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Newbie Info Overload. Are there simple answers to...

srbentley65

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My wife and I are just getting started in the business. We attended WCAF (thank goodness no virus at the time), and tried to learn all we can.

With all the info out there, we could really use a simple "Here are the 5 adhesives you need and what you use them for." I've tried searching for such info but can't find a succinct answer (Chris Paschke has around 30 articles on the subject alone).

I know it seems basic, but to someone new who is trying to just order stuff, we're at a standstill. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Stephen
North Georgia USA
 

Ylva

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Welcome to the G, Stephen!

If I look around in my shop and my adhesives:
Glue to join frames, I use cornerweld
Glue to glue mats together and build up with foam core: lineco acid free glue
ATG tape mostly for attaching dust covers. A lot of framers use glue for that. I can’t seem to get the hang of it and like the ATG.
 

Framar

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Welcome to the Grumble and to the wonderful world of framing.

If you want advice on adhesives, may I suggest Frank's Fabric Adhesive for fabric and all sorts of other jobs (like attaching dustcovers - way cheaper than ATG).

As to the rest, I like Maxim for joining frames, and here is a nice overview on adhesives from Picture Framing Magazine:

 

prospero

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I use basic PVA woodworking glue for pretty well everything I need glue for.

It's not so much the qualities of the glue that are important, more the way you use it. 😉

As well as 'wet' glue there are a whole plethora of tapes. Some water activated and some pressure activated.
What you need in this line is mostly dependant on what you need to frame. Big subject.
 

wvframer

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Keep your PVA glue from freezing temperatures, (Maxim, Cornerweld, TiteBond and even Elmers are in this group) And choose one formulated for joining frames.

Use a good brand of ATG tape, with or without a gun. The hand rolls have the adhesive running in the opposite direction from rolls for a gun. A cheap ATG tape will gum up your ATG Gun and otherwise frustrate you.

Fabric glue. This is not available just anywhere. Franks Fabric is a good quality, but there are others. It is important to know that these have a limited shelf life and unused glue should be replaced at least annually.

The rest are as-you-need them items, though if you are in good shape with cash, you might want to already have them on hand. All can be found at any hardware or home store and have a long shelf life.

Some superglue will come in handy for some things. Get several small tubes and make sure some of them are the slower-drying gels. These adhesives do not have a long shelf life once opened.

Epoxy may come in handy for some things and has a pretty good shelf life if unopened. I like the syringe style that mixes the two parts and is resealable. This is important for things like formed rod mounts.

Electrical Grade Hot melt glue. (and gun) This is not the craft version of hot melt glue. It softens at a higher temperature and can burn you if you get it on your skin. But it meets preservation standards for some mounting jobs.

As you become more experienced you will want to acquire some more specialized adhesives, usually for preservation mounting. Folks here are very generous in helping you identify the specific adhesives you might need for special jobs as well as where to purchase them.

This was enough to get me started, but others will have helpful suggestions, too.
 
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wvframer

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Ah, yes, pressure-sensitive tapes. A whole other subject. I like to have some artists tape around because it is handy for holding things in place and can be removed without leaving much residue. The adhesive will dry out if you leave it in place for days and it will be nearly as hard to remove as masking tape. I just don't let any masking tape in the door. I see it as an accident waiting to happen if you have employees.

I don't use any other tapes in actual framing, though I do have some packing tape and painters tape that I use for packaging.
 

prospero

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***** Whatever sticky stuff you get, pleeeeeeeeeeeeese avoid spray glues. Apart from the fumes
they are really intended for temporary fixings. In some cases they can have their uses but you need
to know how to use them. They are generally unreliable for long-term applications. ☹
 

Joe B

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Welcome to the Grumble Stephen - you found a place that is a wonderful learning tool. I suggest that you ask a lot of questions, and from those answers do some of your own testing and see what works best for you. Everybody has products that they like personally but many may not be what you want. I like Cornerweld for moulding but I also use Maximum for some applications that I need a longer dwell time. I also use 3 different types of doublesided ATG tape, all 3M. A very aggressive tape is 969, to attach mats together 924, if I need a tape that will be installed right next to the art I use Acid Free Gold. I also like ATG Turbo Glue for attaching mats together where double sided tape won't work.
Anyway, don't hesitate asking questions, the answers may help all of us. Joe
 

Keith L Hewitt

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Reading these replies - which BTW are all really good and helpful - The OP will be saying to his wife >>>
I never realised picture framing is one heck of a lot more than sticking 4 bits of wood together :)
And imagine the OP had started back in the days when there was no Grumble to ask
 

wpfay

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Starting out you should have:
Wood glue for joining frames. Each brand has its proponents and varieties within some brands (Titebond has 3 different wood glues). I have two kinds, one with a short open time (Maxim) and one with a longer open time (Corner Weld) used depending on need.

Fabric glue, but only if you are going to be hand covering mats. Acrylic gel medium also works well for this purpose. A skill worth learning.

I also use the ATG Turbo glue for dust covers, and not just because of the economy vs. ATG tapes. The bond is stronger, removal is cleaner, and the glue doesn't weaken over time. It is easy to use though not quite as fast as the tape. I get small squeeze bottles (2 oz.) from my veterinarian to apply the glue to the back of the frame in a 1/16" bead (tip of the hat to Jim Miller on that one).

3M 924 ATG tape for a variety of uses. I keep both the hand applied in 1/4" width, and the gun applied in 1/2" width.

Greg was right about the shelf life of fabric glue, but it also applies to all PVA glues. Don't buy more than you can use in a year, and if you are replenishing by having the glue shipped, moderate temperatures are preferred as the glue reacts to both cold and heat.
 
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GreyDrakkon

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1. Wood glue ( I use white and black corner weld, but I'm not opposed to other brands, it's just convenient)

2.ATG for dust covers/tacking mats together.

3.Silicone glue for tacking down odd objects, I figure if it's safe to be used in an aquarium and not kill fish, it's likely good for a lot of objects. Plus it can be peeled off most things without causing damage if need be.
 

nikodeumus

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1. Wood glue ( I use white and black corner weld, but I'm not opposed to other brands, it's just convenient)

2.ATG for dust covers/tacking mats together.

3.Silicone glue for tacking down odd objects, I figure if it's safe to be used in an aquarium and not kill fish, it's likely good for a lot of objects. Plus it can be peeled off most things without causing damage if need be.
I have wondered about using fish tank Silicone myself, but have been hesitant.
Only because I don't know enough about the conservation qualities of various adhering products.
As you say, this type of sealant doesn't continually off-gas into water, so presumably would be safe in a frame.
I have made my own fish tank decorations with this silicone and it has had no adverse effects that I can tell.
But how about in direct contact with various types of materials it is attached to?
Will it discolour or otherwise damage certain types of paper, fabric, metals, etc. over many years to decades?
Has anyone got a source of study of this materials use in framing?
 

FramerCat

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All the advice you got above is good, but if you are using silicone, electrical grade or moisture curing is better for framing. Also if you are gluing polystyrene, use cyanoacrylate glue. I like Plastibond 1500 best. Just don't get it on the face of the frame.

Ed
 

Larry Peterson

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With all the info out there, we could really use a simple "Here are the 5 adhesives you need and what you use them for." I've tried searching for such info but can't find a succinct answer.
If the poor guy didn't have information overload before, he must have now. I would suggest a tasty beverage whilst trying to digest all this. :beer:
 

GreyDrakkon

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But how about in direct contact with various types of materials it is attached to?
Will it discolour or otherwise damage certain types of paper, fabric, metals, etc. over many years to decades?
Has anyone got a source of study of this materials use in framing?
I don't use it with fabric because that would just be a hot mess, and sewing fabric or using Attach EZ works far better. Thus far I've only used it on solid objects (coins/medals that have no monetary value, plastic, etc) with disclosure to the customer that it's no proven to be archival. If there's question as to the value of the piece or staying power, I strongly encourage mechanical means of holding objects in place.
 
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Dave

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Welcome Aboard, Stephen!

I would highly suggest using just a few small dollops of a PVA glue (I use either Frank's Fabric Adhesive or ATG Turbo glue from Frame Specialties) to adhere mats together instead of using ATG tape. PVA is not only much less expensive, but it allows for repositioning and if you ever have to separate the mats its's a matter of pop-pop-pop and the mats will separate without destroying either the top mat or underlying mat.

I use MAXIM Blue, also from Frame Specialties both in white and black for joining frames. Quick setting, water soluable for easy clean up if it oozes.

ATG Turbo Glue for adhering items that don't require conservation standards. Also useful for adhering brass name plates. I also use either one for adhering dustcovers, but use a hot iron to set the adhesive. I've found if you don't do this they can release.

NEVER trust ANY pressure application tapes to hold the test of time.

You'll need methyl cellulose or rice or wheat paste for rice paper hinging.

Not a glue, but you'll want Lineco Edge Strips for mounting artwork. These are mylar strips that go around the perimeter of the art with no adhesive attachment to the art. https://smile.amazon.com/See-Through-Archival-Mounting-Strips/dp/B000KNNIQU/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g8217842112?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&ie=UTF8


For specialty 3D mounting you'll need to either sew items or use Pat's Attach-EZ (https://www.attach-ez.com/). Pat has adapted a wonderful mounting system for the framing industry and is always available for extra help. I use both her system and sewing for Jerseys and other fabrics.

For standard dry-mounting you'll want to aquaint yourself with both Kool-Tack and Mount-Cor products. Heat sensitive adhesive coated foam core and specialty boards.

So much to learn... I know, but a very exciting industry to be in. The "G" is a great resource of sharing, kind people.
 
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srbentley65

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To show my newbie-ness... why does one glue corners of frames? I use a v-nailer. Is that not enough? I do notice if I don't do things perfectly you can sometimes see a bit of light between the sticks. Is the glue to prevent that?
 

tedh

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To me, wood glue is the primary bonding agent, and V-nails do three things: they hold the joint together while the glue dries, they provide a second, stronger physical join during the life of the frame, and they keep the frame together years later when the glue fails.

If you see daylight, as I do from time to time, your corners are off, or your clamping was inadequate, and you didn’t use enough glue. Get out the wax.
 

Framar

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Stephen, have you ever watched Bob Vila joining two pieces of wood? He employs what I call "earthquake proof" techniques. Glued biscuits, more glue, and then nails. Framers use glue to hold the wood together for the long haul, and then v-nails (or hand-installed brads) to hold the sticks together whilst the glue sets up.

If a frame falls off the wall down the road, the glue/nail bond will be a lot stronger and will prevent damage to both the artwork and any humans in the path of the falling frame.

And although I wouldn't make a habit out of it, most frames could be joined with only glue these days - because the glue really REALLY holds.

But for the sake of simplicity - the mechanical fasteners hold the frame corners together while the glue is curing.
 
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Greg Fremstad

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I noticed the term "acid free" used several times in these posts. Acid/alkaline is measured in pH. pH neutral would be a more accurate term. Any substance can be either acid or alkaline if it's dissolvable in water. Most plastic and pressure sensitive adhesives are not dissolvable in water so they are "acid free". This does not mean they are safe around valuable art as the plasticisers (the oils that keep the adhesive soft and tacky) will migrate out (outgas) and may affect art, inks, etc. Spray adhesives are basically rubber cement in a spray can. It is not very permanent and not very removable. It is also cumulative in your lungs. Not removable from there either. Learn how to use torn Japanese papers and wheat starch, rice starch, or methyl cellulose for hinging artwork. See the articles on the frametek.com web pages. Lots of other good articles there too. The value of someones art is not always monetary. A lot is emotional attachment especially to one of a kind items. Try not to do anything to someones art that is not reversible.
 

wvframer

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If you get a bunch of experienced framers in a room and ask them what "acid-free" means, you will hear a loud chorus of "nothing!"

Listen to Greg. Look at the frametek.com pages. They are a great introduction to preservation framing techniques and a good place to start. And it is free! :)
 

nikodeumus

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If you get a bunch of experienced framers in a room and ask them what "acid-free" means, you will hear a loud chorus of "nothing!"

Listen to Greg. Look at the frametek.com pages. They are a great introduction to preservation framing techniques and a good place to start. And it is free! :)
Hmmmm...I wonder what else you would get if you herded a bunch of framers in a room (masked, gloved, and 6 feet apart, of course ;) )?
I haven't had the opportunity to get to any conventions, so can only imagine.
 

Jim Miller

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Hmmmm...I wonder what else you would get if you herded a bunch of framers in a room (masked, gloved, and 6 feet apart, of course ;) )?
I haven't had the opportunity to get to any conventions, so can only imagine.
You don't know what you're missing, Nik. Meeting with a group of other framers can be a life-changing experience, but let's not dwell on the nature of the change. 😆
 

srbentley65

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I'm afraid when I did my "crash course" training in framing, we ONLY used an underpinner. So v-nailing was all I was exposed to. Thanks everyone. I'll start gluing those blasted corners now. Recommended clamps for corners? I can't imagine how my traditional Stanley clamps would be able to hold 45-angles.
 
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wpfay

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The v-nails act as clamps, holding the joint together and keeping pressure on it as the glue sets. There are some that prefer to glue, clamp, then v-nail, but I see no advantage to this, but the only disadvantages I see is the possibility of breaking the glue joint while V-nailing, and spending a lot more time in the assembly process.
There is a leaning curve for getting the spacing and depth of V-nails with various profiles and wood densities. I used to order my corner sample unjoined, so I could work through that learning curve and make mental note about what does and doesn't work.
 

wvframer

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Unless the moulding is of a design that attempts to underpin while the glue is wet do not produce a tight joint, that is always going to produce the strongest joint.

There are a few tricky moulding that I get better results from allowing the glue to set up in the vice for a few minutes. This minimizes any slipping. Waiting for the glue to completely set risks breaking the bond when nailing.
 

nikodeumus

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Put the glue on the corner and then pin immediately. That is the only way I have ever seen it done. :D
That's the way I was shown also. Most times that works fine.

For some mouldings I have found that glue and clamp for about 20 minutes, then do the pinning.
The glue is set enough to keep the pieces together, but not so dry that the pressure will "pop" the glued join.

I find that tall narrow mouldings tend to flare out at the top a little bit, when the v-nails are driven in, clamp and glueing stops that for me.
I don't know if that's common with other underpinners, I have a Cassese CS89.
It's probably me not having the underpinner dialed in perfectly?


The trick with pinning after the corners are glued is that you have to pre-set the stop gauges before gluing otherwise it's easy to misjudge where to pin and can drive v-nails through the sides of the moulding. I've ruined a few frames before figuring that part out.

I still struggle with examining the moulding to determine soft or hard v-nails.
All I can think to do is try pressing the wood with my fingernail or something else hard.
If the wood dents easily, then soft v-nails. If I break a nail, then hard v-nails.
And for tall/deep mouldings, deciding whether to use one deep v-nail or stack 2 smaller ones.
As others have mentioned, it takes practice and experience, both of which I am still working on myself.
 

Framar

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I must confess here that I have never used an underpinner in all my soon-to-be 51 years of framing.

I have one Stanley miter vise and I use brads. For my low volume this has always worked fine for me. If I am joinng hardwood I use a headless brad in a drill to make a pilot hole. If the wood is soft no pilot hole is necessary. That is the way I learned to join frames. (Well, actually that is not quite correct - when I began we did not have miter vises we had furniture vises - one rail was clamped and the other had to be held in your hand for drilling and nailing! Looking back on this process I cannot imagine how we ever managed!) (And when I walked to school as a kid it was uphill both ways!)

If I am too busy I order joined frames from my two suppliers that deliver.
 
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Jim Miller

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I'm afraid when I did my "crash course" training in framing, we ONLY used an underpinner. So v-nailing was all I was exposed to.
Oh, wait. Are you saying that someone teaching a framing course taught you to underpin without glue? That would be wrong, and in that case, you probably should question everything else that you were taught.

There are several procedures to achieve good, tight miters with glue and v-nails, which is the correct way to join. Some framers glue & clamp until dry, then v-nail. Some are proficient enough to glue and then v-nail immediately. If you have a Cassese underpinner that enables you to lock the clamped corner in the machine for a couple of minutes, that would allow the glue to set up before driving the v-nails. That's my favorite procedure with the Cassese CS299 machines I have used.
 
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nikodeumus

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Nick, when there will be Framecon, in 2021, you should plan to come! Nothing better than to meet other framers and exchange ideas and stories
It's on my "One day...when I have the money...and the time...and..and...and...." list.
Where is it usually held?
 
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IFGL

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Just don't use pritt stick or blue tac that stuff is rubbish!
 

shayla

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We glue with Master Clamps, then v-nail. They're spendy and excellent. A bit slower, but we love the results.
For flat profiles, we use a Hoffman jointer, with a tricked out arbor press to insert the keys.
 

nikodeumus

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Has anyone got experience with these type of clamps?
1595539466581.png 1595539889328.png

I'm am increasingly leaning towards glue and clamp before joining.
These look like they would be quick and easy to use.
A couple of them would speed up the process, when trying to produce my entire weeks worth of orders in one day.
(My saw/join shop is in a seperate location from the main store, I only go to the procuction shop once a week).
I can be cutting more legs on the saw while the first couple frames are setting in these clamps.

I have band clamps that I use on occasion, but they can be a bit awkward to use at times.
 

Framar

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No, no, no! They may look quick and easy but they are a royal PITA - takes forever go twirl those little doohickies back and forth.

If you want to glue and clamp before joining, ONE Stanley vise will do the trick. Maxim glue sets up in one minute so you can glue, clamp, set a minute, remove from vise and on to the next. Once you have your stack of half- frames, proceed to join halves together. Most times you can apply glue to both remaining rails, clamp one, let set, then clamp the other side. Easy peasy. ;)
 

nikodeumus

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Thanks for the tip.
I am hoping for something to speed things up when building several frames at once.
Band clamps can also be fiddly, and awkward on certain shaped mouldings
That's why I'm looking for alternatives.
I guess I can't have it all, sigh :confused:
Best to stick with tried and true.
Maybe I'll just get a couple of good Stanley clamps as you suggest.
Then I can glue two dog legs at once, let them set, then glue the opposing corners.
In theory that would reduce my finishing time.
Although, one thing I like about the band clamps is that I can see how all the corners are fitting together at one time, and make tiny adjustments where needed.
 
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Ylva

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It's on my "One day...when I have the money...and the time...and..and...and...." list.
Where is it usually held?
Worcester, Massachusetts!

Last year was a two day event, fantastic vendor show and some really awesome classes. Plus framers from all over.
I was looking forward to this years, but, oh well.
Next year. June.
 

wpfay

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You can never have too many joining options. One that has not been addressed in this conversation is the Hoffmann joining system. It is my "go-to" with v-nails next, and various clamping/vicing systems after that. The best hand joining device is still, wait for it, the vise. Stanley 400 to be the precise vise. Being old school, it can be manipulated to join just about every profile imaginable.
All of them require glue and some form of mechanical fastener.
 
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nikodeumus

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I've done a lot of online searching for Stanley frame vice/clamp.
They arent' easy to find, at least not in my area.
I need to buy something very soon, (before the end of this month).

I'm going to buy a "new fangled";) frame vice.
I can keep scouring the web for a Good Ol' Stanley 400 at my leisure.

I'm looking at this one from Lee Valley Tools.
I've always found their products to be very high quality.
It looks very much like the Rockler frame vice.
This is available in my region, and at a good price.
There are others on Amazon and whatnot, but not sure of the quality from many of those sellers.

03G0101-miter-vise-u-01-r.jpg
 

wvframer

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I like those wings that replace the thumbscrews. I don't think Lee Valley would have it if it isn't a good vice.

The one I have, with the thumbscrews in place of the wings, is about half that price from my International Distributor in West Virginia. I have been using these for years.

Unless you drop it and the casting breaks, they are will last lifetimes.
 

Larry Peterson

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I can keep scouring the web for a Good Ol' Stanley 400 at my leisure.
There are some on eBay Canada but they are all from the US and UK. I don't know about shipping/customs of these to you.

Give us reports on the Lee Valley vise after you use it. I see that it is $109 in Canada and $86 in the US. If it is anything like other Lee Valley product it should be good. Unfortunetely, there are no details at all in the product listing.
 
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Framar

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That Lee Valley vise looks to be pretty good - design is close to the Stanley and it comes with speed handles. US and Canadian prices are virtually the same because of the exchange rate, although tax and shipping would be higher in Canada.
 

Larry Peterson

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Yesterday I bought 2 Stanley 400s on eBay. Had I see the Lee Valley one's first, I might have tried them. I still might try them. I have 4 Chinese ones and after I get the Stanley's I might get rid of the Chinese ones and buy a couple of the Lee Valleys.
 

nikodeumus

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Lee Valley vice is in the cart :D .
Will add some other goodies while I'm getting stuff shipped anyways. 🤑

Oh, BTW, thanks to all the good advice from all of you...I have 2 new FSTools 10"x.112/.087" 80tooth blades on the way as well.
The shop I called (a few towns away) knew exactly what I needed, they work with other framers in his town, said that was the most popular blade for local framers.
 

tedh

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I have a Lee Valley vise, and it is nothing special. I’ve got two others of unknown origin, and I prefer those.

Lee Valley’s quality is variable. Back in the 90’s they sold a brad pusher that failed in hardwoods. It took many years before they added the disclaimer “Does not work with hardwoods”. Leonard Lee was an enemy of framers, claiming in print that “picture framing is too expensive”. So he up and sold tier 2 framing carp.

But I did side with him on his campaign against the mail nazis at Canada Post. Canada’s rates are close to four times hours.

 
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