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Thread: strainer construction

  1. #1
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    Default strainer construction

    I'm putting together a pretty large strainer (3.5x4.5 ft) and I'm wondering what people use as a fastener for the corners and cross pieces. On smaller strainers I use v-nails, but this is too big for my little foot-powered pistorius vn-m and v-nails wont work on the cross braces. I've seen other strainers put together with corrugated fasteners and I'm wondering whether I have to just go get one of the guns at some point, or whether you can get them loose and hammer them in. Any particular models that you've found work well? Thanks!
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    Grumble Moderator Team wpfay's Avatar
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    I use a pocket cutter and screws to attach cross bracing. The Kreg pocket cutter system is relatively inexpensive and fine thread drywall screws work well for this application, so you don't need to stock up on the proprietary pocket screws. It works in wood as thin as 1/2". I also use the pocket cutter to make the attachments of the strainer to the frame. The kit also includes a vacuum adaptor that, when attached to a small shop-vac (I have a hand held Oreck for the purpose) allows for a very minimal cleanup. The only down side I can see to the Kreg system is the drill bit which requires frequent sharpening or replacement if you are doing volume work.
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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer David N Waldmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpfay View Post
    The Kreg pocket cutter system is relatively inexpensive and fine thread drywall screws work well for this application
    Ditto
    David Waldmann
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    Do you use the Kreg for the corners as well or just the cross braces? I've got one already that I love.

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    PFG Picture Framing God RParrish's Avatar
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    Dry wall screws and or nail gun. Corner braces too, usually nail gun those in.
    Randy Parrish CPF, Parrish Fine Framing & Art

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  • #6
    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer CAframer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adjframes View Post
    Do you use the Kreg for the corners as well or just the cross braces?
    Joining mitered corners with pocket holes:


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    I've always made strainers with butt joints in a pinwheel fashion rather than mitering. Pre-drill screw holes at 45 through the end of the legs near the joint from the inside.

    Put all 4 legs into the frame and screw the the pre-drilled holes into the other end of each leg. The pinwheel fashion butt joints will allow for a perfect fit without measuring. If you think you will more joint strength, pre-drill through from the outside of the joint and screw them together.
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  • #8
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God Baer Charlton's Avatar
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    About Pocket screwing..... there is a down side. (and I don't have t he cheap kit....
    I invested and use all the time the full meal deal - - and am a firm believer)

    Screws that enter directly or in any oblique angle the end grain will not hold over
    time unless the threads are designed for such application (wide flairing threads
    -- commonly referred to as "coarse"). AND they need to penetrate DEEP.

    Now-- back to Kreg. The depth of the long screws gives only a 1/2" of penetration.

    So, although Andrew posted the "official" Kreg schematic for mitered corners....

    I would either stand shoulder to shoulder with Greg....... but rather not.

    In this application, I would use at least a 3" wide strainer which I would build
    in a corner vice then pre-drilll for 6" deck screws and run at diagonals.
    Then I would corner brace with 6x6 corner plates.

    For the cross braces I would Kreg from the ends of the cross braces so I'm
    screwing into the cross grain.

    Or you could just learn the way we used to do all this quickly back in the day....

    Mechanic's vice, pre drill for 16p nails, glue.... and toe nail the braces. About
    a 15 minute job.

    We didn't get better, faster and more efficient.... we just bought more stuff
    to amuse ourselves with.

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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer CAframer's Avatar
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    One of the issues that perhaps needs to be clarified ... is this a strainer to structurally support a marginal frame, or is it a strainer (non-adjustable stretcher) for a canvas ... the latter would not be a candidate for pin-wheeling butt joints!

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    the former, for structural support.

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    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God prospero's Avatar
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    I'm about to make a strainer frame as an inner support. About 65"x 70". Mitering the corners would be the simplest, but a mitered join is not the strongest animal. I don't want to use mending plates and even putting biscuits in the corners wouldn't be man enough.

    So I thought of a half-lap join. Problem is, cutting them by hand is a of a bit long-winded exercise. And I need to cross-brace it in both directions.

    Bright Idea (?)

    I got some 4" wide x 1/2" thick pine cladding. If I use this double-thick I can make (dead accurate) half-lap joins on the corners and also the cross braces. The frame will be 1" thick and because it is laminated should be very stable. Plenty of glue and a few screws - job done.

    Haven't done it yet, but I think the theory is sound.

    Good Idea[]

    Bad Idea[]

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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer David N Waldmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prospero View Post

    Good Idea[X]

    Bad Idea[]
    In that it will be strong, and for a one-time job the labor won't be too bad. But you wouldn't want to have to make 100 that way...
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    Grumble Moderator Team wpfay's Avatar
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    Just made one 48" X 65 1/4" to go inside a VH 1" X 2" maple stem joined with Hoffmann dovetail keys and Corner Weld. I v-nail the strainer's corners and pocket screw the cross-bracing. (2 short and 1 long with half laps). The strainer is clear Radiata 1" x 2" which coupled with the maple frame should be plenty strong.

    Baer, I understand your point about screwing into end grain, but experience has shown me that pockets cut with the grain also split out pretty easily. I guess a half lap or mortoise joint would be stronger, but is it really needed?
    I have also screwed through the strainer into the cross brace using 2.5" finishing screws with good results.
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    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God prospero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David N Waldmann View Post
    In that it will be strong, and for a one-time job the labor won't be too bad. But you wouldn't want to have to make 100 that way...
    True. Though for you could streamline production on that scale by making jigs and suchlike.

    I should mention that I'm going to use the strainer frame to hang the thing from. The bottom of the ledge formed by the top rail will engage with a same-thickness battens screwed to the wall. So a bit of over-engineering won't go amiss. I did my bathroom mirror that way and it's solid as a rock.

    Not quite so big though.
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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer David N Waldmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prospero View Post
    I should mention that I'm going to use the strainer frame to hang the thing from. The bottom of the ledge formed by the top rail will engage with a same-thickness battens screwed to the wall.
    I've seen that quite a few of our customers do that, beveling the bottom edge of the top rail to make an integral French cleat. Very efficient and an excellent way for hanging a large piece.
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    So I did some tests and I had a couple of issues. First, when screwing in the cross brace, it seems pretty easy to split the basswood. Should I just ease it in slower? Also, when using 1/2" stock, the jig puts the screw too low so it pops out the other side. Any solution to that besides thicker stock or shorter screws?

    On a somewhat related note: basswood vs. poplar. What do you use for stock? I know VT HW only carries basswood. David, what is the reasoning behind that?

    Thanks!

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    Grumble Moderator Team wpfay's Avatar
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    Are you adjusting the setting on the Kreg jig for 1/2" stock? I have found that I can use longer screws if I pilot drill after clamping. I can tweak the angle a bit so a 1.25" screw doesn't come out the other side of the crossbar. I have some 6" long twist bits that are used on my Porter Cable pocket cutter that work just fine for this purpose.
    I use either Radiata pine from HD or Lowes or finger joined #1 pine from LJ for my strainers. I would use VTHW strainers if they weren't so geographically challenging, but FLHW doesn't have the same panache does it?
    Are your pockets with the grain or cross grain? I have had little luck with pockets that follow the grain.
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  • #18
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    Are you adjusting the setting on the Kreg jig for 1/2" stock?
    yes, I think so.

    Are your pockets with the grain or cross grain?
    these are with the grain, for the crossbar piece

    I would use VTHW strainers if they weren't so geographically challenging
    luck for me I'm only 125 miles from them

    thanks for the tips. I suppose I could use HD pine in a pinch, but would rather not.

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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer David N Waldmann's Avatar
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    We use Basswood for our standard strainer stock because it is more stable than poplar. Some of our customers prefer the additional strength of Poplar and we custom mill it for them but you have to order a fair amount in order to make it cost effective.
    David Waldmann
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  • #20
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    Finished product. 1x3 poplar, worked out great!

    searleback.jpg

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