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Matting and framing is relatively simple, and doing it yourself costs less and is more rewarding than using a framing service. In this course, photographer and professional framer Konrad Eek describes the tools, techniques, and creative decisions involved in matting, framing, and hanging photographs.
The course begins with an overview of framing concepts, terms, and tools and then shows how to choose and work with the various components of a framed print: matboard, frame, glazing, wire hangers, and more. The course also examines the issues and creative options behind hanging an exhibit, whether in a gallery or in a home.
We're here at Wyman frame & supply in Moore Oklahoma, a division of the Dale Rogers Training Center in Oklahoma City. The reason we're here is I wanted to show you a typical retail showroom for a framing operation, as well as the nuts and bolts of the production of framing supplies for consumer use. My other hope is that while we're here you can become more conversant with the tools and the terminology involved in matting and framing. So without further ado, let's go take a look at the showroom.
As you can see here, we have samples of matboard, this is a very typical matter board display corners on racks showing the vast variety of colors and textures that are available. On the wall here, you have a broad selection of wood frames. This reflects what they keep in inventory here. As you come back here, you can see all your choices in polystyrene frames and on this wall you can see your choices in metal frames. We're going to spend some more time here in the showroom, but before we do that I'd like to take you into the back of the house and show you the shop where things are cut and assembled.
The first thing I'd like to show you, back in the production area of Wyman, is this tool right here. This is a cutter that they use for cutting cardboard, acrylic, and glass. Wall mounted, very heavy steel rails that support the cutting device. This rotates three different blades into proper position for cutting. Each type of material has a blade that's specific to properly cut it, be it glass, acrylic, or cardboard.
You can see here, and here, there are rulers that you can use to precisely position whatever material you put in, you open up this little bar here, slide your material in, align it in the proper position, lock it in place, then bring your cutter up with the appropriate blade in position, and press this lever to engage that blade, and draw it through the material. Makes very accurate cuts in a very easy position to use.
Another cutting tool they use here is this saw that's used to cut the either wood or styrene frame parts down to size, you can see a saw blade there, the entire top of the table pivots when you use this lever, and you position your wood frame part with the outside towards the back here, align it according to the guide, and slowly drive it across the blade. This can handle very large moldings and makes very accurate, very clean mitered cuts.
One of the things that happens in framing is every cut is an inside cut, when you make the miters, if you look at this piece of framing, this is the outside of the frame, this is the inside where your work would go, all of the corners have this inside cut. So with that particular cutter every cut you make you have to go back and make a second cut on the molding separately. This saw makes both cuts at once, you can see here you have got two motors, two blade housings, and so once you get started on this, it always makes the second cut at the same time it's cutting your piece the length. This makes for much faster production.
Once again, it's driven by a foot pedal. It's got nice pneumatic tools, the whole thing is in place. Very much geared for high production, but it's also as you can imagine quite expensive. This saw is over $10,000, something you might think about when you think about the cost of framing. Once the wood pieces are cut to size, the next thing they do is assemble them and for that they use this tool here, this is called either a V Nailer or an Underpinner and what it does is through this little hole here, it drives a V-shaped fastener into the underside of the molding.
This part and this part are used to position the legs of your frame accurately, and then this part will come down on top of the frame to apply pressure to keep it from shifting up as the V nail is driven into the bottom of it, it's all operated pneumatically by a foot pedal within this little housing right here, you put multiple nails in the back of each frame depending on its thickness typically about a half-inch to three quarters of an inch apart. Another thing to keep in mind when you think of framing is for every sample they have out front they also have lengths of the appropriate molding in stock in the back, and you can see here there's a tremendous amount of different moldings just in this area. Keeping that inventory in stock is yet another part of why framing can become expensive.
I want to take you back and show you some other moldings. This is the section of the shop where they keep their inventory of the polystyrene moldings, you can see here this is the uncut end of a brand-new length, this you can see has been already had a section cut-out of it and they have left it ready to use with that inside miter already cut. Once again, I just want you to get a sense of the scale of this and the space that's involved in keeping all this material in inventory, and if you think this takes up some space wait till to see the matboard.
We are here in yet another part of the back of the facility here at Wyman, and if you look here, this is some of the glass that they have in inventory. These boxes are all metal framing components. If you look over here to my right, you'll see more molding and boxes, yet more inventory of framing parts. And behind me here, you'll start to get a sense of the amount of mat board that they keep in stock. As you come over here and look down this wall it's like, oh my lord, I could mat the world here. It's really kind of dizzying when you think they have over 500 colors and textures of mat board available, many more available by special orders, so there is a dizzying array of choices you can make in matting.
So now that you have been back here and kind of seen what the nuts and bolts are of creating the different components of a frame the glazing, the frame, and the mat, what I want to do is go back up to the showroom and show you how those become assembled into a coherent whole and also talk to you about sort of the vocabulary of all the different component parts that play a role in assembling a frame for your photograph.
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