Framing supplies. Mats frames etc

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by jgates, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. jgates

    jgates Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello.

    I have the likely common dilemma of needing to frame some photographs.
    I don't normally bother printing smaller than 8x10, firstly. I print 8x10 up to 20x30.

    What i have been doing for frames up until now is either not matting, or bying precut mats. I have also been using thrift store frames and, occasionally, walmart.

    Thrift store frames can sometimes be fun, but this is not extremely common.

    Where are you all getting your frames, framing stock, mat board, foam core, glass, etc. I am not averse to making my own frames if it will be cheaper/better than the alternatives, and I would prefer not patronizing walmart for ideological reasons. In reality, walmart (or another big box) would serve my framing needs very handily, but I very much do not wish to give them my money.

    What are the best value alternatives and sources for framing stock or complete frames and the related materials?
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,920
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,890
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    yes, Frame Destinations are a good source. I have purchased from him before. I buy full sheets of mat and mountboard from Dick Blick Art Supply, and cut my own. And I am now chopping and joining my own frames, so that I can make my frames and matboard to the size the picture requires, instead of the other way around.

    I am kind of unhappy with my present frame stock supplier and would like to find a better source for full length stock.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,417
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One of my wife's friends has a custom frame shop, and I get my mats at cost. I usually do my own framing, occasionally have her do special work. I'm always on the lookout for odd-ball looking frames at thrift shops and yard sales.
     
  5. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,351
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I generally get my frames at Michael's. Watch for sales, as they often give BIG discounts. Also, their framed art pieces often go at close-out prices. I just discard the crappy pictures they put in them and use the frames. I get my mat board from Dick Blick also. I like to cut my own mats because I often print other than standard sizes.
     
  6. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have been using the pre-cut mats from Freestyle and they are fine. Framedestination.com is also a great one-stop shop.
     
  7. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There are many different cost/time levels of framing. Taking a photo to a custom frame shop is the lowest time and the highest cost. They basically do the design, consultation, mounting, and final assembly right down to trying to get rid of that last pesky piece of dust under the glazing.

    Next level is buying premade frames. The frame components are all made for you, but you have to do the mounting and final assembly yourself. The least expensive of which are made oversees and imported in bulk. Although these have the lowest cost, you have little size options, and they are seldom very archival. You can also get premade frames from do-it-yourself frame wholesale suppliers like my company. (Many thanks to our customers for mentioning us in the thread by the way).

    The next level is where you start to buy some raw materials and doing more yourself. Starting with just cutting your own mat board (we started selling full sheets a few months ago), to actually cutting and joining your own moulding. This allows the most saving in money per frame, but costs the most in time and can have significant up front equipment costs. Depending on how custom your frames are you may be better off trying to buy in bulk. For example companies like mine have huge discounts for mats at qty 25 which significantly reduces the savings over buying sheets and cutting yourself. Regardless, you have to try to determine what the dollar value of your time is. In my case when I started Frame Destination, I bought pre-cut mats in high volume until we have the revenue to support computerized mat cutters. Personally, I have never hand cut a mat…I would rather be out taking pictures but there are those who enjoy working with the equipment and cutting their own mats.
     
  8. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

    Messages:
    3,924
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Location:
    Columbia Cou
    Shooter:
    Holga
    I've standardized print sizes and order custom matts from www.Redimat.com in CA in volume that fit standard frames from Ikea. a 20x20 will run me sub $30 framed and archivally matted. I always offer the matt option to buyers with a link to the frames and they really appreciate it.
     
  9. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

    Messages:
    1,759
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    Royal Oak, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    We also use Frame Destinations, and have been happy.

    Alternately, we've used AmericanFrame.com with success as well for some framing jobs.
     
  10. sage

    sage Member

    Messages:
    134
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Has anyone here actually built the frames themselves, as such just grabbing some 2x4's and routing and joining it together or some such to describe how thats done?
     
  11. Dave Martiny

    Dave Martiny Member

    Messages:
    122
    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sage --

    Yes, I make all of my own frames. I don't use 2x4's, I buy 3/4" poplar boards and cut them into long strips of frame stock on a table saw. I also cut out the rabbet on the table saw, and then use a mitre guage set at 45 degrees to cross cut the stock strips into the four pieces for the frame. I know that the pro framers use the monstrous chopper things, but I much prefer a table saw with a fine, sharp carbide blade.

    I then assemble the four pieces of the frame by using a 4 cornered framing clamp, which consists of 4 metal corners that are threaded to accept long pieces of all-thread with wing nuts on the other end to draw the clamp closed around the frame. The frame is assembled only with glue, with no nails, pins, or cleats from behind. After years of doing this, my frames when finished have virtually seamless mitre joints.

    I sometimes leave my frames natural, but mostly now I dye them black before applying several light coats of laquer. I cut all my own glass and mats as well.

    Best Regards,

    Dave
     
  12. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Dave, that is interesting that you are really making your own wood frames, even more than a custom frame shop does. I own a frame company and can’t imagine actually making the frame moulding without tripling our prices.

    I know a few framers that still use the old chopper but those don’t work for metal so a lot of framers use saws. We use dedicated pneumatic double mitre saws. They have a pair of carbide tipped blades calibrated and locked at opposing 45 degree angles. They have air clamps that hold the moulding and a foot peddle causes air to drive the blades down for the cutting action at an adjustable speed.

    Glue is the best thing for joining the frames and when done correctly if you stress the frame it will not break at the join where the glue is. It will break in a different part. We use v-nails but their main purpose is the hold the wood frame together while the glue dries. You can’t do picture frames by the hundreds when you have to leave them in the clamps to dry. Our v-nailer is computerized and also uses pneumatic clamps. You just press the foot peddle and it grabs the moulding and starts shooting nails in at pre-programmed depths and locations. It basically sounds like a machine gun.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  13. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you use frames from Michael's, you will probably need to buy a point driver rather than use the tabs on the backing board that comes with the frame, because they presume a certain thickness that isn't typical of an actual mat-window overmat arrangement. I've found some really excellent wide, mahogany dyed, glass front frames that are perfect for the thiocarbamide toned prints that I currently am making, but they'd be useless if I couldn't drive my own mounting points.

    Also, check out Jefferson Hayman's work. He uses antique, and "artist made" frames generally without overmats at all. His work is in some of the most important collections on the planet and is in some very prominent galleries. It's a very different direction from what we typically do, but it's brilliant, and successful.

    www.jeffersonhayman.com
     
  14. david James lee

    david James lee Member

    Messages:
    72
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    cuernavaca,m
    Shooter:
    35mm
  15. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    35mm
    FlashThat, what is the substrate of your matboard composed of? It says on your website "direct from the manufacturer". I was curious who the manufacturer was?

    Cheers,
    Mark

     
  16. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,390
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have, but rarely, and only for paintings. Making a frame from raw material can be more time-consuming than doing the artwork. That might be appropriate for home decorators, but not if the art is more important than the frame.

    For photograps, I rely on aluminum section frames from www.framefit.com/. Their frames are good, and their service is great.
     
  17. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, as Peter says on his site (he's a friend of mine), the frame is, or can be, an essential part of the art piece. Like my friend Jefferson whose site I linked above, Peter takes the time to make very beautiful frames that are integral to the presentation of the photographs. If you're not presenting your work in a book, but rather you intend them to be seen on a wall, make the entire "package" as attractive as you can.

    Here's his site: http://www.peterliepke.com/index.cfm