Picture Frames and a Doggie Ramp!

Beneath the Trees by Diane Eugster: Frame is laying on a brown background

To my way of thinking, a picture frames purpose is to isolate a painting from the rest of the world and subtlety complement the work of the artist.  When I design a frame I observe  the palette and mood of the painting and try to have the frame reflect that in some way.  Being what I refer to as a “boutique frame maker” coming up with a challenge for myself is another aspect of the design process.  Quite often, a client will tell me to just use whatever molding I have but the thing is — I don’t have pre-made moldings!  Somewhat like a restaurants by-line, we don’t make it until you order it!  This painting is by Diane Eugster and the frame has been in progress for quite some time.  The title is Beneath the Trees.  This is the first time I’ve water gilded a floater style frame, it’s in 12 kt. gold leaf.  The story behind it is that it was initially ordered by a client as a 12″ x 24″ but there was a defect in the wood I hadn’t noticed until it was time to join it.  I must be blessed because a day after noticing it she called and asked if it was too late to cancel that part of the order — her painting for it wasn’t working out.  No problem I told her and asked my wife if she wanted an undersized panel and you can see the results.  Definite challenges doing the transition from the gesso and clay surface to the inner black surface but it was a good learning exercise and we (Diane and I) believe it came out nice in the end.

Another completed frame is this one, and again painted by my favorite artist!  It’s on panel and measures 9″ x 12″.  I wanted to experiment and see how it would look with an outer band of 12kt. gold leaf rather than the sight edge.  To draw the viewer into the painting the molding was beveled towards it.  The initial cut is on the tablesaw and then refined with a hand plane.  Wood being what it is and crafting by hand there’s bound to be slight inconsistencies.  One corner didn’t quite match at the inner taper, to match that it was first scribed with an cranked paring chisel then planed until the corner was satisfactory.

The outer edge has a 3/4″ wide, shallow rabbet cut into it for the gold leaf.  This frame is done in black and decided to do oil gilding directly over it, no clay.  Difficult getting a sharp edge but all in all the results are quite nice.  From where I’m sitting now I can see that frame and the way the light catches that edge is appealing.

The final project is this doggie ramp made for Brandy, out miniature long-haired Dachshund.  This ottoman is her favorite place to lay and guard the house but, being a doxie she could be prone to back problems.  Although there are many ramps on the market we wanted something lightweight that could be easily stored under the couch whenever we have company.  This is the answer and now Diane is busy training her to go up and down!

Another fun challenge, mainly making the folding mechanism and way to lock it securely in place.  Since the angle isn’t 45° using available folding leg hardware wouldn’t work.  The supports are fabricated from a piece of 1/8″ thick by 3/4″ wide aluminum stock which was easy enough to cut and counter sink the hardware.  The support almost folds flat but will slid under our couch without a problem.


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodworksbyJohn?ref=si_shop Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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