Seems as if the last two frames I’ve been commissioned to do are really large sized ones! Matter of fact, I needed to buy a couple of folding sawhorses from that purveyor of fine tools: Harbor Freight! The Tabernacle Frame is one of those large ones and this is the other, a custom profile for Tim Rees of the Rees Atelier in Mesa. The sight size is 48″ x 58″ and is intended for a painting he’s currently working on. You can see it on his Instagram. I delivered the frame to him this morning, it was a bit too long for the bed of the truck but managed to pad it well and angle it partially on the tailgate. Whew, made it there safe and sound. The profile was cut from Basswood and is a combination of tablesaw work followed by refinement with hand planes. The first thought was to gold leaf the sight edge but Tim decided against that after seeing the sample.
You can get an idea of the size by these pictures. My assembly table isn’t large enough to lay this frame on so I choose the flattest spot in the shop for assembly. The clamps I use are made by Merle and feature a steel band; a highly recommend clamp for anyone building picture frames or any other mitered construction.
The frame is pretty straight forward but due to the size of it I wanted to add some strength to the corners. I always use a biscuit on my frames but let’s face it, end grain to end grain joints aren’t the strongest since that end grain is basically like a straw that sucks up the glue. I decided to design a jig that could be used with a small plunge router and guide bushing to add a gusset to the back of each corner, this slide show will explain it.
This is a good time to announce this, there are some artists that I do frames for whose galleries will not accept frames that use composition gold leafing, Tim’s is one of them. I’ve done water gilding in the past but don’t feel as proficient in it as I’d like to. I’ve been accepted into a 3 day, intensive workshop with Charles Douglas located in Seattle, WA. Very excited to go there at the beginning of January. He’s quite well known for his work and instruction, with only 4 students in the workshop during the session I’m hoping to gain as much information as I can from his expertise.