Your Choice

Imperial or metric?  Which measurement system do you use?
Did you begin your senior education prior to 1971, or following it?                  Why 1971?

Because 1971 was the year that Great Britain/UK adopted the metric system.
I am fortunate, because my educational development was, to all intents and purposes, completed before 1971.  So I have the choice whether I work using the Imperial measurement system or the metric one.  And admittedly, it is often convenient to be able to switch easily from one to the other.
I ask, because the question sometimes arises when framers (of my generation), congregate and chat.  And the question seems to arise because whilst GB/UK has embraced the metric system for in excess of 40 years, many items/articles are referenced still using the Imperial system of measurement.  In fact some articles are referenced using a mixture of the two systems. Imperial in one direction and metric in the other. Or offered as alternatives to one another.  Woodworking tools are a classic case in point. Traditionally, chisels were always designated by 1/8th of an inch increments of width to 1″ and then quarter of an inch increments above 1″.  Now, instead of having 5mm – 10mm – 15mm – 20mm – 25mm, we have instead metric equivalents of the Imperial sizes:  so 6mm – 10mm – 12.7mm – 19mm.
Purchase a panel saw, and it will be a 20″ or 22″ or 24″ blade x the number of teeth (points) per inch.
And the art world is no exception.
Many photographic printers still use the Imperial system:
You order a 6″ x 4″ or a 12″ x 8″ or a 30″ x 20″ photo.
Similarly with artwork prints on canvas (giclée)
And stretcher bars for canvases.
And a mountcutter is traditionally a 40″ or a 48″ or a 60″. (admittedly they are sometimes nowadays referred to as 1000, 1200 or 1500mm.) :-D

My Morso F (mitre guillotine) is a 50 years old model.  Still going strong and unerringly accurate.
And, of course, it is calibrated in Imperial inches; in quarter of an inch divisions.
No margin rule or accumulator on the measuring arm, just simple inclined scribed lines on the right hand extension arm, and a 45º stop block.

I do all of my framing work using Imperial measurement. Working to 1/16th of an inch.
It works very well for me.  I can convert to metric. But often, if I feel the need to do so, I have to pay particular attention to ensure that mistakes don’t occur.

For myself, I don’t mind which system I use so long as whatever I use is effective.  If I am working with someone (an artist/a contemporary/a customer) who prefers to (or is only able to) use the metric system, I am quite happy to comply with their directives: but given the choice, when framing, I always use Imperial, but when wood-turning or doing bench joinery, I will always use metric.

Funny old world, isn’t it?

I was taught, as a teenaged apprenticed bench-joiner, to learn to carry out any operation, if not perfectly, then at least to the very best of my ability, and to ensure that my ‘best’ was very good.  It was later explained to me that if I was capable of good quality work, but could also recognise all of the various levels of quality, down to ‘cheap & cheerful’, I would then be able to make my own choices about the quality of work that I produced ~ whereas the ‘cheap & cheerful’ worker had no choice – because he knew no other way to work.

I was also taught, when learning to turn wood on the lathe, that the ability to be ambidextrous was a real advantage, because by being able to use the chisel in either your left hand or your right hand meant that you could approach difficult to reach operations more easily and effectively; thus producing better work.
In other words, being able to work left or right-handed provided me with a choice of approach, which enabled me to perform better.

And, have you noticed how the choices a person makes, will tell infinitely more about that person, than their natural abilities and talents.


Hearts & Minds

An American warfare social rehabilitation programme?  No !! :roll:

If you have read ‘A Salutory Lesson’, you will know that I have committed myself to raising the standard of all of the work that I produce, not simply the framing side of things.
Whenever I commit to such a proposal, I am immediately faced with the apparent conundrum of ‘Yes. OK. But how?’  The standard of work that I presently produce is very acceptable to 99.9% of my clients, so what am I proposing to do, to raise the standard to a level which will satisfy the remaining 00.099% of (as yet) so-far-unconfronted-clients?

Inverse the Rule
Which Rule?
The rule which says:
“What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over.”

We have all heard it quoted.  Whether we have fully understood it or not.
We may have been the one who quoted it to someone else ~ to establish a point.
Now the inverse is equally true and, indeed, is equally beneficial, in terms of raising a standard.
What the heart
(thought or conscience, if you like) doesn’t concern itself with; the eye, in all probability, will neither see, nor be bothered about seeing.

As an example:
The rear of the frame is rarely seen, whilst the front and the edges are on continual display ~ to be appreciated, scrutinised &/or criticised.
The rear of the frame is seen probably only by the framer, the owner, or the hanger.
So does it matter?  “What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over.”
But if, in light of my proposal, I determine that I will ensure that the rear of the framing work, which may not be seen, is as good as the front, which will always be seen, then surely some measure of progress will have been made toward achieving my goal.
And if I ensure that the inverse of the rule will not be applied:
“What the heart doesn’t grieve over, the eye won’t see.” to the front of the work, and will neverever, be allowed to apply, then once more, beneficial progress will be made.

That tiny over-cut on a window mount.
Does it matter?  Of course it matters.
Will it be seen?  Does it matter whether it’s seen or not?  It’s not up to spec.
It is the work of only a few moments to calibrate the over and under-cut stops on a modern mat cutter to suit the thickness of mount-board being used for a particular job.

And the trouble with such small details as over-cuts, no matter how tiny, is that, like the ubiquitous flumb*4, it is very possible that the client may spot it, when my eye has completely missed it.
Egg-on-the-face time. :oops:

It doesn’t just apply to over-cuts of course.
The same principle may be applied to all manner of details on the ‘front’ of the work.
Minutely damaged or open corners
A ‘ding’ to a sight line
Imperfect V grooves
Loose pastel flakes
Imprecise pen lines
Scratches on glass
Assymmetrical double mounts etc, & so it goes on.

So in both of my workshops, fixed to a wall, is a printed notice which asks:
Is the front as near perfect as you can possibly make it ?
And is the back at least as good?

*4 ~ see Glossary of Terms; under About TAA