Wanted: source for Alpharag Artcare mat board

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by wildbill, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I'd like to continue using Pure White 4-ply Alpharag Artcare boards but my previous source Conservation Resources doubled their prices (was $7/sheet including shipping) and their packaging was so bad it took 3 shipments to get corners what weren't dog-eared but the boards were free from defects.

    Americanframe.com (where I usually get my frames) wants $22/sheet and doesn't offer quantity discounts.

    I tried FDI but after two shipments (2nd being as bad as the first) that I just returned, they aren't willing to inspect their boards to pass my standards of quality (free from defects) and will not sell me another shipment.

    I live in west michigan and there aren't any local sources.
    I don't want to spend more than $13/sheet plus shipping.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I get my mats and frames mostly from frame destination. I buy pre-cut and with frames so do not know their mat prices alone. Might check their site.
     
  3. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I know Michael A. Smith sells it through his site, but I get it locally here in Lexington, KY from Lexington Framing Supply.
     
  4. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    rich, FDI and the company you mentioned may just be one and the same. I'm not happy. I'll leave it at that.
    Greg, LFS doesn't seem to ship/sell mat board thru their site.
    Michael Smith does but the prices are higher than I like and I'm assuming their shipping will be pretty high since they're a small outfit.
     
  5. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    You don't mention what quantities you are buying -- in my limited experience one of the problems with phone/online ordering matboard is that it is very dense and heavy and small quantities are apparently too difficult or expensive for some suppliers to package well. I have seen a few sources that won't sell less than 10 or even 25 sheets of full size board. I've been using Crescent museum board from Blick's (which I examine and hand carry from a brick and mortar store) but it's more like $15 for a 32 x 40 sheet (and has been rising steadily in price the last few years).
     
  6. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Ah, got it. Sorry to hear it. My two shipments of a multiple of quite large frames, cut mats and glazing have been fine.
     
  7. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Like Rich, I have had good results from FDI, but normally haven't bought mats, only frame and glazing. The one time I did buy mats they were fine.
     
  8. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    When I made my order a few years ago it was a case of 25 sheets for $250 shipped. Now that's the price for 10 sheets.
    My recent order was for 8 sheets @ $13 something/sheet plus shipping. They did a great job packing it, just didn't have the lights on while picking the product. The response I got was something like this "we have to cut around these defects every day when cutting mats for customers, we'll make a note on our website so customers know that defects should be expected." It's nice that you guys have had great experiences with them. Between the mat board dirt/defects and scratches on my plexi, I did NOT. Lets not mention them in future responses to my thread PLEASE!
     
  9. Richard Boutwell

    Richard Boutwell Subscriber

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    Lodima Archival Materials has still been cranking out orders on a word of mouth basis while we are finishing construction on an addition to our matboard building house our new Seabold paper shear, which should be done by early march. When that is complete we will renew our APUG sponsorship and with our revamped website will be able to accept online orders.

    Unfortunately matboard and shipping costs are not what they used to be, and everyone's prices have risen accordingly. There is not much profit in full sheets or matboard, and when taking cost and additional time for packing into consideration we hardly break even on it.
     
  10. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    FramingSupplies.com has been my source for years. I send them a spread sheet with my sizes and they cut and ship. Great prices never had a single problem. Good people.

    I also have an account with a frame and matting distributor, the same people who supply for the local frame shops. They even deliver with a $35 minimum order. Cant beat it.
     
  11. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Vinny, they don't list it on their site, but they ship if you call them. I had full sheets sent to me in Savannah, GA without a problem.
     
  12. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    wildbill I am the owner of Frame Destination and I am very disappointed to hear about your experience with Frame Destination. I am personally looking into this.

    My understanding is that we shipped you two sets and then asked you to return the product to us at our cost for a full refund. My understanding is that was not your preference and I have reprimanded my customer service team for refusing to send you more product. I understand however why they did so...in general we would rather have no sale than one that is not a win-win for both our customer and us. They did not want to disappoint you again. Apparently your return is still in transit but when it arrives I will be looking at it personally along with my team and I will contact you directly.

    In regards to the rag mat board I am surprised that you were able to get it in better condition from a place that just drops a box in the mail. Most places, even most distributors, do not inspect the mat board much and if you get a full box with Bainbridge on it and that box has not been opened, you know it has not been inspected at all. None of us are making the Alpharag and we all buy it from the same place. My company should be as good if not better than everyone else in product quality and shipping and as you have noticed we do it at a price that means if we have to ship a replacement then we are losing money before shipping is even added in.

    White rag board is very hard to manufacture perfectly but we do try to make sure that at least one side of the board is free from defects. Quality of the product will vary from production run to production run and so sometimes we have to send everything back to the manufacturer and sometimes we have very good product to choose from. Usually quality is somewhere in the middle. In the case of the Alpharag, Bainbrigde recently move or changed their mat production facility resulting in a lot of problems, especially the pure white alpharag. We try our best to keep our customers from seeing these problems.

    In regards to the plexiglas. I am not aware of us sending you any replacement or refund for the acrylic. Do we need to replace your acrylic was well? We recently changed from Acrylite acrylic to Plexiglas acrylic and I have been doing a survey of customers that have purchased both from us to see if they have noticed any changes in the quality and which version of the non-glare they prefer. We try to be very careful with the acrylic and minimize handling but since we have to ship it with the masking in place we typically do not know it is defective until our customer notifies us.

    Regards
    Mark
    President Frame Destination, Inc.
     
  13. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Thanks Greg.
    Mark,
    I can imagine that white mat board is very difficult to manufacture as cotton and other things from nature aren't perfect. What I don't understand is selling a product that is a factory 2nd, but not labeling it as such. I can't put my work out there with dirt, pencil marks, and spots all over it, even if it's a gift for my mother. It seems like the prices have doubled and the quality cut in half. Nielsen Bainbridge needs to make a change since there's obviously something wrong there. I spoke with them about the issue as well and they didn't seem to express too much interest.
    I had to use the scratched plexi and some of the board for my frame because of a deadline. Your staff's quick response to my problem and packaging are great. I did not intend to make this thread a "FDI messed up" speech, I'm just in need of some quality goods.
     
  14. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    Wildbill, I dont understand your comment about "factory 2nd", and to be honest, I dont think I am very happy about seeing that comment in relation to my company. We only sell brand new Bainbridge Alpharag mat board that is bought directly from Bainbridge and labeled as such.

    If we have known defective items that we are selling (such as a frame that was returned) we put them in our clearance section and make it clear that it is defective. No product is perfect but when the quality is abnormally low and we can determine a significant part of a shipment has a problem we send it all back, donate it, or recycle it. Sadly, black specs and other contaminants are something that you run into with mat board from any manufacturer and acrylic from any manufacturer. When you buy in volume like we do, you see it all. We are not perfect either and sometimes we will have handling mistakes. In the case of full sheets we are just taking them out of the box, inspecting them, and then bagging them. I can assure you however, that no one is drawing on them.


     
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  15. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I'm not blaming you for making factory 2nds, that's Bainbridge's fault. You ARE selling their product though.
    Upon FDI's request I sent photos of the specs, dirt, and the pencil mark. I also sent pics of the 32" long defect in several of the sheets. As I have already stated, I have never seen this many defects in mat board from Bainbridge or any manufacturer.
    I ordered 32x40 sheet of mat board. If I intended to mat images to 30x40 frame size, it would not be possible with the material I rec'd. Nothing in your product description said "we're having issues with the following product, expect defects and one side to be unusable.

    from your general manager "we are going to also go ahead and update the web site with some additional information to expect these types of defects if you order the full sheets."
     
  16. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    wildbill, thank you for the clarification and we greatly appreciate you taking the time to send the pictures. As soon as we get your return mat board I will personally inspect it with my team. We will try to determine the cause of the defects as best we can. We will evaluate current product stock in comparison and I will call you personally to let you know the options FDI can provide.

     
  17. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    We, at Lodima Archival Materials sell only Alpha Rag ArtCare board. Our prices are the lowest we have seen. We have no minimums and will custom cut to any size. It does not matter to us if someone wants 16x20 or 15.5 x 19.375. Same price.

    And we custom cut overmats with our computerized mat cutter--a $28,000 piece of equipment. Again. No minimums and will cut any size overmat on up to 40x60 board.

    Our shipping costs are UPS exact costs plus $15 handling for most orders, and $20 handling for large boards. This is because we use about $10 to $15 dollars worth of bubble wrap for each order, and sometimes more. And it can easily take a good 15 minutes, or longer, to wrap and box the board. We have never had a bent corner in all the boards we have shipped. We are fanatic about packing board well. So fanatic are we that we travel a considerable distance to pick up board from Bainbridge whenever we need to re-stock. We once had board shipped to us, early on, and a few sheets arrived with bent corners. That was unacceptable to us.

    We are photographers. We got this equipment for our own use first, and then decided to make it available for others' orders. All of the board is cut either by myself or by Richard Boutwell, who has been with us for over ten years. We're fanatic about quality--for ourselves, as many of you know--and by extension, for others as well.

    We can, and do, make recommendations about board sizes, overmat sizes, mounting, hinging prints, dry mounting, and everything else you can think of asking. And we do this from a knowledgeable base. You don't get some relatively unskilled employee's thoughts and recommendations.

    As Richard noted in a previous post on this thread, we are about to install a board shear--a guillotine--and as soon as it is up and running we hope to greatly expand our business.

    We also sell Nielsen metal section frames at very low prices. They can be drop shipped right to you. These are not on our web site yet, but inquire by email.

    Michael A. Smith
    www.lodimaarchivalmaterials.com