Mat Cutters


Grumbler in Training
Jan 28, 2006
Columbia, SC
Dear Grumblers,

My name is Kevin and I am new to the forum. I've been reading for some time now and have picked up a few things, thanks.

I am finally posting with two questions. I am a backyard framer. I make about 2-4 frames per week for friends and family to help pay for some of my tools, and to stay busy. Here are my questions:

1. I am ready to upgrade my mat cutter. I currently have an Alto 4501. It has done the job but I am ready to upgrade to something more precise. There is a little too much "slop" in the Alto for my needs. Do you have an recommendations for cutters around $250-$350. I don't need a ton of bells and whistles but like for my equipment do to the few things it does extremely well.

2. Can anyone suggest a supplier for ready made mouldings? I can make about 8 different profiles with my router, but I am ready to step up to a bit more professional look (also to save time). I purchased some moulding from in Hendersonville NC. It was decent, but their selection was a bit thin. Anything in South or North Carolina would be a plus as I could pick up moulding if I was in the area.

Thanks and grumble on...

Columbia, SC
250-300 go to EBay and try to get a used one. Or cough up the money and get a Fletcher 2100 or 2200, or a C&H.

You get what you pay for. Spend 250 today and you'll be upgrading again in 6 months.
"The Palmetto Group" is in Columbia, with quite a good selection of moulding and related supplies. You have to have a business license, though.

Palmetto Framing Supplies
105 Leventis Dr.
FAX 783-9355

Welcome to The Grumble, neighbor!
Thanks for the replies so far. What would a Fletcher set me back? I had looked at the online before but I could never find a published price. I was looking at a Logan 750. What would seperate the Fletcher and the Logan?

Any information is appreciated...

Originally posted by Kburke:
What would seperate the Fletcher and the Logan? Kevin
The Fletcher is made to much tighter tollerances and specifications...designed to work in a production shop (before the advent of CMC's) for an extended time. The logan uses less expensive tooling and technology (price is reflected in same).
For your volume a Logan might be the ticket, but if your production picks up you will probably need to upgrade to a Fletcher or one of the other top end manual cutters. Keep an eye out for a good used Fletcher. You might want to do a search for used equipment dealers on the Grumble (see selection just under banner ad at top of page).
Another thought is to talk to some of the frame shop owners in your area to see if they have a good used mat cutter for sale. I use my old ones for decoration and keep them in fear of losing electricity and having to revert to a totally manual shop. Most are worn out beyond usefulness.

If your intent is to stay at the trade, always buy the best tool you can't afford. Generally the payback will come sooner than later.
If your going to buy a Logan, spend a $100.00 more for there 650, do a google search, to look for one. Lots on ebay.

I bought one from Dick Blick art supply Its been
good to work with, production stop work fine, but after a year and half of using it, it still work fine, but I am looking to up grade to a Fletcher or a Valiani. If you buy Blick art supply go ahead and buy the 100 blade pack, because if you spend over 250.00 you get free shipping on other stuff than the mat cutter.

Kevin W.
Kevin, if your doing an average of 3 frames a week, that's 156 in a year. Don't mess around! Get a good cutter. I been through the $200 cutters and ended up with the Fletcher 2200. With some of the extras you should get with it, it will set you back $1,500. You know how costly custom framing is. It will pay for itself in just a few frame jobs. Another one is Astra. It looks well made and comes with the accessories you have to pay to get with the Fletcher. It is under $1,000.
I got lucky by asking around. My primary wholesaler put me onto a used Fletcher 2000 (48"). It had not been used in about 5 years and was quite dirty. Picked it up for $325.00C, spend 2 days cleaning, squaring, tightening etc and now it is very servicable. Sure the 2001 and 2002 have a few more bells and whistles, but the basic functions are the same. I am glad I got the 48" over the 40" that are out there, for the odd time someone has something larger to cut. My previous (economy) Fletcher Matmate, that I bought on ebay I still use for sizing cause it is so easy to see what I am doing.

get one as looong as you can stand, then buy the next larger.....(can cut shorter but not longer!!!) have used a f2100 for 4 yrs----good cutter, has its own problem/foilbles, as do they all. would I buy another????? think Id lean towards another manufacturer(it might even suit me better , but I wont know that until I try it, yes?)I like the idea of being able to cut each edge as it is presented on the turh of the mat...dislike fletcher's having to turn the entire mat around to cut the opposit side(unless you want to reset the stops-assumes you use them- on each side....

best advice---see if you can find a shop that will let you get hands-on and pump them dry of info about theirs