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Must haves in your shop


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Customers. Customers. Customers.

None of this matters without customers.



True Grumbler
Not exactly a framing item tool but we have an old ingento guillotine cutter that I modified for making sports trading cards.

Another thing I find handy, I keep several different size pieces of plexiglass on hand. I use them to lay under matboard, foamcore and art papers etc. when cutting. This way I don't mar the surface of my table and I have a even surface to cut on.

And Scotch 568 positionable adhesive.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I wear a denim 3 pocket apron that carries everything I need. The first pocket has my tape measure in it, it has my name on it so people can't walk of with it and I can track it down easy. There is also a mini leatherman which has pliers, Phillips head screwdriver, bottle opener, file and some other odd things. The next pocket has my Dewalt snap of blade, also with my name on it. Then I have a have a small screwdriver with a magnetic tip on it. The last pocket has my pens, pencils & sharpies in it, right now my pencil is red that says Renoir on it.
The other things I can not live with out is the 2" wide clear 18" center ruler with red marks in 1/8" increments. I also love my zero end steal ruler with cork back. My swiss army knife for the tools but more for the fine tweezers that are perfect for picking out those pesky splinters. A set of 4 L squares, Master clamps, mini clamps I use for holding down rulers, glovers needles, weights &
white erasers. All that does you no good if it isn't put back in right spot!


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Am I the only one who uses a good-sized spiral notebook for jotting down stuff? With a date on a note and scribbles about anything, it's a virtual diary that goes back years. (absolutely hate losing itty-bitty pieces of paper with important info on it.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
You are not the only one I just have a different method. I have note pads all over the place! I find myself even writing on the glass paper sheets. The spiral bound is left for seminars and real note taking. I have a list of info next to the saw with dates I did everything from changing the blades, when I bought the blades, how many times they have been sharpened, when the saw was cleaned as well as maintenance. I'm more of a filer I have a file for everything individually not all together. But I agree note books and stored information the old fashion way is a good thing.


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Yeah. Actually one can be considered almost OCD sometimes. :) I do the same: stickies on the printer as to when I bought the cartridges, stickies on the supply cabinet for everything needed and when ordered, blah blah.

Now that I have a smartphone, it also is full of neat and nifty note-taking and calendar organizers. The fun never stops with new apps.


P.S. Bates, have you considered putting all those notepads in a big ziplock baggie so you don't scatter them? :D

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I have a block of solid acrylic 2-3/4 x 7-1/4 x 1" thick that I use as a backstop when firing points during fitting. It also makes a good positioning guide for mounting items in a shadow box or applying engraved nameplates to mats, etc.

Also, one of my most useful "tools" is a 2"x2" 1/2" thick block of high-density rubber that is perfect for protecting unusual-shaped mouldings from too much top-clamp pressure in the v-nailer.

:thumbsup: Rick


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Am I the only one who uses a good-sized spiral notebook for jotting down stuff? With a date on a note and scribbles about anything, it's a virtual diary that goes back years. (absolutely hate losing itty-bitty pieces of paper with important info on it.
Oh yea.... Forgot about my "bible". I use the medium spiral and stickies which mostly end up getting taped into the spiral when I'm through with them because I'm afraid I'll eventually need the notes on them. And I have on many occasions - it's been a life savor!


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
My workshop has

0.3 mm mechanical pencils... everywhere

Bone folder

Ruling Pen

weights and wee bits of silicon paper all neat in piles... yes ocd style



CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Must haves for me is my tape measure, razor blades, squares and the most important is the tunes. Gotta have my music to work to, Badfinger and Rory Gallagher right now.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
.3mm mechanical pencils are quite common but mostly in a full sleeve model which is intended for use with drawing aids like rulers, templates and triangles.

Sliding sleeve mechanical pencils allow you to write for a longer period of time without having to click the lead down as often but are not very good for use with drawing aids.

Steve Collins

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Customers, prayer, The Grumble, masking tape (but never near a frame job!), linen hinging tape, frame sealing tape, XActo knife, Dremel (with that weird drill bit that looks like the Daily Planet building), prayer, Vivian Kistler books, white gloves, mechanical pencils (.5 or .7 mm is fine), coffee, being across the street from Ristorante Via Alto 27, being next door to a hardware store, my health, and most of all, my awesome wife, Sherry! Of course I need all that other stuff, too, but that defeats the point of the question.


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Mechanical pencils because they always have a point, a calculator (I have many of them), wooden skewers to get putty out of those ornate frames (they work great!), microfiber cloths but I will be checking out wonder cloths because they won't stick to me. Yuk.

Ray Bragg

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Whats a Band-Aid, we just use a piece of masking tape of the appropriate length. We call this framers band-aids.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I forgot to mention the one tool I would be absolutely lost without: the skinny double ended stainless steel spatula (like the ones that come with Restore foamboard) - I have these all over my shop and my house - use them for mixing, glopping, plopping and prying.

Bought a dozen a long time ago through American Science and Surplus - they were selling them in lots of six "because you will always be able to find one."

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I have one of those too. Got it at Hollaenders. Very handy tool. Not to mention a double-ended dental pick, and an excellent quality palette knife .
:popc: Rick

The blade gets thicker toward the handle. Perfect tool for grooming slots in matboard for pass-thru hinges.

Frame Maker SA

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
me too!

What is your most pop station during store hours?

Well, I dont use it for store music, regular radio for that. The XM is just for me. And my favorite ones are the "XL" stations so I am very careful that they are at a low volume. :eek:


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Spot Lifter to remove fingerprints... i seldom use it, but i can kiss the spray can when i need it.


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Just out of curosity, what are must haves in your shop. What is that small tool or item that you cant work without. :eek:

Patience...... for the misers who bring in their cheap poster frame and want me to cut it down to fit a smaller piece of art. :icon45:


PFG, Picture Framing God
I almost forgot this one


Bill Henry-

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
When a dusting brush just isn’t enough

… the dry ones. Great for getting grit and dirt off of old cruddy paper that has been stored in an attic under a spiders nest for twenty years. The ones shaped like a mitten are too small for me.


a cheap magnetic stud finder. Perfect for old carpy mouldings that you have to unfit, re-miter and rejoin. If there is a hidden brad in the moulding, the stud finder will “snap to attention” when you pass it in the vicinity of the nail. About a dollar might save you the expense of a new set of Morsø blades.

And, of course,



CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

I agree with and have just about everything in my shop, no booze yet. One thing I love, but need to replace, is a .125" gridded clear plastic right triangle. The right angle sides (11" & 7") have a metal strip, great for cutting.

Just searched breafly on-line but no luck.... Aritec - Edge 12T-60...MADE IN JAPAN BY CONCISE PAT. P.
If anyone has a source please let me know.


Randall C Colvin

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Boom box and a wide variety of CD's for whatever mood I'm in or whatever job I'm doing. For instance; mellow jazz for those tedious, potentially hair-pulling jobs, rowdy blues for filling nail holes (yes, I still use a vice and brads).

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Popsicle sticks! A huge box of them costs very little and I'm amazed how often I grab one to use:

Mixing (then toss - no clean up)
I cut the end at an angle with my wire cutters when I want to dig into frame corner

....all kinds of things!


PFG, Picture Framing God
I grab a few wooden coffee stirrers whenever I go to Einstein Bagels. I use them like you use the popsicle sticks. They also work well to cushion the vise jaws against the mouldings.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
The most useful things in my shop are the tables. If we run out of anything, we can always find at least one more under the tables.

Just from where I'm sitting I can see 2 tape measures, a scewdriver, a utility knife, a small coil of wire, a WallBuddie, and a rich assortment of screws...under the tables. It gives me a sense of security.

So here I am on Sunday night. I need to get a life. Maybe there's one under the tables. Back to work.

Philliam Phulgor

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Looking thru the G, found this ol' 6.75 year old post and perused it from A to X & Y. All smart "Must Haves" & I probably have variations of a theme on most but I realized a few tools might be missing from under that table and from your pegboards.
This "sharing" is giving up some of my most precious secrets that have been handed down from me to me over and over again since beginning this journey in the early 1970's. Hopefully this will finally get you all to Z.
(#1) A tool that I have used almost every framing day since the 80's and is perhaps my favorite is a Chartpak Adjustable Burnisher #338. The plastic "Bone" end is so far superior to rock hard bone folders IMHO, not that I don't have a few of the bf's around. Useful and better for seating P-90, rice paper hinges, linen tape, etc., (especially when you lay your saved ATG or store label carrier sheets over the hinges first). Spacers??? Burnish them down with this to avoid getting fingerprints on your CC or Museum glass. Do you use ATG to put on your dust cover? Burnish it down tighter than it's ever been.
The one on the left is new; on the right is one 30 plus years old, taped at the other end where I cracked the ball-end, plastic housing. The ball-end I sometimes use to very quickly deboss a line on a mat as a subtle mat design enhancement when the finished mat just needs a little 'something' extra instead of a v-groove or a French line.

Here's where I ordered my newest pair: http://www.artstuff.net/Chartpak-Adjustable-Burnishers.html

Bonus points if you know what Letraset is which was the original intentioned use for this tool

The Thumbnail below is what I think of bone folders 99% of the time.


Philliam Phulgor

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
(#2 Tool) Not used as much as I used to but it has been my fun tool. Betcha no one has one of these. I even named it.
IMG_20171121_204054.jpg IMG_20171121_204133.jpg IMG_20171121_204127.jpg
What does it do?
First, the bottom has female, or for those who need political correctness, loop Velcro because it's soft and I can stick it on my male.......oops, hook tool wall. Its just on a piece of scrap 2 x 4.
Top has a closet, clothes hanger dowel, sanded smooth and glued and screwed to the 2 x 4. Screweye for adornment or hanging, and some magnets for razor blades.
Ahhh, the sides have 1/4" cork glued to 1/4" foamcare, glued to the 2 x 4.
When I have to shoot points, hard or flex into a dainty or mini or old, old, old frame (dusty, possible flaky paint not sealed off very well), the Vibradampenator is pressed on the outside of the frame and dampens the vibration, thereby no particles loosen (in theory) and get under the glass. Proven to be 64.7% effective. It's quite the shock absorber.
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Philliam Phulgor

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Essential Tool (#3): Didn't see this one on anybody's list.
IMG_20171121_204359.jpg Much better than wire cutters, more powerful and easier on the hands to snip D-Rings for narrower frames so the hanger is unseen when the frame is hung on the wall. Wouldn't be caught without a pair. Bought these from a Home Depot or a Lowe's Hardware store.
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