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


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: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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