mat cutting table


Grumbler in Training
Feb 13, 2006
grand ridge fl
I'm redoing part of my woodworking shop to start custom framing, what is the ideal size of a mat cutting table? What would be the best material to use for the cutting surface?

I have to say this, you didn't think this question out very well. The "cutting surface" is usually already provided by the mat cutter itself unless you are cutting mats with a straight edge and a utility knife.

Size of a mat table??? Mine is 4' wide and about 6' long with an offset at one end for my mat cutter and a double roll dispenser of paper at the other end for fitting. It has vertical slotted chambers along the long side for storage of matboard, foamcore, and larger fallouts and cutoffs of matboard. There are storage shelves at both ends and a place for a smaller trash can at each end. It is 39" high which is optimum for a guy 5'11" tall and has a recessed 3 1/2" toe kick area at the bottom. This table and all my other tables (all built approximately the same general dimensions) will easily fit through a 3'0 exterior door which is very important if you plan to ever move to another/better location. The surface is carpeted and well worth the cost to install some indoor/outdoor carpeting.

You will find others who complain about stuff getting stuck in the carpet fibers but, if you pull staples and don't just fling them around or clip wire and keep track of the clipped ends, in other words pay attention to what you are doing and not let foreign materials get built up in your carpeting, you should have no trouble with a carpeted matting or fitting table. My tables are pushing 18 years old and I can't recall one instance of a customer's framing being damaged on my tables because I carpeted some of them. And the protection that carpet offers when sliding frames around on a table or handling sensitive materials/keepsakes that belong to a customer has far outweighed any minor negatives that one can come up with for using carpet.

I have dropped customer frames and made bad cuts in customer matboards and have cut glass to the wrong dimensions but whose fault are all of THOSE mistakes?? ............. Uh huh. (Carpet or lack thereof would do little to minimize THOSE kinds of mistakes in the shop.)

We use a layer of coroplast on our tables ... it provides a cushioning effect and is easily cleanable ... never had a damaged frame on that, either ..... and the issue of staples/wire clips/etc. is moot.
Hey David,

The size of the table onto which you will place your mat cutter will, of course, be determined by the size of the cutter itself. Ours is an antique C&H 4060 with a left extension.

You will need to allow enough room (both to the left and to the right) for full sheets of mat board to extend from the cutter. That, too, will be determined by how big your cutter is and how large a chunk of mat board you will be using. I’d say at least a foot beyond the end of the squaring arm on the right and a good three feet (or more if you’re cutting 40 x 60” sheets) to the left.

I haven’t seen one for years, but we obtained a fine mesh sheet of some material to place under the mat cutter itself which provides enough friction so that the mat cutter won’t move. The cutter hasn't budged in years.

Our work tables are covered with a low pile carpet. Just keep ‘em vacuumed and they should work fine for you.
A footnote to my previous post:

When we constructed our table, we created a recess into which the mat cutter fits perfectly ... flush with the table surface. This prevents any scratching of mats that may occur by dragging them over the elevated edge of a mat cutter. It also keeps the cutter secure ... no movement at all.

BTW, our cutting table has an extra 1 1/2 feet on the left; the right side extends about 5 feet, to cover the largest mat we can cut (40 x 60).
My mat cutter table was built to hold my C&H 48Pro. Now I got a Fletcher 2200, and the cutout in the table doesn't fit! Gotta make a new table top.

Good book is the "How to build Frameshop Worktables, fixtures and Jigs" isbn 0-938655-36-1

Basic but good general instructions.
I shouldn't try to read between the lines, but I'm thinkin' David wants to cut mats, maybe with a straightedge and a utility knife, directly on the table surface without using a matcutter.

As always, I could be way off.
I'd swear there's an echo in here!

............ Hmmmmmm.

straight edge and a utility knife
****, you're right!

We gotta stop spending so much time together. We're starting to think alike.
No, I said it like Framerguy said exactly the same thing five posts earlier.

The range of responses stems, I think, from our confusion about what exactly Davidfl is looking for.

Personally, I first learned to cut mats with a hand-sharpened linoleum knife. Replaceable blades were a luxury.