Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frame Project

I've always enjoyed making gifts for those I love, Christmas is one of the prime times to do that.  I don't want to let on who this will be for but I know they're not avid Face bookers so it's probably safe to share this project.  As usual, this is unlike anything I've attempted before so it's a great big unknown.  Diane painted a picture and presented it to these folks so I thought I'd attempt a frame to put it into.  It's a fairly small painting and there is a definite Craftsman influence in their home.  Dark woods predominate so Walnut is the wood of choice.  However; having never carved Walnut for anything serious I know it'll be much more challenging than the Basswood I usually use for picture frames.  Even Cherry that I used for the cabinet scraper box is easier to carve than Walnut.
I was inspired by a picture I saw of an art nouveau, Taos style frame created by Frederick Loeser.  The size of that frame is 55" x 48" while the frame I'm doing is only 9" x 12" so things needed to be scaled down a lot!  I started with a piece of 8/4 Walnut and decided to use the edge grain for my face grain.  The pieces I cut off were just under an inch thick and 1 3/4" wide.  Here's the first photograph of this project:

I put the piece in the middle to show the profile of the molding, nothing fancy with just enough of a rabbet to hold the panel .  My method is to make a pattern out of a piece of aluminum valley tin which is what you see laying inside the frame.  It cuts easily with my shop scissors and is easily flipped so that both corners can be sketched on.  In this case I used a white pencil.  Even if the radiuses aren't drawn in exactly it's not too critical since the sweep of the chisel I chose will determine the curve anyway.  I've always found the "arrows" at the corners of a Taos/Santa Fe style frame appealing, now you combine it with the art nouveau sinuous curves and I'm really liking it!  Have started to carve some of it and just as I suspected the Walnut is a challenge -- why do something easy.  Now that it's posted the pressure is on to succeed!

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