A personal note from Alto
Welcome to Alto's... I'm Alto Albright, the inventor, and for over thirty years people have expressed surprise, astonishment, and then pleasure at how easily mats can be designed and cut with my patented mat maker. Some people ask, why am I working at the age of 85 on new matting equipment and tools, demonstrating at trade shows, and helping people with their matting problems? Because it's still creative fun! It's doing something for someone else. Over the years, hundreds of ideas have been given to me about matting solutions, designs, and techniques. My goal is to present these ideas to you in concise, clearly illustrated, printed form and in easy to follow videos.
You can use my solutions to matting questions, instead of having to start from scratch. I'm willing to share my ideas with you. Assistance from Alto's will offer matting techniques that you can adapt to your needs.
Please don't be satisfied with a single or a double plain mat, when a designed mat may help the overall appearance and value of your artwork.
From the start, my mat cutting system contained the following features:
1. A hand-held cutter to slide against a movable guide, so there would be no need for a heavy base with expensive machined parts.
2. A cutting guide that moves in 1/8" steps, which is what most people use. Now, with the Model 45, it is possible to get settings of less than 1/8".
3. Settings that are read directly on the unit. This feature is a great advantage, accomplished with the exclusive post and hole configuration which allows for instant settings.
4. A small base that cuts large mats and wide borders. This has been achieved with open-ended design.
5. A low price. The simple design has little machine work needed in the manufacturing. Most of the parts are extruded or molded. This means I can transfer the low manufacturing costs to the customer, thereby ensuring a cutter that everyone can afford.
6. A long life. The original cutters were made of wood in 1974. Many are still in use today and can be upgraded with the Model 45. (The original guide will still work fine with the new cutter.)
7. Right or left-handed use. The Model 45 cuts so easily that many left-handers are using it right-handed. One try and they're convinced. But to use it left-handed, just flip the base and pull the cutter. I am pleased to assure you that our latest model is the finest cutter we have ever made and we will continue to provide this proven design at the lowest price possible.
Remember, if you're not using Alto's, you're working too hard.
A question I'm often asked about my mat cutter, especially by picture framers at framing trade shows is "What's it worth?" My reply: "A lot of money." Let me explain.
To framers it's worth a lot in time and money saved:
from the initial purchase savings,
when they train a worker,
in additional money earned from expanding to higher priced jobs,
with no maintenance costs (just replace the blades),
in the long life of the cutter and system (no complicated parts to break down),
no additional work space required.
To the individual artist, crafter, photographer, hobbyist, and needleworker it's also worth a lot of time and money saved:
from the initial low cost of our systems,
by doing your own matting and getting professional results,
by no maintenance costs (just replace the blades),
by no additional work space required (your kitchen table will do!)
Plus, matting your artwork gives it a more attractive and appealing presentation, making a more saleable product. Alto's system is so excellent the professional picture framer uses it, but so affordable, easy to learn and easy to cut with that almost anyone can benefit by owning one.
Some company history...After 31 years of innovation,
Alto's still offers you the best value in mat cutters.
Cutting mats used to be a difficult task. Like many other artists and crafts-people, Alto Albright was frustrated by existing mat cutters. So he invented a unique Mat Making System that did more than just cut the mat window; it actually helped design and lay out the mat. In 1974, he formed our company to make this versatile and affordable mat making tool.
There has always been a myth that only professionals with expensive machines could cut good mats, but Alto introduced several important innovations that allow anyone to design and cut their own mats.
The first development was the unique Post & Hole Dimensioning System, used in the 4501 and 4505 Mat Cutting Systems, which made this machine more versatile than a mere cutting tool. Alto knew that all mat cutters must cut straight beveled edges and perfect 90° corners; but the existing cutters were rather slow at doing the frustrating design and layout steps. Some even required you to use a separate ruler or special attachment to do the layout, and even then it was a very slow procedure. But Alto's ingeniously simple post and hole system was designed to do all these tasks efficiently and without extra attachments. This feature alone is a great time saver for single mats, but is especially important when making more complex mats such as inlays, accent lines, double and triple mats, etc. Alto's is the only tool that offers this advantage. The other half is the Cutter Handle. The Model 45 Mat Cutter is so easy to use, you can clearly see the blade, making it easy to see where to exactly start and stop your cuts. It cuts a true 45° bevel, with perfect 90° corners. Its ergonomic design fits the human hand, and is the only hand held mat cutter you can use for hours (if you want to) without hand or wrist fatigue. The Model 45 Mat Cutter has become what the industry judges the quality of other cutters by.
The Oval Templates enable users to cut 20 different sizes of oval openings. The Ovals also work together with the 4501 and 4505 Mat Cutting Systems to make combination mats. This was the first affordable oval mat cutter on the market that really worked.
Another innovation is the Model 360 Circle Cutter. It offers performance and flexibility that no other circle cutter can. It will cut circles from 1" to 33" in diameter (even larger simply by adding additional extensions), plus the Model 360 will easily cut the smaller circles and arcs needed for today's elegant corner designs.
The most recent innovation is the Model 90 T-Square Cutter. A new, simple, very easy to use tool that cuts 32" x 40" sheets of matboard or foam board down to any size you want. Simply line up the ruler to your desired width and pull the cutter. The cutting head is very comfortable to hold for many cuts without hand fatigue. It cuts: Matboard, paper (all kinds including watercolor paper and photographic paper), mylar, foam board, cardboard, wallpaper, vinyl flooring, veneer, leather, and cuts up magazines for confetti (if you should happen to need that kind of thing).
Our number one concern is that you are successful in making your own mats. To support our line of innovative products our 800 number is available to dealers, customers, and potential customers. We look forward to answering any questions about our products, and we encourage our dealers to give this number to customers needing help.
Over the last 27 years we've built our company on the value of these innovations and outstanding customer support. We've made mat making easy and affordable for every artist, craftsperson, photographer, and home decorator.
That's why you can expect future advances in mat making to carry the name Alto's EZ Mat Inc.