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  • Writer's pictureZarahn Southon

Frame clamping - the old way is best!

Framing my paintings helps to maintain the general look and feel to a body of work. At times, I put the frame on a work in progress to gauge the depth of tone and perspective.

When framing, a good mitre saw is indispensable. In my workshop to cut frames I use a black and decker. It's very handy and economical.

To glue my corners, I was using metal corner clamps. The clamps are hit and miss, sometimes the results were terrible. The depth of the metal clamps would barely go over half an inch; leading to skewed angles when applying pressure on the joint. When this happened, I would have to rework the joint to get a perfect fit. It was frustrating and time wasting to say the least.

I searched the web for better clamps. A decent metal clamp for roughly sixty dollars would be limited by its size. There are frame joining stations ranging from about one hundred dollars up to six hundred. The reviews are mixed for these. Again, you are limited to only smaller frames and non-profiled frames.

Then there are professional joiners ranging in the thousands. Since I'm only making frames every other month I don't think it necessary to purchase a professional joiner. If I were doing twenty frames per day, then maybe.

I put a search in for DIY frames and was lucky to find master woodworker George Berry's you tube clip about an old method for clamping frames. The clip is not only informative but retro cool too.

All you need is some wooden off-cuts to make wedges, screws, titebond glue and a light hammer to tap in the wedges. I used my workbench as the clamping area. It's easy and the results are great!

Update 15/06/17: I failed to mention that the corner surface for clamping needs either a quick rub of paraffin wax or piece of Sellotape to prevent the frame being glued to your workbench.

First experiment frame with this method

First test frame.

Second frame

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