What is the minimal set of tools for making simple picture frames. What
I'm looking for here is the essential set rather than tools that would
make it more convenient and easier. (This is because I have the notion
of making my own frames, but I'm only 30% sure I will perservere.)
Thinking simply, my list is: something to cut with, something to join
with, something to finish with. I own a table saw so I can cut. I have
a nailer/stapler, but I suppose I would need something to hold the
pieces together while they are being nailed. I'm ok with finishing. So
unless I'm missing something my primary question has to do with
joining. Also, is nails the way to go or is there a better way to hold
the pieces together?
You need a stop on your miter gauge so that parallel sides of the frame are
"exactly" the same length. Cutting 45's for a 4 sides frame does not insure
that the corners will close.
I suggest clamping and glue and on larger frames the occasional brad in the
corners to reinforce the joint.
Band clamps with the woven nylon strapping works well for aligning all the
corners of an object that closes up like a picture frame. You can shoot a
brad right through the nylon webbing.
On 28 Jul 2006 02:10:00 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Nails are okay, but really not that tough- the mitered corners are
end-grain to end-grain joints, and are pretty easy to break with a
good rap on something. If you want something really tough, you can
use a spline with a matching or contrasting wood on the corners.
Since you mention the table saw, it's pretty easy to do this- I just
make a block out of 2x4 scrap with a square corner that is 45* to the
edge cut out of it, glue a bit of hardboard to the side of the block,
and clamp the pieces to it where they need to be (it helps to glue the
frame together first, and then use this method as a reenforcement
joint). Then you just set the fence so that the blade is tall enough
to cut a good groove in both the block and the frame, and is at least
roughly centered with the frame. Rip some splines that are the
thickness of the saw kerf, and put 'em in. Makes a frame that is
tough as anything you could want, and you don't need a nailer.
The other way to make them really tough is to cut the miter through
half the stock, and then make the bottom half into a butt joint.
(leave all the excess wood on one piece, and cut the other back so
that it is rabbeted from long point to the short point. You end up
with a hidden half-lap that has a decent bit of face to face gluing
going on, with the look of a mitered frame. This way doesn't need a
nailer either, unless you just want to use one.
In either case, a nylon strap clamp is most essential tool you can
have for the job. Some of them come with special sliding plastic
corners on them, but I just use a regular one, and so far, so good.
My most useful picture frame making tools are a set of four right
angle clamps. Mine are Craftsman from some time ago. With them I can
assembly the four miter cut pieces with the clamps keeping the joints at
right angles. Then a couple of long brads and carpenters glue to hold
the miter joints together, at least well enough for picture frame
service. I use a plain old hammer on the brads. I have used a molding
head to make picture frame molding up from ordinary lumber. A long
aluminum straight edge from Charette's lets me cut matte material and
glass for the framed picture. An ordinary glass cutter does the glass
and a box cutter knife does the matte board.
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