How to use a Mat Cutter

The Dexter Mat Cutter eliminates the problems of cutting mats with uncertainty, leaving ragged and untidy edges. Anyone can use it efficiently with very little practice. You can cut a straight or bevel edge with absolute accuracy and give your mat that professional look. It’s easy and safe to use saving a great deal of time, money, and effort.

  1. Additional equipment required: (A) Drawing Board, (B) Heavy Duty T-Square or Straight Edge, (C) Corrugated or Plain Cardboard for under-padding is essential. (See Figure A)
  2. Tape the cardboard under-padding securely to the drawing board surface.
  3. On the BACK of the mat board, measure and mark with pencil lines the area to be cut out. Intersect the lines at each corner for starting points. Cutting the mat board from the back eliminates scuffing or marring of the face (finished) side of the mat.
  4. Place a Dexter #3 mat cutter blade on the angled slot for bevel cuts or in the perpendicular slot for straight cuts. The cutting edge of the blade should be facing the direction in which you choose to cut. (See Figure B)
  5. To set the correct blade cutting depth place a small piece of scrap mat board against the underside of the mat cutter. Hold the mat cutter and the board with one hand while forcing the blade point approximately 1/32″ through the mat board with the other hand. Tighten thumb screw to secure the blade in position. Remove scrap piece of mat board. (See Figures C and D)
  6. Place the mat board to be cut on the under-pad and position the T-Square on it with the head of the T-Square at the base of the drawing board. Square up the vertical pencil line on the mat board so it’s parallel to the T-Square. Slide the T-Square away from the drawn line to allow the mat cutter to be positioned for the first cut. Maintain pressure on the T-Square to prevent movement and to keep the mat board square at all times.

    NOTE: For best results, cut only in a North (push-up) or South (pull down) direction. Cutting from left to right or vice-versa invariably leads to the T-Square slipping which produces uneven cuts.

    If you choose to cut by drawing the mat cutter toward you and you are right handed, insert the point of the blade into the mat board approximately 1/16″ above the intersecting lines at the upper left-hand corner of the drawn guidelines. If you are left handed, insert the blade point in the mat board in the same manner in the upper right-hand corner. The straight edge of the T-Square is now moved up against the blade side of the mini cutter. Press the T-Square securely against the mat board with one hand while drawing the mat cutter toward you with the other. If you choose to cut by pushing the mat cutter away from you, reverse the blade position in the angled slot of the Dex or rotate the Mini 180 degrees and begin the cut at the lower corners of the guidelines. A left handed person begins at the lower left corner and a right handed person at the lower right. Constant pressure must be applied to the mat cutter to keep it firmly against the T-Square and to keep the blade point continuously penetrating the mat board for a straight and even bevel cut. (See Figure E)

  7. After completion of the cut, turn the mat board clockwise 90 degrees. Realign the vertical pencil line with the T-Square and make the next cut using the same method as previously indicated. The results should give you professional looking bevel edges every time. (See Figure F)
  8. When mat cutting is finished, loosen knob, pull blade back from cutting position and retighten for safety and to prevent broken points. For best results always use a sharp Dexter #3 mat cutter blade in either the Dex or the Mini.