customer grumble, wire tensions different


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 7, 2004
Well, it happened again. Someone had 5 oils framed, 3 were a triptych. He was completely irate because he used a laser level to hang the hooks on his wall in a straight line and then the oils didn't hang in a straight line. He couldn't be convinced that having them even within 1/4" was acually pretty good for having it done that way. What I will do when he picks them up again (he returned them to be fixed) is to make a cardboard template for his wall so he can place the hangers correctly, but he'd still going to think I'm giving him a defective product. They have been returned because, although he does not want them removed from the original very out of square stretchers, he wants the frames square and with no gaps - better than our first go around where we routered out the inside of the frame to eat up the difference.. the canvases still bow towards the wall and have 3/8" plywood screwed from behind holding them that way, which he doesn't want removed either.

My first thought was, "Shoulda used the wallbuddies."

My second thought was, "Shoulda restretched them."

My third thought was, "I gotta start getting more involved in the framing again."

My fourth thought was, "Oh, ******, I'm going to end up hanging these during 2 hours of **** in the guys house."

Then a customer who lives on a multi million dollar estate called up and wanted to cancel her $200 order cuz she changed her mind, but the frame is done.

Anyway, when I get yelled at this bad (he asked me if I was drunk when they were done, ha) I always doubt myself a little... ya got any tricks to get wire tension exactly the same on multiple pictures?

I hope it gets better!
Originally posted by johnny:
.. ya got any tricks to get wire tension exactly the same on multiple pictures?
Leave the wire on the spool.

Almost any other hanging option will yield better results. "D" rings, cleat hanger, and of course "Wallbuddies".
I have seen a jig made that could help.

Basically a T-square that rides along the top moulding with a screw eye on the arm to run the wire over.

Supposed to get the wire at the same spot "everytime"
Yup. Tryptic...D rings. or French cleats.

You just know that they are gonna use a laser these days.

Wallbuddies only work if the guy measures the width "PERFECTLY" (read in, has you come do it).

I'm still looking for something that I would use Wallbuddies on enough to over come my odium for the mfg's web page.
The following in is partially in jest!

Personally I don't really see what their problem is!

Hang the frames, run the laser, Measure how much higher you have to raise/lower the offensive frames. Pull the nails and put in another hole in the precious wall. Geez, the hole will be covered by the frame anyways!

Bring a can of spackle and fill the holes.

If they complain about the differing heights of the wires tell them that custom framing means each frame is make, and finished one at a time. The wire is put on according to variables of each individual frame, depending on weight, proportion, hanging properties, integrity of the wood... I'm sure you can come up with some bulls*** that they'll believe!

Who's signature is it that says/said "don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things!"

I think this customers complaint falls in that realm!
Is it that difficult to adjust the wire while hanging???

No measurement will be as good as slight tweeking of the wire.

I always leave about an eigth of an inch "unwrapped" on one end of the wire so that a customer can adjust the wire without drawing blood.

Dave Makielski
As far as the customer who changed her mind...

Did she sign a work order? I admit I don't have anyone do that, but that would solve the issue.

Did she change her mind about the design? If so, accommodate her but she should compensate you for the "change order". Contractors love "change orders" and make good profits on them. Be nicer than the contractors and she should be willing and pleased to return the favor.

If she is just cancelling the have to evaluate how good or potentially good this customer can/will be. Use your judgement as far as this being an abberation in how she works or the "norm"...You be da judge. Turn it into an advantage or a lesson.

Dave Makielski
D-rings. Yes! but customers hate them. They don't like having to be precise with the wall hangers and they invariably ask to have wire strung between the d-rings and when we explain why we won't they ask for screw eyes and wire - back to square one.

I am disappointed in my company. We should have never agreed to frame them as is, and had I known about them during the process of completing the order we wouldn't have. The salesperson is stuck in Florida, her husband fell off a boat and is in the hospital, so I won't be bothering her about this, but I know from the framer and from the customers near heart attack when I told him that I would restretch the artwork that he thinks it will ruin their value and declined it to begin with. I know of the artist, I used to do her framing when she lived in town. Though expensive, these will never, ever, be masterpieces. So, what I'm going to end up doing now is restretching them, reframing them, and hanging them in his home. At least we don't undercharge, so with the $1800 he paid we won't be taking a loss.

For the customer with the cancellation I was just grumbling.
She's coming in to talk things over, we'll get it handled amicably.

Don't ever forget, that to this and every customer who allows us the PRIVILEGE of framing their work...this is a masterpiece. I don't mean to be preachy, but most customers would not even think of paying custom framing prices if the work was not a "masterpiece" to them. We should feel honored that we are the ones they entrust to properly handle and frame their prized work.

In reality, this is the only reason I do custom framing. The affirmation I receive from a client (and friend) trusting me with something that is valuable to them to preserve, protect, properly display and respect their work is better than any amount of money you may make at this trade.

Being a good framer is kind of like a prized good car mechanic. Hard to find one you trust with both your prized "baby" and your wallet.

Relish the thought that a friend and client views you this way or they wouldn't honor you by bringing something of great value (to them) to you to work your magic. Honor them by doing the "Henry Ford" thing...give them more than they expected. You'll have a friend and a client for life.

Dave Makielski
Wallbuddies only work if the guy measures the width "PERFECTLY" (read in, has you come do it).
Whereas d-rings give you infinite slop to work with.

I don't understand your resistance to WallBuddies, Baer, but - since Darrell has yet to put me on commission - I guess it shouldn't affect me too much directly.
In all seriousness, so what if they hate D-rings? If it is the proper, safe, and best method, it's our job as PROFESSIONALs to instruct the customer and arrange for professional installation (if necessary). For an $1800 job I'd probably provide free installation.

We completed a project a few months ago for a large medical practice. The installer didn't specify wire or rings, but in our opinion D-rings were better (safer and more secure for the environment). He grumbled a little when he picked up, but thanked us profusely after he completed the installation. Sometimes it's about what's correct and proper, not always about what's easiest or simplest.

Originally posted by johnny:
D-rings. Yes! but customers hate them. They don't like having to be precise with the wall hangers and they invariably ask to have wire strung between the d-rings and when we explain why we won't they ask for screw eyes and wire - back to square one....
I'd always opt for Wall Buddies on an alignment framing project - That is definitely their advantage.

But if you prefer to us "D-rings", Strap hangers, or mirror hangers, then use the one style that is adjustable...Hook Ups


Made by Stuart Industries and available from United Mfrs, M&M Distributors and others ... :D

Distributors for Hook Ups

Hey guys. I'm back!!!
When hanging triptychs and such I'm just as happy with wires as anything, and I always use 2 hooks per piece. The first thing I do is measure from the wire to the top of the frame and make sure the wires are the same. A little pull on the wire will often stretch it enough or tighten up the knots to line it up with the others. If it's a coated wire I sometimes have to untie the wire to adjust it. Last choice is to move the hardware. When using 2 hooks one thing you have to watch out for is if the framer put the hardware the same distance down from the top of the frame. If they are uneven this can shift the piece left or right. I'm sure there have been more than a few framers whose ears were burning and had no idea why....I've been known to cuss a little when that happens.

I haven't found WallBuddies to be much of a help when hanging multiple pieces. There's no way to adjust them and the hangers can't be moved by the 1/8" or so that you typically need. Same with going straight to D-rings. HookUps would probably work best but I rarely see them.

As far as laser levels go....I never have found a use for them. By the time you have it set up me and my Speed Level can have the hooks up ready to go.
Good to see you back, Frank. I was about to ask Terry Scidmore if she'd have time to head up a search party.
I was going to suggest something as I read through this thread (rhymes LOL) but I got to John Ranes post and he beat me to the punch. Hook ups are perfect for this kind of thing. Completely adjustable and supposedly can hold up to 75 lbs. I always keep these in stock and have hung multi-million dollar collections with these with no problems. You will still get the "You forgot to put wire on my art!" call but hey what are ya gonna do?

Edit: One last thought about this wire tension thing. Even if you get your wire placement perfect, there is still going to be slight differences in how these pieces hang. The larger the piece the bigger the difference. There is always going to be room for a customer to complain. I think a fixed hanging system (D-rings, hookups, etc.) are your only means of avoiding these issues. Either that or tell them to hire a professional art installer.

[ 06-06-2005, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: briank ]