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Fillets, are they worth the headaches?

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
I love the look of fillets in mats, but have never liked working with them and find them very hard to sell. I feel that this is one area that could help my bottom line if I could sell them though.

First off is showing them In the past I had a 30" high 4 sided spinner that I had on a corner of the design counter. This had a few issues. Customer would want to use the fillet as a frame, and when the samples were pulled off the velcro would hold better than the glue holding the fillets together. So I ended up with shabby looking broken fillets.

Next is the issue with their being almost too many of them yet there never seems to be one that works with the project you're working on.

After you get something that you like, you price it out and the customer about faints. Why are these little buggers so expensive. In many cases they cost more for the fillet than the frame moulding I am using on the job.

So after you get the job sold, now you have to do it. While I have no issues with getting the fillets cut to size, I do often times have issues with their fragile gesso finish chipping off at the corner when I am assembling them into the mat.

With all these issues, are fillets really worth the headaches or potential headaches that I seem to run into? Am I alone in my experience with them? Do you have any suggestions to make my life easier when dealing with fillets?

Thanks
 
888

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Some folks make up mat chevrons complete with fillet. Easier to demo. Fillets look very cool on certain work. I mostly use them between the two halves of a double mat.

Just to make life even more difficult, I often hand-finish fillets to match the frame. :help:


I'm doing one at the moment.:p
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I solved the storage issue by getting a tabletop drawer unit that keeps the various styles sorted by general categories. Folks don't see them until I open the drawer, so the samples don't get manhandled. I probably don't sell fillets as often as I could because they are so time consuming to work with. (I trim and assemble them with glue in a vise before installing in the mat and spacing it to level and sealing with Lineco tape.) I have a small frame with a fillet and an explanation of what they are attached to the drawer unit, and sometimes people specifically ask for them. I will definitely suggest them if I think they will really enhance the design. Sometimes a BevelAccent-type approach is just as good if not better, and I enjoy doing those more.
:cool: Rick
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I have a four sided spinner attached to my mat rack and some of the fillets right underneath the mouldings themselves. Sure, I do get the 'I want this frame' reaction...I don't mind that. I can explain what they are for, different looks and so on. It serves as a reminder to me to show them.

I have closed some sales when I used the fillet as an enhancer with the moulding, people are amazed about the endless possibilities. I don't like putting them in mats as much....but that's just me. Sure it takes more time. I charge for my time. Some people really don't care about price as long as it looks good.
 

blackiris

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Fillets are never my go to on everything. Usually when I cant find a 2nd or 3rd mat and the cusotmer wants it to look more formal. :shrug:
I HIDE them away........ since everyone thinks they are frames and automatically go for those. :nuts:
BUt I do have samples...... can't sell it if you dont show it.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Some people really don't care about price as long as it looks good.
I just worry that people are often sizing us up and when we show and price out a fillet that the sticker shock is so much that they don't recover from it. For this reason, I don't know that I have recommended a single fillet in the last year.

I am posting this trying to decide if I want to start pushing this or if other ways of increasing a jobs profitability would be better served. Hand wrapped fabric mats, MG etc.
 

EllenAtHowards

PFG, Picture Framing God
My first add-on/ upgrade is fabric mats. Then triple mats (or combo of the first two). Then Museum glass. Then fillets.

We probably sell a fillet twice a week.

When folks ask why they are so expensive, I just tell them that they involve hand labor and are hard to put in, but the look is hard to beat.
 

Beveled

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We might average one fillet sale a week. But we have them in a drawer behind the counter. Obviously you wouldn't show them in every circumstance, but often they fall in love with the look and are willing to pay the extra for it. I usually explain, that the expense is in the product, regardless of how small, it's made of wood, moulded and finished, just like the frames. Most people get that.

The extra time spent dinking around with it usually never amounts to more than a half hour. So, even tho they're fussy, your bottom line should more than make up for it.
 

Bogframe

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Maybe it's the Virgo in me, but I loved fillets. I loved selling them, I liked doing them and I liked the look on the client's faces when they saw the final result. I even did a few for some of my own frames for my house. (sorry for the crappy pic)

 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I'm with Bog, fillets are far more interesting than double/triple mats. Because I have done them so much and my installation system works easily, I price them aggressively. I would guess about 80% of my frames get them. Most are the bread and butter LJ 150CG or 150CS and 131912 for more expensive framing. I do use colors, wood or matching patterns, too, when called for.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
We frequently use fillets both for custom jobs and for framing originals for our gallery. A typical frame for our gallery pieces uses at least one fillet and seamless fabric wrapped liner and then the frame. Often we'll use two fillets, two seamless liners and the frame as in the picture below.

I have about 30 of my most often used fillets nestled in a small display on the counter similar to a mat rack but made of solid wood. Additionally I have fillets grouped with families of mouldings and also a panel that is fabric covered that has an additional hundred or so fillets and wider enhancers which I pull out when needed. We have about 200 fillet samples.

Some fillets we buy 400' of at a time for special pricing.

We use fillets far more for the inside of frames and liners than for mats.

Double fillet and Liner.JPGSingle fillet and liner.JPGFillet rack.jpg
 

Artrageous

PFG, Picture Framing God
I use fillets all the time. I get to design many jobs for my clients and fillets are my go to when I want to enhance the look of a job.

I think you could buy better and then not worry about the cost of the fillet. Last year at the Vegas show I bought 8500 feet of assorted fillets for an average price of **** a foot. At that price I don't worry about the cost of the fillet at all.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

RoboFramer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I love fillets - not a headache at all. Reverse bevels manually slowed things down slightly but with a CMC it's just another click. They also utilise skinny board offcuts (for making flush) that you'd normally toss.

001.JPGWinston 001.JPG
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Yea, at that price I guess you wouldn't. Most of the fillets I see are 20x that.

Also, the x0466 is the one that I seem to have the most issues with it chipping but have had issues with the 150cg too.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
They are a huge suck of time. I just refit a piece for a customer and of course the original framer did a horrible job on the filet as most I see. It was separating and no filler was used plus it was ATG'd then brown packing tape holding it in place. Took about 45 minutes of my time to fix the thing. I see dozens upon dozens of the cruise ship jobs all with the same horrible quality. Most of them just have backing board bowed into place with the artwork buckling.

I wouldn't do one for less than $100 and even then I would be losing money over framing other pieces. As soon as I find a large group of customers willing to spend $1,000 or more on every job filets will become something I'm willing to do but I'm way to busy to throw a monkey wrench in the machine. If you charge properly for time, materials and do them well you really need to add a couple hundred bucks for them to make sense. A lot of framers in the area will do them but they do such a poor job that I guess it makes sense since they don't care what the finished product looks like or how long it will last.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
We probably have about 150' of wood fillets in the back. (I didn't count
them today.... nor will I.. I just don't care; we hardly ever sell a wood
fillet anymore.)

But it just so happens, we needed to know where we were at on our stock
of Flexible Fabric Fillets. So, today I did an inventory.

We're OK...... but could add some more black and I think we will
add another 60' of the new soft gold in the ASIA line.

So the count was 427' total.

Shar has timed me.... with my mouth taped shut, a 16x20 oval takes
10 minutes... without the tape.... between 15 & 20.

Squares are faster.
 

shayla

WOW Framer
I design with fillets as both mat and frame liners. For both, after cutting the
fillet to size, we join it with glue in a vise and let the corners dry well before
attaching. We charge a minimum of $7.00 a foot for fillets, but if wholesale
chop times 2.8 comes to more than that, we use whatever that price is.
We charge an extra 'ship & join' fee for the fillet, and also for the time it
takes to attach it. Charging for all these things makes it worth the while
to do it.

I don't know how others attach them to frames, but here's what we
do. We lay the frame face down, position the fillet perfectly inside,
and pop in a few Fletcher points to hold it down. Squirt a line of
Corner Weld glue all along between fillet and frame. Wipe that so
there's none where it shouldn't be, then shoot more Fletcher points
into the rabbet of the frame along fillet, holding it tight to the lip.
After that, we shoot Fletcher points into the back of the frame,
standing up, about every six inches. Using this as an anchor, we
wrap a rubber band all around the frame and back the the point.
Then we leave the whole thing face down to dry.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I use fillets mostly with fabric wrapped mats. We do a lot of fabric wraps.
I use them with just the frame also (just did one today).
I join the fillet in the vises as Shayla mentioned. I cut and mark each side for orientation to fit the frame exactly.
I use a different method to attach a fillet to a frame than I use to attach a fillet to a mat.
I usually use hot glue to attach the fillet to a frame. I do the 4 corners first and then work from the center out and put a bead every few inches.
I hold the fillet tight to the frame lip with my hand until the hot glue sets up. (I speed up the cooling with the air gun)
 

jim_p

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We sell quite a few fillets to our better customers.

For mat fillets, sometime back I bought a Fillet Master from Cliff Wilson and it's served me very well.

For fillets in the frame, what I do is I pre-glue the fillet into the frame rabbet, then chop and join the whole thing as a unit. Works like a charm!
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I have a few fillets with a running pattern on them and they are great for adding an ornate element to a plain moulding. I run d/s tape along the fillet and tack the four pieces in place, with a dab of glue on the corners. To lock them in place I fix a piece of 12x6mm plain wood on it's edge on top of the fillet and fix this to the frame. If it's going to be a hand-finished frame, I glue it all together so the moulding/fillet is effectively one. This is quite handy as it reduces the rabbet width to round about what it was without the fillet, but also forms a nice deep rabbet.
 

UzZx32QU

Administrator
Staff member
Slip mouldings, fillets, take a job from plain to professional. Put you above the other guy. If a design could be better with a slip I show it and sell many. After getting a CMC 10 years ago, doing slips got 50% easier. I did two 8 x 10 last night and it took less then 10 minutes for both. I made over $50 extra profit for the two slips for 10 minutes work.

If the slip extends above the top of the mat I add spacer between the glass and mat so the slip does not touch the glass. More profit here.

Bottom line the clients love slips.

framer
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Yea, at that price I guess you wouldn't. Most of the fillets I see are 20x that.

Also, the x0466 is the one that I seem to have the most issues with it chipping but have had issues with the 150cg too.
X0466 used to be one of my go to fillets - no one else makes one even close to it in quality and appearance - but some years ago they started making the gesso too thick and they chip far too much, now. I've complained to my rep and have several times tried free samples to see if it was fixed. To date - no. 150CG had a bad run, but it didn't last long and it is fine now.

I sure wish they would fix X0466. Many of their water-gilds have the same problem - some effort at gesso thickness quality control would help.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Slips are flat both sides. Fillets......aren't. :kaffeetrinker_2:

Easier to fit fillets to CMC cut mats. They should have dead even windows. Manual cut mats are subject to the whole board being even. A +- 1mm variation will not normally be noticeable. Until you try and fit a fillet. My method is to cut first long side slightly oversize and offer it up and trim on Morso until it fits. Then try it on the opposite side. It will a) fit perfectly, b) be too long, c) be too short. If a, cut another and fix in. If b or c, you can eyeball more or less exactly how much allowance to make when cutting the second bit. Repeat procedure for the short sides.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The Frame Square fillet chopper has a scale and stop that once you set the fillet rabbet width, all you have to do is measure, set the stop and cut for a perfect fit. A CMC lets you measure once for two sides (or more with duplicate mats) without that pesky 1/32 to 1/16 error with a manual cutter.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Below is a picture of my sample of a "slip". It is 3/4" wide by 3/16" thick. This sample is just a flat gold leafed panel and a little beat up from using for many years.

I have used this to add a 1/2" gold leaf flat panel on a frame where the client wanted an accent of bright leaf.

Slip.jpg

slip2.jpg
 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
I use fillets all the time. I get to design many jobs for my clients and fillets are my go to when I want to enhance the look of a job.

I think you could buy better and then not worry about the cost of the fillet. Last year at the Vegas show I bought 8500 feet of assorted fillets for an average price of **** a foot. At that price I don't worry about the cost of the fillet at all.
Just a friendly reminder, because people reported this post to the moderator volunteers:

Since the grumble is a public forum, we ask folks not to price wholesale prices or markup formulas. We wouldnt want someone to search grumble, or the forum itself, and get the wrong idea.

Thanks in advance
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Slips are also used as extenders to wide the rabbet of a frame. I'm framing a gallery wrap that is 1" wider at the ends than it is in the middle. This is 48x60 and has a half dozen other issues or I could have used one inside of the frame so the gap doesn't show at the center.

Ylva it is used like a filet or liner in a frame.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Here are a couple more examples of slips. The one on the left is LJ#118895. The one on the right is an old Eric Schuster.

I think both fillets and slips are also referred to as "Enhancers" if I am not mistaken.

I forgot to mention Jeff's suggested use too. If you have an out of square canvas you can often use a wide enhancer to correct the problem.

slip3.jpg
 

i-m-chickie

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Great thread folks. I learned a few terms I didn't know. But ALSO, some very lovely examples...THANKS for them. RoboJohn, loved the one with the with the tall ship. Gorgeous design. Just right.

This is the kinda thread that makes me grab a cup of joe and really read everyone's posts. Relavent and substantial! Thanks.

This shop loves fillets. Have carpeted the front of my counter and put the fillets and liners there. Most don't notice unless they are REALLY looking, and then some want to use as a narrow frame :shrug:.

My tip: I use my Morso to cut all my fillets. And find I get much better control. Always cut them a hair over for the easy shave off a hair afterwards for a really great fit.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Get a Fillet Master and you'll never look back.

One thing I have taken to doing is cut the blank mat, measure
and fit the fillet.... then while it's gluing up in the vises.... I'll
go lay the material. That silly 1/100th of an inch fills the gap
I used to sometimes get on strange fillets.

But now, I just pull the filet a tiny bit and stretch it....
or stick the ends in first and take up the extra along the way.....
(did I mention how great fabric Flexible Fillets are?)




or an arch


Let's talk retail..... 5x7 $20 Roma photo frame - replaced glass with a scrap of MG,
plugged in a scrap of Mormon Suede board... and a scrap of brown leather Flexible Fillet.
Total Start to finish..... 15 minutes.

Price out the door..... $110 - - and 2 hours later she caught her plane home.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I always thought slips were so called because you can slip them under the glass to form a spacer.
Lots of old frames I have seen, especially oak ones, were done like this. One of my first customers was an antiques dealer and he always called them stretchers.:nuts:
The secondary purpose was to add a gilded sight-edge to a frame, before off-the-shelf mouldings with this feature built in were thought of.
Of course you can do this with a fillet. More easily in fact, as the lip ensures the edge is dead parallel. But you can't use a fillet as a spacer in the same way as a true slip.

Then there are liners......... :kaffeetrinker_2:
 

Bogframe

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Get a Fillet Master and you'll never look back.

One thing I have taken to doing is cut the blank mat, measure
and fit the fillet.... then while it's gluing up in the vises.... I'll
go lay the material. That silly 1/100th of an inch fills the gap
I used to sometimes get on strange fillets.

But now, I just pull the filet a tiny bit and stretch it....
or stick the ends in first and take up the extra along the way.....
(did I mention how great fabric Flexible Fillets are?)




or an arch


Let's talk retail..... 5x7 $20 Roma photo frame - replaced glass with a scrap of MG,
plugged in a scrap of Mormon Suede board... and a scrap of brown leather Flexible Fillet.
Total Start to finish..... 15 minutes.

Price out the door..... $110 - - and 2 hours later she caught her plane home.
Does Mitt Romney sell these?
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Whoever would think a thin bit of wood could be the cause of such contention? :icon9:


And if anyone thinks it's pronounced fil-lay, I will meet them in the parking lot later....... :p
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
And if anyone thinks it's pronounced fil-lay, I will meet them in the parking lot later....... :p
I dun-no why anybody would do that when we can just change the way it's spelled to match the mispronunciation. If it is raining out we will need to meet in the Foy-ur for that throw down.
 

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Fillet experience

I agree with those that RIGHTFULLY charge for the labor involved with fillets. I suspect many do not - that's a personal choice.

Currently, in today's economy, most of my customers are perfectly happy with a gold second mat instead of paying for the gold fillet. I present both at the design table and the customers respect that I give them the choice rather than pushing just the highest price item. Perhaps I did not get the ultimate profit off that sale, but my customer returns. :))
 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
One participant in this thread has been given a record three infractions, to run for the next 14 days.

This thread was purged of off topic and abusive material. (22 posts were removed)

Thanks all for the reports and for addressing the claims the member made
Mike
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
[video=youtube;MPMmC0UAnj0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPMmC0UAnj0[/video]

And now, back to fillets.....
I use 'em and I like "em! :thumbsup:
 

Artrageous

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've seen a resurgence in clients asking for the Mylar fillets too. They are much easier to work with.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Baer has spoken of the fabric wrapped flexible fillets and I will attest that they are very easy to use and also allow for using fillets where normally you would be unable to... such as ovals or curved mats.

They present another option in our bag of design elements.
 

pwalters

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
One participant in this thread has been given a record three infractions, to run for the next 14 days.

This thread was purged of off topic and abusive material. (22 posts were removed)

Thanks all for the reports and for addressing the claims the member made
Mike
Good work Mike, but now that you've made the edits the original cost of Mark's fillets came back somehow.
 
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