Thin mouldings - wide picture

Lori M.

May 23, 2003
I am hoping some of the experienced framers here can help me with something.

I have a customer who was really set on a 3/4" moulding for a 32" wide by 15" high print. After putting it all together, the moulding seems a little to flimsy, I can actually pull the centre of the long side out about 1/2".

Is there any hard and fast rules about the width of mouldings and the size of the frame that I should be aware of or any way to solve this problem.

Thanks kindly,
It can be done. If deep enough a strainer frame can be inserted inside the other and screwed to it from the inside, if not a rigid support panel (masonite) that overlaps the back of the frame can be screwed to the back.

All wood is not the same. Some will not carry much load (soft woods) and others are very strong (oak, ash, maple, cherry etc). It is a factor of the cross-section area of the moulding and the actual strength of the wood. The deeper the moulding, the more cross-section area there will be. The comment of a strainer in back made out of wood (basically a stacked frame) will add strength without being seen.
In that situation I use "pipe tape" in the center from top to bottom. This is a steel band about 1/2" wide with holes about every 1/4". This is used by plumbers to hang pipes from rafters and things. If you take a pair of tin snips and cut it to length (ie. top to bottom.) trim to clean the edges and put a screw into the moulding through a hole in the tape at each end, it will hold the moulding together in the center and stabilize the frame. This "tape" is very stiff and can be purchased from a place like Home Depot for about $10 per 100 feet. Remember not to pull the moulding together so much that you elliminate the 1/8" expansion allowance.
Thankyou, I like the "pipe tape" idea. I know exactly what you are talking about. Would you put that on underneath your dust covering or on top.

Thanks again,
I put the tape on under the dust cover because I think it looks better that way. The dust cover sits a little neater if you put hte tape on top, but of course you have this strip of steel running up the back. I like it covered.
Keep in mind that while strapping may keep the frame from bowing if you pick it up by the top rail (which you should'nt do of course) it won't do anything to strengthen the corners or where you attach hangers. If those are the concerns you should follow one of the other suggestions. Terry
WallBuddies will strengthen the corners - at least the top two - and make it possible, even easy, to hang the frame straight when it's done.

(No, I never get tired of talking about WBs.)
I usually use a 3"strip of mat across the back from top to bottom and if need be ,3 or 4" triangles on the corners secured with wood glue and staples - works for me and I didn't buy anything. Cover the whole thing with the dust cover.
I usually tell the customer the dangers of having a frame that thin, and if they still are insisting on the thin frame, I have them sign a waver.

Then I would add corner braces (bottom corners) and Wall Buddies (top corners), and might even have a mat board nailed on the back to add strength. (All of this the customer would pay for.)

If you are put in a position of using an inferior frame (ie: wrong size), you should cover yourself. The customer should know that it might still warp, or the corners might pull apart.

If you give them enough reasons not to use the frame, they just might buy a wider frame. (easier to use, and costs more!)
One of the gadget companies (they'd kill me for that moniker!) sells a nylon? tape used for just this purpose. It's the same company that sells EaselMates. I'll look it up if noone comes up with the name.
I staple a matboard over the entire back to keep the frame the right size.

I bevel my matboard, so it give it a nice edge.
If you don't like the look of the stapled matboard, you still can cover it with matboard. ;)
Albin is the company MerpsMom was trying to think of.

It's a very cool product with options for a flexible strap or a rigid support and hardware for both wood and metal frames.

Order the sample assortment from United and you'll have enough material for quite a few projects.