Inexpensive Mats, Precision Cut
We do not just offer "cheap mats". We offer inexpensive, yes even cheap, mats precision cut. There is a difference! Modern mat cutting machinery moves up to 100 inches per second! At that rate, you can produce a lot of mats in a short time. Unfortunately, a lot of bad mats can be cut just as fast maybe even faster than a lot of good mats. The sharpness of the blade effects the appearance of the bevel cut window. The precision at the corners can eliminate or produce overcuts. Limiting the speed of cutting increases the quality. The quality of the person cutting the mats is as important as the quality of the matboard.
So, other than cutting speed, why are Economy mats less expensive? Because they are a bit thinner, are made of 100% recycled materials and use the least expensive dyes for the face papers; economy matboard costs less. Realistically, this cuts material costs but it also increases the number of small black particles seen in the mat core and makes them more vulnerable to fading.
Although many call them "acid free" mats and even Standard mats, we do not. They do have calcium carbonate, buffering, added to retard acidification as most mats do. However, we do not call them acid free because they are not lignin free like our Tru-White™ core and our archival mats. Lignin is the property in alpha cellulose, paper, mats that produces acid. Even though they test acid neutral at manufacture because of the buffering, the acid will come back more rapidly in economy mats. The acidity coming back is reflected in the 45 degree bevel cut of the window. The core changes color over time. This acidification also has deteriorating effects on the image contained in the mat.
All of the above is strictly a cautionary. Economy mats have a purpose. If you need only temporary storage until the customer remats and reframes them, economy mats will do fine. If you are selling artwork that is at a very low price range, economy mats may be the way to go.
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