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Squaring Mat Board

Stephen Enggass

True Grumbler
Picking up a brand new Fletcher 2100 (unused new in box)... can I square mat board without a squaring arm if I trim with material to the left of the blade as opposed to right off the blade? ie. trimmed edge would be on the right of the cut??
 
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Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
If I am understanding you correctly, I would say no, you will need a true 90 degree angle and that is what the squaring arm does, gives you the 2nd 1/2 of the true 90 degrees angle. When you install the squaring arm you do have to square it with the top rail.
 

Tom1234

Grumbler in Training
Joe B is correct! I went through the same thing a couple of years ago. Get the squaring arm!! As you place the mat on the squaring arm, make sure that the mat doesn’t rock. If it does, use one of the other 3 edges that doesn’t rock. Lower the guide rail and make you’re cut. Now rotate mat 90 degrees and make the second cut. This should give you 3 square sides. Rotate 45 degrees counterclockwise to square the final side. On last note as Joe so correctly pointed out. Make sure the squaring arm is perpendicular to the guide rail. If not you will always chase those last few degree. Good luck.
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I've never had a squaring arm on a mat cutter. If you cut the mat board down to size on a square up wall cutter like Fletcher 3000, the mat should be square.
Yes, that works best but if you don't have a squared wall cutter or a CMC the next best thing is a table top mat cutter with a squaring arm.
 

Tom1234

Grumbler in Training
Yes, that works best but if you don't have a squared wall cutter or a CMC the next best thing is a table top mat cutter with a squaring arm.
Couldn’t have replied better Joe. I have a dedicated work table just for my woodworking that is flat and square at all 4 corners. I have clamps that would cover all 4 corners of the mat. I could use this to square a new mat. I would not suggest anyone copying this setup to square a mat. Cost over 1800.00 and weighs over 400 lbs. No need to reinvent the wheel here. If you already have a wall mount option (apparently the OP does not), use what you have.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've never had a squaring arm on a mat cutter. If you cut the mat board down to size on a square up wall cutter like Fletcher 3000, the mat should be square.
Exactly!
We have 2 Fletcher 3100 wall cutters that we use every day and one 3000 that is sitting unused.
The wall cutter is kind of the backbone of any shop and there are many used ones available for under $1000.
The wall cutter is invaluable for not just cutting mat blanks but for also cutting plexiglass and glass.

We have a Wizard 9000 but the wall cutter is still almost a more important piece of equipment in a small shop than a CMC.
 

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I have never used a mat cutter with squaring arm attached.
It seems like it would get in the way for using the space for other projects.
I have a 40" Dahle paper cutter that I use for cutting blanks and squaring things up.
I cut glass on the fitting table with a straight edge and a hand held glass cutter.
I am not a fan of wall cutters, but I did get one for an employee who had only learned to cut glass that way.
That employee has stopped using the wall cutter, and started using my method.
Our newest employee need to use the wall cutter for glass, as she cannot get a good amount of pressure on the glass using my method.
Everyone has a method that they like best.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I agree.:thumbsup:
For many years (decades) I had a wall cutter that I only used for cutting mat board and backing boards to get the square board.
Even though I could have cut glass on the wall cutter, I still cut glass by hand by just setting the glass on the back of the frame on the fitting table and cutting the glass freehand.
I didn't even use a straight edge.
I have mentioned this before but when I use a hand held cutter, it's a cheap Fletcher, I take the cutting wheel and roll it across my forehead before I cut with it.
Just the little bit of forehead oil is all I use when cutting by hand...(been doing this for 50 years now)...:thumbsup:
(maybe I have more oil in my forehead than some others....):icon11:

Because I did this, the wall cutter always looked like it was new....:cool:
Also, I still cut oval glass and other odd shapes like this.
I just cut a fan frame glass freehand yesterday.

That said, we have 2 Fletcher 3100 wall cutters at work and I cut almost all of the glass with the wall cutters now.
We are a very high volume, high end shop and times have changed.
My forehead can take a break..:popc:
 
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Stephen Enggass

True Grumbler
I have never used a mat cutter with squaring arm attached.
It seems like it would get in the way for using the space for other projects.
I have a 40" Dahle paper cutter that I use for cutting blanks and squaring things up.
I cut glass on the fitting table with a straight edge and a hand held glass cutter.
I am not a fan of wall cutters, but I did get one for an employee who had only learned to cut glass that way.
That employee has stopped using the wall cutter, and started using my method.
Our newest employee need to use the wall cutter for glass, as she cannot get a good amount of pressure on the glass using my method.
Everyone has a method that they like best.
Is that a Dahle Guillotine or Trimmer?
 

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Is that a Dahle Guillotine or Trimmer?
It's a Dahle Guillotine.
It cuts mats perfectly.
Foamboard it can crush the edge of, but that doesn't matter if it is going in a frame. For perfect cuts I use a Straight Edge and Utility Knife.
With the Wall Cutter, I will often have the guts (foam center) of a foam board ripped out along the edge, even with a new blade.
Brian
 
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