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?

    1. Hi Ron,

      I find textures fascinating and I like how the frame is progressing.

      A friend of mine did the engraving on the shoulder plane for me. Isn’t it great?

      Chris

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