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Opinions Wanted How do you deal with excess moulding?

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Rachael, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Rachael

    Rachael Grumbler

    As a fairly new framer, I'm still coming to terms with the (to me at least) massive amounts of scrap generated in this industry. At the moment, I'm thinking specifically of moulding cut-offs. Obviously, when I have long lengths, like 6' or more, I save them in a rack. But I'm conflicted about what to do with shorter stuff and I'm curious how other people deal with it. What's your policy for what gets saved and what gets tossed? Do you keep a 4' piece in hopes of a small frame? Do you save the 30" pieces to make tiny frames for friends? Do you turn it all into 8x10 readymades? I know there will be at least as many answers as Grumblers, and probably a lot of "depends on the moulding" type answers as well, but I'd love to hear people's thoughts who've been doing this longer. What are realistic keep/toss rules of thumb so I don't find myself buried in cut-offs within the year? How do you keep track of what you have so you don't end up ordering a full stick when you had 6' in the back of your rack? Any thoughts along these lines would be very welcome. Thanks Grumblers!
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  2. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have a massive workshop, so I keep the off-cuts and use them whenever I need that 4th piece. Filed by manufacturer and color, so not hard to find a piece when I need it. But if I had a normal space and were paying rent on it, out they'd go.

    I use garbage pails for some, and racks for others.

    The metals are easy to file. I have a flat rack where they are bundled by profile and color. Just last Saturday a guy asked me for miscellaneous 8x10s for hockey cards, and I have tons that I can cut and sell to him.
  3. JWB9999999

    JWB9999999 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Stuff almost never matches, one batch to the next, so I don't see any need for keeping random offcuts like that. I will wait to make sure that customer's frame is complete and ready for pickup (just in case!), and then it either gets chopped into a ready-made or thrown in the trash. It's not a frequent occurance for me, as I buy most moulding by the box, so I don't have lots of small pieces of different things laying around. However, for the moulding that I stock, certainly I get a lot of offcuts. I have a set of shelves set aside just for keeping these in-stock moulding offcuts. Once I discontinue carrying that moulding in stock, or if the batch changes, what's on the shelf also gets cut up or tossed.
    cvm likes this.
  4. FramingT

    FramingT True Grumbler

    I save the plastic bags that moulding sticks come in. When a piece is 4+ feet, I bag it, tag it and enter it into a log. I have a page for each vendor. I write down the style number, how much I have and what bin number it is in. It took me years to figure out what to do with extra moulding, and I have found this to work best for me. I am now thinking of making an Excel spread sheet so I can have the program easily sort my data numerically. (in my "extra" time :rolleyes:) My next endeavor is to star making readymade frames from anything that has been discontinued...
  5. ali

    ali CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I save everything even 1 ft sticks, I have like 200 bins in the back of my shop were all my molding is neatly organized each bin contains 2-5 different moldings.
    I have probably made more money off my scraps than i did off my regular work.
    prospero likes this.
  6. Rachael

    Rachael Grumbler

    Wow, even 1ft sticks! I knew I'd get a range of answers, but I must admit that one surprised me. I wish I had your organizational skills!
  7. mlmintz

    mlmintz CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    We save them until I finally get pissed off at the clutter and toss into the dumpster.
  8. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Once a year we have a sale where we will make a heap of small frames, no bigger then 12x16 to use up the offcuts. During that sale we will usually make a quick $2-3K in cash.
    Through out the year the offcuts sometimes save ordering more and gets you out of trouble. But after the sale we will also bin a lot as well. And then it all starts again.
    ARFineFraming likes this.
  9. Mer

    Mer True Grumbler

    We have stock piles of rails in our warehouse. When we get anything less than 10 feet, we cut it into the larges ready-made possible and sell it that way. We have standard sizes from 5x7 to 24x36. Anything large enough to make "weird" sizes out of, we keep those too (after trying to get a standard size).

    For example: I had enough of a frame to make a 16x20. The a *very* small piece I was able to get a 4x5 out of. Because of a defect in the wood, I couldn't make an 18x24 out of it. I feel like I have a pretty good formula for figuring out the largest size I can get out of a rail. We have a place called "the coffin" that holds are smaller rails until I get time to cut them down.
    cvm likes this.
  10. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    My situation is different than most as I am 99% online but I thought I would so what I am doing. I have a few holdovers from when I had my store but I closed that 10 years ago. I sell about 300 mouldings on thePaperFramer.Com and on Etsy, almost all of which I keep in stock. On thePaperFramer, I make frames as small as 6 5/8" x 10 1/8" (the size of a current comic). On Etsy I make many small frames starting at 3x5.

    I have about 20,000 feet of moulding in stock, most of which is in 4 8' vertical racks. I order mostly freight, but have a bunch in 5' boxes from UPS deliveries when I have less than a freight order. Given the number of small frames I make, I keep off cuts as small as 6".

    A carpet store is in the same old warehouse building as me so I have access to all their carpet tubes that they would throw away.

    Here is my off cut storage. The tubes are 30" long.


    I also use carpet tubes to store length of narrow mouldings that would be lost in the vertical racks and is better supported in tubes.


    And the storage of 'cut-in-half' mouldings.

    ScottC and cvm like this.
  11. Mer

    Mer True Grumbler

    Here are our rails and coffin.

    Attached Files:

  12. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    This is and age-old dilemma in the industry. And many others.

    The standard answer is to keep the useful-looking pieces in a corner for twenty or so years
    and then throw them out. :p Don't laugh. It happens. I've done it. I'm still doing it. :(
    The fact is you will always get more small bits than small jobs. Only today I had a purge on one
    of my drawers in a plan chest. It was full of mats that for some reason never got used. Cut to the
    wrong size or whatever. Nothing wrong with them. All perfect condition. They were mostly quite
    up-market. French lines, fillets, inlays. Which is obviously why I saved them. I don't think I had
    looked in that drawer since the mid-nineties. Anyway, I binned the lot. o_O

    I have known framers who were rabid about wastage and used every bit as they went along. No offcuts
    to be seen. Made frames of all shapes and sizes and then found something (anything) to put in them.
    You have to have an outlet for all these mutant frames though, otherwise it's far cheaper to chuck the bits. :D
    FM Framer, ARFineFraming and Twin2 like this.
  13. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I know of one nearby shop that would throw away all pieces shorter than a full stick! (He charged his customers a lot!)

    Larson Juhl's distribution centers throw away anything under 3 feet.

    We bundle short pieces with a mother stick and put them back into the rack. If there are too many short pieces for the space or we get more than 3 short pieces, they get cut into a readymade frame.

    When were were cleaning our warehouse last year, any stick that we couldn't cut into an 8x10 readymade frame was discarded . . . unless there was another stick of the same moulding right next to it, then those would be bundled together and kept to be cut into a readymade.

    tedh likes this.
  14. Rachael

    Rachael Grumbler

    Mutant frames - I like that term. Another six months or so and I think I will have filled the walls of everyone I know with mutant frames, so that avenue will probably dry up pretty soon. I like the chuck under 3' concept; that's sort of where I've been leaning. Pile them in the corner for 20 years certainly seems to be the natural way to do it. But as a gallery framer, I don't have a lot of storage space, so I have to tackle this pretty deliberately. Oh to have a huge warehouse-looking space like I see in some of your pictures!
    ARFineFraming likes this.
  15. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    How about make "tester" for every frame you join into standard ready mades.
  16. Rachael

    Rachael Grumbler

    That's my theoretical ideal plan. So just as soon as I'm caught up and get some free time (like that will ever happen, lol), I'll get going on that :)
  17. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So a "tester" is made prior or just after cutting and joining the actual frame.
  18. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    A minor success for one who retains off-cuts. Guy comes in and orders 30 8x10s, frames, mats, backs and glass. Entire order met with off-cuts. These are for hockey cards. Sounds like a new product line for me, too.
    shayla likes this.
  19. Rachael

    Rachael Grumbler

    Minor?!? That sounds like an epic win!
    shayla likes this.
  20. njw1224

    njw1224 True Grumbler

    Wow! Looking at the photos of some your moulding storage areas, I think I need to rethink my storage needs. I'm in the process of buying out a small frame shop that existed for 39 years, and the owners are retiring. They have a relatively small area they store extra moulding in. Once they close, I'm moving the shop to a building I own a block away. I was planning my moulding storage based on what they had in their shop. But gee whiz, some of you have massive storage areas. I have more space to allocate for storage, but was going to renovate it into an apartment for one of my adult children (to get them out of my house!). Sounds like maybe I need to tell them to find their own apartment and I use that space for moulding cutoffs! Tee hee hee.
  21. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Some might disagree, but if you price correctly and purchase correctly, scraps are just that -"scraps" and should be discarded or donated.
    The cost of storage, safety issues, overall tidyness of the shop should come first.
    hangupsgallery, Rachael and IFGL like this.
  22. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sometimes you get people with a big collection of family snaps. They want to get them
    framed but don't want to spend too much. It's not like artwork where the frame design
    is critical. Any nice-looking moulding will serve. A good word to use here is 'eclectic'.
    No need for big mats or the collection will take up too much wall.

    You use up all your offcuts, the customer gets a good deal. Everybody Happy. Yaay!!!
  23. Mer

    Mer True Grumbler

    I really should have mentioned this previously. All that stock was acquired when my company (which didn't originally do framing) bought out a company that was going out of business. I inherited all of it. I have never ordered rails for orders. We just tell them, this is what we have. I'm in the process of re-doing inventory so everything is up to date. The "coffin" also holds stuff that isn't popular.

    I completely agree. I wish I didn't have all those rails. However, it's sometimes nice to have a 1-2 day turn-around because I do have all of it in stock already.
  24. ali

    ali CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Orginization is easy for me, my warehouse is 12,000 sq ft. I custom built Bins out of 2x4s , i have 200 different bins that will fit about five full boxes of each unique molding in them.
    thats why i save everything because when its time for me to find it all i have to do is look in the bin
  25. GreyDrakkon

    GreyDrakkon CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I have a small storage area next to our regular storage wherin the cuts too small to fit on the regular rack (about 3') go. Anything under 6" is automatically tossed, and we routinely scrounge up matching rails and do a ready made spree. For mats, we bundle up bunches that are about the same size and sell "grab bag" mats for students. On top of that, we periodically go through a cleaning spree and bag up lots of foam and mat board scraps and donate them to local schools for art class.
  26. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Can you post pictures
  27. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I guess you don't know Ted.
  28. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ted rides again: here's "epic": just got a request for 400 framed prints. I did a high-volume job 12 years ago from the same group. This job will not see any off-cuts used, except for some glass. Time to rally the troops.

    But, back to the subject: my artist customers get a special offer: if I can get them to accept my choice in moldings, they get a deal. We have a few who like these terms, and so do I, because we both win. They use the same sizes in volume, and even will paint based on the frames they buy.
    David Waldmann and prospero like this.
  29. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I do disagree. While it's true that if you price and purchase correctly you can make a desired profit, turning waste/excess into profit is one of the easiest ways to increase your bottom line.

    However, it needs to be done strategically. You can't just say "we aren't throwing anything out", you have to find, develop or completely create markets. Not necessarily a no-brainer, but not rocket science either.

    We typically turn our waste (chips/shavings/edgings/cutoffs less than 18") into about 1% of our annual revenue. That's over 10% additional net profit by the time you factor in what it would cost us to dispose of it otherwise. Some of that has required further investment, but has paid for itself within months.

    If you aren't making money off your waste, and especially if you are struggling to make a profit, I strongly urge you to figure out how to turn your junk into another man's treasure. Believe me, it can be done, no matter your business.

    Case in point. I recently bought a new "snowblower". As part of my research I found that one way to increase the efficiency is to add UHMW plastic to the chute to reduce friction. Two different people on this forum I've been stalking mentioned two different sources for "scrap" UHMW. While there was plenty of pieces of the size that may be useful to me, one of the sites had pieces as large as 1/4" x 76" x 235ft. Not what I would call "scrap" (realistically, I don't think they were calling it Scrap either, just "extra", overstock or what have you, but relatively cheap nonetheless).
    CB Art & Framing, prospero and tedh like this.
  30. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It may not be strictly good business but I find it very satisfying to convert clutter into cash.
    Sometimes I get a little job where I have been given free reign to pick the frame. I go into
    my big storage shed (= ex chicken house) and have a good rummage around and come out
    with the makings. The shed is 30x 12ft and is pretty well full of surplus moulding, as well as
    lawnmowers and other assorted kelter. There are boxes full of small (but useful) bits to large
    quantities - I'm talking 1000s of feet of perfectly good moulding. If gold bamboo ever comes
    back into vogue I shall clean up big-time. :D As well as all that there are old frames which I
    sometimes re-purpose and re-finish. I once had as 24x20 frame that someone brought in to
    have replaced. It had been struck by the dreaded powder post beetles. A shame, because it
    was water-gilded and obviously high-end. Anyway I had previously left it in the garden in to
    keep it isolated. I forgot about it and it got overgrown with grass. It must have been there for
    two years or more until one day I found it again. All the gesso had dropped off and I noticed
    the worm holes were only in two rails. It was quite a nice profile, so I ripped the bad rails off,
    took the good bits inside and cleaned them up. Few patches off moss and lichen but otherwise
    sound. I treated the wood with fungicide and gave it a coat of shellac. Chopped the two rails
    down to make a 10x8". Applied a new finish and it looked great. One of my artist customers
    put one of her oils in it. She got a nice frame and I got £80. ;) Didn't take long to do and it
    only cost a bit of paint.

    I you want to get ahead, get a shed. :cool:
    CB Art & Framing likes this.
  31. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    If the chickens were still in there you could have some mouldings with a nice natural chicken given patina. After growing up on a farm, I know how much 'patina' chickens can leave. :p
    shayla likes this.
  32. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If there are any chickens concealed within they are very quiet.:)

    I inherited the shed from the previous owner of the property. He used it for much the same
    purpose - storing carp. :p In fact there is still some of his carp still in it which he has been
    promising to collect for the past 19 years. He is a big railway fan and I am still finding bits
    of memorabilia. I had the shed for several years before I found two signal levers.
  33. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    My "shed" is 38x68.
    Explains why I'm a pack rat.
  34. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just put it in the oven at 160-180°F (there are websites/formulas to help the progressive half of the world) for a half hour or so and all the bug(ger)s will be crispy.
  35. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You must have very large chickens Ted. :eek:
  36. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Getting back to the original foundation for the question, just be glad you're not in the forestry industry.

    I have a very good friend who is a passionate forester. I remembered that some time ago he was asking me questions about the amount of waste in our business as he was trying to evaluate carbon locking in an article he was writing. So I asked he if he had ever come to any conclusions about it. His rather long winded reply (and he also included a copy of the 3 page report he published) could be summarized as "About 15% of wood mass in the forest is converted to long term consumer goods".
    shayla likes this.
  37. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    David: the other shoe is waiting to drop: where did the other 85% go?
    Waste, packaging, firewood, other wood pulp uses such as toilet tissue, kleenex, newsprint. Does he have these numbers?
  38. alacrity8

    alacrity8 CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    We stock about 150 different mouldings.
    Scrap is saved for future projects.
    These are stored horizontally in a four 3 ft wide x 8 ft tall x 10 ft deep shelf, with 4-6 open ended 10 ft boxes per shelf.
    With the special order moulding, we save the scrap (organized by color and size) for future projects. A 30' piece can be really helpful when a frame requires 12 ft of moulding.
    When a box of stock has too much scrap, we make ready mades.
    When a box of special order starts to overflow, we make ready mades out of what we've had the longest (We should probably start putting dates on the sticks).
  39. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This is a succinct summary:
    I do have a 3 page report he wrote if you want to wade through a lot of semi-boring details... If you want it, PM me your email address.
  40. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Nope. I can see the big picture now. Thanks.
  41. ali

    ali CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I have posted pictures in the "post your work space" thread i once created.
  42. ali

    ali CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    You obviously have never had a job doing over 1k pictures in the same frame and mat, Throwing out or donating the scraps would be the dumbest thing you could possibly do. It does not matter how you do your math. The fact of the matter is certain size pictures yield massive amounts of scraps that can be used to increase your profit margin severely. I just completed a job doing 800 pictures for a wholesale client. the scraps will make me so much money retail for the next 5 years. As i stated before in this business you will profit more from your scraps than the actual job, I also just completed another job with 120 8x10's using only scrap frames, glass, matte boards.
    prospero likes this.
  43. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I realize in some cases "scraps" can be turned into finished product, and I'm not questioning your business practices, but in a 1000+ job labor can be a killer.
    A 1000 frames x 10 minutes wasted on each is 170 extra hours of labor (and overhead).
    Perhaps in some cases it might be more prudent to negotiate with suppliers on "special deal" for chop, and perhaps join.
  44. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    So you're calling someone dumb.

    Add this to your attempt to grab a Grumbler's domain name, and you're really doing well here.
    IFGL and neilframer like this.
  45. Teague Moulding

    Teague Moulding Grumbler in Training

    I agree with Ali. Selling scraps is where the money is at because these are 100% profit (Other than the labor).
    Also, cut more expensive moldings into bigger frames. Choose 12x24" instead of 12x9" .
    Artists are a good outlet for scrap frames.
  46. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Not really. If you do not declare offcuts as scrap, then you have inventory cost. Last time I looked, matboard was priced at over a dollar a square foot in Canada. Labor costs to store, pull, cut, package, and sell, are significant. Storage is significant. Year-end costing. Probably other costs as well.

    There's no way you can call selling an 8x10 100% profit.
    IFGL likes this.
  47. Teague Moulding

    Teague Moulding Grumbler in Training

    Good points Ted.
    I have made a lot of money selling scrap frames.
    It might not work for others.
    Especially for those with limited space.
  48. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think that the word 'scrap' may not be the right word. Molding or matboard becomes scrap when you toss it, but if you keep it in inventory, it has to be included as an asset.
    I use "offcut" to describe the tons of stuff I hang on to, and I do sell a lot of it eventually. I mentioned recently that a hockey guy ordered 40 or so 8x10 frame jobs for hockey cards. It took a lot of time to put that order together. Time that could have been spent earning more than I did on that job.
  49. Teague Moulding

    Teague Moulding Grumbler in Training

    Kind of another subject but in addition to getting a good cutting yield most successful retail framers
    seem to supplement framing with selling original art.
  50. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yeah but....

    A 10ft stick of moulding for valuation purposes is 'worth' what you paid for it. Chop a foot off and it is no longer in the
    form that you bought it in. Therefore it is 'scrap' and essentially worth nothing. "Ah" you say. "There are some full sticks that
    are only nine feet long". But they are in original form and therefore full price.
    What I am driving at is the fact the 10x one foot bits are not worth the same as a full ten foot bit. But how long does a short
    piece have to be before it becomes of value?

    I only count stock at full value if it is still in a original unmolested state. Anything else is no value, although I do allow an arbitary
    amount in my yearly stocktake to cover all offcuts.
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