How Do I Know How to Find a Good Framer?

Like any other business, it's always important to find a good framer who knows how to handle your artwork, properly frame it according to your desires and, most importantly, frames your artwork with the required materials and techniques to preserve it.  And, of course, at a fair price!

Over the years, I have had numerous people contact me about finding a good frame shop when they are a distance from me and concerned about shipping the item(s).  I understand their concern, even though a good portion of my business involves people shipping to me as I am fully insured when they ship on my account.Very Expensive Map Drymounted to Backing Board. Not Good!

The above rare and expensive map was permanently glued to acidic board due to the framer's carelessness.

In one very odd situation many years ago, I had a collector of early currency, National Bank Notes from late 19th century/early 20th century call me about framing his currency and what materials I would use.  I explained the usual glazing, archival grade mats and backs and how to mount the currency protecting them from any damage.  Being a long time currency dealer/collector, I had a personal concern that this paper money was properly framed.

I never heard back from him until...

About a year or two later, I get an irate call from a gentleman stating the signatures on his currency faded significantly and some of the seals and serial numbers faded into a very light blue, almost washed in appearance.  Figuring, he was a customer, I asked him for his name so I can look up his invoice and what was done.

It was at this point, where he said that we didn't frame them, but he took the information I gave him to a local framing business.

At this point, I was very upset that he accused me of an action I had no part in.  I told him the information I gave him is what we do at my framing place and conforms to the Library of Congress framing standards.  Also, I stated that he has no right blaming me for someone else's work!

Its like accusing Morton's or Ruth's Chris Steak Houses for the lack of quality of one of those buffet style steak restaurants!

Be careful about taking any important, valuable, sentimental and/or irreplaceable items to frame to a framing place unless you are 100% sure they will care for your art and collectibles with the utmost care!  You can't turn back time if errors happen.

Thomas Jefferson Document with a Mat Burn from a Generic Mat

In another case, recently, a long time collector of historical autographs took a very rare Revolutionary War dated letter signed by George Washington to a large arts and crafts business to frame.  You are probably guessing what's next.

Well sometime later (maybe year, or two, or ?), she calls me and tells me the letter has slightly toned and some of the writing and signature has faded.

I expressed my sincere condolences as George Washington's documents and letters are very desirable and valuable.

She visited my office and I took apart the frame. First, I noticed the glass was not UV filtering as it did not have the same edge tint as the conservation manufacturer's sample. Secondly, the letter was matted with a known wood pulp based mat, which should never be used.  Only 100% cotton rag should be used. 

Lastly, the framer did not use an archival backing board, but mounted the letter directly onto foamcore!  Ouch!

She asked me what I can do as she paid for UV glass and archival matting according to her invoice.

At this point, I felt badly for her. But,being this is a well known big box art and craft's national chain, to approach the manager and show him/her the evidence.  

If that doesn't work, seek legal counsel.  The loss in money due to the framer's neglect valued to tens of thousands of dollars!

Unfortunately, people have relayed similar situations over my years.  Enough to write a short novel!