Screw Eyes - when do you use?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 13, 2002
Fingerlakes Region of NYS
This was a quote from Ron on the "Women's Only" thread (sorry Ron, in case anyone really thought only women would read it ;) )

"I also use socket bits in various sizes to drive screweyes (or I would if I actually used screweyes.)"

I don't like using them - unless absolutely, absolutely necessary.


I used them pretty regularly until about five years ago. Hmmm . . . About the time I registered on The Grumble.

Hey! That's about the time I stopped using spring clips in metal frames!

Do you think there might be a connection?

Maybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
Hate 'em.

Once in a while, on a really cheap customer, I will reach for them. I figure that if I use hangers on a horrible job, it'll just show up the rest of it for being so cheap.
Old boxes of screweyes are gathering dust under our fitting table. I will not use them.

The worst application for screweyes is on narrow mouldings, because of the leverage imposed by the elevated wire connection. They are much more likely to split the grain or elongate the hole - and that is often toward the rabbet.
What do you use if you cant buy infinity hangers, wall buddies and d-rings are too wide and satwooth hangers warp the leg they are put on?

I only use them for tiny mouldings or when people insist on wire for a small frame.

I also use satwooth hangers with screws occasionally.

Yes, they can do what Jim says, at the same time I've seen hundreds of very old frames with fraying or broken wire and screw eyes that were holding fast.

In fact, I don't remember seeing any screws that split or pulled out of the moulding before the mid 1970's.

edit: let me add to hangers that are too wide for tiny mouldings, 2 and 4 hold bar hangers and flangers.
Originally posted by Ron Eggers
Hey! That's about the time I stopped using spring clips in metal frames!

Okay, Ron, you got me here...this old dog wants to know what you use instead of spring clips???
Val -
You're better off filling a metal frame w/ additional thicknesses of foamcore or coroplast.
Why? What's wrong with spring clips, As long as they're put in with the top of the "U" against the frame and not the backing? I know that if they're put in the other way it causes too much point-pressure against the backing/art/mat/glass, but not if done properly. IOn all these years I've never had a problem doing it that way. Please explain more.
Isn't it important to keep the glass from moving? If I get it tight enough with foamcore, etc, to do that , I can barely get the package into the frame!
I don't sell many metal frames and have always used the hardware that comes with them, unless there is just too much thickness of mats to get them in, then I use foamcore, etc.

If you do this as standard practice do you do it with full sheets and slide them in before fitting the last side. Or do you do it with strips?

Going off topic I know - sorry - screw eyes - hate 'em. Good use for them though is on box frames or on liners/stretched canvasses, that are not swallowed by the frame rebate - where you may use 'Z' clips. Place the box/liner/canvas into the frame, draw a pencil line around where it sits. Remove and fit screw rings avery 4" or so along that line, fit back into frame and put screws through the rings into the back of the frame............

......Or you could just fire a point into the box/liner/canvas, and then staple over the point into the frame!
Infinity hangers.....the best way to go!

Now all we need is someone to produce them again? JIM MILLER??????? Pickerington would love it if you'd hire more employees - okay, at least one to make the infinity hangers!
I see no reason not to use spring clips either Val. To me trying to stuff added layers of material to “fill up the rabbet” is wasteful of material and adds weight to the frame and it’s either too tight or not quite tight enough.

And, to answer John’s question: on the rare occasions when do not use spring clips, I fill the frame with a full sheet of something rather than strips. To my mind strips look cheesy and are likely to slip over time.

And screw eyes … I use them almost exclusively. They’re quick and easy and cheap. Yeah, “D-rings” when the package is extra heavy, but I’m too lazy to take the time to use them routinely.

Now, I’ve said it.

I feel better.

I am ashamed, but my guilt is out in the open, … finally.
I use screw eyes on anything smallish (20x24ish or smaller) unless the moulding is really wide and heavy - then I use D-Rings and I also use them on anything larger and heavier.

I have taken to using a combo of foam strips in the bottom rail and spring clips on the sides and top. If I cut them correctly the lowest spring clip on each side just catches the foam to secure it. That's for the cheap poster type jobs. I stuff foam strips on all sides for "better" projects - and if they are placed correctly they will not shift and fall out.

I find using entire sheets of anything wasteful and silly and since I always have a surplus of strips - what the heck! PLUS it makes it easier to dust because the bottom rail is always a catch-basin for dust and stuff.
Strips won't go anywhere if you put in a piece the full length across the top, the do the sides, and then a piece across the bottom. They're locked in place and can't move. Kind of like this:

Also a good idea when lining the sides of a shadowbox.

Screweyes? I'll use them when I have a gun to my head.
let me add to hangers that are too wide for tiny mouldings, 2 and 4 hold bar hangers and flangers.
Throw those samples away. If you have to take that much time to figure out how to hang it, then it's also probably a pain to cut and join, and the selling price is so low on those tiny things that you're not making any (or enough) money on them. Seriously, throw them away.
I agree with Dave. There are no moulding samples on our wall with less than 1/2" width outside of the rabbet. Most of them are 1" or more.

That's not to be confused with rabbet depth, but the general rule is the same -- 1/2" minimum depth is preferred.
Spring clips and d-rings for me.

Screw eyes are great for hanging foamcore signs from the celiling. I also use them to guide my wire out of the spool. I'm sure there is other great uses for them but thats all I can think of right now.
I don't wanna start a spring clip war.

It sounds like some of you are very happy with them and have already made your minds up, so why in the world would I want to waste your time and mine trying to talk you out of them?

I could list the reasons I don't use them. Then you could come back and tell me I'm full of it and that YOU'VE never had any problems at all.

That's how a simple statement turns into a 23-page thread.

If you've never had any problems, by all means don't fix a non-problem.
/\ /\ Speaking of a waste of time. /\ /\

Why would you not share information on a board specifically designed for that purpose. Even more, why would you post about how you're not going to post?

I honestly can't recall any spring clip fight. "Spring clip fight"....That even sounds funny.

Spill it Ron. Is there something I should know? So far this year I haven't fit a single metal frame but I'm counting on at least one this year. What do I need to know?

I've read all the info on those 3 links - thanks.

If it's good for the Grumble (majority) it's good for me, but before I make the switch. Could this be one area where MDF has a use - foam board THEN mdf backing - clips would not dig in to it.

But then if I'm going to add MDF I may as well cut something thicker to fill the channel???
Sorry, Jay. You asked a reasonable question.

Why would you not share information on a board specifically designed for that purpose.
Funny. We've been told that The Grumble was designed for the purpose of complaining about suppliers, customers, competitors and just about anything that annoys us. I think we spend a lot more time justifying what we've always done and accusing others of rationalizing what THEY'VE always done, and not a lot of time sharing information or considering it.

Some things I read on TG years ago made me think I might be happier without spring clips in my metal frames. (I use a LOT of metal frames, and not just as a cheap alternative.) I am either very impressionable or very open to new ideas, depending on your viewpoint.

You can read the same stuff I did and make up your own mind. But, if you're fitting one metal frame each year, it's not going to make much difference.

You're right, though. If I didn't want to talk about spring clips, I never should have mentioned them - even in passing.
Okay, so It's a Frankenthread from screw eyes to spring clips. I just read John's post and it appears he's willing to consider something new.

For larger metal frames (say, bigger than 16x20) I'm likely to use strips about 2" wide of whatever fomecore or matboard combination will fill the frame, but not TOO snugly.

For smaller metal frames, I will use the mountain of scraps that seem to accumulate and fill the frame with full-size boards.

Either method will exert a more even pressure, discourage (but not entirely eliminate) bug invasions into the frame, be safer and easier to disassemble and look better from the back (though I know there is no consensus regarding the importance of the appearance of the back.)

Coroplast makes a REALLY nice looking back in metal frames, but isn't readily available to all of us. I don't think MDF is used much in the New World for backing or filler, but I could be wrong.
I'd add that I once wrote off a lens of my glasses removing a spring clip.

But I sell ready-made aliminium frames - I leave everything held in with two clips and attach a bag with the rest, hangers, bumpers, cord, for the customer to sort out. We explain how to remove one side and fit etc on each sale.

If I can damage a lens..........

I'd also add that nothing leaves here un-sealed I don't always seal the glass into wooden frames but I always seal the glass/mat/backing package on metal ones. What's the point of using artcare if bugs can crawl in and eat your picture!

And (sorry Captain English) to swing back on topic for a mo' screw eyes are useless on metal frames. But I HATE snap on hangers too
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
I think we spend a lot more time justifying what we've always done and accusing others of rationalizing what THEY'VE always done, and not a lot of time sharing information or considering it.
I’m thinking senility is setting in. There is a lot more exchanging of information than you realize. Sure the ones that are hashing it out aren’t likely to change their mind, but it’s the threads I don’t participate in that I tend to get the most out of. That doesn’t mean that points aren’t being made and minds aren’t being changed. It’s just the most vocal that aren’t likely to change (how many post are you up to? ;) ).

But upon reading the links, I can say that I will approach SOME of the metal frames differently specifically nicer framing packages. “Nicer frame packages” and “Metal” don’t often collide in the same sentence and so I’m not actually changing much. Thanks for the links!
Oops, I think I'm the guilty party that frankenthreaded this into a spring clip thing. It was Rick's passing comment about screw eyes that led to ALSO why he doesn't use spring clips anymore. That's what caught my eye, and my curiosity. I want to learn as much as possible, even for an "old framing dog" and being new to the Grumble but not to framing, I thought I missed something, and apparently I did!
Until last November when I first started here, I never knew there was anything wrong with (please forgive me for mentioning this) silicone seal either! And now, having asked, I understand why. I've been educated, because someone shared their experience with me.
Once again, I will defend myself and say that, ultimately, I will make up my own mind and use what works best for me, and more important, what's best for the artwork. Screweyes, springclips, braided or coated wire, whatever. The more information I gather from your experiences, the better educated I feel to make those decisions, even the really important ones, like archival qualities, and pricing and advertising and POS systems, etc.
I will continue to ask but maybe next time instead of jumping in and frankenthreading, I'll start a new one, ask, ask, ask and listen, listen, listen. Then make my choices.
Honest, I didn't mean to start a spring clip war! Duck!! :eek:
Thanks for sharing regarding spring clips. Excellent information from which I learned much. Will be making changes here.

As for screw eyes, don't use, own or miss them.
Since at least half of the frames I sell are Nielsen (and not #11s - I am talking #117 and #97 here - the jazzy ones!) - I feel I must mention that when I do use spring clips, I ALWAYS bend them backwards before inserting them to take a little of the "spring" out of them so they do not exert too much pressure.

I use mostly snap in hangers because I find the Euro hangers a royal pain ( ;) ) - they just don't make 'em like they used to - they bend, break and mostly don't go in and when they do the screw is frozen! Grrr...
Why would you not have samples on your that are less than 1 inch wide? They aren't difficult to assemble. We use them fairly regularly on old photos.

For the record, I'm talking 1/2 or 3/8on the back where the hanger goes, NOT the depth.
Originally posted by jframe:
Why would you not have samples on your that are less than 1 inch wide? They aren't difficult to assemble. We use them fairly regularly on old photos.

For the record, I'm talking 1/2 or 3/8on the back where the hanger goes, NOT the depth.
1" as a minimum seems too restrictive, if we're speaking the same language. In my words, 1" of wood for the hanging hardware means the total frame width is at least 1-1/4". That is, 1/4" rabbet width, plus the rest of the frame's width.

On my walls there are plenty of frames about 3/4" wide, which have 1/2" wide backs (where the screws go). I would not want to sell a frame with less than 1/2" of wood width to attach the hanging hardware. Those are the ones I would discard.