Take it apart.



I am really curious to know if anyone out there has developed a technique or aparatus for taking apart a frame. Once it has been glued and v-nailed etc. do you have a method or tool to knock it apart so that it is back to its four legged pieces.????.
There has to be a better way than what I am doing..there just has to be a more controlled method.
PLease share!
This isn't something that I do on a regular basis but, if I have to tear a mitered joint apart for one reason or another, I clamp it in a miter vise backwards (sort of) with the offending joint hanging out over the backside of the vise. Then using a scrap of foamcore as a pad, I strike the outward nonclamped leg of the joint with a shot filled dead blow hammer. They have a vinyl head and concentrate a lighter blow into a more efficient hit.

I only do this if something unforseen happens while building a frame, like the time the frame split from some squirrely grain and I had to get the split rail off the frame before everything dried. I have also had occasion to tear a rail off of a frame if it came from a different production run of moulding and had a slightly different profile than the rest of the frame.

I call Chuck Norris and he knocks all 4 legs apart cleanly with 1 swift roundhouse kick.

If he's not available I put the joints of 2 opposing corners on the edge of the worktable, face up, and apply pressure until the joint starts to break on all 4 corners then continue to wiggle them.
After the "cracking" of the apposing corners over the edge of the table.. comes the rice bags and the dead blow to beat the living snot out of the offending . . . .

sorry, got kind of carried away.

So you lay on the leg that is on the table and holding the rice bag on the "floating" leg, you smack the bag untill the floater is free of the restrained leg... [oh, nails were so much easier]

Then you hang the end with the V-nails, over the edge and slip the Slutzenfronger over the exposed V-nail and SMACK THE . . .

sorry, got carried away again.

I'll behave now. Really. I'm all right.

Could I get some water here?

Yes, um . . . what was the question again?
There are as many ways to take a frame apart as there are ways to put them together.

I clamp one leg in a Stanley-type vise (as if I were joining it) and place the other leg on the OUTSIDE of the movable part of the vise. Then I back that side of the vise out slowly to break the glue joint.

Or you can build a shadowbox out of it, filled with priceless memorabilia and then drop it down a flight of stairs while hanging it.

(That was, I think, 1988 - about the same time I stopped advertising hanging services.)
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
I clamp one leg in a Stanley-type vise (as if I were joining it) and place the other leg on the OUTSIDE of the movable part of the vise. Then I back that side of the vise out slowly to break the glue joint.


That's exactly how I was taught to break mitered joints apart that were bradded together. As long as they aren't bradded in both directions, your method slides the joints apart and pulls the brads out all in the same movement. All you need to do then is extract the brads from the pulled leg.

Great? minds think alike, eh?

(Now what brought THAT idiom to mind??)

I start the same way as Paul does. Once the corners are loosened, I twist them a bit to loosen the v-vails in their grooves. Then I lay the frame on the tabletop face up and put a pair of needlenose pliers under one side of the corner to raise it up a bit. Then, as Baer stated, I hit the unsupported side of the corner with a rubber mallet (using whatever for padding to protect the finish). Repeat this on all four corners. Then to remove the v-nails from each leg, put the pliers underneath again and clamp a Vise-Grip onto v-nail (one at a time) and hit the Vise-Grip with the mallet, which backs the V-nail out the same way it went in. Repeat until finished.
If the frame is to be made significantly smaller, I just eliminate all the muss and fuss by feeding each corner into the bandsaw twice and cutting out the inch-or-so on each corner containing the v-nails.
:cool: Rick
well I was hoping for some special know how or gimmick for an answer. Sometimes a customer will come in and want to use his frame but with a smaller picture..so its down to the basement I go and look for my trusty sledgehammer. :)
When I knock the tar out of it I always get them apart but because they are "V" nailed they either stay in place or come out and leave a large gap and splintering wood. I have yet to learn how to remove those "V"'s with surgical expertice. Fortunately I have to make the frame smaller so its over to my dbl.compound miter I must go to finish up. I have yet to establish a certain amount of loss so I never know what size I may end up with. Is 4" to much to be taking off? Just what is the min. amount that I can be expecting to loose. Sometimes those "V" nails only mess up a small run on the rail, sometimes it can be several inches that I have to cut off.
Funny we spend so much time and enerygy and money making sure that those frames are well joined and then we turn around and smack em upside the head with a two by four..and complain because they won't just come apart. ha! Can't win! Someone ought to invent such a gadget ( a frame smacker ). Make a fortune and retire for life.
trapper, as Rick pointed out , you can saw out the corner with a hand saw or in his case a band saw before resizing the frame. If done carefully you can lose as little as an inch of length on each rail. If you saw on only one side of the joint, you can split off the remaining material, exposing the v-nails which can then be pulled.

Another option, if the wood is soft enough and the v-nails haven't been stacked, is to put the frame face down on the bench and using a sharp chisel, relieve a bit of the wood around one leg of the v-nail. Once exposed, you can take a pair of side-cuts and work the v-nail out the back. Then its simply a matter of breaking or sawing the joint open.

One other option, if you can afford to lose a blade width of material is to saw through the v-nails with a POS blade. I don't do this often, but have been known to in a pinch. I use either the table saw or the power miter box.
Well Rick if it is being used to cut through a v-nail it just must be a kryptonite, molybdenum hollow ground high tensile carbon steel. Either that or a peas of **** old blade with a gap in it from cutting through hidden nails in those old frames customers always ask us to cut down!
When I break down v-nailed frames I like to take off at least a 1/2" (1/4" per side) to get rid of the wood weakened from the v-nails.
What I do is stand the frame on the floor and maybe put my foot lightly on the bottom rail of the frame. Then I carefully wiggle the frame sideways back and forth until the glue joints break.

Then I put the frame upside down on my work table with one rail hanging over the edge. (if you don't have a soft cover on your table, you can use an old suede matboard) Then whack the backside of the overhanging rail with your hammer to drive the frame from the v-nails. (some wood will come apart nice, some will break a chunk of wood out. depends on the wood) Repeat for all 4 corners.

Then for the rails that have the v-nails left in them, put the bottom of the frame on the table with the v-nails overhanging the edge. Grab the v-nail from the bottom with diagonal cutters. Hold onto the cutters tightly and lift up the frame then whack it down on the table. The table will stop the frame and your hand and the cutters will keep going and pull out the v-nail.

That's it.
it seems that those pesky little "V-nails " are the culprit. Wacking the tar out of it seems to be a universal method. I have found that while this may break aprt the glue it does nothing to aid in the removal of the nail. In-fact most of the time the wack causes the wood to break away with it leaving a gap as does the pulling out the nail. Not a place to put another one in. I wonder if fillig those holes up with some wood putty first would help? Anyone tried this? Cutting away is the best so far but the downside is your left with a smaller frame and find yourself wondering if trimming the art is worth it..In most cases NO. If a customer want to trim down a frame I usualy make sure it is several inches larger than needed to make room for any errors along the way. I have blades designed for cutting through just about any material, but for the most part I dont bother I jsut cut throough the outer edge and waist the in between. I am wondering why a jack of sorts exerting downward pressure on the joint could not also remove the "v" as well as brreak the glus joint all at the same time. It would save a wack and its consequences..YES...NO..? I wished someone would please invent this thing for us -
I say "sell them a NEW frame"
I have used all of the above.

There is no magic way but once you hear the glue crack there is no turning back!
Once you hear that glue crack your in like Flynn!

Crack it. Whack it. Trim 'er up!

I love taking apart frames
What I like even better is breaking glass. No faster way to get rid of frustration. Just one smack and man oh man..! funny it breaks when you dont want it too ( to, two , too, I dont know , pick one ) and it creates frustration..so you smack it ( Break it ) to get rid of the frustration it just created...Talk about a round Robin..:)
I do the frame wiggling/glue cracking thing and sometimes I do the whack it thing.

Sometimes, if one leg has a problem/damage and the frame is rectangular, with a fair difference in short/long sides, as opposed to all sides equal, or almost, and the moulding is bread and butter stuff, I'll think - well the worst that's going to happen is I'll end up turning the long sides into short ones and have to cut new long ones.

So I'll hang the offending side over the bench, this side is going in the bin, whatever, press down on the rest, best I can, then give the offending side a good whack with a hammer.

SOMETIMES the leg comes right out with no damage to the two it was attached to, the 'V' nails always seem to come with it.

Remove 'V' nails, use the leg to re-set the morso to cut another. If it's a short side then the morso will usualy still be set - I always cut the long sides first.

Glass breaking IS fun isn't it Trapper - I relieve frustration by setting about my glass bin with a hammer and turning the contents to dust!
Usually when the above has failed miserably - e.g. only one end pops out, complete with 'V' nails, but it springs back up and the 'V' nails land on top of the good leg they came out of.

I still want someone to invent this whacky gadget..HA
For the most part they all end up in what I call "my birdcage pile" Someday I will use them for making birdcages out of.
I am the original pac-rat. I use to have a small oven used for melting glass in. Want to get another and melt some of that glass into shapes...! Never done it before ( with glass )but I think it might be a kewl idea. If not what the heck I can always smash it again and have a second time of fun..,fun fun :)
Roboframer I must not be wiggling right cuz all my pieces end up destroyed by the "V" and it never comes out. Lets see I wiggle by doing the twist while wacking...is that right? Anyone have a better wiggle let me know ha!