Frame #240 Art Nouveau Carved Motif

The title of this painting is Tapestry and it’s painted by Diane Eugster. This piece is oil on panel measuring 18″ x 24″. To compliment her work I wanted to carve a very low relief, Art Nouveau motif with the goal of creating a subtle pattern around the frame that would isolate the figure into her own world. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not I accomplished that goal.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I like to share what I’ve learned and discovered in that process. Two main reasons for that, one is that as the years advance we all tend to forget how we did things so for me the blog is like a diary that I keep on line for my own use which reminds me how I did what I did — seven plus decades has shown me that I need this!! The other reason is that when I first began this journey of creating picture frames about 20 years ago finding out the techniques others used and also finding those willing to share them was a challenge. Because of that I decided I’d share what I’ve learned along the way with anyone searching for it.

I’m not very artistic so drawing a design and then being able to replicate it exactly the same on the four corners of a frame isn’t something that I’m able to do. Even if I had the ability to create my own design, reproducing that same image on each corner would be a challenge. Thanks to the ease of the internet I’m able to search for and copy what I need. Once I find a suitable design I put it into my Pages program and resize it to whatever the frame requires. Using spray adhesive the design is attached to a piece of plastic taken from a salad container. My next step is to cut that design out with my carving gouges and annotating which is used where on another piece of paper. This becomes my road map to execute the design.

This is what it looks like when I begin to draw the design onto the frame. The first thing is to determine the placement from the corners, you can see the lines drawn in this picture. The plastic is flexible and you can flip it over to get a mirror image on opposite corners. The design on the paper has been enlarged and you can see the sizes of gouges used on the various elements. I set these in with a small mallet, the goal being to have the same depth all the way around the design. I use various sized gouges of a #2 sweep to ground out the design.

To carve in the line that goes along the outside of the frame I first scribed it with a marking gauge, this insures that the placement is the same on all four sides. The plastic pattern is flexible enough to line it up with the scribed lines. After the curves were established on the corners I used a a #1F/16 Pheil held vertically to deepen the scribed lines. These were then ground out using a #2 gouges and blended into the frame. During this process I found that setting an LED lamp next to my work created a nice, raking light to help me see the surface. These surfaces were then sanded with 220 paper and tadpole sanders.

All that remained was the finish — a step that is usually met with some apprehension. All of your work up to this point can be ruined with the stroke of a brush!! After signing the frame I brush on 2 coats of burnisher sealer, red for this frame. After it is dry and burnished with 4/0 steel wool I use Ronan Japan in Drop black for the top coat. This frame received 2 coats with a light sanding between. I wanted to expose some of the red base coat to highlight the carving and add a sense of age to the painting and frame. The process begins with 4/0 steel wool (Liberon, oil free) and once I’m satisfied with the rub back the entire frame will be waxed. Again, my preference is Liberon’s Black Bison wax applied with cotton balls. The wax will also remove some of the black finish so care is needed. Once you remove it with during the rub-out process it’s hard to put back — small spots or edges do respond well to a black Sharpie though!

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Night Stands are Done — Final Blog

This is a feature I really like in WordPress, as a middle school shop teacher I emphasized the magic of planning something in your head and drawing it on paper (drafting) and working with your hands to see that become an actual object. This feature brings that process to life!

All the finishing is done and the drawers are assembled. They have been screwed to their stands and the next process is installing the liner. This is a piece of 1/4″ x 1″ Basswood, mitered, painted black and then glued to the interior. Pin nails and clamps are used to install them. I taped off that area when applying shellac to the interior so the glue would stick. Pictorial process below:

Installing the drawers is the final and critical step to this project. They are side hung on 3/4″ grooves cut in the sides. The stop is where the drawer face is dovetailed into them. Having the 1/4″ liner actually made this step easier! I know you can buy fancy jigs to install slides but I’ve always relied on a piece of 1/4″ MDF that goes from the bottom of the case to the bottom of the slide. This gives a solid base to put the slide on while you locate the mounting holes. To locate the holes I took a screw eye, pointed it on the drill press and reduced its size until it was a snug fit in the slide mounting hole. This was done with a sanding drum on the drill press. I used pennies as spacers to establish the gap between the drawers and the case. Again, I’ll let pictures and captions explain the process but if you have any questions about this method feel free to ask via the comment section. I didn’t put on the backs until the drawers were installed. The slides were already made and left slightly thicker than needed.

After the drawers were installed the backs were attached to complete these cabinets. Bees wax was applied to the runners and grooves. I found a place in on-line that had these beautiful leather pulls and were made in the USA! They are Makeline Designs and they are beautiful! The leather is soft and I choose the aluminum discs which gleam — very happy with their product and quick service. I’ll leave you with one more shot of these night stands; I’m very happy with how they turned out.

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Vertical Grain Nightstands Part II

There has been quite a bit of progress on the nightstands and to be honest I’m not sure I realize going in how much time these would take to complete. There are many steps, parts, and pieces to this design I came up with and I’m finding that the VG Douglas Fir has challenges of its own!

While the cases were drying and getting finished with Osmo Polyx I worked on the stands. These are also vertical grain DF but if you look closely you’ll see the grain looks considerably different. It doesn’t have the pronounced, linear grain pattern. These are now finished and were constructed using a double bridal joint at the tops and mortise and tenons for the stretchers. The units will be attached with screws through the bottom of each stretcher.

The first step to making all of the drawers was to size and shape the parts. There is a total of 6 drawers. The two piles in the lower left are the sides. They have a groove for the bottom, a dado for the back, and a rabbet for dovetails. The pile on the far right is the backs and the pile at the top are the drawer fronts which also are grooved for the bottoms. I leave everything longer than needed in case of mistakes or problems with the dovetailing and also had a couple of spares for the sides. The joinery is half blind dovetails for the fronts and pegged dowels for back pieces. I only messed up on one of the front pieces so easy enough to cut it off and make a second attempt. The grain in the Douglas Fir I is quite challenging to work with!

Now it’s time to begin cutting the dovetails. I follow the “tails first” method and cut the tails for both sides of the drawer at the same time. What follows is removing the waste with chisels and refining the tail. Now it’s time to cut the corresponding pins on the drawers front piece. The tailboard are carefully aligned, scribed and then cut. Your goal here is to have them fit “right off the saw” which I manage to accomplish more often than not! Volumes have been written about dovetailing so I won’t bore you with my methods. I’ll give you a pictorial summary.

Before assembling the drawers the holes for the handles were drilled into the drawer fronts. They have 5″ centers so a simple jig was set up on the drill press to make sure they’re all located the same. The holes for the pegs that will lock the backs were also drilled before assembly. Due to space and clamps two drawers were glued up at a time. I used Old Brown Glue and allow them to dry overnight. The final step was installing the pegs for the back. This was done the next day, only needed to drill into the back piece and glue in the 3/16″ pegs which were made from Birch.

I feel good about how much has been accomplished so far. Work that still needs to be done is finishing all of the drawers, making and installing the drawer slides, and installing the black liner that goes inside each unit.

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VG Douglas Fir Night Stands Part I

After having our nightstands for quite some time and then seeing how the cabinet turned out for our guest room we decided that we too could use some new night stands! Previously I did a project using vertical grain Douglas Fir and even though it’s challenging to work with decided to go with that material. The first step for my work is to do some sketches and then make a full size drawing which helps me see proportions better. These night stands will have 3 drawers in each unit and be approximately the same size as our existing pieces.

My source for the wood is Peterman Lumber here in Las Vegas. The usual way lumber is purchased is random width and random length but the VG fir is stocked in 1×4, 1×6, 1×8, 2×4, and 2×6 and you are required to purchase the complete board! Most of the stock was 16′ in length so careful planning was needed on my part to not under or over purchase. After looking through it all and figuring where to cut it so I could transport it I brought it home to begin work. Unfortunately, one piece had some internal cracks that didn’t show until I began to process them so ….. ended up getting another 16 footer two drawer fronts, no problem, they can be used later.

The 1×8 stock only measures 7 1/4″ in width and has radiused corners, these need to be planed off and square to create each panel. Since I need a width of about 16″ a narrow piece is needed to get to that width. My first thought was putting the narrow strip in the center but that created a stripe which was acceptable for the bottom pieces but not the top. For the top and sides I created panels and tried to match the grain/color as closely as possible with two, full width and a narrow piece that will be on the back of the units. I use these old parallel clamps that work great and Gorilla Glue to do all of my panels. It’s one of few times I’ll wear gloves, that glue really sticks to my skin!

After glueing up 8 panels work began on the dovetail joinery. The panels came out nice and flat (thanks to those clamps) and the joints were flattened with my old Stanley #80. While glueing up I chose the pieces I wanted for the sides, tops, and bottoms. Some of the bottom pieces have a couple of knots and sap pockets but I don’t mind them there. The construction is through dovetails which I chose to highlight the grain, My design plan is to have the end grain of the pins make an artistic statement — the goal being to create a piece that is contemporary and functional with clean, straight forward lines.

I’ve been accused of getting too wordy so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. I use Lie-Nielsen dovetail saws and chisels for my work. I also cut a slight rabbet on the inside of the tail board to create a clean corner, this is referred to as the Stanley 140 trick. This time I also used a tried technique I saw in Fine Woodworking magazine by Michael Pekovich where he used blue painters tape to lay out dovetails. I diid that because the vertical grain of the wood is so pronounced it made it difficult to scribe straight and accurate lines — it worked great! For the first time too, I used a guide to clear the waste between pins. That space is about 1 3/4″ wide and I wanted it to be as straight as possible. I also deepen the scribe line before sawing out the bulk of the waste. My glue of choice is Old Brown Glue and it gave me ample time to get things together.

The last three pictures show the before and after of how the end grain of the pins look once they’re planed flush — I really like the contrast. I had to be creative to figure out how to hold the assembled cabinet but like they say: “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. I’ve continued work on the legs, stand, and backs of these night stands and plan to get most of it assembled before tackling the drawers.

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Frame #238: Summer Hues by Diane Eugster

This painting by my wife, Diane; is on stretched canvas and measures 18″ x 24″. Regular readers of my blog know that I often get inspired to create a frame when I see the work in progress, just gets the wheels turning in my head! True to Diane’s figurative style this painting gives an impressionistic feel to a traditional subject. I wanted the frame to reflect that. Contemporary style is more straight lines and flat surfaces as opposed to Baroque style which would be the direct opposite with curves, beads, and other ornamentation.

Like many of my frames I began with Basswood measuring 1 1/16″ thick from Peterman Lumber here in Las Vegas. This is the bare minimum thickness you can get away with since stretched canvas is about 3/4″ thick. The frame is 3 1/4″ wide and the first step is using my smooth plane to remove the millworks left by the planer which you’ll always see. My preference is Lie-Nielsen’s bronze smooth plane, nothing else can give you a near perfect surface especially on Basswood. The next step was to create some interest on the edges. To keep that contemporary as well, I used a beading cutter in my plow plane. Rather than create a traditional, full bead the depth was set so that only the corners were slightly radiused. Last of all the rabbet the canvas sits into was cut on the inside edge.

After mitering each piece, cutting biscuit slots, and then gluing/clamping the frame together it was time to work on the carving. Occasionally I’ve been asked how I go about it so in keeping with my shop teacher background I’ll share my technique. Since I’m not super artistic I rely on “borrowing” images from the internet then sizing them to the dimensions of the frame. I’ll print that out on paper and spray glue it to a piece of thin plastic to make the pattern. Best material for that is the lid from a grocery store salad container. That’s the piece by #1. To cut out the pattern I use chisels of various sweeps and sizes, choosing the tool I have that matches the design as closely as possible. I draw the pattern on another piece of paper and as I cut it out, note which chisels were used and where, that’s #2. The beauty of the plastic pattern is that it can be flipped over and get the exact match on the other side of the miter. Last of all, my rack (#3) is where the chisels are kept close at hand. Now it’s time to cut the outline and then “ground it out” from the rest of the wood. My depth for this was just under an eighth of an inch.

The process is this; after drawing the design on each corner the appropriate chisel is used to incise the pattern into the wood using a small mallet which you can see on the right corner of the bench. The goal is to be consistent in the depth. Once that’s competed the surrounding wood is removed to separate the design from the rest of the frame. In the pictures below you can see how I use a compass to draw a line inside of the design so that the wood can be “scooped” out creating the depth and enhancing the carving. Hand carving may display some chisel marks which is what sets it apart from the use of composition material like that produced by Bomar. Traditional red burnisher sealer was brushed onto the frame, followed by Japan Black. This was then rubbed back to expose some of the red and replicate the patina and age a frame might show that’s been around for a while. Liberon wax is used for the final finish. Here are some photographs of the work in progress to illustrate my process.

So there you have it, building a frame in a nutshell! This is the technique I use and certainly not the only way to do it. Like every other endeavor, we need to discover how others have done it, experiment with ways we can accomplish it, and continue to follow the creative path we’re on. I do the same with my furniture work, always looking for the challenge and satisfaction that comes from that. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are interested in custom work.

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Covid won’t stop me!

Right before Thanksgiving I tested positive for the dreaded Covid even though I’ve taken the vaccine and boosters. I suspect I picked it up in crowded Disneyland but that trip was worth it because we were with my son for his birthday and our 2 granddaughters. In any case, even though I was quarantined Diane brought back 2 plates of food and a bunch of desserts from the family get together for my solitary enjoyment. Speaking of Diane, she made this slide show of the paintings she completed this past year. These are the ones I get to create my frames for and I’d like to share her work with you:

Even though I spent several weeks quarantined to the guest bedroom with my cat Khali, I still managed to spend time out in the shop creating frames for her. I post them on instagram and facebook and am sometimes asked about the techniques I use I like to share them with you. When I first started doing frames it was so difficult getting advice it’s been my mission to share what I’ve learned. These are both floater style but different in their construction.

This frame is for a stretched canvas measuring 24″ x 24″. Diane has titled this painting “Strut Your Stuff”. The frame is made of Basswood which has been gilded with 12kt genuine gold leaf. The sides are painted with drop black, Japan paint. The leaf is oil gilded and sealed with a platinum blond shellac which I mix from flakes. It gives that white gold a warm glow while protecting it from tarnishing.

I use 1 1/16″ thick Basswood which I buy from Peterman Lumber here in Las Vegas. I made one minor error on this frame! Many times I’ll let the width of the wood dictate what the size of the frame members will be, this is to utilize the wood with a minimum of waste. I had a board slightly over 6″ wide so it made sense to make the 4 frame pieces about 1 1/2″. The error I made was that to use face frame biscuits in the corners the pieces should be a minimum of 1 3/4″; argh — so many little things to keep in mind! The way I make these frames is unlike the commercially produced ones which are usually just an L-shaped molding. The montage below shows my design which has a 1/4″ dado which holds the painting. I can cut this wherever I want and it also reinforces the corner joint. The upper edge is profiled using a beading cutter in my Lee Valley small plow plane. Somewhat tricky cutting 2/3’s of a bead but this gives a definite separation between the paint and the gilded surface.

The second floater frame, also a 24″ square stretched canvas is different in that it’s made of Peruvian Walnut. This painting is titled “Break of Day”. The process is essentially the same but the finish for natural wood is different. Also, instead of using biscuits to reinforce the miters there are pieces of the walnut splined into the corners. That process is done on the table saw equipped with a rip blade and a special jig. The finish is two coats of Osmo Poly #3043.

Here is a montage to illustrate the steps for this frame:

Merry Christmas to my followers and anyone else reading my blog. I enjoy the support, comments, and questions you’ve given me over the years — John

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Making Tabernacle Frame #234

There’s a feature of WordPress I really like called image compare that allows you to see the final results and then slide the arrow to the other side to view the backstory. The backstory on this frame is the full size drawing made of it on the assembly table of my shop.

The finished frame and painting by Diane Eugster and the backstory of its design

Although I’ve made tabernacle frames for other artists, this is the first one I’ve made for my wife and favorite artist Diane Eugster. The title of this painting is Heartbeat and it’s a 24″ square, oil on canvas. The goal was to design a frame inspired by tabernacle style that was still somewhat contemporary. Moldings can be made by hand using planes and routers but these were found at my local, so-called big box store. I prefer to draw these out full size so the moldings can be shown easily to get a true representation of how the frame will look.

The method of construction for tabernacle frames requires mortise and tenon joinery rather than the typical mitered corners found on most frames. The reason is that the side, top, and bottom pieces are not the same width. The bottom is the widest so I prefer using double mortise and tenons there to prevent any twisting. The material used is 1 1/16″ thick Basswood. Cutting the rabbet for the canvas to sit in is different than the process for a mitered frame. I use a typical, 1/4″ rabbet cut with a dado head on the tablesaw. The top and bottom pieces are rabbeted their entire length but not the side pieces. For the sides you need to start and stop the cuts on each piece. This is accomplished by drawing lines on the tablesaw showing the beginning and end of the cut. On each piece you also draw lines where the rabbet starts and stops. You need to slowly and carefully lower the piece down onto the blade (saw turned on) then advance it to the mark showing the end of the cut. At this point, the piece is carefully lifted up and off of the blade. Although this seems like a somewhat risky process if you pay attention to what you’re doing it’s not a problem. Since the ends of this cut are round due to the blade the final step is to use a chisel and mallet to square the ends of them.

Now that the frame is assembled the sight edge is ready for carving. The first step was creating a shallow, 3/8″ wide rabbet with a router. Once again this leaves a rounded corner and requires some chisel work to square off. It takes a bit of math work and guesstimation to figure out the spacing for the grooves but once I was satisfied they were stepped off with a divider and chiseled with a Dastra #41/4mm small gouge. All that remained was some light sanding to soften the edges.

After completing the sight edge it’s time to miter and attach the moldings and top cap for the frame. The top cap is glued and screwed to the frame, the screw holes were countersunk and plugged. I use glue and #18 brads to attach the moldings and putty all of the holes and any gaps with Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty, a product I’ve used for decades that many people have never heard of! What makes this product my choice is that it comes in powder form and you simply mix with water when needed – shelf life is forever! I’m guessing most of you have had the experience of finding that tube or can of wood putty on your shelf hard as a rock just when you need it, that doesn’t happen with this product. Once the frame has been sanded it’s time for the finish process which I’ve illustrated below.

The first step to the finishing process is to apply 2 coats of shellac to the entire frame. Before applying the rest of the finish I tape off the back — don’t like seeing any finish on the backs of my frames. The next step is the burnisher/sealer and once it’s dry and burnished the areas to be gilded were taped off. Two coats of a slightly thinned Japan black from Rosco is applied with a brush and allowed to dry completly. The frame needed to be taped off to oil gild the rope detail and the sight edge. These areas were also sealed with shellac after the size was completely dry. For gilding small areas like this I use quick size. The final steps to this process involved mixing a few drops of Mixol black into an acrylic, matte medium to minimize that overpowering composition gold. Wax and steel wool is used as a final step to get an overall warm finish.

If you need a tabernacle frame for one of your paintings or have questions on making one of your own please contact me through this blog.

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Guestroom Cabinet or The Battle of Birch is Over!

I really like this WordPress feature called Image Compare where you can use the arrow to compare two images. When I taught I always emphasized to my students the satisfaction they’d get by seeing the results of what they first imagined and sketched on paper to the finished product created with their own hands and initiative. Into my seventh decade and that satisfaction is what keeps me going!

If you read my first blog about this project; My Battle with Birch you know what happened, if not you can link to it. In a nutshell, the panels cupped after laminating them together and that really threw the dovetail layout off. Luckily, I started on the bottom and figured out that by applying cauls and clamps when doing the layout and eventual assembly there was more accuracy. Looking back, I should have let the boards acclimate after resawing for longer but hindsight is 20/20 right? I did do that for the drawer stock and had much better results. All in all, this was a great learning experience and since it wasn’t for a client I felt more freedom to experiment with techniques I didn’t usually use.

One technique I wanted to try was side hung drawers that used the drawer front as a stop. I’ve done them before where the groove in the drawer side was routed but didn’t go the entire depth of the drawer. When using the drawer front as a stop it’s easier to set the distance, it’s simply the thickness of the drawer front. The drawers are approximately 7″ tall x 16″ wide and 14″ deep. The sides are soft Maple. One odd thing I noticed about the Birch is that the Old Brown Glue absorbed into the end grain and didn’t clean up like it always has in the past.

The method I used to get the spacing between the drawers is using a nickel or a dime, they’re +/- 1/16″. After placing the bottom drawer on the coins and putting the slide in the slot I measured from the bottom of the case to the bottom of the slide. Next a piece of MDF is cut to that measurement and the slide is attached with a couple of screws. As long as the MDF is square and the slide is held firmly against it you’re insured of the same placement on both sides of the box. At this point I’m concerned with the height only, not the setback. Once the height is good, I place coins on the lower drawer, put the top drawer and slides in place, measure and repeat the process with another MDF spacer. If the spacing between drawers if correct it’s time to attach them permanently, a small combination square is adjusted to the thickness of the drawer front and the slides are installed. A bit of wax and they’re good to go!

The final technique for this project was to use a double bridle joint on the stand. If you look at my original drawing you can see I changed from that. I have an old issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine featuring double bridle joinery and I decided to use that here. Already had the contrast of the dovetails so this seemed appropriate. It was issue #247 and after completing the work realized my rip blade really needed sharpening! Offset knife hinges from Brusso and the small, endgrain knobs add a bit elegance I was after for this piece. The finish is OSMO polyx #3043. Two coats applied with grey and white nylon scrubbies.

Hopefully I’ll be contacted from a future client who likes this piece and would like their own version of it! Here’s an ironic twist — never thought I’d be the first one to use it, I got the dreaded Covid and am now quarantined in my own guestroom!!

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My Battle with Birch!!

With our recent move, we now have a guest bedroom with a bed but no dresser or drawer space for guests to use. The room is large enough for a small chest so rather than going to Home Goods, Mayfair, etc. as a woodworker I figured there’s always time for a project and this is the design I came up with.

My initial plan was to make it out of Ash but the price and selection at my local supply didn’t meet my needs. Their Ash had a very pronounced and vivid grain plus they won’t cut boards and what they had wasn’t suitable. You may remember my recent Danish cord entry bench project. It was made of Birch. I really liked the workability and the way it finished so decided this project would be Birch as well — not all Birches are created equal!

I purchased 8/4 and the main goal was to get 7″-8″ width so I could resaw and book match them yield panels around 16″ wide. My usual sequence is to plane a good edge, resaw, then run through the planer to get both pieces the same thickness. After establishing a good edge on both pieces with my old #7 Stanley corrugated plane they are glued up with Gorilla glue and panel clamped overnight. For some unknown reason every one of the panels cupped and if anyone who reads this has an idea why I would certainly appreciate your thoughts! This piece was designed based on my 15″ planer. What I do is plane the cup out of one side as good as I can, then rip the panel to where it just fits in the planer to smooth out the other face which will be finished off with hand planes. This cupping of the panels is what caused my battle with the Birch!

Every step of the project became a hassle due to that cupping. Reminded me of starting my carpenter apprenticeship after Nam; my first boss always stressed that if we screwed up on the foundation we’d be fighting it every step of the way and he was right. It’s been a long time since that I’ve made this many dovetails on a project (8 tails) so this became a personal challenge. That cup threw the layout off so things didn’t fit “right off the saw”! One thing that helped somewhat was clamping a caul to the panels when transferring tails to the pin board. I also used that when glueing the piece up. Since this is a personal piece for me I can accept the results, if it was for a client I’d have to start over. Here’s a collage of the process.

At this point the case is glued up and the divider has been installed to separate the drawers and door. Since this has turned into a project where I can challenge myself to do techniques I haven’t done before I may use a double bridle joint for the stand — heck, mortise and tenons are no challenge. I am also working on a Tabernacle Frame for Diane’s latest work, something I’ve wanted for quite some time. Anything to stay off the couch right?

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Latest Frame Profile #232

When I started making frames it was always hard to find information, I got the feeling that creating, carving, gilding, finishing, etc. were secrets that no one was willing to share so the teacher in my decided to share my work via my blog. If it helps someone that’s my intent. Am I an expert? no way but if what I share helps someone else “it’s all good!”

If you’ve seen my blog you probably know that my wife, Diane Eugster is my main client and I enjoy coming up with frames that compliment her work. I get inspiration when I see it on her easel in the studio. She recently completed a painting titled “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and I noticed how the black in the subjects hat resembled the stripe on tuxedo trousers. I wondered if it would be possible to subtlety show that in a frame. The painting is 24″ square and is a stretched canvas.

The main material I use for frames is a 1 1/16″ Basswood from Peterman Lumber which comes in random width and length. The width available will determine how wide the frame can be and Diane always tells me the wider the better! If you look at the sample piece at the beginning of the blog the side piece measures 3/4″ x 1 3/4″ and the panel is 1″ x 3″. My furniture background dictates that I use joinery for strength so after the wood has been planed to size the first step was to set up a 3/8″ wide dado to groove the edging. By using an edging like this you can create a frame to fit stretched canvas from 4/4 material. The final step for the edging was planing a slight chamfer on both edges of the outer surface.

The first step was cutting the groove in the edging that would eventually be used for the tongue on the panel. Next up was to create the profile on the panel piece. The depth is 1/4″ and the width of them is narrower as they get to the sight edge. The dado head was then adjusted to create the tongue that is glued into the edging and also the rabbet. The dado set leaves a pretty nice surface that only needed a little refining with a rabbet block plane.

All that remained was to miter the edging, the tongue and groove joint for joining the edging to the panel reinforces the frame. These were glued on and clamped overnight. This makes for a strong frame and almost guarantees that the miters will never separate. After any required cleanup and light sanding the frame was first sealed with shellac and then 2 coats of Japan Drop black were brushed on.

I allowed 2 days for the Japan to cure then lightly burnished the top surfaces and outside of the edging with 4/0 steel wool. Liberon Black Bison wax was applied to those burnished surfaces which I think now mimics that tuxedo stripe effect I was after!

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