Knew I would lose money when the job walked in...

Puppyraiser

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We are framing a flag from the Civil war. It is a 32 star flag that has had 2 extra stars neatly added. The customer found it under the floorboards of the attic of a house that he was demolishing. (It was in Frederick, MD, where sometomes it was unwise to have the flag of either one side or the other...) The frame is 48 x 80.
The Money Loss Factors so far are 1) the frame had to be larger than I figured. 2) I had to overdye the Crepeline that came from Talas. It was too bright over the red stripes. I ordered some black for over the field of stars, so I have to piece that in. And of course, I have to construct the overlay in sections anyway, because the fabric is narrower than the flag.

I know I need thicker than 1/8" plex. The guy at Acme Plastics thinks I can use 3/16. I am also concerned about the expansion coefficient over such a large space. Should I use a fillet to be sure that it stays in the frame?
 

jframe

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Poor thing, you know the answer don't you.


Maybe it will be the last time you underestimate, heh, heh.

Happens to us all doesn't it, Ellen? Good thing you like to sew.
 

B. Newman

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Ah, but the sheer joy of being a part of such a historical find must surely allay any qualms at losing money...

After all Ellen, we do know that we are all in it for the love of framing - right?

(What? No icon that is "full of baloney?") ;)
 

Peter Bowe

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We call these $20.00 jobs at our shop. That is to say when the job is over you realize you would have been better off handing the customer twenty bucks when they first walked in and sent them to the next framer down the road.

This job has all the classic elements; oversize, valuable, interesting and, I would wager, the customer flattered your experience and reputation when they came in.

Peter Bowe
Saline Picture Frame Co.
 

Kit

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I'm with Betty - except for the 'full of baloney' part. Some jobs are worth doing just for the sheer joy of knowing that they're done right.

So the price you charged doesn't cover the cost of your time. You'll feel good about the finished job when it's done. Consider it a gift to yourself and your reward for all the tacky stuff customers have made you do.

Kit
 

Bob Doyle

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Can you get the moulding routed out so that you have a bigger rabbet? 3/8" or 1/2" might give you more security than 1/4" plus a fillet. Afterall what's to stop the fillet from coming out if the plexi gets loose?

Aren't these jobs fun!
 

Paul N

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We've all been there Ellen.

And it happened to me also with a huge flag as well (108 x 60!).

In projects like this, double your price estimate, and you might break even!
 

Terry Hart cpf

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I'm with Betty - except for the 'full of baloney' part. Some jobs are worth doing just for the sheer joy of knowing that they're done right.

So the price you charged doesn't cover the cost of your time. You'll feel good about the finished job when it's done. Consider it a gift to yourself and your reward for all the tacky stuff customers have made you do.
Kit, didn't you get out of the business? ;)
 

Jana

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Here are some answers I got when we had to frame a large piece:

http://www.thegrumble.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=006671#000005

We ended up using a Larson Soho frame and a gold Larson 1" liner to increase the frame lip. It was a daunting project and took us forever to get it done. Just finding the space to work on it was a challenge. Every day our refrain was, "Um, shouldn't we work on the tiger rug?...Yeah, tomorrow when we clean off some space." Finally, my boss had an opportunity to go to Williamsburg with her family and I said not until we finish the tiger rug. It was done in a week! It sure was our albatross.

(We also used the thicker plexi-glass. Oh dear, it was so heavy.)

I think we charged enough and were proud of the results after all that. It was for a local high school.

The problem with these big, special projects is how can you say no to them. I've always been grateful to Grumblers for the advice they gave us. It saved our butts!
 

Lori Drugan

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Been there, done that, chalked it up to experience. At least you are going to learn from this and probably won't make the same mistake twice, so don't look at it as a loss.

Your customer will definately appreciate the fact you cared enough to do the project correctly for the concideration of the artwork.

Lori
 

Bandsaw

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I do framing for a living but as I like what I do I also do "Recreational Framing". I have to be sure to do enough "For Pay" framing so I can afford my after work recreation whether it's boating, woodwork, or framing. The challenge of some framing projects is just plain irresistable! Hopefully I'll charge enough to at least pay for materials.

For these big ones there's nothing like a 4 inch wide by 2 inch deep moulding with the rabbet routed out to an inch deep to hold it all together solidly.
 

Baer Charlton

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Ellen, how did you plan to barrier against buggies?

The flag is wool, right?

Somedays it just ain't fair.... and then it get down right mean: This job will be like a magnet for more flags that get bigger.. :eek:

Next thing you know, you're stacking frames and muttering to yourself. :D
 

Puppyraiser

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Ellen, Iknow I sound stupid for asking this, but what is Crepeline? And what is Talas?
Crepeline (CRAPE-uh-leen) is a very fine French silk organdy. It virtually disappears when stretched over something, and is obtained from Talas, a company in New York City.
 

Puppyraiser

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PETER: "This job has all the classic elements; oversize, valuable, interesting and, I would wager, the customer flattered your experience and reputation when they came in."
BINGO! And I fell for it AGAIN! (Gotta work on humility...)
BAER:"[H]ow did you plan to barrier against buggies?
I figure if they didn't eat it in 130 years, it must not be tooooo tasty.
 

JPete

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I'm not sure if Baer was talking about future buggies or present ones. To get rid of the present, you need to use the freeze and thaw method. Of course that may have taken place in the attic storage over the winter.
 

JanetteK

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Since we're overspending already, why not line the frame with cedar to chase the moths away!

A combo cedar chest and frame, could be a whole new line of products! Right?

And to think I've only been in the framing business for 8 months! :D
 

ERIC

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Does anyone use "open item" or "plus time & materials" for a job of this size, or of this nature? And call it an estimate, not THE final price.

I used it last month for my first job framing an object in an acrylic box from Superior. It was shipped on Tuesday so I can't wait to open it up and get started. I did my best to break down the costs and labor for each step and explained to the customer that that nature of the job was unpredictable.

I am not charging him for me to learn how to do it, and yet he will not get the bargin of the year out of me either.

Many other trades use this, so some of our clients ought to have seen this before (ever had auto body work done?). AND it eliminates us calling them and saying '. . I made a mistake in the price I gave you . . '
 

Jerry Ervin

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Originally posted by ERIC:
Does anyone use "open item" or "plus time & materials" for a job of this size, or of this nature? And call it an estimate, not THE final price.

I have just recently started doing acrylic fabrication and that is the approach I have taken until I get all the pricing 'fine tuned'.

So far, the race teams I build for have been OK with the arrangement.
 

D_Derbonne

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Kit [/QB] Some jobs are worth doing just for the sheer joy of knowing that they're done right.
[/QUOTE]

A reward????
I'm sorry, my reward is getting paid.
The sheer joy of doing a job has worn off.

Sounds like Ellen is giving herself a little kick and reminding us to not be suckered in by our vanity.
;)


I like Eric's idea of an open invoice. I think most customers that bring this kind of job to us can understand the concept of "plus time and materials."
IF not, then I can't help them on the very large and complex jobs anymore.

That's my two and a half cents.
 

Puppyraiser

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Actually, it sounded more whiney than it really is. It originally priced at $1000, but that didn't look like enough so I added enough labor to bring it up to $1500. At least he didn't pay in full. I HATE doing a job like this with no money at the end!
 

B. Newman

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For really weird jobs I always do an "estimate" and waaaay over estimate so that if it went really well, I can back off somewhat, and if we run into real problems, then it's covered.

I say, "since we don't know what we'll get into here, it won't be over $X amount" because I WILL NOT call them back and say, "oh gee it's gonna be lots more than I figured..."

I just never called it "open invoice."
 

Baer Charlton

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Ellen, JPete has it right for the first half. In the freezer over night, thaw all day, in the freezer, thaw 3 days, Then kill em where they are and freeze for 3 days. Vacuum press for 30 minutes doesn't hurt either..no heat.

Then for barrier, I would use coroplast and seal with the clear packing tape, the glue (PVA) on Tyvek for backing.
 

Rebecca

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re freezing: http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/03-06.pdf

re barrier:
Marvelseal 360 and electrical grade hot melt adhesive as per Hugh

The adhesive of clear packing tape is variable, depending on the maker/carrier etc and would not be a reliable long term sealer. From my observations, couldn't be relied on for more than 10 years max.very possibly shorter, with same decompostion probs as masking tape. Tyvek and PVA would of course, last longer.

Rebecca
 

Puppyraiser

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I stitched down the longest horizontal seam- the one just under the blue star field- and it took me about 45 minutes. I am pleased with how it went down. Today is our store's big yard sale, so no sewing today. Hoping instead to make a boatload of cash on basically useless stuff. Hope the weather holds!
 

Puppyraiser

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The yard sale was very good. We made about $1000 on junk that we couldn't sell at all. We gained back about 10 cents on the retail dollar, but some money is better than stock that sits, dries out, fades and I am sick of looking at...
I did a little more stitching and will finish the stitching tomorrow. I am thinking 3/16" plex, which will bump out the back of the frame about 1/4" (No matter how deep I choose the frame, it needs to be deeper yet...sigh). The end may soon be in sight.
 

Puppyraiser

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An update:
I called the customer to tell him that it was taking longer to do than I had figured, but that we were progressing apace on it. The wife was kind of teary because... the customer has just gone into Hospice. Oh, good. Now I have to work faster just so I don't end up calling to tell them that it is done the day AFTER he dies! On Saturday, she came to 'visit' the flag and is very pleased with the way it looks.
I ended up not sewing the black crepeline over the star field, as the fabric appeared pretty sound and the black really darkened the stars.
I put a fillet in it after all, for extra support of the plexi. I went with 3/16, but it is not UVF, which I told the customer. She says she is hanging it in a darkish hallway anyway. It was also nice to have the fillet so that I could use 3/16" foamboard as the substrate for the wrapped linen side supports. We put corner braces in all four corners of the frame, and strapped the frame to the strainer with mending plates. It really does look pretty darn fabulous, and I would post a picture of it if only I knew how...
 

Sherry Lee

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Ellen,

What did you use to stitch (sew mount) this flag?
Thread, I assume - what kind?

Such a fabulous undertaking - you worked mighty hard!! Can't wait to see the pictures you post - via Jerry perhaps.
 

Twin2

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Ellen, I'd love to see a photo of the finished frame too.

What a heart-wrenching situation. And, it must add to your stress level to try to complete the frame before the husband passes away. I had a similar situation earlier this spring (although I think less stressful than yours) when I had to do a military shadow box for a customer's father. The father has lung cancer and had dropped to 90 lbs and my customer wasn't sure how long his dad would last. Fortunately, I was able to finish it fairly quickly and the father just loved it. I checked back with my customer a month ago to see how his father was making out and he said he was weak but not in any pain.

Best of luck in finishing the frame and I'm sure it looks gorgeous!
 

Puppyraiser

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Bummer. He died last week... so I didn't make it. But it is done, and she will be coming to get it this weekend. Edie will post the pictures for me. I sent the overall, a corner (where you can see the fillet and the damage from 100 years under the floorboards) and the added stars. Boy, am I glad that is done!
 

osgood

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Eric beat me to it!
I wouldn't give a customer a "quote" on a job that I couldn't accurately estimate the time and materials used.

I would give an "estimate" and explain that the price could be more depending on time taken and materials used. If they are unwilling to accept that the cost could be quite a lot more than the estimate, they can always go elsewhere.

I am not a charitable organisation, I'm trying to make a living and it's difficult enough without spending a week doing something for nothing, for someone who, in all likelihood is financially better off than I am!
 

Puppyraiser

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So why do some folks see it, but I don't? (Except for the fact that it is in my basement classroom, of course...)
 

Dani

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I cannot see the pictures above, and the links just bring me to a page that cannot be displayed... :(
shrug.gif
 

Puppyraiser

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I stitched it down with silk thread. Silk and wool have similar acidity requirements and so are pretty compatible. The overlayment is crepeline, as I said, which is an incredibly fine French silk organdy. I love working with silk thread, and I just bought 10 spools at this website: http://www.quiltbus.com/threadsilk.htm
We determined that the last star was added in 1861. All of the flag was hand stitched, except the right edge, which had been machine hemmed. I theorize that it had become frayed from being flown and was rehemmed to 'tidy it up'. Don't you think the proportion seems a little 'off', like it should be wider? Or it could be me...
 

Rogatory

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Question;

Do those that cannot see the pics have a Yahoo account? Just wondering if the picture problem has anything to do with them being associated with Yahoo.
 

osgood

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I can see the third image here on the forum, but none of the here, here, here links give me anything!
 

Val

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Nee meither, and I Yahoo too.

I wanna see the pictures!!
 
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