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Matting and framing is relatively simple, and doing it yourself costs less and is more rewarding than using a framing service. In this course, photographer and professional framer Konrad Eek describes the tools, techniques, and creative decisions involved in matting, framing, and hanging photographs.
The course begins with an overview of framing concepts, terms, and tools and then shows how to choose and work with the various components of a framed print: matboard, frame, glazing, wire hangers, and more. The course also examines the issues and creative options behind hanging an exhibit, whether in a gallery or in a home.
In discussing the hanging of photographs, everything we have done so far has been in reference to a gallery setting. I think the bulk of the hanging work you do will probably be in a residential situation. So, what I want to talk about now are the tools you'll need and the techniques you'll use to hang your work at home. We're going to start off with a discussion of the tools. First is a drill. I prefer a cordless drill. There are a lot of different brands out there, most of them are really pretty good. And then I went and purchased--in addition to the cordless drill which has a keyless chuck, so you can just unscrew and release your bits-- I also purchased a Speed Release Chuck which allows you to just pull and release, so it's really easy to swap out bits from your screwdriver bit to your drilling bit if you need to drill holes.
Once again, I got a good selection and assortment of drill bits in different sizes. Different anchors we'll use will require different size drill bits. So a good assortment like this is a worthwhile investment. In addition to a regular drill, if you're going to deal with stone or brick, you'll need a specialized drill called a Hammer Drill. This is a hammer drill here. You can see it's quite a bit heavier in weight, and it will function as a regular drill, but you can see here you have a Drill Setting and a Hammer Setting as well as two Speed Settings.
I'm going to show you this in action, but what happens when you put it in Hammer setting is the bit rotates, but it also goes in and out with the hammering motion, which is key for drilling in masonry. You'll also need a tape measure and one that locks. Notice this one, when you pull out the measuring blade, it locks in place, and you need to press this button to release it and then wind back up. The locking feature is really handy. I would also recommend, too, the longer the length of the tape measure--and this is a 25 footer which is plenty for most residential applications--but what happens as you get longer ones as the blade gets wider too.
So, you can extend at a greater distance without it bending and making it a little bit more difficult to use. So a good tape measure is key. You'll need a hammer, and I recommend this is a 16-ounce hammer. Hammers come in multiple weights. If you haven't used one much, you might want to get a smaller one, maybe a 13 ounce head. I would avoid going much beyond 16. The reason being if you're not real familiar with them, you can lose control of it, and do collateral damage when you're trying to drive a nail.
So, if it's a little lighter weight hammer, it's easier to operate. A pair of pliers is good. What you'll need the pliers for is to undo mistakes. Most of these fasteners that we're going to use most of these hanging devices can be removed with a pair of pliers. So if it's in the wrong place, or you decide to change your decor, this is the tool you'll want for removing the bulk of these hangers. If you're going to do quite a bit of work, it's really worth investing in a laser level.
The cost on these would come down quite a bit, and I'm going to talk more about the laser level in a little. Other little accessories, these little rubber bump-ons, you may add on the bottom corners of the work, and they function real well to keep the work from shifting. They aren't adhesive, but they kind of tend to stick a little bit to the wall surface, so they will keep the work from shifting once it's been hung. The last tool I want to mention is in addition to the laser level, it's good to have a small bubble level. This will help you determine if the picture is hanging straight on the wall.
So, those are the basic tools we're going to use in all the different surfaces we mount on. Now I really want to talk about the fasteners that we'll use to put things on the wall. Some smaller pieces may come with this type of sawtooth hanger mounted directly on the back. Typically, this will be on pieces that are at most 11x14 inches, and they're mounted kind of on the top edge of the frame. And what happens is that little sawtooth just is designed to rest on a nail, and for these sawtooth hangers, I like to use these nail fixtures.
They have a little brass plate, and you put the nail in at an angle and drive it till the plate is flushed with the wall. And all it leaves is that little rod sticking up, and with this type of sawtooth hanger, if you use these, the frame will completely obscure the hanging device. With the other type of hangers we're going to use, they would not disappear behind the framed work, which is what we want. Ideally, you don't want to see any of the hanging mechanism, you just want to see the framed piece on the wall. You have all probably seen this type of hanger.
Once again, one of the themes that you'll see through all of these is they are designed to bring the nail in at an angle. So if this is flushed with the wall, the nail comes in at an angle, the picture hangs here, and because the nail is at an angle, it helps secure it against the wall and downward pressure does not pull the nail out. If you drill the nail in straight, the downward pressure would tend to create torsion which would draw the nail out of the wall. So, with this type of hanger, the nail at an angle, that won't happen. The step up from this quality-wise is this type of hanger, and they use a tool steel nail which is harder and slightly smaller than the nail that's used in this one.
If you look at these two nails side by side, you'll see that the tool steel nail is a little bit thinner, and it's also a little bit shorter. And I find this to be great particularly if you're working on wallpaper, if you remove it, it's such a tiny hole. A lot of times you can just burnish the wallpaper to cover up your mistake. You can see here that you can buy these in an assortment pack that has a variety of different sizes. You always need to pay attention to the packaging because it will tell you what weight of artwork that the particular hook is rated for. And I err on the side of prudence in this.
If I have got a piece of art that weighs 5 pounds, I'll always put it on a 10-pound hanger. You're always better off if you use a little bit more heavily-rated hanger than what the work actually requires. Another specialized thing that these particular hangers do is they make security hangers like this. You can see it takes three nails, and this one is actually rated to hold up to 75 pounds. But it also has this little sprung brass clip right here. And what that does is when you put the wire over this, it goes behind this clip, and then the clip holds the wire in place.
So, even if the work is bumped, the wire will not come loose. And the way you release it is you just reach behind it, press that in, and lift the wire off. But if you have got things in high traffic areas, a hanger like this would be worthy investment. Another hanger that I like a lot are these, they are called Wall-Dogs, and they work on drywall--but more than drywall, they work on plaster and lath. And those of you who live in older homes have learned the hard way probably that if you try to drive a nail into a plaster and lath wall, you usually end up with a great big hole.
And these are self-tapping screws that have a little hook attached, and we're going to demonstrate these so you'll see exactly how well they work on a plaster and lath wall. Another thing we'll talk about as we go through this chapter is lighting for the home. And one of the things about photographs, the better the photographs are lit, the more detail you'll see in them and the more important they can become as accent pieces in your home. So here we have kind of talked about all the tools that we're going to use, emitted our glass cleaner probably in handling these things as you put them up on the wall, you have a little touch-up cleaning to do.
And I'm going to talk to you about specific techniques for that, because once a work is framed, you want to clean it a little bit differently. So from here, we're going to go on to discuss the laser level and its applications, and I have to tell you this tool has changed the way I do things. I think if you invest in one of these, you'll be really happy with it.
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