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Am I missing something? AR glass

Tommy P

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Nov 16, 2003
Mid North Indiana
I have framed two things lately with Tru-Vue AR glass. The first is in the shop on display. Was not that impressed with it's AR properties.....

The second is the one that has me perplexed.

Customer brings in a framed piece with a single mat that is glazed with non-glare. He has never liked the piece (bought direct from the artist) and believes it is because of the "muddy" look from the glass. But he hates reflection. He sees my little display box. You know, the one from TV that has the gold tassle showing regular and museum glass. I end up selling him, as a replacement for the non-glare, a 25 x 36 piece of AR from TV. Not museum with 97% UV pro but AR with something like 76% UV protection. I charge him $185.00 to do this.

The problem is that for the money neither he nor I think the finished piece is that great! He took it back to work to hang in his office (lawyer) and may bring it back if it looks like it did in my shop. I did not oversell it's purpose!

Am I missing something with an AR glass? Am I wrong in thinking that TV AR and Museum are no different in regards to the anti-reflection properties of each? UV percentage is different but is that it? And there still is signifacant reflection, although it is "bluer"! For the cost of these products they should be like the **** little tassle box. Invisible!!


I have seen others expound on the delights and wonders of AR glass....help me see the light.....without reflection!
There are circumstances where AR or not, it just don' work. I always worry when sending out one of the big ones that when they hang it in the solarium or the billiard room that it will be the one in 20 or so that the angle is wrong and it doesn't work. Because I know a) it will come back, b) I will have to take it apart c) the glass will be unuseable c) I will have to refund their money. None of this makes me happy...
One of my biggest fears with reflection control ( Non-glare) glass is with what the consummers thinks. Many if not most think that since it is designed to control the reflection of things like "SUN LIGHT" it is OK to hang the work in direct glare of the sun or other UV produceing sources. They just don't get the concept that even at best they don't block ALL reflection and maybe NO UV light. But they get it so they can hang them in the SUNNIEST exposure thay have.

IMHO it would be far better to not offer reflection control and only offer UV filtering while explaining to clients that they really don't want to hang a frame where the sun or light shines directly on it in the first place . But not because of the reflection on the glass but because of the fadeing that will occur in time.
PS I also think most Reflection controled or non-glare difuse the image behind them expecially if any extensive matting work is used,despite what is aid to the contrary with the more recent products .

I'm really not talking about non-glare. That is what he had and what I replaced with crystal clear AR glass.

A lawyers office is usually dimly lit. I hope it is because in my shop, that has lots of light, the piece really had a lot of reflection! Granted, not as much as CC glass but enough that I was not impressed for what we have to sell this stuff for!

Maybe I'm expecting to much....but that's just me. If someone charged me $185 for a piece of glass that size I would be disappointed.... :(
As a matter of fact, I know exactly what you mean. This past week I replaced regular glass (broken) with museum glass on a wedding portrait. We were not all that happy with the result either. In fact, we took it appart to make sure we had put the right side of the glass up! I have noticed that the farther away from the object the glass is, the more it "disappears"...which is why the tassle shadowbox works so well as a selling tool. I have been wondering if using this is a good idea, since most applications will not have this kind of depth. Maybe I should make up a small sample with only a couple of mats...
This is nonsense! There is nothing perfect in this world. Museum Glass (and AR) are a huge improvement over the etched Non-Glare glass that preceded it. I have a large number of sample pieces (most all of the more expensive ones) framed with Museum Glass. Customers can see the difference in reflection between those pieces and the ones with just UV Glass. Some are on easels and reflect track lights and fluorescent fixtures. There are no surprises when the customer chooses Museum Glass. In the last two months 80% of my sales have been with Museum Glass - with a tidy profit for me.

That brings up another point. Most of you are charging far to much for this product. $185 for a sheet of AR that costs less than $40 is not going to make this glass popular - it looks great on your COG but is not going to get many sales. My charge for this 25" x 36" sheet of Museum Glass (not AR) is $124. My average COG on this glass is 40% - lower on smalls and closer to 50% on larger near perfect fits for standard sheets - averaging 40%. Scraps are a bonus not, counted in my average, that can yield extra dividends if carefully kept.

Museum Glass can be a lot more profitable than UV Glass if priced at a level that the customer will pay and if you make sure that ALL of its properties are are displayed. My margin on the last two months sales was about $2000 more than if I had sold UV Glass - not chicken feed for a one man shop.

Pat :D

You bring up a valid argument, I'll grant you that. I have never been able to get a good handle on pricing AR and Museum glass. Guess I will have to look at my numbers. Your pricing is probably more down to earth. Going by some suggested prices (don't anyone have a coronary!) this stuff isn't worth it! IMHO

You said, "Some are on easels and reflect track light and fluorescents". Are you talking the AR or regular. Because I get alot of reflection from the same sources on my AR. Thus creating the hard sell!

The reflections are there but are demonstrably less. The ones hanging on walls show the real value of the anti-reflective coating. Honesty in marketing is an essential ingredient in a successful small business.

Pat :D
We always keep a frame with Museum (we stopped buying AR) on a wall that faces the street windows.

When we are talking about the REDUCED reflections, I grab an 8x10 off the shelf under the display and hold it up flat to the work. That's when the people turn around and look out the windows like..."When did those appear?"

The little tassle box works so well for two reasons 1) shadowbox and 2) dead flat black lining sucks up everything....

So you will see those reflections (green or blue) on those stupid 8" wide white mats....Switch to black suede FABRIC and the reflections desolve.

On a diploma, use antique satins in neutral colors or darker colors or linens and what little shows up on the diploma will be more than acceptable...

lawyers and doctors tend to see the $$$ more than the reflections.
As with most everything in life ... it all depends ... in the case of AR/Museum because it is called "anti-reflective" some folks figure this means "no reflections at all under any circumstances" ... not so ... but the product is fatabulous under many, many lighting conditions ... now the problem with most frame shops is that we have LOTS of light ... to showcase the art, colors, etc. ... in my case the windows face west, so in the late afternoon we are flooded with light ... and under these conditions, especially at an angle you will indeed have reflections from AR/Museum and will not showcase it to its best/proper advantage ... by way of contrast I have a piece of art (an original watercolor) hanging in my bathroom at home, right above the toilet ... so naturally I get to look at this picture quite a lot!!! ... kinda up close, for a "wee while" several times a day ... now try as I might I just CANNOT see the glass ... I know it's there ... but it is absolutely invisible ... this is the beauty of AR ... high transmission of light so the colors are brighter and clearer coupled with low reflectivity ... similarly I have a couple of pieces in my shop, deliberately positioned so that they are not compromised by the bright sunshine ... I cannot tell you how many times customers have to go right up to the art and physically touch the glass to believe that they are glazed ... so like I say "it all depends" ... I sell a lot of AR/Museum but I always make the point of showing the differences under different light conditions ... it's worth the time, and the results are worth the money to the clients ... another example, try comparing conservation clear on a black suede shadowbox versus museum on the the same situation ... in the first case the glass almost looks like a mirror ... in the second you can really see the contents ... by the way we sell both AR and museum to allow for different price points and/or preservation requirements. Of course if clients don't like the product or price that's their prerogative, and there are plenty of other viable options. And of course there are some folks that are never satisfied ... oh well, better put down my PC and go catch up with production ... have several mylar encapsulations to do, an acrylic holder to assemble and fuse to an acrylic mirror base (to showcase a stetson that bears a signature inside, above the hat band), some of those horrible interior designer matboards to cut (10 or so openings of various sizes and shapes), various items of sports memorabilia to shadowbox (with museum glass), and a couple of commercial orders that they'll be hollering for within a day or so ... as my dad used to say "no peace for the wicked" ... but there again, I say "it all depends"!

[ 07-24-2005, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: CAframer ]
Andrew, can you space your sentences a little?

It's difficult to read.

Sorry ... couldn't resist ... I guess I just got carried away typing earlier ... forgot to take a breath!

If these customers are that sensitive to reflections, then they need to hire a lighting designer. A knowledgeable designer knows how to light this stuff so that it truly is invisible.

But we can't just slap the expensive glass in, plop it up on any old wall and expect it to be perfect in every situation! That's plain nutty!

I have a variety of half and half pieces framed as display pieces in the shop- no matter the piece, the AR glass ALWAYS has less reflections than regular. ALWAYS.

Pat, you are willing to take on the huge risks, liabilities and responsibilities associated with owning a business and live with a 40-50% COGS? More power to ya. But, since I haven't won the lottery yet, I gotta eat and pay rent and 40% COGS means I am working for free. Maybe you are leaving money on the table- my price for a 25 x 36 AR is $172.00 with tax. That does not include labor, btw. I sell plenty of the stuff, as well.

edie the inoneofthosemoodstoday goddess

I don't operate with 40% COGS on most of my sales - I agree that that would be a road to disaster. But, that said, there are products that I sell at between 40% to 50% COGS. As I mentioned above up-selling to Museum Glass is one of them - my overall the average on Museum Glass is 40%. With the volume I'm selling, the ADDED margin to my shop has improved dramatically with last winter's Tru-Vue price reduction - in other words the customers are responding to the lower price. The other products are closed corner frames which I price at 50% COGS with an over-ride to cover shipping and, if necessary, crating. I just took an order for 9 $80 a foot Regence frames with Museum Glass and fabric mats, totaling $14,000. My customer is a knowledgeable frame shopper and would have walked away if I had Attempted to rip him off for $160 a foot to get to 25% COGS. If you are able to do that in your market, go for it, I can't.

In fact, how to price higher end closed corner frames might be an interesting topic for another thread.

Pat :D