Monday, November 28, 2011

Custom Picture Frame Molding with a Lie-Nielsen #66 Beading Tool


     Something you should know when you create this type of profile is that you now have nothing but angles!  Usually I use a sled on my tablesaw to cut frame member to length but since there is a 15 degree beveled cut on the back of the profile it's now more like cutting crown molding.  I find it best to do this with my miter saw which I have mounted on a cabinet.  The saw is mounted in a recessed area in the center so the remainder of the bench becomes a support table.  I suppose if you have a Tiger Stop all of this trial and error process isn't needed but if you're a one of a kind, one-man shop you have to become inventive!

My version of "Tiger Stop"

My solution is to mark the length of the longest frame leg first (always a wise choice).  I lay a strip of tape on the cabinet top and clamp a stop block a bit further than what I need.  Mark a line on the tape and make the initial cut.  The length is then checked against the actual painting.  Let's suppose it's 3/8" too long -- now it's a simple matter of marking another line 3/8" from the first one, re-positioning the stop block and you're good to go!  After cutting both long legs I drew another line for the short legs of the frame.  These happened to be exactly 12" shorter so I marked a line from the stop and that's all there is to it.  

For picture frames it's vital that both pieces are exactly the same length or else your corners will be off.  To check them, I lay them back to back.  Do this before you remove your stop block in case you need to make a slight adjustment to one of your pieces.

Checking Length 

24" x 36" sight, It's pretty big!
     Assembling the frame had a bit of a challenge.  I use biscuits, glue, and then clamps which isn't a production process but does result in a strong frame.  The problem I encountered is that the Smoked Poplar started to swell the moment the glue hit the surface which meant there was no play what so ever, matter of fact, I could barely get the biscuit into the slot!  Thank goodness I'd asked Diane to help me align the parts and we were able to wipe out all of the glue with some wet paper towels.  The solution to this problem is the same technique I use with Basswood frames.  Each slot is cut twice.  After the initial cut I adjust the fence slightly higher and make another pass.  If you're so inclined, the slot is good when it measures .165 - .170, the initial cut with my biscuit joiner is .155.  Not much difference but it makes getting all four corners glued and clamped much easier and less stressful so I find it well worth the extra time it takes.  Here's the frame clamped up and ready for the next steps.

    After allowing the glue to set up overnight inside the house (cold in the shop) I'm ready for the final finishing work.  Something I've found to be indispensable for this phase of frame making is the tadpole sander.  With all of the profiles available it's easy to find one that matches your particular cove, bead, line, etc. All that's needed is to wrap some sandpaper around them and work the wood.  Here is a before and after shot.
Before Tadpole Work

After Tadpole Work


 I thought it was interesting that I could get the tadpoles to stand up in the profile, guess that means they were a very good fit for the cutter.  Just completed oiling the frame with the Watco natural and it really gives it a rich, Walnut appearance.  Next time you visit the blog you'll see a completed picture and frame!   

1 comment:

  1. This is just nice method to improve the look of the house as it provide a useful way of the custom moulding.I was looking this type of blog.