Wire-Brushed Picture Frame, Session 1

On a sunny day in May, I found myself strolling along the pier at Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park.  Looking across the Eastern-most point of the Burrard Inlet, (part of the Pacific Ocean), I saw a guitarist standing on a rock as gentle waves lapped against it.  I took a picture.

Most pictures that I have taken remained in digital form, but I kept coming back to this one and thinking that I should print and frame it.  I had the image printed and bought a mat for it.  I could have bought a frame too, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the frames I saw for under $50 and didn’t like the style of any of the frames available.

What to do…

FlairWoodworks I need to make a frame for a newly acquired piece of art. Matted, it measures 11″ x 14″. Follow along as I design and build it! #flairww -2:38 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is the picture I am framing. I don’t want the frame to distract from the picture. #flairww -2:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m thinking of a dark, rustic wooden frame. I like the effect that wirebrushing creates. #flairww -2:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks ooo you have lots of choices to make :0) -2:45 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks For a successful wire-brushing effect, I need a wood with different hardnesses of early and late wood. Fir and cedar are suitable examples. #flairww -2:46 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Indeed I do! #flairww RT @StillerDesigns: @FlairWoodworksooo you have lots of choices to make :0) -2:46 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks I like that idea; going to burn the soft grain? #flairww -2:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have not used a torch in the past, but may try. RT@HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks I like that idea; going to burn the soft grain? #flairww -2:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m on the hunt for some appropriate materials… some small, tight knots would be nice. #flairww -2:48 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

@StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks once you’ve wirebrushed & burned you could lime it :0) -2:50 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Lime would make it white, right? #flairww RT @StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks once you’ve wirebrushed & burned you could lime it :0) -2:50 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks That picture might look good using driftwood stock for the frame #flairww -2:51 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

StillerDesigns not necessarily, lime is not only white,can be other colours too :0) -2:52 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks That’s a good idea too. RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks That picture might look good using driftwood stock for the frame #flairww -2:51 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks All the limes I have are green ;) #flairww RT @StillerDesigns: not necessarily, lime is not only white,can be other colours too :0) -2:52 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks wahoo margarita tuesdays! #flairww -2:54 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not many small pieces of fir around…#flairww -2:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks have fun with your frame :0) 2:57 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks These are too big as well. They’re also for an upcoming commission. #flairww -2:57 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks ooh, is that for the castle? #flairww -2:57 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks This piece is about the right size, but no fine knots which I’d like. #flairww -2:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Loft bed, actually :) #flairww RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks ooh, is that for the castle? #flairww -2:59 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, I will! #flairww RT @StillerDesigns: @FlairWoodworks have fun with your frame :0) -2:59 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s harder that I thought it would be to find appropriate materials. I’ll go check the garage. #flairww -3:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just found a great piece of old (hard and dense) fir right next to my computer. #flairww -3:06 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Nice gradient of ring spacing. Much better suited to a frame than a mousepad #flairww -3:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Mousepad? RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks Nice gradient of ring spacing. Much better suited to a frame than a mousepad #flairww -3:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to mill a 1/4″ wide by 1/2″ deep rabbet into the inside edge of the frame for the picture. The stock is 3/4″ x 2-3/8″. #flairww-3:08 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The stock is too wide for the frame. I’ll mill the rabbet first, then cut it to width. It’s safer that way. #flairww -3:09 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Using the 3/4″-thick stock as a guide, I set the blade approximately 1/2″ high. #flairww -3:16 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The blade is 1/8″-wide so I estimated that width between the blade and the fence for 1/4″. #flairww -3:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first cut is done. #flairww -3:20 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I readjusted the saw and made the second cut to finish the rabbet. Notice that the offcut is not between the blade and fence. #flairww -3:23 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks For one rabbet, I find it quicker to tune up with a shoulder plane than get it perfect with the table saw. #flairww -3:30 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm… how wide should I make the frame? #flairww -3:32 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I think this width looks about right. It’s a little over 7/8″. #flairww -3:35 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks To the table saw! #flairww -3:35 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t know the last time I cut mitres and I hardly ever use my mitre saw. Today I’m doing both. #flairww -3:41 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I took my time with the mitres, ensuring that the opposite pieces matched in length. #flairww -3:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks nice. -4:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Dyami! #flairww RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworksnice. -4:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks To reinforce the mitres, I’m going to use a 4mm Domino as a spline. #flairww -4:06 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using a corner clamp to hold the pieces together while I make the cut for the Domino spline. #flairww -4:08 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks With the 4mm bit installed, I checked to see if further jigging was required for a safe and accurate cut.  I felt comfortable making the cut without any extra preparation. #flairww -4:12 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks One cut done; three to go! The splines add strength and make alignment easier when I glue up the frame. #flairww-4:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

dacaddes @FlairWoodworks Isn’t the grain going the wrong way in the spline for strength? -4:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yes, but it’s strong enough for this. #flairww RT @dacaddes: @FlairWoodworks Isn’t the grain going the wrong way in the spline for strength? -4:20 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @dacaddes I suppose that if I wanted, I could cut the tenons to make them fit in sideways so the grain runs across the joint. #flairww -4:21 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks There are ribs on the sides of the Domino tenons that I removed with a block plane to ease assembly. #flairww-4:32 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

josh_ulloa @FlairWoodworks Cool idea, would’ve never thought to do that. -4:27 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Did you see @dacaddes comment on grain direction? #flairww RT @josh_ulloa: @FlairWoodworks Cool idea, would’ve never thought to do that. -4:33 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before assembling the frame, I’m going to wire-brush the parts so I don’t have to deal with cross-grain situations. #flairww -4:35 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Outside, I charred one face of a scrap with a propane torch. Now I’ll work it with a wire brush. #flairww -4:43 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The same texture is achievable with or without the torch, but more work is needed for the untorched face. #flairww-4:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The untorched face required 30 brush strokes while the torched face required only 3. I like the colour of the torched face too. #flairww-4:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The test piece was very long so it was easy to hold while I burned one end. The actual pieces are not so easy to safely burn. #flairww -4:50 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks the torched face looks sweet! I’ve never heard of that technique! -4:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

josh_ulloa @FlairWoodworks @dacaddes For a frame of that size is strength really a concern? -4:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I laid the frame pieces across steel angle and torched them there. #flairww -5:04 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve heard of it but never used it. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster the torched face looks sweet! I’ve never heard of that technique! -5:05 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @josh_ulloa @dacaddes For this frame, the strength doesn’t really matter, but for a larger application, it’s may be an issue. #flairww -5:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks While burning/charring the wood, it momentarily caught fire several times but went out on its own almost immediately. #flairww -5:08 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks only used for Doug fir? -5:11 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster You could use this technique for any wood that has a density difference between the early and late wood. #flairww -5:13 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The coarseness of the grain makes the wood prone to splintering. I don’t mind the look though. #flairww -5:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to prefinish the part before assembly because glue removal on unfinished textured areas will not be fun. #flairww -5:20 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I applied a Dark Walnut aniline dye to the test piece. I like it so I’ll do the same to the frame. #flairww -5:24 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The alcohol-based dye dries very quickly so I’ll be able to apply a clearcoat soon. #flairww -5:34 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

kring_l @FlairWoodworks always a source of inspiration, I need to make a frame for a picture my brother got me. Now what do I have to use? -5:31 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Why do I have so many gloss and semi-gloss products in my finishing cabinet? #flairww -5:36 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve sprayed on the first coat of finish (satin polyurethane). One more should be enough. #flairww -5:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just applied the second coat. I’ll let it dry, then assemble the frame later tonight. #flairww -5:55 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks is the top of your dewalt planer the spray Booth? -5:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks You betcha! Added value! #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks is the top of your dewalt planer the spray Booth? -5:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the frame dry-fitted with a band clamp. All looks good so I’ll take it apart and apply the glue. #flairww -9:05 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The frame is assembled with glue and the Domino splines inserted. Work here is done for now. #flairww -9:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks When the glue is dry I’ll cut the splines flush and install the picture. #flairww -9:19 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Would you use glass in front of the picture? I found this thread and the answers are surprising. #flairww -9:23 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Looks good. I like using domino splines – they’re super-strong! #flairww -9:39 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan Yes, even though I installed them with the grain not running across the joint, they’ll be plenty strong. #flairww -9:40 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

josh_ulloa @FlairWoodworks I’ve used lexan from the home center and been happy with it. Crystal clear after several years. -9:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks We have a very large print with glass in front. If I use a mat, I prefer glass for clarity. If not, plexi is fine. -9:46 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @josh_ulloa Glad to hear it! #flairww -10:22 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan Hmm. Interesting. For a piece of glass this small (11″ x 14″), weight is definitely a non-issue. #flairww -10:23 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan And yes, I am using a mat. #flairww -10:25 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks I find the further the plexiglass is from the actual picture, the foggier it looks. Much clearer with real glass. #flairww -10:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan I’m very new to picture framing but have done a little reading. I was planning to put everything in a tight stack. #flairww -10:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan The picture is a photograph and not a highly-valuable piece of art. #flairww -10:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan What would you recommend that I use? 1/16″ non-glare glass? #flairww -11:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Our print is 48″x36″ with 3 mats & is numbered print of this [below].  We had it framed professionally. #flairww-11:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks How many mats? More than 1, I stay away from non-glare glass. #flairww -11:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan There are two layers to the mat. That’s what you were asking, right? #flairww -11:04 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Yes. I think 1/16″ glass is good, but I don’t like non-glare that far from picture – looks slightly foggy #flairww -11:05 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan So go with standard glass and I prevent glare by hanging it in the right place with proper lighting, right? #flairww -11:06 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Yessir! #flairww -11:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan Maybe I’ll use lots of mats and non-glare gloss for a picture of a foggy day :) #flairww -11:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Hah! Great idea :) #flairww -11:09 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

Between now and Session 2, I need to decide which type of glass (or acrylic) I want to use and purchase that.  See you next time!

Have a comment?  Can you think of any other species of wood other than fir and cedar which would work well for the wire-brushing technique?  Share it in the comments section!

4 thoughts on “Wire-Brushed Picture Frame, Session 1

  1. Great technique on the picture frame Chris, it will really accomplish what you are after for the wonderful picture!
    I’m curious if you created the artwork on your shoulder plane?

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