How do I create a V Groove


Grumbler in Training
Apr 29, 2005
I purchased my Fletcher 2100 a few months ago. Someone suggested that I can make a V groove on the mat without using a V Groove cutter. I have tried, but I'm not getting it (newbie talking!!). Can anyone give me some advise or know of a website that could help me? I am trying to save a little money, but if I need to, I will purchase a groove cutter (so if this is my route, I would like to know if anyone has one for sale).

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Try Brian Wolf's Cutting, Carving & Decorating mats book page 25 Doesn't the F2100 come with instructions?
There should be instructions in your Owner's Manual that came with the machine. If you can't find it, here is the quick version...

Once you have sized your mat to the proper outer dimensions:

Set the mat guide to whatever distance the groove is to be located from the OUTER edge of the mat. (For Example, if the total mat width is to be 3" and you want the groove 3/4" away from the opening, make your first cut at 2 1/4".) Begin by cutting a window in the mat as you normaly would. Be sure to register one side of the mat with a pencil line on the back so that you can orient the fall-out back in the mat later.

Once you have the fallout from the mat, you will need those little black pins that came with your mat cutter. You place one of those in the whole on the measuring scale closest to the bar.

Slide the mat guide in until the little black screw hits the pin. Tighten the clamp so the guide won't move.

Next, place the mat fallout under the bar face up until it hits the guide. (Be sure to use a slip sheet under the mat. Make a pass with the cutter head as usual cutting from the top. You should get a long thin peice (string) of mat that comes off. Do this for all four sides of the fall out.

Line the back of the windowed mat with a 3/4 - 1" wide scotch tape. 3M's 810 works perfectly. Be sure to run the tape 1/2 on and 1/2 off the beveled edge so that the tape hangs into the window opening of the mat about 1/2".

Lay the mat with the window in it and tape on the back face up on the table. Now, using the pencil line that you made on the back of the mat as a registration mark, reposition the fallout back in the mat. You can make small adjustments to get the line nice and even. Press gently to set in place.

(See that nice white line running around in a rectangle. That's the V-Groove. You did it!)

Be sure to burnish the tape on the back to make sure it won't move.

Cut your mat to the desired finish border size and viola!

Now, I know I promissed the quick version, but I guess there really isn't one.

***** A couple of tips... *****
If the v-groove is too wide or too narrow, you can adjust the width by turning that little balck screw on the guide that slides to hit the pin. The further the screw sticks out, the wider the groove.

When trimming the fall-out, place a scrap of mat board with a beveled edge against the end of the mat where you are starting the cut. Lay the beveled edge of the scap mat on top of the beveled edge of the fall-out so that they line up. Begin your cut about 1" onto the scrap mat. This will help eliminate the slight hooking that can appear at the begining of the cut.

WOW! Never had to write all of that before... That would have been alot easier with pictures.....

This framing this is so easy.... Why is it soooo expensive? You got me!

Good luck.
You may be right, Harry...I dont think there's another quick method other than that..since the pins on my Fletcher were busted, I've been doing v-grooves with manual settings. Another tip which could be helpful: Before cutting the window from the mat, mark two short pencil lines on one side intersecting the measurement lines and one short line on the other, after trimming the fallout for the v-groove cuts, you can align these pencil marks to ensure that youre taping the right sides.
Or you can email Seth, aka: Bogframe who has a great deal of info on V-grooving. Getting a copy of the '5th Dimension's' "Working On A Groovy Thing" might also be helpful.
In David S' Brian Wolf suggetion their is no need for marking the center drop or for removeing itand rplaceing it. this also seriously cuts down on the possibility of the grooves varying in thickness.

In this metod you cut the back of the mat and tape each cut before proceeding to the next cut then flip the mat over and without changeing the settings on the guide bar you insert the blad at the start of each cut but not cutting completly through ( this requires a bit of practice to get the proper feel) and then continue to all four sides.

Some caviats are that if the resulting groove isn't thick enough for your taste you can twick the guide bar over a very small amount ( less than 1/16 in.) and make the resulting front cut for a wider groove. But the biggest precondition is that your cutter and it guidebar settings and square ness MUST be set as correctly as possible.( Brian has a bunch of adjustments he recomends) to insure that all groove are perpendicular and therefore even. But if done correctly the only other adjust ment that is sometimes needded is to use an exacto knife to trim out the less than 1/16 in notch that may remain in the corners. this is since it is best to insert the blade on the front just short of the intersecting cut from the rear or you may have an OVERCUT in the corner.

But when done correctly the mat is fully assembled and there is no guessing or matching marks to insure proper replacement.
But as DavidS said Brian does a wonderful job of explaining in his books.

Haveing only viewed Seth's Marvelous work I suspect that his technique must be very similar.
Thank you everyone for your input and such quick responses!! Harry, I hope you got a good night's sleep after all that typing!! I really appreciate your help and I will try it out tonight. You may hear from me tomorrow, hopefully on a successful note!!
Haveing only viewed Seth's Marvelous work I suspect that his technique must be very similar.
Maybe I can simplify this method a bit. After making sure that your mat guide is perfectly straight, cut the first part of the groove as if you were cutting a mat. Put the dropout back in the mat, taping it in place from the back. Put the mat back in the cutter face-up without changing your settings. Put the blade at the top of the cut, plunge it half-way into the mat and cut until it hits the end of the cut. (You'll see the groove make a little jump) repeat on the other three sides, and voila! A V-groove! Once you're comfortable doing that, order my book ;) plug plug ;) and make some real money with your new skill.