Sunday, February 10, 2013

...And Yet Another Floater Frame

I had more fun building this floater frame a few months ago to replace a painting we had over the fireplace. The older painting was a gallery wrapped painting and I had just finished this new piece on standard stretched canvas which is 5/8" thick stretcher bars I think. I picked up a piece of oak at out local lumber yard that was slightly over 6" wide. I wanted to make this floater frame with 3" deep sides so this would work.
I cut all of the side pieces on my table saw and began piecing it all together. I won't post any dimensions because these frames I make are always different dimensions depending on the size of the painting.
 After all of the sides and back pieces were cut I glued and shots brads into the corners to keep it all together. What you see here are the side pieces and two strips placed inside to attach the painting to. Long wood screws go through these wood pieces and into the back of the paintings stretcher bars...that is how it mounts.
To reinforce the frame I add strips of wood along the back making the frame basically an "L" shape.
Here is a closer view of the corner before the back piece is added. You can see the small brads shot into the corners. These are later covered with wood putty so you don't see them.
Here is a view of the back pieces now mounted to the sides. Any gaps in the wood are filled with wood putty and then sanded.
....and here is that same area after sanding, staining and rubbed with wax....looks cool!
After the frame is all glued, nailed together, sanded and stained it is then rubbed with furniture wax to protect the wood and give it a nice luster.
  Once that was all done I mounted the painting. It is centered and then the screws go into the back wood pieces and into the paintings stretcher bars. Since you have to work in the back putting in the screws it is easiest to do all of the mounting standing the frame upright. I use the little corner tensioners that come with stretched canvases to level the painting and then just do all of the drilling from the back
Below are a couple of detail shots of how the painting stretcher bars mount to the center mounting bars. Basically, you predrill holes into the mounting bars. Then you screw through the mounting bars directly into the back of the paintings' stretcher bars. If you look at the photo above you see I used corner wedges stacked up the the height I wanted the painting mounted to the frame. Then all I had to do was move it evenly from side to side and then drill screws into the back to attach the painting to the mounting bars. My stretcher bars are 5/8" thick, the mounting bars are 3/4" thick...both of these fit well into the 3" deep frame.
...a little closer view of the mounting bar and stretcher bar area.....

And then it is all done and ready to hang......
To get an idea of the size of this frame that is a french easel it is leaning against...big frame! Doesn't weight that much because the wood is only about 3/8" thick. To keep the wood from bowing is one of the reasons the back pieces are attached to it...they stiffen the frame. 


Bruce B. Hancock said...

Beautiful frame, nice workmanship, Ron! Do you often make your own frames? Framing is one of the most bothersome aspects of painting to me. It seems I have so little control, either settling for what I can find ready made or paying a small fortune for a custom made frame. This is a tempting alternative. Thanks for the post!

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Bruce,

On smaller standard size paintings I just buy frames. For large pieces, or non standard sizes, I make these oak floater frames. The oak is bought from either Home Depot or a lumber yard and is beyond cheap compared to the cost of a store bought custom frame. The piece of wood for this frame cost about $28.00.

If you have a table saw it is easy to cut the wood to size. You then need 2 clamps for gluing 2 corners at a time (4 long pipe clamps would allow you to glue it all at one time). A palm sander too. One nice thing to have is a brad gun which I bought at Harbor Freight for like $30.00. I already had an air compressor....much easier than small finishing nails but nails will work fine too. Good wood glue and that's it.
I mitre cut (45 degree cut) the corners so good cuts are real nice. You could butt joint the corners too and it is actually a stronger joint.
You could make all of your frames this way if you wanted to. I just do it for large pieces since it is much more affordable....and fun!

If you make some send me a pic so I can see how you did Bruce.

Marian Fortunati said...

Wow, Ron... I admire so much about all you do... The paint boxes, the frames and these floater frames are GREAT!!!
Oh.... and your ART!!! wonderful. Amazing that your cost was so little. But I imagine when you factor in the time you spent doing it, it would could to quite a bit more!!! Quite a bit. But really nice all the same -- especially to "finish" off those wide-edged paintings we sometimes do. (Are you for hire??)

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Marian,

Yep, these frames are pretty affordable when building them yourself because you don't have to factor in "your time" to build them. I have to admit though, my first floater to a very long time to build since I had to figure a lot of it out as I went along. On my third one a 24"x24", I totally measured wrong and that one now sits waiting for me to make a painting specifically to fit the frame, haha. The ones I build now don''t take half the time the first one did so I'm a little better at it now....."for hire"?? At this point I'd grind an organ while the monkey collected the coins, then drag myself home to paint into the wee hours. Thanks my friend.

Dennis said...

Great job on the frame... I just don't see how the painting gets in the frame past the wood stiffening pieces across the back.


Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Dennis,
Thanks for commenting because it just taught me how to add more pics to a past on my Blog, haha. See Above newly added pics...if you can't see them hit your Refresh button.

The 2 mounting bars ae only 3/4" deep and the frame is 3" deep. The painting stretcer bars are 5/8" so there is plenty of room to mount the painting onto the mounting bars and still have room to set the painting as far back or forward into the frame. The pics probably explain it better.