Off cut frames management

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DBurczak
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Joined: Tue 09 Feb, 2021 4:40 pm
Location: South Africa
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Off cut frames management

Post by DBurczak » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 10:28 am

Hi guys!

First poster over here. I am from South Africa and our family framing business has been going for 54 years. Something that I am sure we all constantly have to manage and worry about are our off cut pieces of moulding/profile. I am looking for good ideas on storing off cuts, and would love to know how you manage your cut off racks etc.

As it stands I have a cut off rack which houses all of my lengths 1.2m and shorter, and anything longer than that stands up neatly next to that rack, sorted in colours and profiles.

Let me know what you do to manage your off cuts, this has been something I have been wanting to ask for quite a while!

Cheers

Not your average framer
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Location: Devon, U.K.
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Re: Off cut frames management

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 2:40 pm

There's something of an art in knowing what to do with off cuts. When off cuts become too short, they are just no use for anything at all. off cuts need to be at least a certain size to be worth spending any time on making them in to anything saleable. I have various "in house" mouldings, which I like to always have in stock. There comes a point when it is necessary to decide if the final off cut from a length of moulding is worth keeping, or not. Sometimes it is better to cut the last piece out from another moulding length, rather that ending up with a piece which is only ever going to be waste. About 90% of all my mouldings are bare wood mouldings, which I hand finish. I buy these mouldings in quantity and usually similar mouldings are from the same batches and some pieces of moulding from different lengths still match. However, there is not much money to be made from making too many small ready made frames, so too many off cuts which are only long enough to make really small frames are not going to put any useful money in to the till. It is for this reason that I need to make a decision, whether to maximise, or to minimise the size of my off cuts.

This also takes me in to the subject of which sizes of ready made frames are going to generate any worthwhile sales. Smaller frames only work for me to use up smaller off cuts of glass and backing boards, but there's only so many of these that I can sell. About a certain size, ready made frames are reducing the demand for customer framing, so I don't make bigger frames, because it's bad for business. The most useful sizes for me are 8" x 6", 10" x 8" and 12" x 10", but if customers cannot buy frames whch will match others which they have already bought from me, they don't like that and I lose business. So I have to buy in some mouldings specifically to make repeatable ready made frame ranges and his limits my potential to make as many ready made frames from routine off cuts. There is a very definite balance to be struck and this leaves me with more off cuts which cannot be turned in to ready made frames. A few years ago, I bought a band saw, which I have since upgraded to a better and easier to use model and I now cut specers, fillets and slips from my moulding off cuts in my scrap bin.

Some mouldings have useful decorative shaped edges which slice off nicely on the band saw to make nice looking slips which cost me nothing, because they were already otherwise only fit for waste. I'm not really in the business of making slips and liners which just look like most other slips and liners, as I think that it is beneficial to be offering things for sale which are both a little different and something special. I don't personally want to be doing "run of the mill" stuff, but I'm much more interested in being in selling in to the niche market, where it's not all about being cheapest. I am waiting to find the space for a full size' floor standing band saw and this will be a lot more expensive than my existing band saw. So yes, I am very interested in making good use of my off cuts, but I am particularly intending to turn my off cuts in to items which will command a niche market price. Why else would you spend time, turning you off cuts in to something which only sells for a price which barely covers the cost of making things?

The main issue with doing stuff like this is that is necessary to limited the time required to make these things and ths is where it necessary to have the necessary tools to enable you to work smart and work fast. It takes a lot of thinking about to understand how to make this work in a wothwhile way and it won't necessarily need to work in the same ways for everyone!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Re: Off cut frames management

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 12 Jul, 2021 3:05 pm

Another thing which can often create some useful interest and worthwhile sales can be deep box frames and I like to create the glass spacers also out of my moulding off cuts. Mouldings where the outer faces have a bit of added extra interest due to having a bit of shape, add a little extra interest to these deep box frames, so besides saving me money, they look a bit special and this creates some added sales appeal. These tend to sell in bunches like bananas. I cannot sell many for a little while and suddenly I will sell a whole lot in a very short space of time, without knowing why!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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