cutting metal frames

Barb Pelton

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I've never done it, but I want to start.

I have the Phaedra system, and it seems like it would be a major pain to have to constantly switch blades between metal and wood. So, I have purchased a combo blade and I have a wax stick thingy. I made a test cut on a pc of Neilson 58 profile and it doesn't look like a nice straight cut, but slightly wobbly.

How often do I have to apply the wax and do I just give a portion of the blade a swipe or do I need to rotate the entire blade through the wax stick? That wax looks like a it's going to be a mess.

What tips might I try to get a straighter cut?
(Yes it was clamped).

Thanks!
 

Jeff Rodier

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I have never cut much metal. Only when we mis order something. The savings between chop and length on metal never seemed worth the headache. We get a 35% discount on metal chops from 3 different vendors so the savings is only about .40 a foot. We don't sell much metal anyways so I will continue to order chops.
 

GUMBY GCF

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this may not sit well with anyone but if not thats okay!~
When i used to cut with a metal & wood on my rockwell 8" mitre box saw. I use a spry lube called LS & before that I used WD40 Just a short squirt of the blade as it went around just before the cut. Not enough to soak the blade. It seemed to work fine for me!~ The wax thing I agree seemed a pain You might even fine a spray lub that is for cutting or drilling metal or one that has some wax or pariffin in it as a lubercant!~
This is all unorthodox but that is the way I did it for 15 years before I got my EMN12 now that is heaven!~
 

MarkyW

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I used to cut metals alot more than I do now. The way to use the wax stick is to start the saw and then touch the tip of the wax stick to the blade so you cut into it just a smidge (yes, that is the technical term for it)
I would give a quick touch of the wax to the blade every cut (or every other cut, but no less than that). Yes, the wax is a little messy I guess, but it lubricates and cools the blade when it's cutting. (but I don't think any messier than using a spray)

If you have it clamped already, I guess check to make sure it's a tight clamp. Then you could try cutting through the metal faster or slower and see if that makes any difference.

I have a Frame Square sliding table saw and that gives me good cuts, so I'm not quite familiar if using a power miter needs any other tricks.

Hope that helps.
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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My saw manufacture states that a touch of the waxstick to a spinning blade will 'load' the blade with enough wax for 8 cuts of a 15 or 1500 profile. The idea is that the wax melts which in the process of melting, cools the blade. That being said, I usually touch the stick every other rail. Too much just makes a mess of the saw and anything else in line with the spinning blade.

A 'wobbly' cut is usually indicative of an insufficient clamp or rabbet support while sawing. My FrameSquare saw has a support to keep the upper side of the moulding from moving while being cut in addition to the clamp.

BTW, don't try to cut too tight to minimize waste unless you want to have a small aluminum projectile bouncing off the walls at a high rate of speed. I learned that lesson very quickly.

I'm sure there are others around that can give details about the rake angle needed to get the optimum cut for your saw and clamp system. I know that some manufacturers say that it doesn't matter, but it makes a difference once you've used a blade that is specific for the purpose, matched to the saw and clamps.
 

Mike LeCompte CPF

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to my mind, cutting metal is awaste of time for several reasons:

1) We use metal only as a last resort, cheapie frame for the college kid or family looking for a quick way to get something on the wall. At the price point, they love it and it's quick

2) As was said earlier, the difference between length and chop is simplynot worth the time to cut

3) YOU will go thru saw blade sharpness like you-know-what thru a goose and having blades sharpened more than offsets the hassle/time/labor of sawing aluminum

4) the aluminum shards fly everywhere and that includes your arms, your clothes and your floor

We just don't do it and we have two combo blades for our saw, one in reserve and one usually about to be sharpened
 

DTWDSM

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On the other hand...

We use the Phaedra System to cut both metal and wood. Use a combo blade from Phaedra (American Design) and have no problems. We do not use the Wax stick, we use an aerosol lubricant that was suggested by the company who sharpens our blades.

As for the savings on metal, it is just like wood, it depends on how much you use and how much money you want to make. If you use 100 feet a year then saving .40/ft may not be worth it but if you use over 10,000 (random number, I don't have the magical point to cross over but I am sure it is lower) then you better be doing it.

Mike your #1 kind of counterdicts your opening statement "at the price point they love it and its quick" If that is true why not use it more????

Barb, if you are not getting clean cuts then more than likely the moulding was not clamped tight enough ot you cut it too fast. They key is to cut slow and make sure that the moulding does not move. Depending on the metal that you are cutting you will probably have to use a file on your mitres anyway since the metal does not cut as clean as wood.
 

Barb Pelton

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Thanks guys.

Rick, I found out yesterday about the flying projectile factor. I learned real quick that I was cutting too close to the end and maybe I shouldn't do that in the future.

I don't like those little metal shards that fly everywhere, esp onto my arms, but now I'm aware of what to expect, and can be better prepared for that.

My "wobbly" cut improved when I repositioned the clamps. By last night before I left I was getting good cuts.

Mike and Jeff, I understand what you are saying. I've been in business for 15 years now and haven't really had a desire to cut metal frames, esp when I can get oem from my fave supplier chopped at .99 a ft. BUT, I don't get delivery from anyone. (With the exception of one company, once a week--but I am not satisfied with their chops/corners and their metal chop price isn't as competitive as others').

I pay for a freight company to bring me everything from Larson Juhl once a week and everything else is UPS'ed in.
Shipping is a major concern for me.

Once miscut and a customer is looking at a 2 wk wait on a poster frame. We've been offering a "Poster frame special" at my store with increasing success, but I sure would like to speed up that turn around!
 

Jeff Rodier

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Originally posted by Jeff Rodier:
I have never cut much metal. Only when we mis order something. The savings between chop and length on metal never seemed worth the headache. We get a 35% discount on metal chops from 3 different vendors so the savings is only about .40 a foot. We don't sell much metal anyways so I will continue to order chops.
Barb,

This post was Frame Maker Dave replying under my log in.

I think that cutting metal is a great way to increase profit. Dave doesn't do it because among all of the stores we only sell about a half dozen a month.

You can buy water soluable oil from any machine shop in your area. I belive the mixture is about 10 parts water to 1 part oil. See if they will sell you a pint to try out since it is expensive but goes a long way. Mix in a spray bottle. Spray on a spinning blade. This is the lubricant used in a mist system of the high production saws. It is really supposed to be delivered continuosly during the cut but you don't cut that many anyway.

Be extremely careful of flying scrap with a carbide tipped blade. This is why the non-ferous blades are not tipped but if you don't want to change blades just be sure your scrap is clamped.
 

Mike LeCompte CPF

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Tim: because the metal poster package, "value frame" or whateever you care to call it IS in fact a last resort. If you don't wanna spend, say, $200 to frame a poster for a dorm room in an LJ Tribeca or Soho, then fallback is an inexpensive 05-11-15-117 meteal frame.

Don't see disparity in that statement
 

Framing Goddess

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Barb,
I stock a #11 oem matte black and it is a steady seller. It is my artist-with-50-photos-in-a-show moulding, college-student-poster moulding, corporate-presentation-need-it-in-an-hour moulding, you get the idea.

I bought my framesquare saw specifically so that I could offer this. I had to play around with blades and clamps, too. I have no less than three combo blades. Now I have four and that's just about right. I change them quite often- a dull blade is a real drag, haha.

I use the wax stick about every four cuts, more with hardwoods or beefier metals. I don't see that it is a mess at all.

I think you are smart to do this, especially without local delivery.

I always wear earphones and eye protection, too. But you already knew that.
 

Joseph Allen Popp

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Studio Moulding has a nice 3/4" flat black prifile (26901) that I pay about 50 cents a foot for. it's my cheapo job moulding. I pay less for it than metal, it looks more impressive and I don't have to cut metal to use it. I order my (few) metal frames chopped. I recommend finding an equivelent inexpensive wood. The Studio profile also comes in a dozen other colors at nearly the same low price...of course the onle downfall is the joining time...metal is quick!
 

Rick Granick

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That alternative is becoming even more relevant with Nielsen's new price increase (and L-J's cover letter implying maybe more to come soon). Metals used to be the "cheap way out", but nowadays the more interesting metals hold their own against woods (in both design and pricepoint) and the boring ones ain't so cheap anymore.
kaffeetrinker_2.gif
Rick
 

Bob Carter

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Hi Barb-We probably don't cut as much metal as some, but we, like Tim, don't do much anything different to cut it

Can't say that metal is anymore "dulling" than wood, but we sharpen blades every 4-5 weeks as a matter of practice, rotating blades between three sets

Edie-we use the 5 profile and it just seems to have a little more substance than 11. Everybody seems to have an OEM 5 product at pretty reasonable prices if you buy moderate amounts of footage

One thing is for certain: Metals no longer carry the same demand as just a few years back, but do fit a very specific niche.

You are wise to offer it and make sure that your customers know about it. I think too many hide the corners under the counter and don't feel they are worthy of their shops

You know how I feel about that mentalityu
 

Rick Granick

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I agree about that mentality, Bob. While not needing to have them all front-and-center, we have a row or two of metals located pretty prominently to show that we can accommodate all needs. Besides, the great variety of colors available (esp. in the 15 profile) is very handy, and also brightens up the display area in a rainbow-like fashion.
:cool: Rick
 

Barb Pelton

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I'm better with the wax now, so it's not as bad as I thought it would be. I'll probably try the spray just for comparison.

Bob, you'll be glad to know that the "Grad" mat display is up and working! It is indeed getting interst and it has only been 2 days.

I do think it will require metal in stock to make it work to it's full advantage. We need to be able to do the turn around very quickly.

I carry a black "value" moulding that I use now that will now be our "step up" selection.

BTW--I saw a sweet little black moulding on Sunday's show from PFI--1" matte black moulding with a 3/16" gloss black running on the outside edge, making it appear as a stacked moulding.
Excellent pricing.
It also came in larger profiles.
A nicer look than the "basic black" profiles out there IMO. The sample sawed cleanly, so we'll be adding this to our "value" lineup....
 
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