Checking Chops

Lisa A

True Grumbler
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Posts
82
From
Haymarket, VA
As a fairly new framer, I have recently graduated to getting chops with thumbnails instead of chop/join. My question is, what do you usually look for when you get these to make sure that they will join together well? I've seen some posts about sanding, is this to bring any slight variations in the mitre to exactly 45 degrees?

One thing I've seen on a few I've received is that the moulding does not lay flat on my work surface, is this normal or does it point out some warping? What types of issues would cause you to send back a chop to be replaced?

I appreciate any advice you can give on this since I've got enough to worry about with my budding joining skills, let alone have problems with the cuts compounding it. Thanks in advance... :D
 

wally pasbrig

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Posts
147
From
South Amana, IA
Hey Lisa,

I think I would be concerned about the package being flat to my table (provided your table is flat). If it won't lay flat to the table, how will be be agaisnt a wall?

Wally
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
Lisa, be wary of thumb-nails. Several of us have seen the plastic inserts break over time. I recently had a frame come in (not mine, gratefully) with four busted corners and eight busted thumbnails. The frame had not been dropped. It happened on the wall.

I love my sander, but I probably wouldn't use it on a Thumb-nailed frame since the inserts may no longer fit. Yes, the sander is used to true-up corners that are slightly off of 45 degrees or to clean up corners from frames that had to be broken apart for some reason.

Nearly any frame rail should have a flat surface on the bottom. When in doubt, I set the rail on the top of my Vacuseal press, 'cause I think it's a flat surface, or on a piece of 1/4" plate glass. If it doesn't lay flat, it almost certainly isn't going to join by any means.

If a joined frame doesn't lay flat, it may indicate one or more bad corners rather than a warped moulding. Or it can be both.
 

Lisa A

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Thread starter
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Haymarket, VA
Wally, You're right, it won't be flat against the wall either but then again, it is an oil on canvas so it's good to have the air circulating around it too.
I'm more concerned about the corners lining up though.

Ron, I hadn't heard that about thumbnails but I guess they can only hold so much. I am putting CornerWeld on the entire surface plus inside the thumbnails. Will this help? Have the busted ones you've seen had glue remnants?

As for the rails not being flat, I don't mean to sound like they are really bad but when pressing on either end there is a slight wobble. But I'll have to check the work surface with a level.
 

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 6, 2001
Posts
16,932
From
Wisconsin
Lisa, the frames with busted thumb-nails were all glued.

I don't mean to imply that it's an epidemic. I've only seen a few of these and they were larger frames with some weight from the glass, but at least one of them was my own frame.

Sometimes there's enough wood removed by the thumbnail router that the gluing surface is actually compromised. It's also very difficult to repair one of these with an underpinner or brad nailer.

I've also had thumbnails poking out of the side of the frame, but that's just a clumsy thumbnail operator or a case where the moulding was too small to accommodate the wedges.
 

stud d

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Posts
2,382
From
next too you
lisa i am in virginia also, is the company from this area? i used to work for a wholesaler in the region that had some warping and twisting going on in many sticks of moulding. if it is warped or twisted you will most likely not be able to use it and have good corners. your frames will gap either on the back (the portion that would lie parallel to the wall or the outside corner the bottom of the V will open up. and with these gaps your frames will be much weaker. if you are looking at compaines in the area i could tell you of some people in the area. just let me know, there are a few folks on here from maryland and virigina so i am sure they would give you imput on vendors in the area if you need the help.

d
 

Lisa A

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Jan 20, 2004
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Haymarket, VA
d,

The company is actually a well-known vendor though I'd rather not name them here since I'm not experienced enough to say this is their fault. But they are not local but have gotten everything I've ordered very quickly so I'm pretty happy with them so far. I'm still learning techniques to get my corners lined up, inserts in, flat backs, and getting anything in the design of the moulding to line up.
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I could use some help on this if anyone can provide some tips or point me in the direction of some reference materials. I've been going to trade shows and taking as many classes as possible but could always use more information.

As for vendors in the area, the only one I'm aware of is Turner and haven't ordered any chops from them yet, just supplies, and they've been good so far. Please let me know of some others you'd recommend. I appreciate your help!
 

Lisa A

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Thread starter
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
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From
Haymarket, VA
BTW Dermot,

Thanks for the link to FACTS, it was very informative. I had been there once before but didn't appreciate it as much as now.

Lisa
 
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