Frame separation tool

TimPZ

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As most framers would know, from time to time it is necessary to pull apart a frame and re-pin it. Usually I will tap on end of the moulding near the corner with some protection over the moulding to prevent damage and try to slide the joint apart. Does anyone know of a tool that would enable strong pressure to be exerted to both mouldings so that they slide apart - something like a clamp that expands rather than contracts.
 

Ylva

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I have never had much luck, unless I just glued the corner and there is still wiggle room to pull it apart. I glue and v-nail and sometimes I manage to pull it apart without damaging both legs. Sometimes it is easier to just cut new legs.

If for a customer, I rarely do it. If I damage the frame, I owe then a new one. So I sell them a new one instead.
 

wpfay

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Hi TimPZ, and welcome to the G!

I'm assuming that the glue has failed and you need to rejoin the frame.

If the joint is held together with wire brads, a traditional framing vice can be used to help pull the rails apart. One leg is secured in the vice, but the other is on the outside of the adjacent vice jaw rather than inside it. The vice jaw is then moved outward in successive stages and used as a fulcrum to lever the rails apart. Depending on how it is nailed will determine your chance of success.

V-nails are a different beast, but if you have a joint where the v-nails have not been stacked, they can be pulled out at the foot of the frame.
There are a couple different methods. One involves excavating some of the wood from around the exposed end of the v-nail until enough is exposed that you can get a purchase on it with a pair of flush-cut wire cutters. The other is to drill a hole (3mm or so) into the foot at a shallow angle that also makes a hole in the v-nail. A small diameter steel bar is inserted and used to leverage the v-nail out enough so it can be removed with pliers.

No guarantees with either method, and Ylva's suggestion of frame replacement is often the fall-back solution.

Another thought is to simply knock the rails apart and resurface the joint, making the frame slightly smaller, if that is an option for the customer.
 

Rick Granick

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This previous post contains my "secret method" for disassembling v-nailed frames. It works best on joints that don't have stacked v-nails, although if you are careful and can get the v-nails loosened enough, you can sometimes salvage those too.
:cool: Rick

 

Romanf

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As most framers would know, from time to time it is necessary to pull apart a frame and re-pin it. Usually I will tap on end of the moulding near the corner with some protection over the moulding to prevent damage and try to slide the joint apart. Does anyone know of a tool that would enable strong pressure to be exerted to both mouldings so that they slide apart - something like a clamp that expands rather than contracts.
You may be able to use a standard woodworking clamp. Many of them like from Bessey can reverse the clamp pads so instead of compressing the joint, they can slowly push apart the joint. These clamps are quite reasonably priced (read cheap) and come in all different sizes.
 

TimPZ

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I have never had much luck, unless I just glued the corner and there is still wiggle room to pull it apart. I glue and v-nail and sometimes I manage to pull it apart without damaging both legs. Sometimes it is easier to just cut new legs.

If for a customer, I rarely do it. If I damage the frame, I owe then a new one. So I sell them a new one instead.
Thanks - yes, this is pretty much my experience. I will usually give pulling it apart a try, but am prepared to replace the frame if necessary.
 

TimPZ

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Jan 23, 2016
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Hi TimPZ, and welcome to the G!

I'm assuming that the glue has failed and you need to rejoin the frame.

If the joint is held together with wire brads, a traditional framing vice can be used to help pull the rails apart. One leg is secured in the vice, but the other is on the outside of the adjacent vice jaw rather than inside it. The vice jaw is then moved outward in successive stages and used as a fulcrum to lever the rails apart. Depending on how it is nailed will determine your chance of success.

V-nails are a different beast, but if you have a joint where the v-nails have not been stacked, they can be pulled out at the foot of the frame.
There are a couple different methods. One involves excavating some of the wood from around the exposed end of the v-nail until enough is exposed that you can get a purchase on it with a pair of flush-cut wire cutters. The other is to drill a hole (3mm or so) into the foot at a shallow angle that also makes a hole in the v-nail. A small diameter steel bar is inserted and used to leverage the v-nail out enough so it can be removed with pliers.

No guarantees with either method, and Ylva's suggestion of frame replacement is often the fall-back solution.

Another thought is to simply knock the rails apart and resurface the joint, making the frame slightly smaller, if that is an option for the customer.
Thanks - all good tips. My joints are always done with V nails, which makes it harder. I will try your suggestions.
 

Rick Granick

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I have never had much luck, unless I just glued the corner and there is still wiggle room to pull it apart. I glue and v-nail and sometimes I manage to pull it apart without damaging both legs
That's something I like about Cornerweld glue. It makes a nice strong joint, but if you ever do need to reverse it, it will pop fairly easily (on a moulding that's not too wide). I hold the frame resting on a corner on my anti-fatigue mat and push down on the opposite corner, or bounce it, until I hear it pop, then do the other two opposite corners. Once they are initially popped like that, I wiggle them around to loosen the v-nails.
:cool: Rick
 
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