What makes a "custom" frame a custom frame?

Custom framing is when a frame, matting, and glass are cut and assembled specifically for an artwork or applicable item. Custom framing is often a misused term, especially the "custom" part.  A purchased ready-made frame with its own glass and pre-cut mat are technically not custom framing even if someone else installs it for you (they could call that custom fitting, maybe).  Going with Lee's custom framing has many advantages. To start with, we have at least 3000 frame moulding samples either in our store or catalog accessible.  This variety means we can possibly match your existing frame if need be or provide a totally unique frame that you couldn't get from anywhere else. The custom principle also lends itself to our matting. Not only do you have the freedom of all the mat colors, but the freedom of matting proportions in relation to your needs. This then leads to our various types of glass that are cut at our shop to whatever size is required to complete your "custom" framing project.

What pieces make up a frame?

Basic components small version

What is the difference between matting, mounting , and fitting ?

Matting is an interior border made of paper or fabric  that surrounds the art. The matting has multiple purposes. Matting is a decorative enhancement to the art and provides an appropriate interval between the art and frame.  Mats also provide a needed space between the art and glass, which is important because of the potential risk of the art sticking to the glass over time.

Mounting can be defined as one of two things.  First is the practice of permanently adhereing  of one's paper art to a rigid backboard. This process normally involves a heat press or vacuum press and glue to seal the art to the board. Sometimes, spray glue from an aerosol can is used to do mounting, but this is usually frowned upon. The success rate with spray glue is predominately good when conditions are right, but some times bubbles can form in the mounted item if the spray is not applied accurately.

The second definition of mounting is specifically called a museum mount. This form is a non-permanent removable process. The notion behind this is to attach (not adhere) paper artwork to an acid free backing board and leave no alterations to the art (such as adhesive residue). Should the item need to be removed for inspection, the art will in the exact state it was in before framing.  Museum mounts are encouraged for items that are likely to up in monetary value or collector's items.

Fitting may be better called installation. Fitting is the labor of putting the art into the frame. This can be a canvas or a "sandwich" consisting of glass, mat, art, and backing or whatever you have to go into a frame. If something is going into a frame, it is being "fitted" into the frame.

If I all ready have some component of the framing, such as the mat or the glass or even an existing frame, can I still bring it to your shop for completion?

Whatever you have that is in good condition for framing, by all means, bring it in. Part of our normal services consist of glass replacement but this principle could also apply to mat replacement or adding a mat to an existing one. If you want to use your existing frame, that is okay just as long as it is structurally sound ( using thin mouldings and large glassed items normally doesn't work). Another option to consider is that if you want buy all or some the material parts and put it together yourself ( thus saving on the fitting labor charges ), that would be fine, too.

Why is choosing the right glass important?

Lee's Framing and Gallery offers a variety glazing options for your framing needs. In the framing industry, glazing refers to the application of glass into a frame. The main purpose of glass is protection from the elements while maintaining visual access to the object going into the frame.

Our glass is divided into two qualities, standard and conservation. Standard glass is minimal basic protection for a framed project. This type of glass has no specific ultraviolet ( UV ) protection. When a framed artwork  is exposed to sunlight or fluorescent lighting, there is the risk that the picture will fade and lose its color clarity over time. The standard glass available is divided into two visual subsets which are clear glass and non-glare glass ( NOTE: If you want to be more specific, the powers that be reffer to non-glare glass now as reflection control glass. Technically, if you shine light on a peice of "non-glare glass" , you will get a glare. However, you will not get a mirror-like reflection that a peice of clear glass will produce. Hence the name Reflection Control.)

The second quality of glass is the conservation types of glass. The manufactures of these glasses claim that their glass offers 99% UV protection. Just like the standard glasses mentioned above, conservation glass is available in the two visual subsets of conservation clear and conservation reflection control (AKA Non-glare glass). As a rule of thumb for me, I generally recommend at least conservation clear glass for anything that is going to get framed. It is true that the initial price of conservation quality is more than standard glass but the effects will be more apparent down the road. If it is your intention to have your framed art up for a long time, consider the preservation issue. Years from now, you may have a real nice frame and good matting, but a picture that now has washed out hues and somehow lacks the vibrancy it once had all because the glass quality was comprimised.

To review, I have now mentioned so far four types of glass : Standard Clear, Standard Reflection Control, Conservation Clear, and Conservation Reflection Control. Now comes the "Big Guns" of the glass realm, Museum Glass. Museum glass automatically offers 99% UV ( I dont have Museum Glass without UV protection ). The "wow" factor of Museum Glass is its clarity. When Museum Glass is used in framing , it is difficult tell if there is glass present or not. I have a glass sample display in my shop showing the three UV quality glasses together and the Museum Glass portion always has fingerprints on it because people tap on it thinking that there is nothing there. The price is higher than the others, but the trade off is higher clarity and more versatility to the actual location of where you plan to hang your framed work because of lighting considerations.

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