How long have you been a framer?

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topcat
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How long have you been a framer?

Post by topcat » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 6:48 am

Just being nosy really, wondering how long people have been working as a picture-framer? Did you start early or come to it later in life? How did you come across the job?

I started as a saturday job in June 2003 when i was 15, went full-time not long after that and worked for the same company until february 2014. I have now started up on my own and am hoping to be doing this for a long time to come.

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Dave » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 8:10 am

Started entirely by accident about 8 years ago. Bought a retiring framers "junk", oh how we learn, but it did mean I learnt to do everything the traditional way. I joined frames using a saw, huge clamp, pin drill and nails. Cut mounts with a pencil square and a blade. Cut glass using a square etc.

Bought a touring caravan to start in, again silly mistake, van 2.5 mtrs long, moulding..... Windows open in mid winter BBBBBRRRRRR. Moved into summer house, things started to take off.

Wife and I bought a shop, started off with a gallery, framing and a small selection of art materials. Dropped the gallery to concentrate on the other two more reliable elements.

Now we use a cmc, pneumatic underpinner and a wall mounted cutter.

We only open 40 hours a week, have a couple of part time staff, spend next to nothing on advertising and have as much work as we want. Have to add that I do have another business as well. Never looked back, I enjoy the artistic characters that mostly make up my customer base more than anything, and love working for myself.

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by easypopsgcf » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 8:40 am

I started in a local framing wholesales in approx 1991 , lifting and carrying etc, learned framing off a succession of different framers over the next 5 years, then the framers job in the retail side became available and I managed to blag my way into that.........worked there as the full time framer for the next 11 years, then was made redundant, no big sob story though as I was offered 4 framing jobs while working my notice. I bought the full workshop and put it into storage, took the job with the best people(known them forever) and have been full time with them for the last 7+ years. Also now have a full, well equipped garage.......but I'm not a garage framer, I'm a framer with a garage :lol:

So in total I've been framing full time for the last 18+ years and a few years before doing wee bits n bobs, still enjoying it too 8)

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Graysalchemy » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 11:17 am

I probably started around 1996 so 18yrs.

I still want to know what industry framers retire into as I sure as hell don't want to be a framer when I am retirement age. :giggle:

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by A3DFramer » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 1:20 pm

Depends what you term being a framer. Never intended to be a Picture Framer, I started framing 3D artwork in the mid 1970's, at that time I was putting non-durable art into glass cases and knew nothing about picture framing or the supply industry connected to it, by association with the antique trade and a friend who framed as a hobby I started to realise that I was more a 3D framer than a fabricator of display cases. By the early 1980's I was was being drawn away from the Antique trade into the increasing need to supply decor for a growing Pub Decor market, we entered into framing pictures to help out a few customers but the need for my core products soon put an end to this. Though I have continued to frame a few pictures.

I have taught a few framers to make cases, the only reason I hang around now is to see is there is any interesting work been done in 3D framing, but the picture framer usually frames artifacts in glass fronted boxes but occasionally a bit of exciting artwork pops up.

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by prospero » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 1:28 pm

Join the Army AG. :lol:


I started about '83 purely to frame my own paintings. I got an underpinner - Euro 8000 - which I am still using. Knocked up a stand with cunning support arms. Got a Magnolia mountcutter which was a bit heavy but did the job. Nobex saw which was sort-of OK on small mouldings. Point gun.
That was about all my kit barring small hand tools which I already had. No room for Morso in my bedroom. :?

After a couple of years I dropped on a nice workshop and partitioned it to make a small 'retail' area. All this was upstairs with no street level windows, but people seemed to find me OK. Got a Morso and upgraded the mountcutter to a C&H which has done great service since.
I figured that having bought all this equipment I would do the full framing service as a second string to painting sales.

About five years later the shop underneath became vacant and belonged to the same landlady (bless her) and she not only let me have this shop but let me knock a door though at the bottom of the stairway to make it one big unit. Having a street window was a great asset even though the shop part was only about 10x16'. Made more room in the upstairs workshop. And the stairway made a good place for storing 10ft sticks of moulding vertically. Did have the occasional avalanche......

About '93 a property just along the road became available and I took the plunge and bought it. Much more room and a backyard.

That's about it to date. :D
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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Timh » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 4:46 pm

I have been a framer for 28 years

I came to this firm as an artist looking for frames and ended up working here instead
took over the firm in 1997

wonder how frames I have made since?
another thread maybe!

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Dave » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 5:13 pm

Retirement - I plan to immerse myself into the travel industry. Longhaul first, as I get older, Europe and then eventually Britain and surrounding Islands.

Dave

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Kwik Picture Framing » Sat 29 Mar, 2014 8:57 pm

I joined the family business when I was 18, been picture framing ever since 2000

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Rhysc03 » Sun 15 May, 2022 12:03 am

topcat wrote:
Wed 26 Mar, 2014 6:48 am
Just being nosy really, wondering how long people have been working as a picture-framer? Did you start early or come to it later in life? How did you come across the job?

I started as a saturday job in June 2003 when i was 15, went full-time not long after that and worked for the same company until february 2014. I have now started up on my own and am hoping to be doing this for a long time to come.
So I work with someone that’s 70 this year, he’s done framing since he was arround 21, and he still does it now, from working for someone to owning his own business, where there’s items to me framed, there will always be a job for a framer

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Steve N » Sun 15 May, 2022 7:34 am

1989, used to paint miniatures, I done some of Bath. Was given some moulding, I made some frame for my pictures, along with some hand cut mounts with washlines, Itook them around local gift shops to try and sell, most of the comments were "where did you get them framed?)........
Within a couple of months a chain of framing shoos, were opening a new one in Bristol where I lived at the time, went for a job , got it, and started learning from then on.
After winning a framing competition, I went on to work for a well known framer Bath, then back to Bristol a few years later, where I ended up as a director of the business, left there in 2008 to open my own business in Bath, where I continued until late 2020, when my lease ran out, rather than sign a new one, I chose to go into semi-retire and move in with another framer here in Bristol. I still do work for a lot of my regular customers from Bath, I now can choose who I work for and when :giggle: :clap: :clap: :ninja: :ninja:
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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Fruitini » Mon 16 May, 2022 5:29 am

Very interesting thread to unearth!

I framed my first picture when I was about 10! My dad restored and sold antiques from a shop front to our town centre home and added a picture framing sideline to the business when I was still at primary school. As a kid I initially helped out with simple tasks but was eventually allowed to use all the kit and became a picture framer when I left school. After 4 years at university and some growing up time away from home I returned in partnership with Dad before taking the reigns when he retired. I’m now 44 and have been framing full time for over 20 years. My dad was a self-taught framer and passed on the basics of framing and hand-finishing but this forum has been very influential and certainly filled in the gaps in my knowledge.

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Justintime » Mon 16 May, 2022 9:15 am

I've been framing since 2016. I'd been a professional gardener for many years and was sick of the repetitive injuries, rain, mud and cold.
My local framer was retiring and my wife is an artist (so was fully supportive with the career move).
I studied art and design and then advertising and editorial photography at college in the early 90's and we had done some basic mounting and framing for our exhibitions, so it wasn't completely unfamiliar territory.
I got into this hoping that there would always be something new to learn and I haven't been disappointed yet.

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 16 May, 2022 11:53 am

Originally, I had a secondhard books and antique prints shop and did quite a lot of mounting and presenting anitique prints, memorabilia, vintage adverts, maps, etc. The business was started by someone else, but the business was offered to me and I bought it and took it over running it. Quite frankly, I did not intially know what I was doing and then began a long learning curve, during which I made a lot of mistakes, which was quite literally a large part of how I learnt what worked and what did not. The previous owner used to use a Logan hand held mountcttter, I never even tried to use this at all, but instead bought a secondhand C & H mountcutter. The shops original stock of mounted items was looking a bit tired and I was not impressed by the not very appropriated range of left over mountboard scraps bought from a local framers unwanted scraps. All these items were mounted in not very well in pretty horrible looking single mounts. These items were then remounted and very often in double mounts and I started increasing the marked prices and eventually by quite a lot.

Sales of these mounted items were increasing surprisingly well and I was having problems obtaining enough stock to replace items as they sold. I needed to do something, so I started pushing my prices up to stop my existing stock from selling out to quickly. Well, this did not work and I was selling my stock even faster, in spite of the higher prices. (Don't ask me how putting up your prices results in increased sales - I can't figure it out either). Eventually, I found ways of obtaining more stock of these items for me to mount. Eventually the local authority, started reducing the availability of on street car parking spaces and this began to have a very bad effect upon the viability of my businesses, my wife and I eventually decided to close the business and take anything we thought was saleable to our home and do a bit of wheeling and dealing. This went on for several years and we sort of got by, but much of the time it was not great. Having at one time been a professional bookbinder and paper conservitor, I made a bit of money restoring various items for local auction house into much more desireable and therefore much more salable condition.

I had also at one time udertaken restoration of antiques, but not for a long times. My wife had never known me during that time and was not keen on me to attempt this and against a lot of resistance I started restoring some damaged items wihich I was able to pick up cheap in the local auctions. I was also restoring and mounting artworks and prints to resell again through the local auctions at a profit. During this time I went to my local framing supplier to buy a 40 sheet pack of cheap mountboard and while paying them for the mountboard. They offered me two free tickets to the spring fair at the NEC. So I thought that I would go to see what this was all about. This was where I walked around a corner and there was Pete Bingham, doing his handfinishing demostrations and I was hooked. A little while after this I was offered a short engineering contract, which after a while turned into a permanent position and then the company was adversely affected by the Y2K thing and a company which they got most of their work from going bust and I was suddenly out of work. As there was a bit of a recessional going on at this time I had no alternative, but to register at the job center.

They registered my as what they called a business case, I was allowed to work towards starting my own business and they put me on the list to receive related training, I asked to be trained as a picture framer, which they then turned down. After a while I was contacked again and was assigned to a six months, unpaid training placement at the franing workshop of a major south Devon gallery. The people who arranged to training were convinced that this would leed to an offer of employment at the end of the training, but this never happened. After a while the job centre gave me back some of the money they had be deducting from me while I was trading as a business case with them and I when back to wheeling and dealing, mostly through local auctions and repairing books and mounting antique prints for and bookshop in Southsea. We slowly settiled into this as what we expected to be the ongoing routine. My wife and I went out for an evening walk around a nearby town and saw a notice in a large well known framers stating that they were closing down and every thing must go.

I went back to this shop during normal business hours and bought a few things, over quite a long time I keep on buying virtually everything in their framing workshop and I became a fully equiped framer with everything except somewhere to trade from and not enough available finances to being able to rent a shop. So, life went on much as before quite a long time. Eventually I saw a sign in the window of an empty shop in nearby Bovey Tracey and this was where I started my first shop. It was not much of a success, for quite a long time and we just struggled to pay the bills and feed ourselves for ages. In January 2005, I had a heart attack and was taken away in an amubulance, when I eventually came home from hospital I was much to ill to work and my wfe wanted us to have a holiday. We did not have and money for a holiday, but I was still within the time limit to take up an offer fron the job centre under a scheme I was on for them to pay for extra relevent training and I took this up. As I result I spend five days training with Pete Bingham in Sheffield and after returning from this, I switched over to mainly handfinished framing.

I was soon getting too much demand for me not cope with in my weaken state following my heart attack, so I decided to increase my prices by 20 percent, will the idea that this would result in less orders. Well that's not what happened, but I got even more demand than before and I therefore decided that I had not put my prices up enough and increased them again, by another 20 percent and yet again the demand increased yet again. After this I did not see any point in increasing my prices again. (I never understood why increasing prices twice, results in more business and to this day I still can't make any sense of this). I produce mainly handfinished and stacked moulding frames and this is what I have become known for. In 2011, I had a smaller stroke and in 2019, I had a larger stroke. This larger stroke has left me, with some fairly severe disabilities, which have considerably affected how I am able to work. I now have a very different way of working and my working methods now dictate which tasks I am still willing to do and which I am not willing to do.

I suppose that I could almost say that I have been doing framing related stuff since 1996, but the proper professional stuff started in mid 1999, so I guess that makes it 23 years as a proper professional framer.
Mark Lacey

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Ultima Thule » Fri 27 May, 2022 10:05 pm

Started in 1970 in the family woodyard, but it was basic joiners framing back then , with what in hindsight was a real paucity of choice of mouldings and mount board - I sometimes wonder how many frames I've made using 1/2" hogarth and 1/2" spoon - Still framing on fifty two years later quite happily, with no intention of giving up anytime soon.

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by fitz » Fri 27 May, 2022 10:40 pm

I was a Police Officer for 30 years and when I retired in 2005 I needed to mentally adjust so I took up watercolour painting. I soon became interested in framing and went on a weekend course in Telford. I learned enough to get me hooked and spent about £1000 on equipment none of which I use now. Then it was a case of quit or commit so I committed and spent around £8000 on machinery and equipment. I am now pretty much full time framing and have met some fantastic people who keep coming back to me time and again for framing work. I’m not an expert but I do a good job and care about the end product. I met a very experienced framer and paid for regular training from him and learned so much that gave me the confidence to advertise my business and I now have over 100 regular customers, many artists included. I have learned a lot from this forum which is great and I really appreciate that. 😊

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 28 May, 2022 9:22 am

I guess that not many of us chose framing as a first career. I certainly never did, in fact when my original career fell through, I became a little bit of a jack of all trades and managed to survive as a bit of a wheeler and dealer, buying, restoring and reselling items from auctions. It wasn't an easy time for me, not everythng worth buying from the auction had the right potential and was small enough to take away in my car. It was a time when I learnt the importance of buying things which were a convenient size for normal people to easily take away. I sometimes bought some items, which I broke apart at the roadside to get them into the back of my car. Such items became mostly used as repair materials for repairing other items. When you first start doing stuff like this, you are not very good at it. After a while, you get to know others who are doing the same thing and they give you advice, so you start to learn what you are doing.

Eventually you keep a little book with phone numbers for various other people who are doing the same and what items they like to deal in and keep them informed when you see something in an auction which might be their thing and they do the same for you. There's quite a lot of this going on behind the scenes and there are some specialist antique fairs at various venues here in Devon and the London, home counties and midlands dealers make stops on the way down in motorway service car parks, cafe car parks and there's private traders with nice items to sell waiting in their cars and vans. The prices in the Devon auction are much cheaper than London prices and there a profit to be made selling the right items on the upmarket delears looking for stock. I expect that it still going on today! I was never one of the best at wheeling and dealing and was not great at negociating prices. Eventually I got into framing and opened at framing shop. Becoming a framer was something which almost happened by accident for me.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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Re: How long have you been a framer?

Post by IFGL » Tue 31 May, 2022 5:49 am

Almost 3 times as long as this thread has been going, although I only frame the odd piece theses days, to keep my eye in so to speak.

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