Thanks ROMA!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 23, 2002
Thanks for a great chop!

When I ordered the 36"x48" - 5" silver 70154, I asked that they inspect and chop the moulding carefully before sending it to me.

Excellent Job!

How much do you like it when one of those big baby's survives UPS and goes together almost perfectly.

Looks like they give me a nice discount too.

Client's happy and Less made More!
Oh, yeah, why don't you suggest Roma open a fitting facility as well? More to thank for, less to worry, more profit, less space, workers and control over your business future.
Why complain about BB when framers are happy to get rid of as many operations as possible, eventually be working and paid for their pure design expertise?
By now most everybody can open a framing business in a single room equipped with samples and a phone line, if he's got enough money and courage to pretend be a framing expert. TG will teach them the rest of the story.
Who poured vinegar on YOUR cornflakes, CR? Sure, framers can open with little or no equipment. Hey, I did in 1981. And I did it without Grumble and HH, too. Just read a lot, went to trade shows and took education... the old-fashioned way. Doesn't mean I wasn't legit.

And there are lots of companies that could take a lot of lessons from Roma. Great folks, great product.
I'm happy that you had a good experience. I'm even happier that you took the time to post it.

With all due respect, I am disappointed that your response to an upbeat and positive topic is engineered to turn it into a fight.

I know how to join a frame using only a straight vice. After mastering that I moved up to a corner vice. Now I choose to use an underpinner. It allows me to build more frames in a day, to work more efficiently, and make more customers happy in a shorter period of time.

I know HOW to cut moulding. However, by using chop services I can offer the customers more of a selection. Since I don't require as much room for cutting euipment or length storage I can locate my shop in a busy retail area which is more convemient for more customers.

Frankly, the customers don't care that I didn't put the finish on the frame myself, or even cut it myself. Most of my customers seem surprised to find out that I did any of the work myself.

I also know how to knit a sweater and sew a dress. Should I be ashamed of myself for going to Kohl's and buying clothes, too?
Any molding with a fragile finish, it's best to order chop. It's too hard to keep the scraps from getting scratched up, and they usually wind up in the trash.

Even though Roma is generally more expensive, they have always been one of my favorite suppliers because of their quality. The molding always looks like the sample, and it never comes in on snotwood.
Any time you receive a flawless chop from a supplier is cause for celebration. It always seems to be "the one you absolutely need" that comes in flawed. Wow, a 5" frame. I hope that helps with the rent!
I order ONLY chops, from LJ, Roma, Studio, Max, and on and on.

I work in a gallery mostly framing gallery originals plus some custom client framing, so we aren't 'production' and it's a small work space.

In 2 years, I've received less than 5 bad cuts. With my corner vices, I seldom have a problem...more so from warped moulding or a ding than a careless cut.
Roma is the greatest. I always order chop from them unless it is a lower end frame.

The only reason I started chopping my own frames is it reduced my cost and increased profits. However, I would still prefer to order all chops.

Have a great day putting that baby to bed!!

I'd like to make myself clear as to my previous sarcastic reaction.

IMHO, due to framers natural propensity for making do with fewer headaches, less capital and generally less technical knowledge, regretfully, becoming a framer is less of an accomplishment today than it once was, yet much more of it than a framer from some future time will be able to claim. Under an aura of savant care and sublime craftsmanship (suspected to be practiced in framers’ back rooms), this profession is in reality confronted with constant bones and flesh erosion as if its ultimate destiny is to be practiced by every willing poor soul around. Molding/frame making and finishing is no longer framer’s back bone. His inventory tends to be gone. Consistent finish, discontinued molding, gaping joints, multiple angle frames in return are modern framer’s nightmares, which is just like saying that oil, vinegar, salt and hot stoves are cooks’ worst enemies. CMC-ed mats or cut and joined molding, can also be ordered out just like Chinese food. Designing, fitting and pedant parlance of appropriate PH level, anti-acid this and that or museum class glazing is all it’s left to make a truly personal impression. If you are not quite there as yet, that makes you less trendy a framer, but you still feed the process regardless.
I believe this to be an historical trend which, unfortunately, we can’t escape anymore. At the end of this process framers and framing shops as we once new will be gone forever, perhaps being replaced by large e-framing operations. By out cooking your frames you just desecrate and diminish your trade to the point where you invite more cheap competition, and more consumers will find framing on line convenient and funny for, isn’t so, it can’t be all that complicated to play and assembly given parts together, according to some precise recommendations, the way little old nice lady or your next door former computer salesman neighbor do for a living.

I don't know you and have often thought that you are misunderstood on this forum due to language problems.

My opinion has changed with your posts today.

Your posts today paint you as unbelievably arrogant and judgemental.

Our industry is changing. The mass production that you look down upon allows many more people to enjoy our product than ever before.
Not everyone can afford the craftsmanship that you offer.

As for not having much technical knowledge...I don't agree.
There is a lot more technical knowledge available to us than in years past. Perhaps not about the actual building of the frame but knowledge of the best ways to handle the art and objects that we are framing.

There is much more to custom framing than the frame.

I just wanted to thank Roma for good sevice.

If anyone deserves a Frankenthread, it would be Less.
I think we should remember that Cornell only builds frames shells …..all be it top of the line frames shells….he does not produce a finished framed package…..there is a lot of expertise between the construction of a frame shell… something quite a few framers are quite good at….. and the final completed frame package which will be handed to the customer…….if all there was to framing was producing a frame shell we would all be making much more money…..behave yourself Cornell….you are way out of line…..
American Choice:

Do you hand-carve your own picture frame mouldings? Do you use the old square shank nails instead of the routine round shank nails? Do you look for glass with air-bubbles instead of the mass produced glass of today? Do you make and design your own matboards or buy them already manufactured? Do you chop and join your own mouldings?... if so, do you use a handsaw and a wooden miter box? Do you "crank the dingy" on the side of your wall phone to communicate or can you just press the numbers? How long does it take you to hand carve an 8x10 frame?... more or less than 3 days?

Now... come on old man... get off the sleeping pills and wake up!

(Oh.. last you use "electricity"?)
I have no doubt it must be hard to see your craft erode away to make room for easier less costlier choices. I suppose the same feeling we all have when thinking of all those customers going to the cookie cutter big box stores for their framing. Or when we see the preframed art and their plastic frames we are smug because it isn't real wood......

But **** Cornell, learn some manners and reconsider your approach.........
I am just sorry to see small framers in what I believe to be deep trouble. It remans to be seen twenty five years from now if I was right or wrong. Again, a too accessible business to enter and do is, in my humble opinion, in big danger of being short lived, devaluated and mass-mimiqued.
I wish I am wrong, for I like it the way it was and may still be here and there.
Where do you see my arroganced showing up in my post? Am I saying that I am enjoying it and I'll be profiting from this trend? Is a phisician arrogant for telling you may be sick?
And, ultimately, this is not MY business. But I am curious: what's the point of making this trade into a hobby accessible to most everybody? This is exactly the danger I'm seeing. If the public perception reaches the conclusion that framing is easy, it's over for customers will expect to pay dirt prices for "not bothering themselves to do it" or else give their work to large framing facilities with wich individuals can't compeat.
Custom made frames are already being ordered and sold over the internet. It's curently "modest" sale volume has to do with demand, not with offer. Try and imagine what further simplification and standardization of framing service might bring along with both demand and offer (same suppliers, same designs (lines), same colors, same rules to be observed etc.).
You know, I believe that Champagne is good and expensive for it was ferociously guarded not to become every wine-maker's hobby.
Dear CR,

To understand you better, I visited your web site. Now I understand what you are trying to say about the art of making a frame. Yes, you are truly a master craftsman and an artisan.

I'm struck by the similarities between our industry and the fashion industry, especially in light of your remarks. I remember as a child being envious of people who could afford an original, one of a kind Dior or Chanel. Today, most designers create one item and produce a limited number of copies for the rich to own. Eventually, their designs are copied by the mass merchandisers and sold at every level of the marketplace.

Your product is certainly equivalent to the quality and uniqueness that used to be offered by the fashion houses of old. I admire that level of integrity you possess and that you remain true to your values.

That said, I can say without a doubt that some of us are as focused on our end product as you are. We offer our - quite frankly and not at all modestly - very finely honed artistic perspective to help our clients show off the art that they love. We carefully select the finest products at a price that our market will bear and are constantly improving our design, our materials and our production and in every way we can.

I don't believe that just because we don't make all of the products that we sell in any way diminishes the artistic creativity we offer or the quality product that our clients have come to expect from us.

We share a lot of the same values. We just do our business in a different manner than you. That difference doesn' make us incompetent, bad, or sloppy. It just makes our business focus different from yours.

Rachel (FramingFool's wife & partner)
Our friend, Cornel, has a way of getting under the skin of a few grumblers. I can relate.

But, why don't we debate what he says instead of how he says it.

For anyone that has read him over the years, we know his style. I truly believe that he never intentionally attempts to hurt anyone. I do believe he is offering his heart-felt opinion. I don't understand why that creates the reaction thata few seem to have.

I wonder what type of ego one must have to call into question another's ego and then post it? How arrogant must we be to call someone else arrogant? I'm not trying to create controversy where none should exist.

He offers his opinion and it is exactly that-his opinion. We ought to be able to find room for disagreement without finding him disagreeable.

I am certain that if we were sitting around a table, his opinions would be exactly the same as offers here.

I am equally certain that if the same detractors were at the same table, they would not say the things they post. They may think them, they may get up and go away. But, I doubt they would have the same remarks.

Let's debate the facts-tell him he is crazy as a loon if you can back it up. But, attack the message, not the messenger

He is saying things that we may not want to hear, but someone needs to tell him he is wrong and why.

I am sure he will respect your opinion
I am living proof that it was MUCH easier to get into this business 27 years ago than it is now.

I had never set foot inside a frame shop when I opened mine - almost as a afterthought. With $700 worth of equipment and a background in geology, photography and scuba diving, I learned framing by trial-and-error.

How long do you think someone would last today starting out like that?

I will agree that there are few of us doing gilding or hand-decorating frames today. I think you'd have to go back a lot further than 30 years to find that a common practice in U.S. frame shops.

But I think you are mistaken if you believe that this business will be overrun because of ease-of-entry. On the contrary, for the first time in my recollection, small frame shops are closing faster than they are opening.

It is become increasingly difficult and the skills required are almost infinitely more complex.

I'm sorry, Bob, but when I read Cornel's posts on this thread, I hear, "I am the old-world craftsman and the rest of you are hacks."

In my book, that's arrogant.

And that's MY opinion.
I don't believe that Cornell is trying to be contrary, well, maybe a little but that's just his arrogant way. What I think he is doing is lamenting the passing of hand craftsmanship in the picture framing trade. He's absolutely right about how easy it is for anybody to become a framer these days. All you need is a location for the chops and mats to be shipped to and a table to assemble them all on. Most of the frame suppliers will join your frames, L-J will soon be cutting your mats if you so desire so all there is left to do is cut the glass and assemble. It seems the only craftsman part left for the framer is in the design of the finished piece. I say "seems" because there is a presumption on Cornell's part that craftsmanship only applies to something you make with your hands. I believe running a healthy business is also a craft that demands as much attention to detail as any hand craft could ever demand if not more.

Where he is also wrong is his assumption of lack of craftsmanship on the supply side of the business. You know….HIS side of the business. Somebody still has to design the moulding we are using, somebody still has to cut and assemble the moulding, somebody still has to design the computerized mat openings and corners and such that we use in our trade. Believe it or not the current designs coming out of the supply side are much better, more varied and more consistant than anything offered just 15 years ago. The craftsmanship hasn't really disappeared it's just shifting to a different part of the business of picture framing.

The legendary picture framing craftsman going into his backroom and hand carving a frame, leafing it, and fine tuning the finish is disappearing. Of course he's been disappearing for about 100 years. Ever since the first stick of prefinished moulding appeared at the turn of the last century (or before) the craftsmanship of framing has been disappearing. Good riddance. There is no way in **** I will take the time it takes to do that kind of work. I doubt there are that many customers that are willing to pay for the time it takes either. In fact at my level I don't know of any. There was a time when all frames were "one offs" but they went around artwork that were "one offs" too. That rare piece of artwork that deserves that kind of treatment today will get it. There will always be a few of those guys around that will take the time to learn the higher end craft of frame making and when I need something like that I'll hire them for that job, you know….someone like Cornell….
Bob, are you becoming the calm voice of reason. This second time in one day that I have been shocked by your responces. I thought the full moon was over last weekend.
Maybe this comparison will both parallel the problem that Cornell is pointing at AS WELL AS give a real world response that resembles something close to what we may all be thinking.


As the technology improves, the price comes down, and the options for printing do the same, the average person can now make amazing photographs.

(I know, if you can’t take good pictures then a great camera won’t help, but set that issue aside)

The consumer can now rival the serious amateur; the serious amateur can rival the average professional; the average pro can compete with the real pro, . . . it is getting harder to have your work stand out from the crowd merely by having a command of film exposure, access to pro-only laboratories, and the budget for above average equipment.

The response to this movement is that the camera formats that only 10 years ago seemed to be doomed to extinction have gained a HUGE rebirth in interest. The higher quality Medium and Large format cameras are HOT! They are being snapped up and the demand for film has caught suppliers off guard.

The pro that shot film in 35mm can no longer demand his fee for the resulting product. He must move up to a higher level of product, quality and service. Or he will become unimportant. He can choose to go in the digital direction or stay with film, but he will feel the pressure to do something.

Maybe we are feeling similar pressure. I think that many framers are already and naturally making choices to move toward higher levels of quality and service.

I’m not sure that Cornell would agree with the particulars of many of the choices we are making . . . But my point is that, in time, we may see that as a result of the current ‘dumbing down’ (a la Cornell) of what it takes to be a framer, an eventual rebirth of the old world arts and skills used in making a frame.

When the market for it is there, we will be too.

In the mean time - I think that using Roma for chop service IS a good thing
Originally posted by ERIC:

(I know, if you can’t take good pictures then a great camera won’t help, but set that issue aside)
I don't think we can set that issue aside. In my mind that IS what differentiates an amateur from a pro. As you say the pro's are upgrading their film equipment to compete with the new digital but digital keeps advancing. What happens when the average digital camera has a resolution of 4-5 gigapixals instead of megapixals? Sooner or later digital will compete directly with all film formats, what will happen to the professional photographer then? Will they disappear? Ceast to exist because their equipment got too easy to use? Of course not. The talent of a good photographer lies not in his chioce of equipment but in his design of the photo. His "eye" as it were. Just as the true talent of a framer lies not in the bits and pieces he buys but in how those bits and pieces fit together, in other words, the design of the finished job.

Just as a good photographer will use whatever tools that make his job faster and easier without sacrificing quality so will the picture framer. If you can buy a frame chopped that is equal to how you would chop it why worry about doing it yourself? If someone else can produce a closed corner frame in half the time you can with equal or better quality (do to practice, experience and better equipment) why do it yourself? I'm sure that at some time in the past a "true pro" would never send his film out to a lab to be processed and printed yet very few pro's would even consider doing that themselves takes too much time. That and their suppliers got better at doing their jobs...they became better craftsmen!!! Now professional photographers use their time doing what they do best...designing better pictures.

See what you started Less? It's all your fault you know....
It seems that nobody really challenged Mr. G's assertion that 1/3 of the existing framer’s community will disappear within next 5 yrs. (God forbid it was me who said it first
In fact HIS opinion ought to be debated for his numbers are alarming to say the least. Which 1/3 is to vanish from site and why, under what circumstances? True, there are numerous newly open businesses that succumb at their first breath. I don’t think G was referring to those meteoric appearances, but to existing (established) entities. I tend to believe his prediction and, in my opinion, that doomed category is made of professionally weakest framers, those who have no practical skills, those who can't tool themselves up, those who can't offer but design choices and are in need to send out work, those who can't alter a finish, and those who sail alone and can't afford to be getting sick or rest if tired.

Bob is right, I am not choosing and honing my words. I’m wrestling with them enough the way they are just to make sure they come to express what I think or feel, why make them easy to swallow and ignore then? But, regardless the words I’m using, my message itches and hurts some but not others. I guess that most secure of you are less susceptible to get irritated for the very reason you did not panic at Mr. G’s dark prediction: you belong to the sunny 2/3 side of the picture.

I like Roma myself and it is a smart move on their part to extend into chop and join as much as it's your right to rid you of certain annoying operations just to concentrate on superior skills related to design (as if you can’t get to be even better designers because of the time you spend on other activities). I happen to believe that Roma’s move is a healthy one because it gives them one more foot while yours is a risky one for it takes one asset away from you in return (?) for narrowing your field of expertise, which is an illusory advantage.

And, since you insist on selling superior design skills, I remind you that the final design is your client’s choice. More over, design is not science and nobody can convince me (or others for that matter) that, within millions of combinations at hands, there are only one or two viable and valid design possibilities to frame an art work and only custom framer’s superior education and sensitivity could lead to those. Unfortunately, most of your costumers would pick up a design much like choosing from a menu, that’s according to price and volume. Only high end framers enjoy the privilege (and responsibility) to design free of frivolous limitations. In truth, why would your clients need no help to dress their bodies, but be dependant on somebody else to dress their walls? MY answer is this: because this is how’s done since the beginning. By simplifying, modernizing and “democratizing” your trade you make it easier on you to the point framer’s very role becomes meaningless. As I said, e-framing is around the corner. Some of you already do business on the internet space. That business must be different than what we know and not everybody can enter e-framing the way they entered regular framing, right? There is no way we can return to the past but I plead for not diluting and diminishing this trade any further than that.

Do I make any sense? I really hope my message is not perceived as arrogant but rather concerned with the future.

[ 07-09-2004, 09:56 AM: Message edited by: American Choice ]

I will be the first to say that you are making sense now your earlier statement and was un qualified and sweeping and was in the same vain as Jay Goltz prediction (and I’m taking it that he did make this statement as it has not been challenged otherwise) that 1/3 of framers are going out of business in five years….this is a very sweeping statement....and no person who professes to have a valid position in an industry should make statements like that without qualification…..and regardless of whether statment will be true or not ……I have taken many business courses in my time and have heard to many sweeping statements made as audience catchers……and when you challenge (not many participations will challenge) the course leader to qualify…..such a statement I have found that in a lot of cases it is just that a statement without any foundation or very little foundation…….granted I will accept that the framing business is changing….and I have no doubt that E-sales is going to take a big bite….E-sales will make the Big Box guys look like lightweights… if Jay Goltz is locking into E-sales as part of the outcome as to why 1/3 of framers are heading for demise…then I’m with him….I would just love some qualification of his statement….

I will say this also should I stay in the framing business….in five years my business such as it is will be very different than it is now…..there are two options possible three open to me here in Ireland as I see things … I can do on my own…the others two would require business expertise that are beyond me…. one would require me attracting some heavy hitter in the framing business to take an interest in developing a business in Ireland…the other would require heavy E-sales experience and a good business person with a framing background….and could be located almost anywhere….I hope I’m qualifying what I’m thinking OK…

[ 07-09-2004, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Dermot ]
Frank, I do agree with you. And from our perspective as being in the business, we ought to take this seriously. My purpose in setting that point aside was to avoid cyclical reasoning, or chicken and egg type discussion.

Yes, chop service does not make you a better framer.

Who you pay to chop your moulding is an internal business issue, which has little to do with the market. (although that can be another thread too)

My focus was on how the Market responded to changes. Changes that were originally viewed by some as a threat, and by others as a new day of possibilities.


During the 80's, the Mont Blanc type of dress pen ($50-100) was quickly becoming a hard item to retail. The market had been sliding for decades and there was not much excitement coming from the industry. Around 1995 there was a marked increase in consumer demand. 300-500% increase in that year alone. The industry was in tune to this and so new products and new colors were pouring in. It also became easy to sell in the $200-400 range because the consumer saw what was available to them for the first time.

Why? After a decade of (over?)computerization many business people longed for something that was satisfying to touch and hold. The mouse just wasn't cutting it anymore. This was not just lawyers and doctors, it was across the spectrum. The NY Times even did several articles about this trend.

The Market spoke. It was a backlash against a change that, while it promised good things, it no longer satisfied the Market.

Computer vs. pen - the very change that was a threat to the pen industry eventually drove the Market back to spend money on pens.

Maybe I'm off point in this thread : Cornell asked a question that I perceive to be an internal issue - but the answer will be found out there in the Market. Is that part of what makes the difference between the 1/3 that Bob spoke of and the rest of (hopefully us) "66%'ers"?
The very skills you lament the loss of are special only in their scarcity. If we all were as skilled a craver and guilder as you, or as smart a businessman as Bob, then there would be nothing special about what you have to offer to the rest of us.
There is still a great demand for products such as you have to offer, and I think that demand is growing. After taking courses in carving and gilding I realize that it is much more economically sound for me to rely on the established craftsman than to try to replicate them. I have carved and gilded frames and have been lucky enough to learn a bit from a journeyman woodcarver from Oberamergau (sorry about the spelling, but the spell checks first suggestion was "Framerguy"....imagine that), Germany.
I would love to make a living as a woodcarver and guilder, but there are only a precious few that can and they have skills and training far beyond me. So, following the food analogy that we are all so fond of, I can't be a Charlie Trotter, so I'll have to settle in to being the best I can be for the economy in which I find myself (Imagine the upscale restaurant where you an still get really good meatloaf, and we're not too proud to cater a Boy Scout's spaghetti supper). So I'll be happy to buy and sell those products that provide profit, and outsource as needed when the job is beyond my capacity or skills.
You choose to manufacture a highly specialized product that, albeit a good value, is still relatively expensive. All we as retailers of your product have to do is know how special it is; be aware of the craft in creating these products. We do not have to have the skills to duplicate them.
Like Ron, I started with little or no knowledge of how to frame a picture. I had construction skills, some basic woodworking, and cabinetmaking, but I had no clue about business and retail. I was lucky again that was all I needed to survive until I could gain enough knowledge to understand how little I knew.
Be happy in your niche, and that there is still recognition of your skills and demand for your product.
You too, my friend Wally?
Interesting how people readily presume that I am pushing my model against theirs. This is also the reason I am perceived as arrogant for they think I am talking and lecture them from the height of my work.
In reality that has nothing to do with my speech and I never backed my words with my largely misunderstood and ill priced craftsmanship. I am not trying to make clients or students among grumblers either. If that was what fuelled my interest in this forum I'd be long gone from here, believe you me.

So, as much as I like when my work is noticed and admired, you people embarrass me by applauding MY product before disagreeing with ME on something else, as if my work would take offence for our differences. It would not.
I strongly agree with Cornell as to chop, and chop and join services but for somewhat different reasons. Sure we can moan the loss of craftsman ship but I think cost is way more important.

There is no way a one man shop using a supplier to supply it with just in time materials can compete for price with a full service shop that buys and keeps on hand the materials it need to frame pictures. That includes the small shops in Micheals and the like. They can't compete on service, either. A complete shop can frame a picture in half an hour and there is no reason why it couldn't. Finally, there is no reason to assume that a smaller chop shop is better positioned to compete in quality, maybe less able because it will have little control on the cutting and joining of frames.

The little chop service we do has been historically a headache: wrong size legs, poor cutting, wrong frame, damaged legs. That Less considers his experience with Roma exceptional says something about the chop service sector of our industry.

As far as I can tell the only people who are really benefiting from the chop service and delivery trend are the suppliers, and they are positioning themselves to take over via the net as the chop shops fail.

BTW, after perusing Cornell's site, I got the impression that he imports his photoframes from somewhere in eastern Europe. The matless photo framing looks pretty good, but any one of us could do as well, and in many cases, better using manufactured moulding,mats, filets. I thought that some of the B&W photos in highly burnished, leafed frames a stretch. There's no accounting for taste and my wife seriously doubts mine.

Remember, all things being equal, price wins out over time.



Well, slap me silly and call me Sally.

After ol' Alan's tirade, I would have expected the thunder to come rollin' down.
Alan, Bob, Ron, Jerry and Kit having drinks together? Count me in for a pitcher or two...Dermot can join us and do the driving. IT'S PARTY TIME!!! :D :D :eek: :eek:
it is nice when a good ol' pint proves to be the best solution. alan brought it home in a nice clean way. i am young so i have some time to get over it, then do i get to drink...or since i see the future shall i drink up now?

I would be only too happy to drive
….I like to feel useful now and again :rolleyes: …..

Nice one are right on the ball