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loganmattecutter.jpgWanna know the difference between a professional looking framing job and what most people have hanging in their abode? Its all about the matting.

The problem is that at Toolmonger we were definitely born with the uber-cheap gene, and we refuse to pay $100 plus for a custom matte job.  That’s why we just placed an order for Logan’s 301-S compact matte cutter.  With the 301-S and just a little bit of practice, we’re gonna bring out the “inner masterpiece” in that $20 print of “dogs playing poker” we picked up at the flea market.  You can, too.

The 301-S is a 32″ matte cutter that offers affordable and professional results while boasting a street price of around $70.  It features an open ended guide rail that lets you perform bevel cuts in matboards of any size.  You can cut boards up to 29-1/2″ without even repositioning.

To make a cut with the 301-S, just line up your board with the guides and drag either the straight-angled blade (or one of the beveled blades) along the guide track with a bit of steady pressure.  Don’t expect perfect results the first time, but with 30 minutes or so of practice on some “spare” matting, you should be good to go.

The cutter kit includes beveled and straight cutting heads, a parallel matte guide for setting border widths from 3/4″ to 4-1/4″, a safety lock to keep the matte guide secure during cutting, a serrated aluminum guide rail, and five extra blades.  If you’re a matte newbie, you’ll appreciate the instructional DVD Logan includes in the kit.

We’ll let you in on the local frame shop’s dirty little secret: When you pay out the wazoo for that 24″ x 36″ matte cut, they then take the middle and sell it again as, say, an 18″ x 30″.  Then a 13″ x 20″.  Then an 8 x 10″.  Then a 4″ x 6″.  By the time they get done, they’ve sold that $50 matte board for $500.  Hey, it keeps the doors open, right? 

The bottom line: You can buy this system and a couple of matte boards for about as much as you’d spend on a single custom job at a framing shop.  From then on, you’re set.  Now you’re the one re-using the cuts off the full-sheet matte board you’re buying cheap. 

Saving money, satisfying the cheapness in us, and still making our wall hangings look hot — sign us up.

301-S COmpact Matte Cutter [Logan Graphic]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


3 Responses to Finds: Logan 301-S Compact Matte Cutter

  1. Rob says:

    $50 MATTE BOARD? Man I need to sell you guys some matte board. I was thinking $10 was pricey.

    I bought one for my wife and it works great. My wife frames everything now. We get clearance “art” for the cheap frames and cut our own mattes if the one in there doesn’t work for our needs. I think we’re averaging about $10 a frame or less.

  2. Tyrone says:

    I don’t own the 301-s, but I have the Intermediate 450. It makes a huge difference. I have to take issue with the pricing thing mentioned in the article, it’s a little overblown. However, the bottom line is you get ripped off paying other people to cut mats for you. I used to buy 16×20 mats (adn I didn’t even like the colors, I used to get as close as I could) for $8-12 minimum.

    However, I can go get a full-size mat sheet (32″x40″) and cut *4* 16×20 mats – and a full sheet costs me $5!

    And I can get all the colors I want and do all the layering I desire. And the end result is much more beautiful than buying store-cut or custom mats.

    I figure I can have it start paying for itself inside of a year with all the pictures I take, and all the shows I compete in. I’ll never go back to doing it another way.

  3. Pat says:

    I have one better – someone elses cutter, can’t beat that price.

    We got onto it after we paid a lot of money to have the local framing store do a lousy job.

    You are still faced with the problem of where to get a frame, but plain standard sized frames are pretty cheap in all sorts of places (incl Target etc), and look fine. Another option is getting one online. You have to make a bit of a guess about the colours, but they are massively cheaper than the framing store.

    Something else to look at is how much it costs to make a big print of one of your digital photos. I managed to get a great shot on my 4Mp camera, and blew it up so about 24inches or so wide. If you look really close you can see it is blown up a little much, but from the other side of the room it looks great. It was about $30 (and I guess this price is dropping). A hint if you are not sure if it will look ok – print a part of the picture at the same enlargement as you want the whole picture to be – say 1/4 of the image on an 8.5×11 page – much cheaper, and you will see what it looks like blown up.

    The end result is a unique, really nicely mounted picture, we both like for enough money that if we get bored of it, change the decor etc, we are not upset about the money we spent. It still gets wows from visitors though.

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