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Newbie question

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Dan C., Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Dan C.

    Dan C. Grumbler in Training

    Good evening!

    My name is Dan and I'm a resident of Minnesota just a bit north of Minneapolis. I'm big into sports memorabilia which includes a lot of framing of pictures, jerseys, other sports gear, etc. Here is an example of a piece I got back today.


    I've always been amazed on how some of the stuff is done. It came to me today that instead of sending out to get stuff matted and framed, maybe I could do it myself.

    However after a few hours of searching....I don't think I can afford a Wizard, Gunnar, etc. or do I need a $5,000 rig for a few projects here and there.

    So my question is: What can I do to achieve something like the pic above at home without spending thousands of dollars?

    Any tips/advice on how to get started and what to look for would be greatly appreciated!

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  2. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Have a framer sell you " chops". He/she cuts the mats, chops and joins the frames, and sells you all the pieces you need to assemble the package. You do the really hard stuff: the mounting, the glue-ups, cleaning the glass, and the final assembly. In return for you doing this, you get a discount on what the framer does.

    If you can finish the job to your satisfaction, several times, then perhaps you can move on to replacing the framer.

    Now: if I were the framer, I would charge a consultation fee. It could be called a "training fee" as well. Nothing good is free.
    FM Framer and Joe B like this.
  3. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hello Dan, Thank you for having an interest in picture and memorabilia framing.

    I am sorry, but we are framers. The majority of us framers have spent many hours and dollars to learn what you are asking us to tell you for nothing. Personally, I can steer you to different companies that will gladly take you $1000.00 for a week to learn framing 101 which isn't even the a start of what is actually involved in the art of framing. I'm just a bit north of Minneapolis too - stop by and I can give you a tour and try to explain what is actually involved. I do not pull punches...this is not a easy business but it is very rewarding. PM me if you have an interest in stopping by or look me up on the web: www.jbframing.com
  4. Dan C.

    Dan C. Grumbler in Training

    I actually know EXACTLY where you're located. I grew up at the Chuck E. Chesse back when it was known as Circus Pizza wayyyyyyy back in the day.

    And I don't expect someone just to walk me through this stuff or how to do this or that. More so like you did....just set me in the right direction on how to get started. If I know where to get started, then I can figure out what I need to do from there or what equipment I could use to get started doing the mats and what not. I'm by no means expecting to get all of your years of knowledge for free or even via a message board.

    I'll shoot you over a PM tomorrow. I'm out of work for a while after elbow surgery so I have some spare time on my hands.
  5. dectrola

    dectrola CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Hi Dan,
    Seems you are a very dedicated fan, and collector. Framing sports memorabilia is one of the more challenging aspects for a framer as regards to presentation. It can range from a signed in person photograph, to larger items as jerseys, and three dimensional pieces like hockey sticks, footballs, game-worn shoes, and beyond. The thing to remember is that the more "items" you want to include, as the bigger the showcase goes, so does cost.

    In your photo, I would recommend an emphasis on the main attraction, your two signed player photographs, and framing them as stand-alone pieces. Instead of a large, bulky, custom cut logo, with the name emblazoned. You know the teams name, do you really need to spend money on including Viking logos? It's like a fan of the Rolling Stones needs a custom cut of the words "Rolling Stones" and a custom cut "Lips Logo" inserted into a group shot they want to have framed. Increasing the items and size increases the final cost.

    Focus instead on framing both photos separately, independently, so you can enjoy them in different spaces, or together, but not "locked up" in some showcase design by a framer who's trying hard to make their computerized mat cutter (CMC) relevant.

    It's admirable that you as a collector shows interest in the framing how-to enough to start a dialogue. A true collector is a concerned collector and is willing to seek out information / education about materials, best framing practices, and sorting out that will help you in the end.

    p.s: Don't do it yourself, find a right fit for your right framer, ask questions like you are doing now. They are out there...
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  6. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Dan, I will gladly give you some guidance. You got my web site so you also have my phone number. Give me a call and we will set a time to meet. I can show you how I started and show you where I am now. This will give you some ideas though there are many others that did it differently and will also be valuable to get additional information.


    PS, I forgot it was called Circus Pizza at one time:rolleyes: I've been here for the last 40 years and things have really changed.
  7. Sonny

    Sonny CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Dan I don't know how good 'your hands are' but I thought for the first 5 years I owned my shop that I could teach anyone to be a framer. I found that this was not the case. Manual dexterity is a must as is a good sense of design. If you don't poses these qualities before you start leave it to your framer. Good framing equipment is expensive and might not pay off. I do a lot of fly fishing and have tied my own flies since I was a kid. One day looking at all my fly tying stuff I realized I would have saved a fortune over the years if I bought all my flies. It might be better to leave it to your framer depending how much you frame in a year. It looks like he or she knows what they are doing. On the other hand I always found it a great sense of pride to stand back and look at a well framed piece after it was finished.
    Good Luck which ever way you go.
    Dan C. likes this.
  8. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The fancy cut-outs on that sort of mat can be done by hand using simple tools.


    In practise you would probably get though $1000s worth of spoiled matboard before you got a good one. o_O
    Even if you invested in a CMC there is a learning curve.

    If there was a cheap'n'easy way of doing such things we would all be doing it that way. :D
  9. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Prospero - don't discourage Dan ;). Its great biz for all the mat board mfgs out there, having a newbie using tons of mat boards until they get one cut correctly.
    I always remember someone from Crescent telling me back in the 1990's when they had Brian Wolfe on their stand ( booths) at worldwide frame shows, showing his skills at cutting intricate designs, how good it was for board sales. Framers watched in awe and went home and tried to do the same as Brian.
    Result - more wasted boards :eek:

    Dan take my advice ....... stick to whatever it is you are good at. Let a professional framer do what he/she is good at.
    Dan C. and prospero like this.
  10. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    As my old boss used to say, "Things always look easy when someone else is doing them. "

    artfolio, dectrola and Keith L Hewitt like this.
  11. Dan C.

    Dan C. Grumbler in Training

    If you apply that logic to the World, people wouldn't try things and we'd be short A LOT of successful people.

    "Hey Dwayne Johnson, stick to football. Let the professionals do the wrestling and acting."

    "Hey Mark Cuban, stick to bartending. Let the professionals handle the software business."

    Sorry but a professional framer at one time wasn't a professional framer. He probably had interest like I do then practiced and practiced and practiced until he became a professional framer. Isn't that how someone becomes a professional????

    I'm sure you fine folks at one point started at ground zero. I doubt any of you just overnight said "Ya know....I'm going to be a professional framer tomorrow. Let's open a shop."

    At one point I didn't know Photoshop. 4 years after learning and practicing, I now have a side-business that gives me a couple grand a year for "beer money" in supplement to my career as a heavy equipment operator.

    You can't succeed if you don't first try....
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  12. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oh dear - I consider myself well and truly reprimanded. :oops:
    Tell you what Dan - come back on here in 12 months time and post some pictures of jobs you've completed.
    I will be the first to congratulate you

    I've made a note on my 2018 Year Planner to resurrect this post on Nov 3rd 2018. :)
    Saxon likes this.
  13. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You don't need a CMC if you are going to only do basic cuts with square corners.

    Depending on your budget, I would recommend you go to the WCAF Convention in Las Vegas in January. Information is contained in Picture Framing Magazine [Google it, for more information]. The November issue, which should be coming out within the next week or two will list probably 120 plus classes on framing issues. There are some great basic classes on learning how to use a manual cutter, and you will also get a much better idea of what is involved in framing.

    I would suggest a budget of $1,000 for three days / two nights. That should just about cover expenses, including the convention show and a few classes, if you are extra careful with meals, etc. I am estimating hotel at $200 per night, airfare at $200, then $400 for meals and classes and transportation from the airport. [Personally I go for 5 nights where I come in on Saturday and leave on Thursday morning, because there are so many framer related options to investigate.]

    If you want to do fancy cuts including logo's etc., and you don't have a friendly framer that will do those tasks for you, then you should consider a CMC. Yes, you can learn how to do it manually, if you have the time for the learning curve, but that learning curve is long, and unless you plan on doing a lot, is it worth your time?
    artfolio and FM Framer like this.
  14. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I didn't have the impression you wanted to become a professional framer, just frame your own stuff. If you are serious about going into business you will find many helpful folks on here. But if you are just trying to save money by doing it yourself, not so much...
  15. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Like David, I am confused as well.

    Are you planning to become a professional framer or are you trying to save money by doing this yourself? There are differences. Of course you don't wake up one day and say 'hey, now I'm a framer'. We all started out as newbies.

    If you are serious about becoming professional, be prepared to invest in tools and materials and years of education. Object framing is not easy if you don't want to do harm to the objects and maintain their value. Glue is not an option. Neither is tape.

    If you like what your framer is doing, maybe you can do certain things yourself to save some money. You could build the frame, do the fitting and finishing yourself. Maybe even attach the objects safely after more education.

    I don't know how much you are framing every year and how much you spend on framing. If you need our advice on how to save money, we would need to have more details.
  16. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    few other observations.

    I enjoyed your reply about other becoming professional in whatever they decided to do. You are right of course.

    However, you are talking about things that have value and framing it wrong means that value is gone.

    You also mentioned you had elbow surgery. (I hope you heal well and fast). Framing might not be what you want to do, depending on the medical problem.

    Take Joe up on his offer and go see him.
  17. Keith L Hewitt

    Keith L Hewitt SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I m wondering how Dan C has progressed during the last year
    I see he has not been on hear since Nov 3rd 2017 - think that answers my question.:rolleyes:
    We have an expression for these type of people in UK - guess you have similar in USA
    Joe B and neilframer like this.
  18. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well Joe, did he ever meet you?

  19. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey Ed, no, he didn't take me up on my offer. Oh well, I wish I would have had that type of offer when I first started. Joe
    FramerCat likes this.
  20. bobtnailer

    bobtnailer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I was fortunate enough to buy out an existing frame shop from a couple who wanted to retire. They spent several weeks with me, as I had the time (bear in mind that we already had a thriving awards/engraving business, so I couldn't spend all day every day with them).

    Even now, my friend Jerry Lee helps me every time I ask. He's never taken the attitude of a "typical competitor", to simply tell me to figure it out on my own. Even today when I was in his shop, he shared a few tips / techniques that will be helpful for me. On the flip-side of that, I also send customers to him for things that are clearly out of my depth - like a 17th century rifle that needed to be mounted in a shadow box. This customer is one of my best friends, and I knew Jerry would do a much better job with it than I could have. I can't praise Jerry enough for the guidance he's offered and given!

    This scenario is pretty common in awards industry, too. Even local competitors are usually very friendly...not cut-throat. I love that attitude!
    FramerCat, alacrity8 and Joe B like this.
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