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Minimum equipment needed to make large floater frames?

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rickwtx

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I paint new art on 48"x60" canvases and I sell them very cheaply - typically $120 to $180. I'd like to offer a floater frame option - basically build a few and have them onsite (outside art sales) to put on the art customers chose for an additional $100. Because I believe art should be affordable I have to keep that same mantra with frames too. I know it sounds crazy. If this is possible using baseboard molding (which I can buy used), what is the minimum equipment I can get away with - decent miter box/saw and a brad nailer? These will be painted white or black and very simple - 4-piece frame and small brackets holding the canvas. I know pro framers will be angry about a post like this, but my customers are often very young or lower middle income and not clients for pro framing anyway.
 

Rick Granick

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In addition to the miterbox and good saw, you will need a vise that holds the corner together while gluing and nailing (gotta do both). Also, you will need some hardware/screws, etc. to attach the paintings into the frames, and for hanging.
 
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Ylva

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I don't think anyone would be 'angry' about a post like that. It's more that as professional framers, we do far more than just put a frame around it.

If it works for you and you sell and make a decent living, no one will blame you for that. You don't have the overhead that we do, or get the same professional results that we would be able to achieve.

I don't know exactly how you would build a floater frame with ready to find materials. What do you use to make frames now? Is there a specific reason to use floater frames?
 

David Hewitt

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APRIL 2021:
I'm a traditional artist that paints on canvas and sells them very cheaply (typically $150 for a 36x48)... I have a small following and I've sold almost 80 canvases since January. I want to offer a simple frame to buyers that I can build and apply on the spot. This means I need a plan to be able to put a frame around a piece in say 15 minutes.. outdoors, with only cordless tools. I currently have NOTHING except cordless drills. So... I need a plan... here is how I have figured this would work: I buy a mitre saw and cut 24", 30", 36", 40", 48", and 60" pieces of 2.25x.5 ash (or something similar and light), buy a Kreg setup and predrill pocket holes, stain 1/3 of them natural, 1/3 a honey color, and 1/3 black, buy small L brackets I can attach to back of canvas frame and then to frame and assemble on the spot. Am I crazy or would this work? I have a small art trailer so I can take along four+ of each size, since I don't expect to ever sell more than 2 frame setups per trip out. I sell in a downtown area twice a month and on a typical day I will sell 8-15 canvases. My frame has to be affordable since I can't charge more for the frame than I do for the art. Ideas?

I thought your post was familiar. I think a lot of what you are asking is in the answers to your post in April. Just click on your name upper right, then go too content to find it.
But if I were in your shoes I would buy a simple miter saw, ( you'll want good blades ) a vise, some brads ( always pre drill for the brads ) and then you will be off to a good start. Good Luck.

th
00354151.jpg
 
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wpfay

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Something to consider is the inherent weakness in a floater frame and the difficulty of managing frames of that size without popping a miter joint.
A 48" X 60" floater is going to depend a good deal on the stretcher bars for its structural integrity.

An inexpensive option you might want to consider is a strip frame like we used in college. Typically made from wooden lathing strips and painted or stained, they were nailed directly to the sides of the stretcher. The top and bottom pieces were nailed on first and then trimmed flush with the stretcher, and the side pieces were added, cutting them flush with the outsides of the top and bottom pieces. No special equipment needed.
 

rickwtx

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Yeah sorry, I have two 90-degree clamps from Rockler
APRIL 2021:


I thought your post was familiar. I think a lot of what you are asking is in the answers to your post in April. Just click on your name upper right, then go too content to find it.
But if I were in your shoes I would buy a simple miter saw, ( you'll want good blades ) a vise, some brads ( always pre drill for the brads ) and then you will be off to a good start. Good Luck.

th
00354151.jpg
yes sorry, I also joined a facebook woodworking group and I thought I posted this there. Thanks for the tip about pre-drilling holes for brads, I would have never thought of that. Quick question about stability - when making the miter cut on a piece 60" or 48" long is there is a "trick" to making sure the board is not at an angle? (i.e. the weight of 60" material off to the left of the saw might skew it.). If I was just thinking this thru I could cut/make a base for the board to sit on to the left down my work bench. Or am I over thinking this.
 

rickwtx

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Something to consider is the inherent weakness in a floater frame and the difficulty of managing frames of that size without popping a miter joint.
A 48" X 60" floater is going to depend a good deal on the stretcher bars for its structural integrity.

An inexpensive option you might want to consider is a strip frame like we used in college. Typically made from wooden lathing strips and painted or stained, they were nailed directly to the sides of the stretcher. The top and bottom pieces were nailed on first and then trimmed flush with the stretcher, and the side pieces were added, cutting them flush with the outsides of the top and bottom pieces. No special equipment needed.
The way I sell art is bit unique. 3 times a month I show up at a city park in a downtown area and bring between 30 and 60 canvas pieces. Last Saturday I sold 24 pieces, most large. So my plan is to have 4 large pieces already with a floater frame attached (for stability during transport in my trailer) but give people the option of me removing a frame and moving to a different piece. I plan on having 4 frames available, 2 white and 2 black. And you are correct, a strip frame is more what I had in mind - 4 strips of wood and 2 brackets per side. The miter edge might not necessary but I want them to look fairly nice. I do have a lot of experience with finish and stain so I may opt for a deep stain/poly.
 

Nikodeumus

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Something to consider is the inherent weakness in a floater frame and the difficulty of managing frames of that size without popping a miter joint.
A 48" X 60" floater is going to depend a good deal on the stretcher bars for its structural integrity.

An inexpensive option you might want to consider is a strip frame like we used in college. Typically made from wooden lathing strips and painted or stained, they were nailed directly to the sides of the stretcher. The top and bottom pieces were nailed on first and then trimmed flush with the stretcher, and the side pieces were added, cutting them flush with the outsides of the top and bottom pieces. No special equipment needed.
I had a local artist do exactly that method.
Her artwork was tiny though. No larger than 5x7.
She sold her artwork in local galleries and art shops quite well.
The DIY style worked with her aesthetic and her customers probably enjoyed the artwork more like she framed it than if I were to have made professional frames.

No judgement on your philosophy of affordable art. Good for you.

wpfay's advice about weak miters is sound.
It wouldn't be great for your customers if the frame fell apart while being transported home.
A lot of torsion and stress will be applied to the corners of a frame made of thin baseboard material that size.
Use both nails and glue in the corners for sure. The glue is what's really important. Don't go cheap on that, regular wood glue won't be as strong as you will need.
Perhaps even some additional cross or corner bracing would be advisable as well?

You can do it. Just take some time to learn and test before selling a product your are new to learning.
 
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