UK/USA comparisons

RoboFramer

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Hello Grumblers one and all. This posts takes me up to MGF, but I promise I won'r let it go to my head! I've searched the directory and can only find one Brit ahead of me - I'm coming to get you.....!

I apologise for the long-winded post, but maybe I'll raise an eyebrow or two!

Anyway, below are two photos showing the front and back of something I made earlier.

Most things are cheaper in the States, Brits come over there and do a load of shopping; still save money even after the cost of the flight is taken into account and have a great time to boot.

But picture framing seems to cost double what it does here, maybe more. Maybe your materials cost more, maybe your carriage costs do, maybe you pay better wages. Or maybe you are just better business people - I don't know.

I'm not going to list my overheads but I have used materials you should be able to relate to and I will list what they cost me. Hope you find the comparison interesting.

I'm going to tell you how much I charge for the below frame, you don't have to give away what you would, although you can if you like. Maybe you could spill if it is lower, higher, much higher or about the same. I am WELL on the plus side of average for UK.

I have converted pounds to dollars at $1.74 - todays rate.

The glass size is 29 x 23 3/4".

Moulding Larson Juhl Aurora Ref No 804820 @ $0.85c per foot

Mat Artcare - Talc on black @ $5.20 per 44x32 sheet.

Snowflake bevelled accent @ $14.36 per box (4 metres or just over 13ft)

UV filtering glass - not a brand you get but costs about the same as TruVu Cons clear @ $20 per 4 x 3 ft sheet.

Backing is Artcare 5mm foamcore at $11 per 60 x 40" sheet.

Print is 'T' hinged to that with Japanese paper hinges ('Hakayu' or something)

All above costs are pre tax (we have Value Added Tax - otherwise known as one big ripoff @ 17.5%)

All above costs include discounts, which I DO pass on. These discounts are based on turnover with each company. Moulding is 15% - Mat, bevelled accent and backing is 25%. Glass is 15%.

A carriage-paid order from most companies is £100 ($174) below that and it costs me an average of $14 - any quantity, this is for 2 or 3 day carriage, but 60% of the time it comes next day FOC.

The job took 40 minutes from the word 'go' i.e. including finding the materials, which can be fun here!

I charge $215.00 for this frame.


Hey - I like the way the flash is on the guy's lighter!

vermeerslines004.jpg


Secondly, the next photo is the back of the frame above. In the UK trade press there have been a lot of requests from framers for a backing board that combines a mounting board. I.e. the lovely brown stuff most Brits use, with a sheet of acid free board laminated to it. I (generally) use artcare foamboard as a combined 'under'-mount and backing board - do you see anything wrong with that? As far as I am concerned it does the job of an 'under' mount and backing combined, provides artcare protection, costs less than the two boards it replaces and uses less labor.

We Brits generally do not cover the back like you do, I use gummed paper tape to seal the foamboard, it breathes and can be moulded into any space left in the rebate, too much space and I will make it flush, but still seal it in the same way.

I hate wire - I use polyester cord which is low stretch and has a 200lb breaking strain. I always double it, tie off with a reef knot plus a knot each side and use thicker for heavy stuff or quadruple this cord.

I think the US is streets ahead of the UK regards
conservation and I think the average US framer just CARES more. The only frames I get in with covered backs are pre 1960s and I am intrigued as to why we do things so differently to you on the back of the frame. I love being different but this back-covering thing would take some selling to me!

Press "Add New Topic" then 'CLICK - TSSSST - Glug glug glug" That's a can of McEwans export bitter hardly touching the sides - here's to you.

'Master' of something at last - sigh!

vermeerslines005.jpg
 

Jay H

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I did the math and didn't respond because I didn't know LJ had anything and in the .80 range. At .80 I was a fair amount under you.

At $1.38 I'm right in the ballpark with you.

The fact I didn't respond is proof that you can't make an assumption of the framing environment here. We tend to toot our own horn on the odd event and rare customer. The problem is that is portrayed as an everyday event. Those average shops like mine seem like a minority because who wants to brag about "normal"?

The fact you would ask is proof that we should qualify our statements. I could easily state that my average ticket is $400 and that I only do this or that. The hidden fact may be that I never make money and frame 2 pieces a month.

Another thing that I haven't figured out yet John, is how we often here about the "High-end" shop with megga tickets and will still brag about amazing COGS under 20%. Yet we know that everybody (cept Bob) uses some graduated scale. Those are opposing concepts.

Just from your post, it's my opinion that we aren't so different.

But I would never pull a cord that tight. That’s a different and well covered thread.

Carry on.
 

wpfay

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Your early morning is my late evening. Check artfacts.org for hanging with wire or whatever. Your's is too tight!
Too many questions...Baer on the left coast can answer better...day of rest coming...Say "G'night Dick"...G'night Dick*.

*"Laugh-In"... Circa 1967
 

RoboFramer

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I had only vaguely heard of FACTS, probably only on The Grumble too. Anyway Just spent the last coupe of hours reading the FACTS pages. Very good, printed off the hanging cord/wire bit to show my staff.

Also read the related topics on the Grumble.

My cord is too tight, I've never ever even thought about it.

Just as well there is SOME stretch in the cord, just as well I always give two wall hooks with all but the smallest frames.

Hereon I will do it slacker, aim for the 60 degree angle wherever possible and draw points on tne back of the frame where the wall hooks should be put. Maybe get a stamp made to explain why.

In all the books and mags I've read - including the GCF study guide, this has not been covered.
 

johnny

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Robo, I came in $10 under you, but I have to plead ignorance on a "snowflake bevelled accent" so I completely ignored that part.

In order to price for a $1.38 per ft moulding, however, I used a fillet in the moulding entry box. A 1 1/4" wide basic wood moulding priced at $255 for the job and something a little finer, what would be our average, priced at $302. I pay 30% more for matboard than you do and my sheets are a little smaller. The rest is more or less in line until you throw that tax thing in there.

Given the same costs I'd say I price a little higher, but on top of that my materials cost more.
 

RoboFramer

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Originally posted by johnny:
Robo, I came in $10 under you, but I have to plead ignorance on a "snowflake bevelled accent" so I completely ignored that part.

This is a Nielsen-Bainbridge thing. One metre strips of artcare foamboard, about 4" wide, one long side bevelled and wrapped with surface papers to match about 20 of their matboards. 4 strips in a box. You could make your own, but maybe not with artcare surface papers, they are expensive but then you pay for convenience.
 

johnny

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Ahhh, I try to not use Nielsen-Bainbridge as much as possible.

I do like the camera flash! lol
 

JohnR

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Ahhh. A geometry problem (the straight wire)! Lets see how much force is on the string and hooks. The string is is at 90 deg. from the load. I'll say the picture weights 10 pounds. Tension = Weight/2Cos 90. The force is INFINITE! Okay, we know that is not possible because something will give and allow the string to bend a bit. lets say 3 degrees. So, tension is reduced to a modest 95 pounds - at each hook!

This is why you should put some slack in your wire. At 60 deg from load, the tension on the wire is only 10 lbs. at each hook.

I've bet some of you framers have seen tight wires break, pull out the hooks, bend the hooks in or distort the frame.

John
 

osgood

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John,

Most Aussies don't back fill frames either!

I would like to know why you don't like wire?

I'm the exact opposite to you....I hate cord, with a vengeance!!!
One reason is that is is almost impossible to calculate where the wall hooks go when you want to hang a frame at an exact height. It also looks cheap IMHO.

Wallbuddies or Hook Ups are even better than wire.
 

RoboFramer

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Originally posted by osgood:
John,

Most Aussies don't back fill frames either!

I would like to know why you don't like wire?

I'm the exact opposite to you....I hate cord, with a vengeance!!!
One reason is that is is almost impossible to calculate where the wall hooks go when you want to hang a frame at an exact height. It also looks cheap IMHO.

Wallbuddies or Hook Ups are even better than wire.
Why don't I like wire?

Well, had I been a framer in training when I was a Grumbler In Training I would have asked "what do you all use, wire or cord?" "WIRE" 99% of you would have said, and I would have said 'SOLD'!

I hate wire, partly, because of a certain customer of mine who deals in antique prints/originals, most everything he brings in for new mats, adding of Wreltneys, replacement of glass etc, has wire on and he wants to keep it. It is tied on with overkill knots, it's corroded, it's kinked, it sticks in my fingers and it's connected to the frame with screw eyes. I have to undo the knots because I can't untwist the screw eyes with the wire still on; if I could, then I couldn't screw them back in with the wire still attached (one side maybe)

They didn't have 'D' rings in those days. They didn't have POLYESTER CORD either! Or anything Polyester. Cord was made from cotton and it perished.

You can undo a reef knot in my cord in seconds and without drawing blood, undoing a badly tied wire, with humungous knots, can take ages.

Wire still kinks, cord doesn't. Some wires corrode, polyester never will. You can tie a knot in cord that a rock climber would trust his life to, and tie in seconds; not in wire.

Wire is tied at each side of the frame and then twisted, maybe using some sort of Heath-Robinson device that has a habit of camouflaging itself somewhere, maybe ferrules are added; maybe it is crimped.

By the time you've done all that - I'm half way through my next job, cobblers to how it looks, in fact it looks fine, but instead of being dark and stiff, it's white and flexible - looks fine to me.

When you want to make a feature of what is being used - e.g. a double sided frame, wire would look like PUKE; It would also chafe the frame. Two, or maybe more different coloured CORDS braided together.................... wouldn't, in fact a single cord would look better - hang more naturally/.

Maybe wire has no stretch and cord has some, but my method is easy to undo and take up slack.

As for hanging at exact height, well if it had to be EXACT then neither cord OR wire are ideal, wallbuddies, etc may be better, as you say.

What I would say is that my reef knot can be undone and adjusted either way, very easily.

Not going by the above photo mind you, but as from today they can!

I've avoided saying "I've never had a frame returned because of ...................."

(But now I've gone and said it)

Because I hate to hear customers saying things like "But ALL my needlework is against the glass and it is all just FINE............."


I have had re-glazing (etc) jobs in where the cord or wire has snapped or come undone, or a screw ring has come out. The bigger percentage has been wire, maybe some of that wire is very old, maybe some is badly tied, but it's still wire. Maybe it's because the bigger percentage of framing jobs are DONE with wire even?

Here's another one - it scratches the walls - OK maybe YOURS doesn't - but it CAN. Cord can't

It's cheaper

Not trying to sell anything, the bottom line is; when all's said and done; at the end of the day..... I JUST DON'T FREAKIN' LIKE IT!
 

osgood

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John,
I just love it when someone speaks their mind. Thansk for your answer. I think you and I would get on really well, especially if we were a bit closer to each other. We would just have different opinions about cord and wire.

Just a couple of things from my experience;
Supersoft Strand wire doesn't have the problems that old wire has!
I've never experienced a kink in new wire on a frame!
I hate screw eyes more than I hate cord! Customers never get their old frames back with original hanging hardware or wire or cord or string!
 

Jay H

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Wire had came a long way. There have been some improvments I think you should know about.

You know about D-rings already so I'll forget about that.

You might consider a pair of wire cutters. Those work wonders. Sear's has them.

Finally coated wire is a Godsend. United has that.

Perhaps you can enlighten me now. I use no tool to twist wire. Is there something I need to know about?

I've never tied a knot in wire, EVER.

Carry on.
 

MarkyW

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Have you ever heard of 'Miracle Cord'? (sold by United) It is black with a kevlar center so it's strong. You just tie a knot and slide it into a special plastic clip screwed into the back of the frame. And as for hanging at a particular height, there is an accessory called 'Adjust it' that lets the customer easily adjust the length of the cord while on the frame if they want it higher or lower. Started using it a couple years ago and I love it.
 

RoboFramer

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I studied the UKs top supplier's catalogue (Lion)before posting, they sell a slip on tool for twisting wire - it's probabbly crap - I couldn't give one 'cause I HATE WIRE, they also sell a slip on sleeve that you set about with with a heat gun that makes it shrink and look pretty (er than it did before it shrunk)

They sell lots of coated wires, one they warn that the coating can crack and the wire can perish - bet they sell lots of that!

Don't want any freakin'wire cutters, something else to put somewhere creative!

Come on then - speed? Cost? Picture still secure on wall?
 

Baer Charlton

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Real difference of US vs Uk....

Come on John, tell us about when you were young and dating how you used to go 'round and knock the girls up. :D

Wire/Cord if it works for your customer and works for you... who cares. But it won't pass competition state side.
thumbsup.gif
 

osgood

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Originally posted by RoboFramer:
Come on then - speed? Cost? Picture still secure on wall?
Speed is not a criteria for me - my customers pay me for my time!

Never had any type of wire break in 20 years!

Not trying to convert you John - just explaining how it is for me!
 

Cliff Wilson

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Mark,

I use the Miracle Cord as well. I think it gives a REALLY nice finish to the back. Black backing paper, black clips, black bumpons, black kevlar cord (Stronger than steel the label reads).

I've actually had customers comment on how good the back looks. Which by the way appears to be the key difference between the UK and here ... backing paper vs. taped edges.

My price would be slightly higher, but it appears that is because my material costs would be slightly higher. I am wondering if that is a volume/negotiating result, or a geographic result. If geographic, why?
 

RoboFramer

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Originally posted by Cliff Wilson:


My price would be slightly higher, but it appears that is because my material costs would be slightly higher. I am wondering if that is a volume/negotiating result, or a geographic result. If geographic, why?
Yes, all those prices include a discount which I have listed - based on turnover. There is only one company that I deal with who do not give me a discount across the board; ironically my main moulding supplier!

They only give me a discount on anything over 100ft (20%) - I use it mainly on plain woods.

I think I like the sound of that miracle cord, I've emailed United to see if there is a UK distibutor and/or if they will ship here.

The back of the frame, to me, is purely functional, (I use felt bumpers as well, slipped this one) But it still must be done neatly.

But OK - as I love the Grumble so much - and because I want to be different, I'm going to give this back covering thing a whirl, on selected frames to order and for the shop - see what comments I get. People go potty over the felt bumpers - hardly any of my competition uses them!

But not craft paper, or the stuff on offer from Lion - covered in Fleurs de Lys EEEEEEEEEEWWWW
We deal with around 30 suppliers on the craft side of the shop, some specialise in paper. We're going to an art/craft show this weekend - THE Art/craft show in UK actually - see what I can see.

But I'll still seal the backs as per above - then ATG tape around the back of the frame and plonk the paper on that then trim - yes? Or do you spray mount it as well?

What's corolpast?
 

Bill Henry-

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But I'll still seal the backs as per above - then ATG tape around the back of the frame and plonk the paper on that then trim - yes?
Sure, why not? I use white glue rather than ATG (it’s cheaper), but what the hey?

First we’ll get you to use wire, … then we’ll work on the glue.

Baby steps!
 

RoboFramer

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Originally posted by Bill Henry-:
Sure, why not? I use white glue rather than ATG (it’s cheaper), but what the hey?
Ah, but is my ATG cheaper than yours?

We buy acid free ATG tape from our craft suppliers at half the price of non acid free from our framing suppliers, because from the craft suppliers it is bought for re-sale, from the framing suppliers, you are the end user.

We also stock a shedload (that's a UK term, equivalent to approx two thirds of a US S***load)
of glues, also bought for resale. I'll get the paper cheaper than you too - Tee Hee
 

Cliff Wilson

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Originally posted by RoboFramer:
What's corolpast? [/QB]
It's Coroplast.

It's a brand name for fluted polypropylene. (Basically plastic cardboard.) Inert and safe in frame packages, but very strong. Comes in colours.
 

RoboFramer

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Originally posted by Cliff Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by RoboFramer:
What's corolpast?
It's Coroplast.

It's a brand name for fluted polypropylene. (Basically plastic cardboard.) Inert and safe in frame packages, but very strong. Comes in colours. [/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]Thanks Cliff - No 'L' - No 'L' -
No 'L' No-o-o- 'L'-'L' Born is the Grumbler from A-angmering (sorry)

Yes, one of my print publishers uses it for packaging & we have collapsable boxes made from it. Have to find the brand name here - Google.

What do you stick that with - a spirit based glue? Maybe not; not too reversible.

Seems this is for more upmarket jobs.

Just had a thought - if/when I take this on I'll be less eco-friendly won't I? More trees!
 

RoboFramer

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Originally posted by RoboFramer:

What do you stick that with - a spirit based glue? Maybe not; not too reversible.
(Coroplast) Seems from other topics that this is used as a filler, not a back covering.
 
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