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Opinions Wanted How do YOU join your wood frames? April Survey

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Mike Labbe, Apr 3, 2009.


What is your shop's PRIMARY joining method for wood frames? (includes glue)

Poll closed May 1, 2009.
  1. None/Does Not Apply/Not A Framer/Don't sell wood frames

    0 vote(s)
  2. Vnailer

    166 vote(s)
  3. Nails

    14 vote(s)
  4. Thumb Nails

    15 vote(s)
  5. Wedges

    0 vote(s)
  6. Biscuits

    3 vote(s)
  7. Pre-Joined by vendor

    8 vote(s)
  8. Splines

    1 vote(s)
  9. Glue ONLY

    6 vote(s)
  10. OTHER (please explain in forum)

    1 vote(s)
  1. Bandsaw

    Bandsaw MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Hey Baer,

    I'm having trouble envisioning the carpenter that built the frame I worked on back in 1834 setting his saw for a 44 degree cut - Bosch or Festool?
  2. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've just put together a frame using 3 1/2" flat moulding, 1 1/4" thick.
    Outside dimensions about 75x 63". Put two biscuits in each corner, quiclkly glued it and put a webbing strap around the whole thing. Then put 2x2 10mm v-nails in and fixed two L-plates on each corner. Apart from rearranging half the worshop and wishing I had arms like a gibbon it went fairly well.

    Interested to hear how others would have approached the job. :popc:
  3. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Two observations. A sick dog is a miserable and expensive emergency for all concerned. I hope the hound is better soon. What kind of hound? Hunting dogs make great companions.

    Regarding the glue business, I have only one thing to add. I have seen dozens of broken frames come in to the shop with plastic joins and no glue. Look how quickly a manufacturer's corner sample will fall apart. They rarely use glue. I have just sent a chop and join back for the 3rd time--a difficult profile in a glossy finish that we decided not to order in length. It looked like there was no glue in the join, and the cut and join was garbage.
  4. redwolfbuddy

    redwolfbuddy True Grumbler

    Since we're on the subject...

    I found that when using Elmer's type wood glue - the strongest bond comes from applying a thin coat to both sides, let sit for about 5 mins, then reapply a little thicker coat, and clamp. The guy who taught me to make frames said this is to compensate for the glue soaking into the wood not leaving enough in the seam to make a strong bond. Seemed to work very well for me.

    Then I started using CornerWeld. That technique doesn't seem to work using that glue because A.) it doesn't seem to soak in, and B.) it seems to set up too fast and gets all gummy if you wait a few mins and apply more.

    I haven't done the scientific tests, but my belief is that the Elmer's type bond (using the above technique) is stronger, but definately waaaay slower, as you must let each joint set up for a good long while (and I always let them set up overnight before doing the last corner lest the finished joints should "pop open" as I do the last joint).

    All that being said...I still can't imagine not having either a couple v-nails or at least two nail/brads in each corner...maybe I should just trust the glue...

    When I use brad/nails, I usually drill (using a beheaded brad) - and I do this right after setting the joint in the clamps (I've fashioned little leather pads that allow me to quite tightly clamp without damage - this prevents slippage when hammering).

    When I v-nail, I let the joint set up fairly well (2 or so hours using Elmer's type, or about 20 mins using CornerWeld). It seems when I don't allow the joint to set up sufficiently, the v-nail _sometimes_ creates a tiny gap that wasn't there before v-nailing.
  5. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Must have been Festool, they think they invented wood. :p

    1833.... that's easy... would have been a miter box then shooting jig. If your jig is set exactly 45, then stick a business card or used condom packet under the operative end and shoot the join face. Close enough to 44 for Masonic work. :party:
  6. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You aren't supposed to use the packet.:help::icon11::party:
  7. Bogframe

    Bogframe SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I promoted that clamp for a number of years and it's a good clamp. The manufacturer, however, is no framer. The atrocities I have personally seen him commit on defenseless art would be enough to cause the toughest of us to become queasy.

    No, he did not use mechanical fasteners on his frames, even the profiles that were less than 1/2" thick. I saw a lot of catastrophic failures in my time with him.

    Here's my 2¢ on this subject. If a frame is cut with a perfect miter and sanded, it's possible to join it without mechanical fasteners, providing there is sufficient area on the join to support the weight of the framing package.
    If I were to use a 3/4" profile on a 20 X 30 frame with glass and a triple mat, I'd want at least v-nail to back up the glue. Why risk not using it?
  8. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It's all you have left after Friday night prospero. :D
  9. ken

    ken True Grumbler


    I am new to framing but have done woodworking for quite a while. What is the preferred glue for picture frames. What type of glue is cornerweld. After looking at sevaral different cut moldings it looks like you may need a different glue than your normal yellow glue??
  10. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Crner Weld has a plasticizer in it that keeps it from becoming brittle. The problem with traditional wood glue is that when it fails it is 100%. Picture frames tend to get bumped on a corner over time and the leverage of the long sticks cause glue joints to "Pop". When you hear the pop with traditional wood glue there is nothing holding the frame together except fasteners.

    Since you are new to framing be warned that this whole glue only argument is mostly philosophical and fasteners should always be used in 99% of frames produced. Be it a V-nail, Thumbnail, Brad, Biscut or Spline you should be using one of them in your frames.
  11. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Ken, you can actually use any kind of glue you want; and the diversity of the industry proves that. Just don't use that famous gooy jelly stuff from your state. :icon11:
  12. Sister

    Sister MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Were you a fly on the wall when we did our large flag jobs? We pretty much did everything you did except for the biscuits and webbing. We did cross nail the corners (I know, I know) and added support strips vertically on the back. Those frames can fall down a staircase and not come apart!

    I have no scientific reason as to why I glue and v-nail other than it is the way I was taught. I would come closer to using glue only before using v-nails only, but being paranoid of comebacks of any kind, I will continue to use both. It's along the same reasoning as using atg and glue; the atg holds while the glue dries. I would never use just atg when lining the inside of shadowboxes.
  13. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Corner Weld is probably a good product, I know we buy it by the gallon for the frame shop (Lynn, our frame maker orders the stuff) but I have frames I made over 30 years ago with yellow glue whose corners are still tight (they were side nailed back then). I'm not framing for the ages so 30 years is plenty good enough. We just had sort of a reunion and I talked to some of the people who started with us as well as the current staff (the least senior member, Janelle, has been here 12 years and Talmsi, the most senior, has 29 years) and there is no memory of any of our custom frames failing. Plenty of the FIY frames failed but usually in the shop as soon as they were incorrectly joined and were repaired on the spot. Oops, some teak frames have been problematic (actually failed, but what are euphemisms for if not to soften cold reality?) but we didn't know how to glue them and that was years ago. We understand the difficulty with teak and glue now.

    In the cabinet shop we use all sorts of glues, mostly Tight Bond (is it III, now?)
    For stuff that goes on boats we use two part epoxy (West System with the neat dispenser/mixers).
  14. SGregg

    SGregg True Grumbler

    Elmers Carpenter glue.
  15. maycele

    maycele Grumbler

  16. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer


    The results are in!

    What is your shop's PRIMARY joining method for wood frames? (223 participants)

    78% Vnailer
    07% Nails
    07% Thumbnails
    04% Pre-JOINED by vendor
    02% GLUE ONLY (controversial, see thread)
    01% OTHER
    01% Biscuits
    01% Splines
    00% Wedges
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