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Question Transporting Glass

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by nastistoic, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Good Afternoon,

    I am a bit new to this line of work so please bear with me if this is already covered - I did a search but did not come up with any immediate answers so any/all help is appreciated.

    A gentleman came in the other day and requested museum glass for a large number of pieces. Due to the size of the contract and the profits I'm on pace to generate with this customer I was able to offer more flexibility in terms of pricing, and sent him an estimate with my at-cost-plus-shipping rates for the museum glass.

    He got back with me today and asked if it was possible for me or him to obtain Masterpiece Glass from Michaels(which in these quantities is significantly cheaper than I can offer, even if I charge him to go pick it up and transport it). I have warned him about some of the concerns regarding the Masterpiece Glass but he is okay with such and wants to move forward.

    This is a multi-year contract that could really help me out - there is a Michael's between my home and studio. The prospect of picking up a lite of glass on my way into the studio seems very tenable, but short of framed pieces, I've never personally transported a large, unprotected lite like this in a vehicle. I figure there may even be some type of equipment to make this transport safer/less-risky.

    I believe Michaels is doing a 32x40 lite.

    Thanks everyone for their time!
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  2. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    What's your vehicle?
  3. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    I have access to both a truck with a bed and a passenger van which has plenty of space as the back 2 rows are not in place. My personal car is a Sentra/sedan if that would be better.
  4. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Use the van. It was built for framers. Keep the back seat up and store the glass standing on edge horizontally in the back well. I have three vans, and two of them have been carrying loose sheets for years. I have an off-site workshop, so glass travels between the two. Just carry gloves, and don't let staff carry glass. Too risky.
    neilframer and nastistoic like this.
  5. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    From what I understand Michaels (now Aaron Brothers Custom Framing) has the contract with TruVue for the Masterpiece Glass. And, from what I understand Masterpiece Glass is TruVue's Museum Glass, just seconds. So with that said, check with the Michaels near you, if it is a lot of pieces they may sell you what you need but be aware that you will more than likely have to cut around the flaws and therefore may need much more glass than you expect.
    nastistoic likes this.
  6. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Thank you this is incredibly helpful. There is this part of me that is paranoid thinking I'm under-thinking all of this and going to screw up, but there is also a part of me that worries I'm overthinking it - this glass is expensive but the thickness isn't too different from other glasses I've worked with outside of framing. It has a UV protective barrier and is designed to reduce glare - unless I'm mistaken there's nothing inherently making this glass more likely to break than the next pane of the same thickness, it's just more expensive. right?

    It seems like you're just advising that I secure it upright, leaning in the same vein as you'd otherwise see them shipped, use gloves and drive careful. Can you let me know a bit more as to how you secure it in the vehicle? When I read your post I get the impression that looks like something below...

    / = lite
    L = seat

    Front of Van>
    <Back of Van

    I usually would use bungees or something that gives some wiggle room if I was moving a mirror. Does this schema seem viable? It's a short and smooth drive I'm likely over-thinking but I'd much rather overthink now than clean up glass later! Thanks all for your input.
  7. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Thanks for bringing this up. I did speak at length about my concerns using Masterpiece. I've made it clear that if I go in this route that the final work is as-is based on the glass I buy. Obviously if there's something horrendous I'll have him advise if he wants to pick up the additional reimbursement.

    I have only worked with one sheet of Masterpiece glass before and it was an off-book project for a friend - it was given to me from him directly pre-cut so I'm guessing it was already proofed, but side-by-side I couldn't tell them apart.
  8. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

  9. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    You have it right. I keep mine in the box until I need it. No need for bungees.
  10. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It may not be more likely to break compared to other glass of the same thickness but if you breath on TruVue's Museum Glass (and more than likely Masterpiece Glass) wrong it scratches making it worthless - I would rather break it.

    And Ylva asked an important question - where is the profit?
    neilframer likes this.
  11. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Thanks so much Joe I really appreciate it, I feel very comfortable transporting the glass now but you're right - I've been focused on it chipping or breaking this entire time when it's the surface I'm trying to get home safe!

    In regards to the profit question, I think my original post was misleading. He is wanting custom framing WITH museum glass haha, not just the glass itself!
    Joe B likes this.
  12. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    With Museum glass and AR glass, I have found that it's not good to try to slide the glass out of the box by cutting open the the side of the box.
    I will slide regular glass out of the box, but it has no coating that can be scratched.

    I always open the museum glass boxes from the front and carefully take the lites out from the front of the box without sliding and I wear gloves while handling.

    That said, there still seems to be a bit of PIA involved with what the customer wants.
    I hope it's worth it for you.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    westman 2 likes this.
  13. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm sorry but I don't quite understand this thread.
    -To make a profit, you should be marking up materials and labor.
    -If a customer wants to supply his own material, you have to increase your labor rate.
    -Michaels uses a huge amount of Museum/Masterpiece glass, I highly doubt TruVue generates sufficient 'seconds' to satisfy demand.
    -Contact your supplier or TV direct and negotiate a bulk price.
  14. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    The aim of this thread is to discuss transporting glass as per the subject and original post. Ylva asked a question that deviated towards discussing profit due to some unclear language in the original post. This was seconded by Bob and then clarified in my response, but the bulk of this thread and each of the posts in it are discussing how to safely and semi-conveniently transport stray lites of glass.

    Agreed - We're all on the same page here!

    I second your input re: Michael's although cannot say for certain, do not have much experience with 'Masterpiece' personally. I too find it a bit difficult to believe there's a flux supply of 'seconds' to keep up with demand.

    I'm all for bulk deals and even managed to talk my way into some decent ones, but I'm some distance away from being able to meet the masterpiece numbers here unfortunately.
  15. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    How much glass will you need and what size?
  16. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    For this project I'm needing various sizes, smallest looks to be a loose 11x17, not seeing anything larger than 30'ish wide. 42 prints presently, a few more coming in.
  17. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    PM me your phone number, I have an idea
  18. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Would you be able to buy a full box from michaels at an even better rate and then cut to size?
    If in a box, it would be easier to transport.
    How many lites at a time would you need to transport?
  19. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If you don't have a vehicle with a dedicated rack for glass, don't transport loose sheets.
    Especially behind you in a car. OK, you might do it for years without incident, but have an accident
    and the result doesn't bear thinking about.

    Have you seen The Omen? :confused:

    As for the job itself, when customers start trying to take over the reins and interfere in your supply sources that
    raises huge red flags with me. Even if it is a potentially very lucrative job I would give it a serious re-think. o_O
    westman 2 and CB Art & Framing like this.
  20. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think transporting is the least of your problems with this job.

    Personally, all i would do if someone wanted to buy the glass and then have me go get it and use it, it would cost almost the same as if I bought the glass myself. I would probably discount it at most about 20%.

    What happens if you break one.. like you are worried about doing while transporting it... or in the shop. What happens if you get it to your shop and it is scratched? Where did it get scratched? Was it scratched before you got it?

    Ylva's post was a valid one here as well as Prospero's because I also don't think it is worth it to have a customer buy their materials and then have you assemble it for anything much less than your full price. Your markup on any materials is not only profit but to cover any damaged pieces.

    Again... red flags that you don't seem to be seeing.
    westman 2 and cjmst3k like this.
  21. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    One of the issues with Museum / masterpiece is that if you accidentally slide the glass you will get scratches. If you only go with transporting single sheets, you will slide the glass soyou will not only get more damage, but also more grime on the glass that will require more cleaning time and more damaged sheets.

    Three options I can think of:
    1. Get it in boxes from Michaels, not individual sheets.
    2. Have your customer bring it in.
    3. Get a good estimate of your needs and then talk to your supplier to see if you can get a slightly better price.

    Also have the customer understand the Master piece is not Museum. Michaels may claim it is, and if so have them put that in writing. then we can address this with Tru-Vue.
    Joe B and prospero like this.
  22. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Museum-vs-Masterpiece....M's Version
    Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Val, Apr 22, 2007.

    This is a total thread - you decide if Masterpiece is Museum by TV or not...just click on the date.
  23. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I cannot imagine this will end up being a positive experience for the frame shop.

    All I will say is there are so many reasons I would not be doing any of this.
    Joe B and neilframer like this.
  24. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    This seems to be the case re: box although the break is not very generous. I may go this option just for the box though.

    No more than 2 at a time but yes, would benefit to do more in 1 trip.
  25. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    I have looked into a dedicated rack and may go this route as well. It's not the ideal job but the numbers are there and make sense no matter how I look at it, and I'm doing my diligence to ensure I'm not at risk, which I'm much better at than framing haha.
    prospero likes this.
  26. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    I appreciate your input but I have actually considered everything you have articulated here and to great extent, we've even discussed it here in this thread. The aim was to find methods other framers have used to transport glass. I answered Ylva's post - it was due to an unclear bit of language in the OP suggesting he was simply purchasing glass with no mention of framing. In regards to Prospero's post, I do acknowledge that allowing customers to have these types of liberties is not preferred as articulated in my original post.

    If there weren't concerns, I would've have posted here asking for advice on how framers have transported glass!

    I agree! We are definitely on the same page here
  27. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    We are definitely going to use whatever leverage we can get and try to get the best deal, we even have reached out to some further distributors willing to work with us so we might not be stuck with the masterpiece.
  28. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Thanks for your input! Hopefully it works out
  29. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    This thread was what got me to consider this actually - I was under the impression Ms sold MG, had no idea it was something different but I really don't keep up with Ms! Although maybe I should...
  30. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

  31. Daniel Smith

    Daniel Smith Grumbler

    Might try making a sandwich of Owens Corning Foamular insulation. Comes in sheets of 4x8 feet. Cut a bit larger than the glass. Soft towels on the inside of the sandwich. Lightweight and tough and absorbs knocks well. Provides protection and makes for easy carrying without cutting your hands.

    May look silly but it works well. Shipping large images I have used it, layered for artwork - with a window cutout for the artwork. Then two pieces over that. Taped well it is waterproof and if it does get flooded - it floats. Being big and pink(or blue - if another brand) it offers great protection. The cutout to size works great - even for shipping firearms.

    For glass a sandwich piece can be re-used over and over again.
  32. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Thanks Daniel. I've used insulation for shipping myself, although never with glass alone. Not a bad call and I will look into this. Please clarify for me - when you say 'soft towels' what qualifies? I've got all kinds of towels that work on glass for the studio but they are tiny so I'll need to get something different. I'm wondering if I can just get a big cut of soft fabric and put an entire layer onto the glass-side of the insulation, stapled on opposite side. Replace every few trips or when fabric loses softness. Let me know your thoughts.
  33. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I would be very careful to use insulation materials to transport museum glass because of scratching
    Grey Owl likes this.
  34. Daniel Smith

    Daniel Smith Grumbler

    On soft towels I use big beach towels. Have not had problems with them using TruVue museum glass. Open the sandwich, put the towel so it lays in with both sides covered and place the sheet of glass in the middle. Close it, tape it shut top and sides and drive away in the van. Has worked well so far. One of these days I'm sure I'll have a problem but that stuff happens no matter what.

    The insulation panels are tough. Try shoving a nail through them. Hard to do. They offer good protection as well as having shock absorbing capability.
  35. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I don't know the cost difference between MG and Masterpiece, but I too think this is folly to transport it. It seems that your customer wants to save money on the glass. I think I would prefer getting the best price on MG from a distributor and make little or nothing on the glass to have it delivered pristine... that is if the job is profitable enough to warrant it.
  36. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I might be misunderstanding. And I know this is on a bit of a tangent to the original post but it might be important to the people who are trying to offer advice. I have done the research to find out if it is cheaper to buy Masterpiece glass from Michael's or Museum glass from a distributor. It is currently $259 retail for a 32x40 sheet of masterpeice glass from Michael's. For a legitimate frame shop to buy from the distributor it is considerably less (check your price lists). You could easily buy the glass packaged from the distributor for transport and charge what Michael's is charging your "customer" and make a real nice profit on the glass as well as the rest of the frame package.

    Also on a tangent that might be more informative to the other Grumblers than it is to you. Never count on an artist who promises later return on a discount today. That almost never comes to pass. Most veteran business owners know this.

    Artists are always looking for a cheaper way to get their framing done and often look for advice from frame shops on how to avoid using their services. This is clearly the intent here.

  37. nastistoic

    nastistoic Grumbler

    Thank you for your input. In my location a lite of 32x40 Masterpiece from M's is less than half of what you were quoted, and the store framing manager(?) is willing to go further if I buy more than one. I too was surprised to get this type of rate - HL in my area is closer to the # you quoted for proper MG but I believe it was slightly cheaper. I found a Ms location that has an experienced framer, he does a wrap of each lite and they transport very easily, perfect surface each time(have done 3 pickups since starting this thread). In theory a distributor should charge less but the price per square inch doesn't even compete until I buy 5x of the max size. This in theory would reduce my waste so I may go in that direction over the next few months, but with my current order quantities where they are, M's offers better numbers on 32x40s MPs, even at 10+ MGs from distributors. If you buy into the MP v MG difference, which I do out of principle as I do not otherwise offer MP, buying MG from BBs does not make sense for a number of reasons.

    Thanks for the input as to the cheap framing solutions - he is not an artist interestingly enough just a collector with a wife's ultimatum. He's definitely looking to save money but the numbers make sense for me even without any glass markup - things are going great so far, fingers crossed it continues!
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