Mount boards are sold in standard sizes and you can vary the openings/apertures on them to suit your preference. Some framers provide the option of cutting the mount board to the specific dimensions that you require, others may not. It depends on the equipment they have to hand, and whether they have the expertise to provide a tailored mount cutting service.
In any case, knowing how to cut mount boards with precision and the tools that are available to help you create the apertures in any shape you like will come in handy. Cutting your own mount boards saves on the cost of custom mount cutting services, and you’ll experience a higher level of satisfaction from achieving a professional result doing it yourself – if you can master the cutting techniques.
The equipment available to help with mount cutting
- A self-healing cutting board
When working with any manual style of mount cutters, it will be preferable to use a self-healing mat. Due to the sharpness of the blades, you need something beneath your mount board to protect surfaces such as tabletops, or kitchen counters. Cutting mats come in various materials and not all are self-healing. Some are glass, some plastic.
The self-healing type is made with a combination of a solid base then layers of small particles (usually PVC) used to create the cutting surface. When sliced with a blade, the cutting surface folds back on itself making it appear as though the cut was never made. None last forever, but self-healing cutting boards will last the longest.
- A really sharp blade (like a craft knife) and a metal ruler
This is the budget option for a simplistic cut for a small framed piece. It is difficult to get clean cuts, but it can be done provided you mark with a pencil, use a ruler, and make the cut steadily. You will want to work with a metal ruler as it is so easy for the blade to nick into a wooden ruler and ruin your cut.
- Manual sliding board cutter
These combine the basic essentials of a blade and a ruler into the one machine. To use, mark your mount board, line it up with the ruler, align the blade, and then hold the mount board steady and slide the blade firmly and smoothly for a clean cut.
- Angled mount cutters
Angled mount cutters are getting into the professional territory of mount cutting. They work similarly to the manual sliding boards. The only difference is that the blade cutter is positioned at an angle. A 45-degree bevel cut is the standard for professional mount cutting, but there are angle cutters that can provide a 90-degree bevel if you prefer a cleaner cut. The reason the 45-degree bevel is preferable for mount boards in photo frames is that it provides a transitional effect, sort of like a window into the photo. The slanted edges help photos stand out within the frame.
- Programmable computerised mount cutter (CMC)
At the pro level, the most precise cutting machines are computerised mount cutters. They offer better variety for different thicknesses of mount boards and make quick, yet extremely proficient cuts with bevel edges, single or double mount, and in any size.
Computerised mount cutters are how to get the most professional cuts for framing on any size of mount board and in varying thicknesses. The absolute benefit of CMC machines is the reduction of wastage. Framers that have these machines in their workshops are able to reduce wastage, which helps to keep costs competitive while improving production and still getting cleaner cuts.
For a professional finish to any photo framing project, a custom mount cutting service that uses a CMC machine is the guaranteed way to ensure the highest quality of finish.