Mat, Mount and Frame It Yourself (Crafts Highlights) Paperback – 28 May 2001
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This book is aimed at people who want to go a step beyond cutting simple mats, although enough tips are offered on that subject so that even experienced mat cutters can learn something new. The book is designed to appeal to a wide audience from beginners to those who are considering constructing their own frames from scratch. It does it by simple, direct explanation, and you probably will find it sitting on your work table, like a recipe book, while you frame pictures. There's little art here. For example, the discussion of mat color selection makes it clear that this is a matter that is very personal, and about which the author can only provide the most general guidance.
On the other hand there's plenty of craft. For example, he discusses the variety of tools available and suggests which are worth investing in for the work that one contemplates. He suggested at least one tool that I did not know existed to deal with a problem I regularly encountered.
A typical example of the more complex tasks covered is the preparation of a double mat, that is, two mats stacked together so that the overmat has a larger window than the undermat. Trying to cut the windows separately will almost always lead to an uneven looking window. Logan tells you how to manipulate the two mats together so that the mats will nest evenly. Not brain surgery, but a useful technique.
Logan also spends some time debunking myths, like the supposed danger of using non-museum quality mats. He points out that not only have ordinary matboards improved with regard to the effects of acid content, but that it also makes no economic sense to use materials that will last longer than the framed object.
The book has a few weaknesses. The author clearly doesn't believe it is worth the expense for most people to prepare frames from scratch and gives short shrift to this area. To learn how to do this, you'll need a good manual on carpentry and joinery.
But for most of the framing jobs that the average person may want to try, this book will provide you with everything you need to know. Even experienced framers will probably pick up a tip or two that will make this book worthwhile.
The book starts out helping you plan ahead by determining whether you need a mat, what size you need if you do and what frame size you should use. A list of standard frame sizes, help on reading a ruler, rules to live by and an explanation of weighted borders are also here. The border finder, which helps you determine how big your borders should be is very helpful. There is also great advice on selecting colors for both the frame and mat as well as great tips on saving time and money. I love the many examples here of what to do, and what not to do, to show off your art in the best light.
Then you learn all about materials and equipment. This includes details choosing mat board, foam board, frames and glazing (glass / acrylic) materials. There is also essential information hardware, as well as mounting and mat-cutting materials. I like the author's "bottom line" page that gives the total cost of setting up a mat cutting / framing workshop.
Next you learn how to prepare materials, including how to easily size mat board and glazing. Frame making from scratch follows. This encompasses calculating lumber needs, and using box, flat, J, covered, beaded, and beveled molding. You even learn to make a box for objects. The details of cutting mat windows follow. Single, double, multiple-opening, double multiple-opening, title indent, title window, stepped-corner, eight-sided window, oval / round and V-grove mat making are all here. Everything is explained in detail with step-by-step photos and instructions. There is advice on how to get consistently good results with many insider secrets throughout.
The last sections focus on mounting, assembling frames, glazing, handling and hanging artwork. In the mounting chapter you learn not only how to do to safe regular framing but conservation and museum safe framing. You also learn permanent and removable mounting techniques as well as how to mount pastel art (elevation mounting), needlework and three-dimensional objects. Again the instructions for everything are excellent, accompanied by demonstrating photos.
There is a great list of resources in the back that includes web site addressees. There is also a handy index. This book makes the perfect housewarming or wedding gift. It's also a great find for artists or anyone who collects art.
The book is not perfect. For example (as one reviewer mentioned) the whole topic of making your own frames is virtually ignored. The discussion of equipment related to the frames themselves (e.g., clamps, etc.)is also almost non-existent. Since I have been involved in picture framing for some time (but nothing too complex), I found the coverage of some topics rather, well, silly (e.g., how to read a ruler) and also disagreed with a few of the book's statements. This is to be expected; we all approach the topic differently, and as the author states, framing is a combination of art and science.
Nevertheless, this book is my first pick for learning the important aspects of picture framing.
Deb's point about the cost of a mat cutter is valid; much as I'd love the $300 cutter, I do fine with a Logan 4000 and the Logan ruler, plus a couple of Handi-clamps. I think David Logan is a little too quick to dismiss the low-cost alternatives.