chipped fillets


Grumbler in Training
Nov 12, 2003
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to chop fillets without chipping the finish? We just put new blades in the cutter so dull blades are not the problem. The decoration on the fillet seems to be a kind of gesso but it is reddish orange. You don't always see the crack in the finish after it is cut but later when handling it to fit it in the mat the finish chips off at the corners.
First, I have noticed this phenom with some fillets, but not all. I don't sell LJX0466 anymore for that reason. Check and see if you can sub something not so prone to the problem.

But, I chop slightly larger than needed, then use my sander to "clean up" the ends. I have had no problems since switching to this technique. Also, it is much easier to "fine tune" the length of the fillet with the sander and get a "perfect" fit.
I wonder how the suppliers chop fillets. I figure that they saw them. I wonder what kind of blade/s they use.

If the chip is salvageable, sometimes I glue back in place with a white glue and paint over it with acrylic craft paint. If it's a tiny chip, I just paint over it very carefully. The acrylic paints come in different shades of gold, so it's good to have a variety. Some framers touch things up with Liberon products.

A few fillets have a history of chipping a lot when chopped with our fillet cutter. We ditch those samples.

Which fillets are giving you the most trouble?

New blades don't guarantee sharp&nbspblades. I use a FrameSquare fillet chopper and I hone the blades of the chopper on a very fine ceramic stone. It is amazing how "not sharp" sharp blades can be.

Spyderco sells the very best ceramic stones and they will last much longer than your lifetime if properly cared for. (Like not dropping them on a concrete floor!) They are priced higher than most stones but, once you use one, you will throw all the others out! They use no oil or water, they are used dry and can be cleaned with some Comet and a Scotchbrite pad when they become dirty or clogged.

The keyk to maintaining the edge of a cutting tool such as a fillet blade or a knife is learning to maintain the angle of the edge as you sharpen the tool. That takes some practice and concentration but, once learned, you can put a scalpel's edge of any cutting tool if the steel is of good quality.

I wouldn't be without my set of ceramic stones for any reason.


P.S. Some so called Gesso is not gesso at all but a very hard type of plaster and it is very brittle to both chopper blades and the saw. These are hard to cut with the sharpest of blades and I immediately remove the samples and pitch them when I find one to be this way. We have enough headaches to contend with in framing without adding to the assortment with inferior moulding finishes.