When I first started framing I was trained on a C&H and a Fletcher. I don't have a specific reason why, but I always prefered using the Fletcher so that is the one I bought and have loved it. I have a CMC now and love it even more.
We use the Fletcher 2100 (older model of the 2200)
Very pleased with it - Easily handles multiple openings, double mats, v grooves, etc.
Whatever mat cutter you purchase, make sure to change the blades frequently.
Also - Welcome to The Grumble!
I have an older C&H at home and a brand new Fletcher 2200 at the store. I love my C&H, I have perfected nearly every cut on that one. I also love the new Fletcher. It really is great. However, the Fletcher is a 60" model. That bar is pretty big when I am only doing a small mat. However, it is nice when I am doing a very large mat.
Well, I guess this is as clear as mud....I really like them both. My favorite size to work with is a 40" model, but sometimes you just gotta have that 60" to work with.
I learned on a C&H, then had to wean myself to a Fletcher 2100. I quickly forgot that C&H, and didn't look back.
I think whatever matcutter you learn on, you will be sweet on, as they say... really, regardless of either, after a little practice, you find your groove. And your v-groove, heh heh...And the one you cut your most famous mat designs on, well, I guess they bury you with it...
Sure would hate to try and fit that CMC table in the coffin. at least my Fletcher 60" will fit nicely alongside me.
I bought a Fletcher at the Phila. trade show this past spring. The cut is smooth,blades are easy to change, its really a great cutter. If you can get to Atlanta next month, you will get to see every cutter available. I'm sure that they will all be happy to let you give theirs a try.