The Term "Acid Free"

SCFramer527

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In "another Forum", Ron wrote:
"The term "acid-free" is not so much confusing as it is meaningless and should not be used to imply any kind of "archival" or "preservation" properties of the material." (Didn't dare ask about it over there, given the current temperature of the waters!)

I think I understand the issue of missunderstandings from the way this term has been used in product promotion to framers, but what terms SHOULD we use in talking to customers about the materials we use in their design options. For instance, I will frequently tell a customer, "Of course we are using acid-free mats and mounting boards, to help protect your print from damage from the framing materials, and conservation glass to reduce the fading caused by untraviolet light." In what terms should this kind of message be conved to the average customer in our shops?
 

nona powers

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I wrote this for DECOR but they have never used it. I think it is a subject that really needs discussion. I have not included the whole article.

After a framer reads through all of the sources available on preservation framing to find out about terms, techniques, and materials, listens to different educators and sales reps, reads marketing material from different companies, instead of being informed, she/he are likely just bewildered. The help that is provided to clear up confusion is the main reason I so passionately support FACTS, an acronym for Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards. FACTS provides guidelines for framing art on paper and defines terms. For instance, some framers and artists still think that “acid-free” in relation to mat board means that any material that says it’s “acid free” is OK for all levels of framing. I have a friend who sells scrapbooks at parties she hosts, Scrapbooking is a very popular pastime for people at the moment, and she proudly says to me that her paper is acid free. I ask if it’s lignin free, she shrugs her shoulders because she doesn’t know what lignin is, has never heard the term. She understands that her pens for scrapbook use need to be acid free and fade resistant, but other than that, she gets very fuzzy. “Lignin”, as the Random House dictionary defines it, “1) is an organic substance that with cellulose, forms the chief part of woody tissue, 2) impure matter found in wood pulp”. When the lignin has been removed from wood pulp, it's been purified and can be used in preservation grade matboard. It’s extremely important to not only know whether preservation materials are acid free, but also they must be lignin free.

I was reading some material prepared for an industry test and the word “rag” was constantly used to define a preservation grade matboard made from cotton pulp. There is no manufacturer in the picture framing industry that uses rags for making matboard anymore. In the past, old rags were bleached, purified and processed into pulp and used for paper which was found to be very stable, if harmful things such as alum, a sizing, was not added. Today preservation matboards are made from cotton linter pulp and purified wood pulp with the lignin removed. Both, if made properly, it’s largely agreed, are interchangeable in use as matboard for preservation framing. Rag has become a marketing term used to delineate cotton linter pulp from purified wood pulp. Because rag is so often used in reference to preservation materials, some framers think it’s the only material suitable for use with fine art, which is not true.

The question that needs to be asked in reference to preservation grade mat board is whether the material is suitable for preservation framing, not what pulp it's made from. FACTS Standard Guide for Preservation Framing (FRM-2000) 4.05 states "Material permanence" shall be determined by ANSI/NISO 39.48 1992 and /or FACTS Guide for Permanence in Paper Mat and Mount Boards 2000. FACTS PMMB-2000, can be found at www.artfacts.org where there is information about how the standards are set and what they mean. You will find that a preservation grade mat board has to meet certain standards as to fiber; can be cotton, new rag or other high alpha-cellulose content virgin pulp or purified wood pulp. Both cotton and wood pulp come from plants and are both alpha cellulose.

Other standards a mat board has to meet to be a preservation grade product which can be used on any art if the application is suitable, is thickness, color fastness, non bleeding colors, packaging, sizing, dimensions, adhesives and even identification markings. Fillers used in preservation board can be charcoal to filter out pollutants, or zeolites which also filters out pollutants from the environment and the art itself, Carbonate is added to achieve and maintain neutral ph.

How do we explain this to cusomers easily? I would love for FACTS to produce a simple flyer that explains the terms for the consumer, not for the framer, but for the consumer. Our PPFA chapter, many years ago prepared a Consumer Guide to Conservation framing which was very useful to explain what the whole thing meant in clear concise language. It's out of date now and I really miss it. Wouldn't it be nice to just say we frame to FACTS standards. Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards. Sounds good huh?

Nona Powers, CPF
www.nonapowers.com
San Diego
 

B. Newman

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A few thoughts while I have time.

First - Leary, I've always felt that the term "acid free" means in the art world the same thing as "lite" does in the food world - absolutely nothing! Or in other words, it means exactally what the manufacturer (or marketing guy) wants it to mean.

Now as to the "all or nothing" debate. In an e-mail directly to me, Mr. Peterson responded to my remark about everyone saying the same thing, only in different terms. And in everyone wanting their terms to be the ones used. He reminded me that it wasn't "his" terms, but the terms of the PPFA.

This is what I said to him. Mr. Peterson, thank you for taking the time to reply to me personally. I know you're very busy and I do appreciate that.

I see that indeed we do agree that there are decorative and there are heirloom types of framing. Some things need full preservation and some don't. My point in using the doctor analogy is that procedures change and that terminology changes. What was once (total) preservation (as you would deem "preservation" which I understand to be "the very best available") framing is hardly even substandard today. So we can't "park" on any terminology "forever." Or in other words, terminology doesn't always mean the same thing.

Wouldn't it even be conceivable that the PPFA could one day adopt "levels" of preservation. I mean, all it would take is enough votes. In any organization, all anything takes is enough votes. That's why we (each of us) has to be willing to answer for ourselves. No matter what we call it.

And if we don't call it something, the customer doesn't know that there even is a difference between "cardboard and masking tape" framing, "buffered board and uv glass" framing and the very best "preservation" framing. What do we tell them?

Again, thank you for your time. No progress is ever made without debate and discussion.


Indeed, what do we tell them? We have to say something. And if we can't even say "preservation" unless it is "total and complete" preservation, then folks, we're "up the creek."

I may be wrong on the "voting" thing, but I'm sure he will correct me if I am. All I know is, somebody has to "sign off" on the terminology. And in an organization, that usually means a vote. And if that is indeed the case, all it would take for bad things to happen (to paraphrase an old concept) would be for enough "good framers to do nothing." Now, I know that ain't gonna happen. But it could. (Especially since all it takes to belong to the PPFA is the dues money.)

Back to the original question - "What are we going to tell our customers?" I don't know about you, but I tell them about FACTS. And no matter who doesn't like it, I'm gonna tell them about FACTS until "they pry the tape measure out of my cold dead hands..."

Betty


PS On the UV glass issue - I tell them that "it's like sunscreen for your art. Nothing protects 100 percent, but it's the best that we've got."

Oh, and another PS. That term "protection framing" that was credited to me on the other thread, was actually Bob Carter's subject line on an HH reply. I simply replied using his e-mail. (Don't want to take credit where no credit is due! ;) )
 

JRB

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I think we can all agree that if we are an ethical framing business, we want what is best for the customers object being framed.

That said, what we are really doing is making a sale, or even upgrading a sale.

We are not conducting a college level class on preservation, so that our customer can achieve a degree in the preservation arts. We are attempting to become the person who frames their picture, that is all.

Using a particular term to describe a preservation quality framing package, if it is needed, is not going to make any difference to our customer, other than that they know we have the protection of their artwork in mind, and that we are a reputable framing shop.

We can say, "acid free, archival, rag, museum standards", or whatever else will convey our intent. The main thing is that we must not lose focus on what we are doing, which is trying to conclude a sale. Getting all caught up in the technology of conservation framing, when we should be working on an aesthetic design for their artwork, can end up with the customer leaving out of frustration, to find another framer, who will just frame their darn picture.

What I am suggesting is that you can use whatever terminology you want, as long as it conveys the right meaning to your customer. Don't lose the sale demonstrating your expertise on conservation framing. You know you will do the proper thing for your customers artwork, do you know what another shop will do to it if you lose the sale?

John
 

B. Newman

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Originally posted by JRB:

We can say, "acid free, archival, rag, museum standards", or whatever else will convey our intent. The main thing is that we must not lose focus on what we are doing, which is trying to conclude a sale. Getting all caught up in the technology of conservation framing, when we should be working on an aesthetic design for their artwork, can end up with the customer leaving out of frustration, to find another framer, who will just frame their darn picture.

What I am suggesting is that you can use whatever terminology you want, as long as it conveys the right meaning to your customer. Don't lose the sale demonstrating your expertise on conservation framing. You know you will do the proper thing for your customers artwork, do you know what another shop will do to it if you lose the sale?

John
John, this is where this thread can correspond to the "Whoppers from other frame shops" thread. If we don't use at least somewhat "standardized" terms, who knows what someone means by anything?

I've used this example before, but if one says "Big Mac" in California, it means exactally the same thing as "Big Mac" in Tennessee and the same thing in Germany!

That, I believe is the major reason for FACTS. If a customer hears "archival" in TN, it's gotta mean the same thing as "archival" in CA. Otherwise, the customer is misinformed. (And begins to suspect that we're all just "making it up as we go!")

But if we can't even say preservation unless it is total and complete, then I suspect not many of us will be saying it at all.

Betty
 

nona powers

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I agree that keeping it simple is best. If I say I frame to FACTS standards then make sure the customer has the website and they can go learn all they want at the website. It needs some revision and a more user friendly layout, but FACTS would certainly give the customer a lot to think about.

I like the concept of protection framing. it gets dangerous to guarantee that everything you do will last forever and preservation implies that concept. As I said on one of my posts on HH, consensus in the end will decide but no matter what, our industry will keep changing.

Nona Powers, CPF
www.nonapowers.com
 

Ron Eggers

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Personally, I'm uncomfortable with nearly ALL of the words we use to describe framing materials, and I end up using brand names.

"This piece is matted with Crescent rag mats and mounted to Bainbridge AlphaRag using Lineco mylar corner pockets. There is a layer of Bainbridge ArtCare fomeboard (3/16") as a filler."

That's when I usually notice the customer starting to count the ceiling tiles in my shop, so I'll say, "I'm going to use the best materials I'm aware of and anything I will do can be undone (though I doubt you'll want to do that.)"

I almost never utter the words, "preservation," "conservation," "museum," "archival," or "acid-free."
 

JRB

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The number of custom framing shops, garage framers, basement framers, chain operations ( big box) and the total number of people working is this environment is probably staggering. I know of several "custom framing" businesses that operate from a flea market.

Attempting to standardize every little term related to our business is a laudable goal, I'm not sure if it will ever happen though. There will always be frame shops who never heard of FACTS or PPFA or could care less either way even if they did.

Over many, many years, a particular term will trickle down and throughout out our industry, I doubt if it will mean the same thing to everyone who uses it, FACTS or no FACTS.

The FACTS website is a complicated document full of legalese, that alone will discourage a large number of people from pursuing it. Should it ever get simplified, as Nona suggests, then I think its chances of being embraced by more in our industry will be greatly improved. No matter what happens though, there will always be framers who will ignore or misconstrue it and its intent.

Even in todays framing environment with it's countless information sources, there are still frame shops using masking tape and duct tape, as well as packaging tape to hold artwork in place.

Perhaps, someday, framing shops will be inspected and graded, much like restaurants, so our customers will know what they are dealing with. Even that will not stop shoddy work from taking place, but it will help our clientèle decide were they want to shop.

As it stands now, all it takes to have a sticker on your door, saying you are a reputable framing business, is the price of admission to one or all of the organizations available to us. Even the flea market framers can have PPFA and FACTS decals on their stalls.

Our industry is open to anyone who owns a few framing tools and has a place to set them up. I honestly believe it will never be an organized, standardized, industry, to all who are involved in it.

Then the other question would be, who exactly, would have the authority to say to someone, YOU, are not allowed to frame pictures.

John
 

Ron Eggers

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I've never heard any sane person suggest there should be ENFORCED standards for picture framing. We like to believe that what we do is a matter of life and death, but most people would disagree that picture framing is a matter of public safety.

Having some common terminology facilitates communication between framers and their customers, so it's a tool - nothing more.

John, you're right about the FACTS documents. They are, by their very nature, DRY reading. I would be unlikely to point a customer to the website unless they expressed an uncommon interest in the standards. I would guess that few framers have actually read the standards, including many who support the concept of FACTS.

But I would love to have some layman's terms to describe the difference between the mats I'm using and the mats the shop next door is using (the ones in the rack in my basement.)

I think that's what Leary is looking for, too.
 

John Richards

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This has certainly been interesting over on HH. I think this came up about a year ago and the term everyone should really strive for is "PH Neutral". I agree that customers do not want a lesson in chemistry but Jo is right in that Acid Free is like Fat Free, meaningless.
 

FramerDave

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year ago and the term everyone should really strive for is "PH Neutral".
Ay, there's the rub. The vast majority of the mats we use are not in fact pH neutral, but are buffered to somewhere in the 7.5 to 8 range. See, we just can't win.

This brings to mind a similar tempest in a teapot on HH a couple years ago. Someone brought up the dangers inherent in acrylic glazing in the event of a fire. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that if that's happening, you've got other things to worry about. The same thing with ArtCare zeolite technology. Someone pointed out that in conditions of high temperature and humidity, all the pollutants trapped by it over the years could come flooding out all at once. Again, if your artwork is in a flood or fire, you've got other things to worry about.

And heck, most of us in the industry use nothing but conservation/preservation quality mats, UV-filtering glazing, and c/p quality boards in our framing. Just that alone, without worrying about sealed rabbets, unbuffered mats or other esoterica, makes our framing today better than 99% of the stuff we did just ten years ago, and puts it far ahead of what we did twenty years ago.
 

B. Newman

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Originally posted by FramerDave:
And heck, most of us in the industry use nothing but conservation/preservation quality mats, UV-filtering glazing, and c/p quality boards in our framing. Just that alone, without worrying about sealed rabbets, unbuffered mats or other esoterica, makes our framing today better than 99% of the stuff we did just ten years ago, and puts it far ahead of what we did twenty years ago.
I agree completely! The problem (or debate) led by Mr. Peterson and supported by a few others was that we weren't even supposed to say "preservation" if we weren't doing 100% of ALL the things needed to create a preservation package, as defined by the PPFA guidelines.

I maintain that the use of the term "moderate preservation" is a viable need in the industry. (And think it should be added somewhere.)

Betty
 
D

Dermot

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I’m in full agreement that there needs to be a way to describe different levels of framing…..my concern is that by attaching two words together in this case "Moderate Preservation" the whole thing becomes open to abuse….what I may think is “Moderate”…….will I know without doubt differ from others…….and there in lies the difficulty from my point of view……again I repeat I have no difficulties with various standards/levels of framing.

I’m a really big believer in the KISS principle..(Keep it simple stupid)…..and I would suggest that a possible solution would be that about four/five levees of standards be introduced..

I……..Full blown preservation……………………………………………..……….”Museum Standard”

2…….Moderate Preservation…………………………………………….……….…”Conservation Standard”

3…….By and to CPF………………………………………………………………………”Certified Standard”

4…….Poster specials no value articles………………………………………….”Budget Standard”

5…….Ready made’s customer inserts image themselves………….….”Minimum Standard”

The above are based on what the FATG http://www.fineart.co.uk/qualifs/fss.htm#top is suggesting…….and I feel would take some of the ambiguity out of the quality available when someone wants something framed.
 

Ron Eggers

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I would propose that a term like "moderate preservation" was never intended to indicate a written standard. (Feel free to jump in here, Jim, and correct me if I'm wrong.)

I maintain that the safest route is to familiarize ourselves with the FACTS standards and recognize that many - perhaps most - projects will not utilize ALL aspects.

Originally, the suggestion was to list exceptions to the standards on a dust-cover label. That made a lot of us nervous - partly because we don't like to list the things we DIDN'T do, even if the exceptions were completely appropriate, and partly because it assumed a complete familiarity with the standards on the part of the customer. That's a big assumption, even if we are diligent in our customer education.

What many of us are doing, instead, is labeling with a full disclosure of what we DID do: glazing used (with a warning about the limitations of UV filtering), types of mats and mounting and filler and hanging and care instructions. I even list the moulding and mat numbers. If we have to worry about an existing customer taking that information to another framer to duplicate the package in the future, we haven't done our job in the first place.

I believe it is critical that we recognize that full preservation - like perfection - is a worthy but unattainable goal. To speak of preservation in absolute terms is much more misleading than a term like "moderate preservation."

Odd that this started out on HH as a question about the Attach-EZ, which is really a rather minor part of the equation.
 

jvandy57

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Originally posted by FramerDave:

This brings to mind a similar tempest in a teapot on HH a couple years ago. Someone brought up the dangers inherent in acrylic glazing in the event of a fire. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that if that's happening, you've got other things to worry about. The same thing with ArtCare zeolite technology. Someone pointed out that in conditions of high temperature and humidity, all the pollutants trapped by it over the years could come flooding out all at once. Again, if your artwork is in a flood or fire, you've got other things to worry about.

Now see that's what I like to hear a Common Sense Approach. If the acrylic glazing is off gassing in a fire so's the art!
 
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Dermot

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Ron

I can fully understand what you are getting at……and I would hope that I would be candid enough with my customers to inform them in a straight forward and simple manner how I’m framing their work without any embellishments….I have no doubt that this is how you operate……..but can you put your hand on your heart and say that the word “moderate” will not be “embellished” and “warped” by those who would use it for marketing gains………. I’m afraid my faith in the human race would not stretch that far.

I just wish this subject did not involve Jim Miller as I have the height of respect for his work despite differing with him on a few occasions about how he delivers his message.

The whole area around framing terminology is so distorted at this stage that trying to make sense of it is a nightmare despite the efforts of the PPFA, FATG, FACTS…and the guys in Victoria Australia (I have no doubt that there are other organizations trying to do the same work) who have tried to bring some clarity to this whole area, again my view is that the whole thing has got so bogged down that the only solution may be to start from scratch…..something is going to have to give or the efforts to get good workable standards for framing will be overtaken by others taking action……..if some of the Big Box guys haven’t got a project in place to examine the possibilities of publishing a framing standard that the public can understand….my name is not Dermot…….think of the PR benefit that a BB would gain by leading the market place with a simple to read and understand framing standards…….and before I get the bit about BB not been able to frame…..I for one do not believe that all those people in BB are stupid and don’t care about how they do their job……I have no doubt that many of the employees of BB’s take great pride in their work.

I will admit I’m around the framing business for quite some time now…I have a very good understanding of technology and science and I’m still baffled by the jargon/jargons which is used within framing……..everywhere you turn there seems to a different spin/terminology on things………..and now there is talk of introducing more!!!! It’s simplifying things we should be doing not adding to the existing difficulties…….
 

JRB

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Sell the project, do a proper, ethical framing job, quit worrying about nomenclatures. In the great scheme of things, what you call it today, will mean nothing tomorrow. Time alone will prove what kind of framer you are.

John
 

preservator

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Terms such as "acid-free" and "archival" are a bit
ambitious and not as informative as they might be.
The pH of all paper declines over time and having
an alkaline buffer in it slows the process, but
does not stop it. Papers and boards that are
lignin-free and which have an alkaline reserve
should perform better and such terms specify
characteristics that are true of the product.
Telling the client which preservation materials and techniques have been used in a frame should
help clients understand how the frame can be expected to function and where it should be displayed. It is important to remember that true preservation of works on paper is done in the dark and that even the best framing is a compromise, from a preservation perspective. Clients who understand this and who have high value items, which they are determined to display in a frame, may be willing to lower the light in the area where the frame will go.

Hugh
 

McPhoto

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John Baker wrote:
Sell the project, do a proper, ethical framing job, quit worrying about nomenclatures. In the great scheme of things, what you call it today, will mean nothing tomorrow. Time alone will prove what kind of framer you are
For the majority of framers, our customers come to us because of our expertise, our design capabilities and feel they will be treated in a fair & honest manner.

The customer that is truly worried or concerned that his/her artwork will deteriorate will package it away in a bank vault rather than enjoying it!
 

Jim Miller

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The HitchHiker thread is a "spirited discussion" on a topic important to any framer who's concerned about doing the right thing.

PPFA and FATG both have very good instructional standards for framers. That is, if you want to frame art on paper, you do A,B,C...If you want to frame stretched canvas, you do X,Y,Z.

PPFA in recent years has held that there is only one one "preservation" way, and anything less should not be described as having any preservative value. That seems to me too restrictive, and misleadingly absolute.

FATG's instructional guides are more liberal, choosing five distinct categories of preservation, also describing specific methods & materials in detail. Not as restrictive or absolute, but again, not always applicable.

FACTS represents what I feel is the most workable approach, even though it is the most difficult to understand. It's more philosophy than method; it's more comparative than instructional; and it's very dry. I wouldn't dare try to explain it to retail customers. On the other hand, when it comes time to relate preservation to customers, I find no other guides to be as comprehensive or useful as FACTS.

Informed framers should become acquainted with all of the standards, at least enough to decide which one(s) they choose to follow.

Hopefully, the greatest benefit of the current HH thread is that it will bring more framers to understand the standards/guides/recommendations, and make better choices in their frame designs.
 
D

Dermot

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Jim

The FATG do not describe the suggestion for framing a “preservation” they describe them as “levels” of framing…..this terminology was used by them specifically to avoid the hijacking of words like “preservation” perhaps you could edit your post…it could be miss leading…

This is the link to the guys in Australia for those who are interested http://www.pfgvic.com/standards.html
 

gemsmom

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I've never liked the term "acid free" and try to refrain from using it. Anyone could sell a pulp mat as acid free and be technically correct.

I think people who come to see a professional framer expects them to know what they are doing. I almost never get asked about materials and framing methods I use. When I do get asked, I tell them I use the best materials available to me AT THIS TIME, and I explain as much about the methods I will be using as I feel necessary. People do not need to be overloaded with information. You just have to leave them with the impression you do know what you are doing.
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by Dermot:
Jim

The FATG do not describe the suggestion for framing a “preservation” ...perhaps you could edit your post…it could be misleading…
Thanks for that correction, Dermot; I forgot about that point. I automatically think of framing quality in terms of its protective value. Maybe FATG has the right idea -- maybe we should refrain from implying any protective value, and refer to different "quality" levels of framing.
 

preservator

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The site that Dremot has given us makes a very
important distinction. Their category 5 is a level
at which the decision has been made that the value
and vulnerability of the item under consideration
is so high that it should be stored in the dark
and a copy of it should be made for any display
in a frame. This should be part of any categorization of preservation framing.

Hugh
 

Ron Eggers

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the decision has been made that the value
and vulnerability of the item under consideration
is so high that it should be stored in the dark
and a copy of it should be made for any display
in a frame
Yes!

Then, and only then, can we begin to approach maximum preservation.

Everything else is something less. Not necessarily bad or inappropriate or irresponsible, but maybe we'd better avoid calling it "preservation."

Maybe we could call it "framing."
 

Jerry Ervin

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Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
Maybe we could call it "framing."
I vote for that!


"And what level of framing would like for your limited edition print today?" " Here at ______ custom framing we offer all five levels for your convenience"
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
Maybe we could call it "framing."
Ron:

Such a radical idea would surely be met with disagreement and confusion.
smileyshot22.gif
 

Ron Eggers

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"And what level of framing would like for your limited edition print today?"
Of course, if they choose the "frame a copy and store the original" option for their priceless LE print, you're screwed.

Meanwhile, Leary is still wondering what to call the good mats. Me, I'm going to start referring to them as "the good mats."
 

Jerry Ervin

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Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
Meanwhile, Leary is still wondering what to call the good mats. Me, I'm going to start referring to them as "the good mats."
I have always called Crescent Rags the "good mats" and their decorative mats, "decorative mats".
 

JRB

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San Diego, CA
Finally, someone is able to think.

"Maybe we should call it framing"

Good work Ron, a masterful effort to get us back into the real world. It would be nice if it would actually work out that way.

It's too bad that there will always be people who want to turn even the simplest of activities into rocket science.

My favorite on this whole thread was the concern of the possibility of acrylic out gassing during a house fire. I can not believe that anyone could actually come up with a statement like that. That profound observation is so special it should be over on Warped.

Simplifying our profession makes a lot more sense than trying to turn it into a complex, complicated, tongue twisting, need to be a scientist, and a lawyer, to understand what is being said, field of endeavor.

If things keep going the way they are headed, we are going to have to start wearing lab jackets in the shop instead of work aprons. Heck, I'll be willing to bet that there probably are some framers doing that already.

John
 

FramerDave

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My favorite on this whole thread was the concern of the possibility of acrylic out gassing during a house fire. I can not believe that anyone could actually come up with a statement like that. That profound observation is so special it should be over on Warped.
Even better than that. It was on HH.
 

Less

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ZZ
I tend to agree with John. Who really gives a ****? Bob might say if we only spent as much time on the business side.

I knew I was thinking about this too much when I could hear myself talking to clients about different levels of framing and thinking, Less just frame the ******* thing before they walk out.

Stay educated and design your *** off. Who cares what we call it as long as we understand what we are doing.

When I drop my Lessmobile off for service I just ask for "good" stuff installed by "good" people.
 

Ron Eggers

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Who cares what we call it as long as we understand what we are doing.
Ah, but that's the hitch, isn't it?

Don't you remember the guy who was upset with United because he had used Framers Tape to hinge some art and it stained. "But the product description SAID it was ACID-FREE!"

Do you think that was an isolated case? I doubt it very much. What percentage of framers understand the difference? 20%, maybe?
 

FramerDave

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I'm leaning towards Less's position on this one. Yes, I know darned well that "acid-free" doesn't mean diddly, I know all about the pH scale, buffering and lignin. But does the average consumer know about all of that, or even care? Like Ron, they want the good stuff.

So shoot me if you want, but I still find myself saying "acid-free" sometimes. BUT it's a term the customer is familiar with, it makes sense to them, and it tells them that this is the good stuff. Now, if I get one of those guys (and it's usually a guy) who wants to know all the details, I'm happy to spend time going into excruciating detail.

But I'm still trying to train myself to say "preservation quality" instead. It may not be perfect, but it's better.

...makes me think of that Grace Jones song. "I'm not perfect, but I'm perfect for you..."
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by FramerDave:
..."acid-free" doesn't mean diddly, I know all about the pH scale, buffering and lignin. But does the average consumer know about all of that, or even care? Like Ron, they want the good stuff...
So, when you say "this is the good stuff", you're talking about purified-pulp (alphacellulose), which contains no lignin.

I think you're right; most customers don't know the difference, and don't care. But that's only because they don't know the difference. :rolleyes: After they learn the difference, they do care.

Here's the rub:
Most of your competitors don't know the difference between acid free and lignin free, any more than the uninformed customers do.

And that's a problem when you propose your lignin free "good stuff", and your price is higher than your uninformed competitor's so-called acid free "good stuff".

You lose. Your customer saves a few dollars, but doesn't receive the quality she bargained for, so she loses, too.
 

Rebecca

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Feb 28, 2002
Posts
3,339
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Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Why not have a brochure to hand out that explains it all? That way the customers who want to know more can, and those who don't, don't have to.

When I send my clients off to the framers I give them a brief explaination of the options, and give them a hand out which has an exploded diagram of a framing package, with the elements named, a short article on what one wants in the framing package and why, and then the brand names to ask for. I make sure they know that there may be other materials or options than those written down, but this at least gives them the basic info and vocabulary.

Then they can discuss things with the framer and make informed decisions.

Rebecca
 
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