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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.
What I'd like to do for you now is demonstrate how to use a V-Nailer or Underpinner to assemble a chopped wooden frame. This particular V-Nailer is made my INMES, it's a Brazilian made product. It's operated by a foot pedal, and it works fairly simply. I have just got a piece of scrap wood to show you its operation. This little V here is where the nail comes out, and I am just going to hold this, what would be half of a leg of the two legs I am molding in place. And you can see as I put my foot on this paddle the first thing that happens is this top unit comes down till it strikes the wood.
As soon as that strikes the wood, it stops moving and the pressure from the peddle drives a nail up through the wood, as you can see, right there. Once again, and here I will just move it forward a little bit so you can see that again. Press down this stops, as soon as this is stopped the force is transferred to the nail, and you can see it drives the nail cleanly up into the end of the side of the frame. So you can see these are two halves of the nail, there is the other half of the V there, and so what we are going to do is use this to put a series of V nails in the back of the joints of the chopped frame.
The v-nails come in cartridges, and you can see here looking at the cartridges, these two different sizes, there are multiple choices in size. I am just showing you two here one fairly tall, one fairly short. You want to match the size as closely as you can to the thickness of the frame molding you are using, and you need to be very careful not to use too long a V-nail because in a thin frame if your V-nail is too long this machine doesn't know when to stop and will drive that too long V-nail all the way through the back of your frame, which is not a real attractive look.
So the nails are in cartridges. You can see if you look at the unit here we have got one of the cartridges installed right here, this guide you set to match the depth of the molding you are using, and this you adjust to match the thickness. So let's go to the molding we are actually going to use. And to align this what I will do is take a piece of the molding just one for the alignment, so you can see it clearly, and I will use these stops, over here, and these loosen and these control the positioning of your guide here, this little V-shaped thing is the guide that forces both halves, the two legs you are joining into the exact right position, lines it up over where the V comes out, and we want to set that first stop so the first V-nail will come in at least a quarter of an inch back from that edge, but not more than half an inch.
Then we want to set the back stop, essentially with the same thing in mind, we want that to come in one quarter, one half inch from the edge of the frame and then depending on the depth of the frame we will do multiple stops as we go through the nailing process. Typically on a frame of this size I will put four nails in it. The last thing we want to do to prepare our wood, you can see these unfinished ends where the molding was chopped, and if we don't get an absolute perfect fit, you'll sometimes see beyond the actual seam and catch a little bit of that light-colored wood.
So what we are going to do is use a marker, and this particular one is a medium cherry, you can get any kind of art marker, and I keep a series of different colors around. Here's just a few of them to match the different types of molding I use. In this particular case, the medium cherry matches the molding well, and I am just going to mark the edges, that would be exposed. Notice I don't bother to mark down here, you will never see that deeply into the molding, but once again I just take the marker, and mark the edge, and I am being careful with my marker, not to come around and get any on the surface of the molding.
Okay, so I have got that done, I had already marked the other ones in preparation for the demonstration. So now I have my molding ready to go. Notice my frame is not the same length on all sides, it's 12x14-inch frame, so I have got the two 12-inch legs here, the two 14-inch legs here, and the way I do this all, I always take the long leg and put it on the right side, place it in the little V guide here, and then I'll take the short leg and a good quality wood glue.
Typically, you want a fast-drying wood glue that has a real good bond and they're all water-based glues rather than solvent-based glues. I will apply the glue on the joint, so I am using both the glue and nails to double the strength of the joint. I carefully align the two parts, and I visually inspect to make sure everything is aligned, and I'll put in the nail that's going in closest to the center of the frame first, applying the foot pressure, and I have forgotten one critical adjustment.
Notice the big gap here, this actually needs to be lower so that it doesn't have to travel so far before it engages the pressure to drive in the V-nail. What happened on that first one I drove was it didn't seat completely because I didn't have this adjusted properly. So I have dropped that down a little closer, and what I am going to do, this is going to be a little awkward but I am going to lift this and move it forward when I drive the second nail it'll position the second nail and finish driving the first one. Okay, so there we are back on track, then we will bring it forward again, a third nail, and finally all the way to the stop, and we will bring in the fourth nail.
And so I have got this one pair of legs assembled, and I am going to set that over here, pick up the next pair once again the long leg always on the right, the short leg on the left, and I think I am bringing this down one more stop just to make this work a little smoother. And you want this down as low as you can fit the molding, so that's really in the ideal position there. So we have got our glue there, when you have got a low glue bottle too, if you leave it sitting on its side, it's not going to leak any glue, and you won't waste time waiting for it to flow back.
Once again start at the center nail and then I am just kind of ironing the guide to determine the placement sort of visually dividing it into force, and you can see if you look at the back here, we have driven in these v-nails very evenly, and we have got a nice tight joint. So now I have two legs or two pairs of legs assembled in these little L shapes, and so the final part of the assembling is to glue those together. So in this case I am going to apply glue to both of the joints because as soon as I do the third connection, the fourth one will be pressed together.
I am going to take them into the guide. Make sure they are firmly aligned, and once again one, two, three, four nails, rotated at 180 degrees, line it up, squeeze it tightly together. One, two, three, four nails, and at this point the frame is nicely assembled.
The last thing I'll do is kind of look it over and make sure that no glue was forced out on to the service of the molding. If that does happen, I have always got a moist paper towel, and you can just clean up any surface spills of the glue, but at this point I'll let this glue dry, it usually takes about one to two hours and then we are ready to go ahead and install the glazing and mat package and finish the assembly of the frame.
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