of the time. It has a push head, which I do not care for but there seems to be fewer over cuts with the push head. There is a size restriction on the 301-s and you can not fit a full sheet of matboard in it. If you look on line some art supplies store offer it at about $100 U.S.
I have never used the Alto, so I cannot compare the two. I am a logan dealer and in most classes I sell 3-4 logan 301-s just because of the price point and ease of use.
You will like the Logan better than the Alto. It is really for the person who will only cut a very few mats. The Logan, as with any machine, takes a little practice. You will soon learn exacly where to insert the blade so that there is no overcut. As with anything, it is practice that makes perfect. (also a fussy eye doesn't hurt either...hehehe) Newtrall is correct in his assessment. We, too, sell them for about $120ish dollars, with which we include Vivian's mat cutting book and a free pack of blades. Also the purchaser can buy 12 sheets of mat at 20% off retail. This is our response to the BigBoxes off-pricing.
Also, if you're really concerned about overcuts, etc, you can always get a Logan 750 or 650. Yes, they are much more expensive, but the stops and the "stop/start" markers are very good.

I started with the 301 in 1990, then within 6 months went to a 750. I now have a 650 and have had it for about 5-6 years. I don't do near the volume that most framers on here do, but we work steady and profitably.

When we started our business, my wife went to the Larson-Juhl school in Atlanta. She really liked the 60" Fletcher-Terry 2100. They used all kinds in the school, and she liked that one best.
We bought it almost 8 years ago and have never had to do anything to it. No replaced parts (other than blades), no adjustments to the cutting head.
It's a real work-horse, and, as far as I know, it's still cutting mats!

PS: With a 60" cutter, you don't run into those "Uh-oh" jobs where the customer wants something bigger than your cutter will cut.
We sell the Logan and the Alto. We also used the Logan 650 and the Alto 4505 for 25 years. As far as cutting mats goes I perferred the Alto's and never had a problem of sliding around. We have a carpeted table we use. We cut multi openings and also 40 x 60 mats on this cutter until we got a Wizard. Just last month I cut a perfect 9 layer mat with 1/8th inch reveals on the Altos as a demostration. Both cutters are good just as we have Fords and Cheveys. I will buck the trend Altos being my recommendation.

Thanks to all who responded (and the link - looks very useful). It's good to hear experienced opinions and to find out that there are no glaring faults with either brand. I'm still um-ing and ah-ing though. I read on the Alto brochure that the maximum border width it will cut is 6" or 8" for the next model up - should this pose any restrictions for most frames? Most of my photo's are A4 or A3 size.

Thanks again
All the Best
Ive tried both but used to use the Altos lots - I wouldn't even consider the logan - never had problems with the logan - cuts as good as a fancy unit - sometimes think I should still have one around - also has wider bevels - (diffrerent angle) - get the metal unit - not plastic - you'll like it!
Sorry - I meant never had problems with the ALTO!!
Thanks. Well I've finally taken the plunge and gone with the Alto 4505 (the metal model) now all I have to do is start practising!!