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Carpet for framing countertops?

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by njw1224, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. njw1224

    njw1224 CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    This is likely a dumb question, but since most framers have a carpeted countertop surface in their shop, is there a certain brand/type of carpet that's preferred or avoided? Or will any low-pile, closed-loop carpet do? I'm buying a shop that never had carpeted frame-finishing surfaces and I'd like to put one in, but just wanted opinions before I head to the carpet store.
  2. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I prefer raw wood covered with Kraft paper. A "cushiony" surface can cause glass to crack when cleaning and a flat surface is better when weighting down hinge mounts etc.
    Theresa, shayla, tedh and 1 other person like this.
  3. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I use short pile 'kitchen' carpet. I can't get on with hard surfaces. Even cardboard can be quite abrasive
    when you have frames face-down and you slide then about. You need a good quality one. What you don't
    want is something that sheds fibers. It's worth buying some off the roll rather than trying to find a odd bit
    in the remnants bin.

    What I would say is whatever brand you choose don't get one that is a bright color or with a 'jazzy' pattern.
    Under bright lights it can be very dazzling and generally unpleasant to the eyeballs. :cool:
  4. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I am looking at covering all my benches in Vinyl flouring, something with a little cushion but can easily be cleaned. Carpets harbour dirt and glass particles that can damage moulding and glass.

    I also believe that toughened glass makes excellent tops as well for areas were you are preparing mounts and prints. Again it can easily be cleaned.
  5. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Our current joining, cmc, and press tables have vinyl commercial flooring tiles, as does the floor in the back room. Fitting table has carpet covered with several layers of Kraft paper which can be peeled off as they dirty. Front counter has ceramic floor tiles. However, we are moving in 3 weeks and building the new tables/furniture this weekend. The padded carpet with paper will remain on the fitting table, and everything will remain the same except for the design and sales counter. The new counter will be 6 kitchen cabinets with a 4x8 granite slab on top. We are also hanging 5 kitchen wall cabinets in the fitting room, over some of the counters. Two more kitchen (base) cabinets will go in the basement, as a base for the joining table. (vnailer, compressor, joining table, dust removal system, filet chopper, saw, chopper storage are all going down there, and we will work down there an hour before opening and after hrs. Anything that makes noise or a mess will be downstairs, to keep the fitting room and customer area dust free)

    The commercial floor tiles for work areas, ceramic files on design, and carpeted fitting table have served us well for the first 15 years. We're making very few changes for the new place, except to make things more functional. Some heights and depths are changing, and we will be using a router to put channels for the partition mdf boards. We are building the new furniture to be 'modular', so it will fit through a standard door. 3 pieces can go together, and a top screwed on. (example a 92 inch work table would have three 30 inch boxes under it, which would double as storage for matboard or mats or fc. one solid tabletop over them. In the old location, we made the furniture so solid that it cant be easily removed. it has to be destroyed to get it out. Only a few pieces are coming with us. Everything was made with 3/4" particle board, glued and screwed together. The new back room floor is a vinyl locking/floating floor. (Allure Trafficmaster)

    Commercial tiles that we currently have on work tables, except fitting: http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/1000/68/6805e13a-0840-489d-9e60-6e6462d2b8c0_1000.jpg

    Interesting thread! I'd love to hear what others have done with theirs.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  6. Lafontsee

    Lafontsee CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Our fit tables are covered in the cheap indoor/outdoor soft low pile carpet that you can get off the roll from Lowes or Home Depot. (Everything else is either kraft paper or flawboard covered.)

    Paul Cascio likes this.
  7. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm not so sure that this is the number one choice for fitting surfaces. ;)

    Grays is spot on with this analysis. We have never been a fan nor used low pile carpeting in our frame shop. All tables have been laminated, and fitting tables then covered with a over-sized bath towel. This provides just enough softness and is easy to clean - heads to the washing machine every week or so.

    Corrugated cardboard taped to the edges or Coroplast (fluted plastic) seems to also be popular. We keep a stack of flawboard adjacent to our Seal Vacuum press which is used as a work surface for trimming, prepping as well.
    graysalchemy and Joe B like this.
  8. Rachael

    Rachael Grumbler

    I don't like carpet for the table, since the velcro from the corner samples sticks to it when working with a customer and creates a nuisance. We used a nice soft fabric from the discount rack at the local big box fabric place that seems to serve very nicely. It also makes a nice fitting surface, since it is not socushiony to make glass break during cleaning, nor deep enough to hold a lot of dust and bits, but still soft enough not to damage pieces set on it.
  9. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    Carpeted or soft design counters are a bad idea - not only for the reasons previously presented, but also because they are difficult to keep clean and can trap debris from broken glass or other friable media (pastels etc.).
  10. ali

    ali CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I would never put carpet on the top of any of my tables.
    My front counter tops are covered in wooden floor laminate and the bases are carpet so i can stick moulding samples to it.
    My work benches are made with regular ply wood and 2x4s, I cover the tops using oversized card board and or foam board. then i cover the boards with craft paper.
    I change the paper about once a week and the foam board padding maybe once a month.
    framewrightscf likes this.
  11. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    In y limited experience, carpeting harbors glass shards and other debris that can never be vacuumed out, and a paper surface is abrasive.

    For years, all of my work tables have been covered in 4 mm Coroplast, aka fluted polypropylene. Framers have adopted this sign-maker's material for reinforcements, fillers and other uses in framing, so many of us already have it in the shop. I prefer to use white, because it shows all sorts of soiling & debris, but many colors are available. Some framers like to use black, at least on the table where they clean glass & acrylic glazing.

    Coroplast has a smooth, minimally-abrasive, semi-soft, plastic surface that provides a little bit of padding, but doesn't depress easily. It also makes a pretty good cutting surface, which is self-healing to a limited extent, but eventually needs replacement. A 48x96 sheet costs less than $15 in my neighborhood, so it is cheap enough to be replaced monthly or, as in my shop, quarterly.

    If I weren't already pleased with Coroplast table covers, my second choice probably would be PVC sheeting, such as 1/8" Sintra, which has a smoother, matte-finished plastic surface, and also comes in many colors.
  12. Al B

    Al B CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I agree with James - cheap indoor/outdoor soft low pile carpet works best for us. I place a sheet over top of the carpet when we are working that can be changed and thrown in the laundry. As in teaching someone how to fit a frame, one should never slide a frame across the table. This eliminates the problem of scratching the frame on any shards or debris.
  13. JWB9999999

    JWB9999999 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I also do like James, and use short pile indoor/outdoor carpet from Lowes. I put a sheet of brown craft paper over mine when working on artwork on it. And as Al B says, no sliding frames, it can scratch them.
    Al B likes this.
  14. njw1224

    njw1224 CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Lots of great replies here. Thanks everyone!
  15. Robbie55

    Robbie55 Grumbler

    I use a plain black fabric over an underlay normally used for floating timber floors. The underlay is only about 3mm thick but is soft enough not to damage or scratch anything. The fabric is easy to clean with a cloth or handheld vacuum but I still end up replacing every 6months or so.
  16. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Our fitting tables and joining table are covered with Fome Cor and the Fome Cor is covered with Kraft paper that is replaced as needed.
    If we're fitting a frame that has a "sensitive", perfect and impossible to touch up finish, we always just put small (about 6"x6"x1") sponge pads under each corner when the frame is face down to raise the face of the frame off of the table.
    If there is any question about the wood moulding being soft or it's glossy etc., it gets the pads under the corners when fitting.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
    tedh likes this.
  17. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I must say, re. the previous comments, that I have never had an issue with glass bits or
    any detritus contaminating my carpet covering. I used to cut glass on it before I had the use of a wall
    mounted cutter. No probs. I still clean glass on it. Again, no probs. :D I must have a magic carpet.

    One of my benches is a dedicated frame-building and hand-finishing station. It has a carpet
    covering but over the years it has become encrusted with paint/glue and is very dusty from
    the sanding and filling. If I need extra 'clean' space I have a roll of carpet intended for outdoor
    decks and conservatories. It was very cheap and just covers the bench. Handy temporary covering
    which can be deployed anywhere and rolled up afterwards.

    What I would also add that if you are thinking of using green self-healing cutting mats as
    a frame assembly surface you may as well use sandpaper. :confused:
  18. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Euu. Just thinking of carpet on a framing table takes me back to Kramer the Framer's back in the seventies and the disgusting glue-encrusted filthy carpeting on our fitting tables. Not to mention almost microscopic shards of glass - which we used to blow off the tables with compressed air. So we just have been breathing them into our lungs (along with Kramer's cigar smoke).

    I have a formica-ish countertop which does double duty as a fitting table and a customer designing table. It does have some scratches but if I need a pristine surface I throw down one of those huge closed-cell white packing foam sheets that some companies use for shipping chops. The right amount of cushioning and easily replaced. If I am going to make a mess - like taking apart an old frame with a rotting dustcover, I just put down a sheet or two of Kraft from glass boxes.
  19. Terry Scidmore CPF

    Terry Scidmore CPF MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I'm a big fan for polyflute, the signmaking product for fitting tables. 4 x 8 foot sheets, relatively cheap, cushiony, able to wash it between each job, white so it helps reflect back light and brightens fitting area.

    For large frames, I use a large piece of foam board or polyflute (40 x 48, 40 x 60) underneath the frame. You can easily turn the frame by rotating the foam board or poly flute, and don't risk damaging or scratching the surface of the frame in any way. For really large frames, the foam board or poly flute can be used as a "slide" to help you get the frame up and then down off the fitting table, and two pieces of foam board with a 40 x 60 lite of glass sandwiched between them can be easily lifted onto the fitting table. I work alone now, so I need my "helpers" on some jobs where I used to have an employee help.

    Black foam board under glass while you clean it can help you to easily spot streaks or dust before laying it on top of the artwork.

    As Mar said, a piece of kraft paper under a "messy" unfit helps keep everything clean and tidy when pulling off that crappy old backing paper, along with capturing all of the spiders and insects inside of golden oldies framed treasures!
    Framar likes this.
  20. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I know a lot of Grumblers frown on it, but I've been framing on carpet-covered worktables since I started during my first year of college in 1972. Occasionally when I'm vacuuming the shop, I just lift my trusty Eureka Boss up onto the table and vacuum that carpet too. I sometimes cover the carpet with kraft paper for a messy unfitting or other messy job, or with a soft plastic sheet when working with fragile frames. If you do decide to go with carpet, as someone suggested above, be sure to get one that doesn't shed fibers. Some of the cheaper indoor-outdoor stuff on the big rolls at the big box places do shed, so maybe get a small piece and test it.
    :cool: Rick
    Al B likes this.
  21. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    I also have carpeted worktables. My 2 4x8 fitting tables, my 4x8 mat cutter table and my 4x4 joiner table are all covered with low pile carpet. I also cover my joiner table with a large loose piece of fleece that can be lifted off for cleaning or washing. My mat table also has a a large self healing cutting mat. I am almost 100% acrylic so I cut glass very seldom. I also have a large workbench when gluing or doing anything messy.

    I clean acrylic (and sometimes glass) on a discontinued accordion like framework that came from Fletcher called Lite-Grip. I found one for sale at http://www.pictureframingequipment.com/handtools.htm for $95.00 NIB.


    I think its great. It uses bump-ons to cushion the glass or acrylic while cleaning. It's far better than trying to clean glass any other way. I recommend it. I give it 5 bump-ons.

    I have a Craftsman wall mounted vac with a 20 foot hose for cleaning the tops of the tables.

    I know everyone has polarizing opinions on this subject (it has come up before), but I would never use anything but carpet.

    I cover my fitting tables with a piece of fleece when working with high gloss frames that scratch easily. Other than that they stay with just the carpet.
    Al B likes this.
  22. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Stain grade plywood. Sealed. Waxed. Looks decent, very practical, and cleans easily. You never know what putty from someone's frame is left on your sales counter, and if someone brings in delicate art that has snag-able edges, fabric is a no-no. I have seen no problems with this over 5 years with this type of counter top, and prior 10 years with a laminate top.
  23. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Another thing I just thought of....

    If you have a polished wood or what ever hard top on the design table - in a retail area, someone is eventually
    going to put a framed picture on it face up and the hanging hardware is going to gouge great chucks out
    of the surface. Or at least scratch it a bit. Not so carpet.

    Jus' sayin'. Carry on...
  24. njw1224

    njw1224 CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    WOW! Didn't expect the wide variety of viewpoints here. I figured framing had been around long enough that most pros would have settled on a solution. I think I am going to go with some sort of roll vinyl flooring. It's attractive, comes in lots of styles & designs, is soft enough to not scratch frames (if it's kept clean, which is pretty easy), yet scratch-resistant enough to not be hurt by wire and hanging hardware if someone sets a frame face-up on it. Plus it's cheap and easy to replace if it ever does get overly marred-up.
  25. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    We use a wooden tabletop, covered with a bunch of kraft paper. Changing to black kraft made a huge difference in the ease of seeing while cleaning glass. I should say that, while it's best to have the areas separate, our space is so tiny we do corners, clean glass and fit all on the same spot. Have to be careful, and I wish more space would magically appear, but it works.
  26. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have gone through the whole gambit of fitting table covers. I have used carpet but in my opinion it gets dirty and dusty and collects little scraps of carp that can easily scratch the frame. Coroplast squishes down and becomes uneven and the same goes with foam core.

    I have been using 1/4" ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) now for about 2 years now on 1 of my fitting tables and it still looks as good as the day I put it on. I purchase the ABS at the place I purchase my acrylic, this company supplies sign making materials to sign maker industries. I have now changed to it on my 2nd fitting table. It is easy to clean and even hides the little cuts I have put in it when I slip with the utility knife. If I need a little softness I just throw out an oversized beach towel but that is seldom necessary. When I do have to change it, which I'm sure will still be a few year away, it will be easy because I have it screwed onto my table with stainless steel screws that are countersunk. This is by far the best cover I have ever used. The initial cost is up there, about $70.00 for a 4' X 8' sheet, but after what I have spent on carpet, coroplast, foam core, or mat board I figure I will get this money back just on the time saved by having to change out other covers every few months. Joe B
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  27. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ours has held up a solid 5 years. Quite a bit of use as the counter. Indeed a couple of scratches that a standard stain marker fixed. Looks fairly top-notch yet practical. But, carpet has its looks too.

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