Framing is ridiculously expensive, so I have typically done a bad hack job of cutting pieces of wood and nailing them to the side of my canvases. I have cut mitered corners but they NEVER are clean. I am NOT a carpenter. This much I know. But I thought, how hard could it be? Just a couple of pieces of wood.
One reason I organized the session for the BAA at “A Street Frames” was that I felt that I was missing some key trick to framing. It was an amazing session, and we all learned a lot, but not how to build a wood frame and not the trick to it.
I have a “miter box” which never seems to let me cut nice angles, even though that is what it is supposed to do. I looked up framing on the web and found some information. The first trick was to buy an electric compound miter saw, but I really don’t want to buy power equipment for various reasons. The second trick was to lay the wood down on the saw with a little piece of cardboard under it so that it is slightly on an angle as it approaches the saw blade. This creates a cut where the front edges extend slightly more and allows the pieces to touch. The back falls away, so an uneven cut doesn’t inhibit the front from touching. I decided to try again with the miter box and hand saw. As soon as I entered the workshop, I saw a major problem which encouraged failure. The miter box was bolted to the top of the workbench and its working surface of 7”on either side of the blade, was 3” above the table. There was no long flat working surface to cut my 4 foot length. That would make the inexact miter cut VERY inexact.
I thought about the problem and decided the solution was to find someone who had power equipment, knew what they were doing and could cut it for me! Earlier, in my search for information, I had found the Framers Workshop on the web, but for whatever reason, initially dismissed it. It is in fact AMAZING and the answer to my problems. http://www.framersworkshopbrookline.com
They offer custom framing but also “do-it-yourself”. According to them:
“Framers’ Workshop first opened its doors … in Brookline Village in 1976. In those days, there were several shops in the Boston area that offered do-it-yourself framing. Today, we’re the only one left.
“Framing your own artwork is the best way to save yourself from custom fees and waiting-time. At Framers’ Workshop we have ten do-it-yourself workstations and a collective 100 years of framing know-how. For a $3 shop fee, we’ll help you with your project step-by-step. If you have a question or feel a bit confused –don’t panic– just let us know. If you make a mistake, we’ll correct it to the best of our ability.
“We’ll even let you bring in your own materials. The whole process usually takes 45-90 minutes per framed piece.”
I went there yesterday. You can buy their frames or bring your own materials. I looked at the frames they had to offer, which were very nice, but for my 3’x 4’ painting, it still would have cost $400 for the look I wanted. So I decided to go with my wood, which I will paint to go with the painting. I worked with Dan and at first he didn’t understand what I was trying to do, because the wood I had was not “frame”. It had no “rabbet” etc. I just wanted well cut corners and would attach the wood directly to the canvas – though this time I will use metal brackets. When Dan explained what I wanted to the wood cutter, he called it “impromptu frames”. I LOVE that title. Sounds like a band! Though they are not really impromptu as I have been planning them for a year… Anyway, long story already, but the cutter cut the wood in 5 minutes and they fit fabulously! $13. I will paint them and go back to have them attach the corners for another $11. I think that is very reasonable!!! Will attach a photo when it is done.