acid-free glass?


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Sep 22, 2003
Lady wants acid-free glass.

Have I missed something? I thought glass was glass besides the obvious uv qualities...

Showing my stupidness - again.

I searched FACTS again, no mention of acid-free. Guardian doesn't mention acid-free.
I bet your customer is just misusing her words. She probably means "protective" glass but is saying "acid free". Acid free is becoming a pretty generic term amongst the general public. It probably means a variety of things to those who don't quite understand the terminology. At least she is aware there is a reason to have a better quality glass......
I didn't think it existed.

Which leads to my next question.

How do you tell someone there's no such thing without making them feel stupid?

Something like - "I'm not familiar with acid-free glass. (which makes me sound stupid and does nothing to increase her confidence in me) Do you mean UV glass?"
I would say, "That's actually a misnomer, paper products are where you think about the acid content. We usually talk about the UV blocking qualities of glass..."

Most people will be open to the correct use of terms, especially when it is not their field.

On the other hand, if someone begins to insist that there is such a thing, I'd ask to see the info, saying something like, "Really? That's a new one on me! I'd really like to read about it. Would you bring me what you read about it?"

I never make the customer look stupid. It's not good business, and it's plain not right to treat anyone like that.


First of all, get this notion out of your head that all of your questions are "stupid"!! In my opinion, the only "stupid" question is that which a person has and doesn't ask. We have all had questions at one time or another and that is what the Grumble is all about. You just go on asking and we will attempt to help you.

(After all, that's what "family" is for, eh??) :cool:

I would approach an obviously uneducated question such as your customer posed to you in this manner, "I think that you may be a bit confused as to the terminology that you are using, ma'am. There are different "grades", if you will, of framing glass and here is the major differences in them."

Then you can go on to explain what those differences are and I'll bet that your customer will thank you for the information and walk away with a better feeling about her visit to your shop. About the only people who don't benefit from a bit of education now and then are a few knowitalls who aren't receptive to learning what they "think" they already know about a subject. And, thank the Lord, there are not many of these characters loose on the streets without proper adult supervision!

Dermot may be able to help us out with this, but . . .

There was a nasty rumor circulating a while back that some of the acids used to etch non-glare glass were never fully washed out. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but Dermot seemed to feel that there was some basis for this fear.

Sell them clear or coated glass and everyone will be happy.
And don't forget to give them some consumer "hand-out" materials from some of our glass suppliers, etc.

"you might be interested in this reading material from ........"
Thank you everyone for your responses. I knew I had to ask the experts first before steering anyone wrong due to my lack of knowledge.

Betty, I agree completely. I didn't want to make her feel stupid and I'm usually really good at PR but just couldn't form the words in my head so they didn't sound bad. And saying, "new one on me" will have certainly been my course of action if she insists because I truly would want to know.

Framerguy -- thanks for your encouragement. My apprehension about posting comes from being blasted a few times in the past after posting a query. I try not to wear my feelings on my sleeve but it did make me a bit more, shall we say, cautious.

Now for the rest of the story -- She had gone to a local woodworker to have her frames made. Woodworker and I are old friends. As we were visiting yesterday he said she was in to have frames made and told him not to put glass in them because she had to have special acid-free glass. He told me, "So I assume she'll be calling on you for the glass." I said, "Oh, don't think there is such a thing as acid-free glass."

She had contacted me about framing these pieces a long time ago (this could go on warped "What if.")
They are pencil drawings.

He says, "The only problem I have is there is no margin of paper outside the drawing for the lip of the frame." I said, "So she's not matting them. Just smack up against the glass." He said, "No mat. That's not good is it." I said, "Not really."

I told him to try to encourage her to have them matted which would give him more room to work with.

So that's what brought me to the Grumble -- to be armed and ready with the correct information -- IF she does show up.
Acid is used to treat some glass…Diffused/Non Reflective….some of the acid can remain if the final rinse before the glass leaves the factory is shoddy….Just tell her that you carefully clean the glass before finishing the package not only to ensure that it is spotless clean but also to ensure that there is no residue acid on the glass…..the reality is that for the normal custom framer…….acid on glass should not be a problem as I presume you clean all glass…..there could arise a problem with production framers who take the glass from the crate/box and put it straight into the frame package without doing a final cleaning of the glass.

The only other area of concern would be if the glass cleaner you use leaves some contamination from what it is made from …….or that there is some cross contamination on the wipe you use to clean the glass with….
See, if you were REALLY quick you could have pulled out a piece of glass and shown her the difference between regular glass and acid free glass and then given her the price diffrence between the two. Usually, I charge 2.5 times the cost of the plain old regular glass. She would have been really happy to have been so smart to ask for the good stuff and you would have been really to have been able to accommodate her wishes and pay for that Mercedes at the same time!!
You put it so good!

But a more ethical statement would have been. Yes Madam all the glass we use is acid free. I am glad you came here.

You see later on this customer may just become an informed consumer. Only to learn that there is no difference and that 2.5 markup may cost you a lifetime customer. {the devil made me do it}
It is like scaming your mother. If it was you asking? How would you like to know you had been robbed just because you did not know the facts?

Don't get me wrong it made great reading and I think if you thinkl about it you would not actually do it. BUT it is what we all feel like doing now and again.
Yes Madam all the glass we use is acid free. I am glad you came here.
Brilliant (or is that evil) minds think alike. :D :D I actually thought this. But I wouldn't do it -- I don't think...
The glass is washed and rinsed repeatedly with an acid-neutralizing solution after it's etched. This should be very low on our list of things to worry about.

Does anyone remember years ago when word on the street was that the etching process would leave thousands of microscopic "lenses" etched into the glass? These would supposedly act as itty-bitty magnifying glasses that could bunr holes n the artwork. Ummm...yeah