Framing with low-end equipment

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Framing with low-end equipment

Postby ashaughnessy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:20 pm

I'm thinking of starting to do my own framing using gear from the lower end of the price range. I'm not bothered about productivity so much, as I'll only be doing a handful of frames per month but I am bothered about quality. I'll be framing my own photographs to sell so I need a good result. I'll be using just a few (perhaps three or four) different mouldings, none of them of excessive width and all probably fairly plain and square. I'll use one of the many chop services available to get mitred mouldings cut to size and then I'll assemble myself.

I'm thinking about something like an Inglet steel strap clamp ( https://www.lionpic.co.uk/p/7731/Inglet-Steel-Band-Frame-Clamp-B--7m ) plus a Frameco benchmaster ( https://www.lionpic.co.uk/p/28594/FrameCo-Benchmaster-2-Frame-Joiner ) to do the assembly. So my question is, will I be able to get reliably good joining results using this kind of gear? There's no point me starting out with this if every frame I make ends up with mismatched corners or gaps.

I'm already doing all my own mounting and I have a source of glass so I don't need to be cutting glass to size. Not sure how I'll cut MDF or hardboard backing board yet but probably stanley knife and long steel ruler. I'll also buy a flexipoint driver, something like this - https://www.lionpic.co.uk/p/35218/Inmes-Fi-150M-Flexipoint-Driver

Any comments or suggestions eagerly received.
Thanks
Anthony Shaughnessy
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Timh » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:49 pm

Hi Anthony,
you can get an ok standard from these types of machines with practice but you may want to weigh up how much extra trouble and time you may spend on doing this yourself when you could possibly spend that time on your actual craft of photography against maybe speaking with your local framer about establishing a working relationship.
I'm fairly sure you could get just the frame from a framer which will be mitred to whatever size you want and pinned with an underpinner plus all the parts you'll need will also be available in one shop
ask about how to make any savings like buying in volumes of 5's 10 's etc .

I had an artist who brought everything into me , in the end as their plan to save some money cost them more than coming to me in the first place.

there are many framers on this forum who could also help you with supply
I'm not saying don't do it yourself but at least explore all options to see if you could make a saving and if it's worth the extra work.

best of luck with your plans
hope it all pans out
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby David McCormack » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:08 pm

Welcome to the forum Anthony :D

Before I got into professional framing I used to frame my photos to sell. I cut my own window-mounts and got a local framer to make frames to my standard sizes and cut glass & backs for me. I'd then assemble frames at home. Just a thought, but you could get a local framer to cut and join moulding for you? If you stick to a few sizes and moulding profiles you could build up a good working relationship.

Another idea is to get your chop moulding with a routing service. Basically the chop is supplied with little dovetail keys so all you have to do is insert the keys and glue up.

I can't really comment on the Benchmaster frame joiner as I've never used one but the strap clamp is a bit expensive. I favour Bessey Clamps myself. Also I think you would be better off with a Flecther Rigid Point Driver rather than the Inmes.

Hobby equipment is ok to a degree but if you have the space you would be better of buying a second hand professional under-pinner for joining your frames. They often come up on this forum or ebay.

Good luck and keep asking questions :D

Edit,
This foot operated CS88 underpinner is on ebay for £475 which is money well spent compared to the bench master hand tool for £210 from Lion, in my opinion. Many pro framers use this model including myself.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby ashaughnessy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:19 pm

Thanks for those two replies. Saving money is a smaller part of my motivation. A much bigger motivation is to be able to say to customers "I make everything myself". Yes I know I'm not making the mouldings but to be able to say that I make the frames in this way will be very satisfying to me.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Abacus » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:33 pm

Use this, or an equivalent instead of mdf , easier to cut.

https://www.lionpic.co.uk/p/9467/Art-Ba ... -23-Sheets
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Not your average framer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:13 pm

Probably the best combination of quality and value for money is going to be thise https://www.lionpic.co.uk/p/38207/Logan-F300-1-Studio-Joiner. It won't break the bank, it's easy and straight forward to use, plus it looks like it's made to last.

I have my doubts about buying budget tab guns when the Fletcher Terry guns do such a good job and seem to last forever. For your relatively light level of usage, you'll never wear it out. Yes it's more money, but it fires the tabs tight to the backing board and has plenty of clout to drive tabs in usually deeper into the moulding than the budget tab guns.

Add the two together and you've got a quality solution to your requirements for an amazingly good price.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby prospero » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:26 am

Welcome Anthony. :D

What the others have said is wise counsel. If you are a professional then you need to produce professional results.
Hobby gear is OK as far as making stuff for yourself. You'll probably find that you waste a lot of time and a lot of
materials trying to get good results.

If you get a good used Morso guillotine and an underpinner then you will have saved a good deal of heartache. :D

Good equipment will serve you well and also keep it's resale value.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby John Ranes II, CPF, GCF » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:17 pm

ashaughnessy wrote:Thanks for those two replies. Saving money is a smaller part of my motivation. A much bigger motivation is to be able to say to customers "I make everything myself". Yes I know I'm not making the mouldings but to be able to say that I make the frames in this way will be very satisfying to me.
Anthony


Anthony,

The real question is do customers care about the fact that you made everything, or do they care more about the quality and professionalism of the finished product?

Truly when you stated a handful of frames per month, and low end equipment - I saw this as a conflict of interests. :wink:

Best of luck, BTW.

John
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby David McCormack » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:12 pm

I would have thought this foot operated underpinner would be a better buy than the benchmaster hand pinner.

https://www.lionpic.co.uk/p/21688/Inmes ... nderpinner

No matter how few frames you make, if you are selling them to the public, then you are providing a professional service, so professional gear is called for. A better investment for sure :D

I know it is nice to say you have made everything yourself, but it will be your photography your customers are interested in. Are you already selling your work? If not, then I would definitely get frames made for you to start with and see if people want to buy your photography. Anyway, hope it goes well :D
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Steve N » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:02 am

I deal with artists and photographers a lot, also go to craft and art fairs,and local art exhibitions, I see a lot of artwork/photographs mounted and or framed, the ones that have been done by the artist, in reused, marked, dirty mounts, bad miters on the corner, dents in the frame, badly painted frames, looks like a charity shop frame, never seem to sell, I wonder why, it looks like IMHO that the artist dosn't care about their work, "just stick it in this old frame that will do". This type of artist/photographer often say " I don't want to spend much as I never sell anything!"
Presentation Is The Keyword here, if you have professional looking frames and mount, it will look like you actually care about your work and people will buy it, for a lot more than if it's in a rubbish/hobby/secondhand looking frame and mount.
Get in with a local framer, get your frames (including glass and backing, with flexy tabs already in) from him, as somebody else has said , buy 5 or 10 at a time, you can eve buy sheets of mountcard from them, then just cut the mounts(if they are good enough) and do all the assembling yourself, you will still have the sanctification of putting them together
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby prospero » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:24 pm

I've given the 'Steve' lecture to lots of budding artists. :clap:

"I can't afford 60 quid for a frame. I only sell them for 90...." :|

If they had a 60 quid frame they could sell them for 390 in many cases. (Not all... :lol: )
OK, they might not sell as many, but they wouldn't have to.

Some take my advice and some don't. :roll:

Better to have one good framed piece in a exhibition and the rest in plastic bags than 40 cheapo frames.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Mickeyluv » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:46 am

I've also been in the position of wanting to set up to do framing as an extension to my existing workshop activities. In my case picture framing is just one aspect, as the setup has wider uses in my other interests. I didn't want to spend a great deal of money as I am not doing this as a business, but I'm passionate about buying good-quality equipment. Don't just look at the initial price, but take a look at the resale value if you decide to sell.

You don't say what the limit of your budget is, but here's what I paid just a month ago;

Morso Model F Deluxe with RH extension arm; Needed cleaning, a new pedal stop fabricating and a general setup and lubrication - £130 (could have squeezed this to £100 but this would have breen pretty mean to the elderly couple selling it). No signs of wear or misuse.

Alfamacchine 1M underpinner; Absolutely superb condition with 12,000 various V Nails, 7/10/15mm blocks, two pressure pads and original manual. One owner from new and very little use. Just needed some glue deposits removing and a general lubrication. Really neat footprint and superbly made. £90

C+H US-made 1200mm mount cutter; Perfect and complete. High-quality machine with no wear or faults. £40

Framers Corner tab driver with 5000 tabs. Bought new for £35. Works really well - just used it to frame 17 pictures and it's been faultless.

So, a complete semi-pro setup for £295. You could get cheaper if you're lucky or shop around. I will always travel to get a decent deal and act quickly.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby prospero » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:13 am

Earlier this year I bought a router table + router. About 160 quids. It's not the best you could buy, but for my purposes
it filled the bill. It fits in the workshop and does the job. However, although it performs well it proved to be a pain to set up.
Changing the bits needs three hands and to adjust the height of the bits means pushing the router up against the pressure of
the plunge mechanism and holding it there while you reach underneath and lock it off. Lots of scraped knuckles and trying to
do fine tweaks is nigh-on impossible.
So last week I spotted another table that has the router built in and has a handle to raise/lower the bit. 180 quids. Much easier
to set up.

One day I will take my own advice. :lol:

I think I may put a wire brush on the original table and make it into a dedicated driftwooding machine. :D
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Not your average framer » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:16 pm

prospero wrote:I think I may put a wire brush on the original table and make it into a dedicated driftwooding machine. :D


:yes: Good thinking, I might just upgrade my router table and do the same with the earlier router table I've bought my self, using an old electric drill driving the rotary wire brush.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Not your average framer » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:31 pm

It just so happens that Prosperro and I were discussing this particular router table last week, so I looked up the feedback on this particular companies wedsite and some users say that the table surface is not as flat as they thought it would be. Having said that just about everyone was pleased with their purchase.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby YPF » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:30 pm

OK, appetite is now whetted, what is the make or seller of this £180 router table?
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Not your average framer » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:54 am

This is the routing table we are talking about.

https://www.rutlands.co.uk/sp+power-tools-machinery-powered-router-tables-powered-router-table-with-height-adjustment-rutlands+dk2080#nogo

Don't get too excited about the fact that it has it's own router lift mechanism, you can easily make your own router lift mechanism, creating two inclined planes with a screw mechanism that pulls them together to increase the height, or pushes them apart to reduce the height. Don't forget to look at the feedback from the customers that have bought one of these before.

BTW, there is an optional base unit which makes the router table a free standing unit, instead of a bench top unit.

There are plenty of different router tables at different prices, with different specifications from this supplier and other suppliers that are worth checking out before you decide which one you want to spend your money on, so it could be worth a quick check first.
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby Not your average framer » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:35 am

I'm thinking about buying a higher specification of router and building my own router table, it won't cost any more, but at least I will get exactly what I want. BTW, it is also very easy to create a long wooden lever which extends below the bottom of the router and by raising the end of the lever the router can be raised against the resistance of the springs on the sliding rails. Much of making stuff like this is not that hard to do!
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Re: Framing with low-end equipment

Postby YPF » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:34 am

Mark, thank you for that
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