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I'm making some custom picture frames for an artist to use for his oil paintings in his gallery. I'm trying to perfect my corners. He wants closed corners, which basically means he doesn't want to see my seams in the corners. I have really nice, tight joints, but up to this point, I have worked mainly with unpainted walnut, so this wasn't an issue.

I have the finish down, which is a nice, super smooth satin black. I'm just looking for tips on completely hiding the seams. I used a wood filler, but it was too grainy and ended up just getting all sanded off.

Do I need another brand of filler? Or is there another way that this can be achieved?

Thanks in advance...this is a first post for me
 

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Try this and see if it works for you.

It sets very quickly and I've found it to be very useful.

PS, from your description of the finish I'm assuming that these frames will be painted.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes...sorry. These will be painted. I am doing several layers of paint with wet sanding between the layers to get a nice, smooth finish.
 

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where's my table saw?
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mitered corners I assume?

If you have to sand off the glue in the joint leaving a barely visible glue joint, then that's as good as you can get from the construction part of the project.
If you seal the wood, either with primer or shellac or lacquer sealer, then sand then primer again and then several coats of finish sanded in between with 400 wet dry, that's as good as you will get in the finishing part of the project.

You can try a grain filler to fill the pores of the wood which will help hide the grain. You seem to be after a "metal" finish look with wood... possible, but it will take several coats of primer and finish top coat.

here are some products:
http://www.targetcoatings.com/products/sealers-primers-a-grain-fillers.html

here's the search link:
http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=ytff1-tyc-inbox&p=wood%20grain%20filler%20primer&type=
 

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Trick: paint the cut surfaces of the corners with black felt marker. If they are reasonably good, the optical illusion nearly makes them go away. Make one corner as an expt.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here is a shot of the corner. If I fill in with much more filler, then the corner is built up higher. I am so close, just have to try again. I got a different type of filler, one that is more finely textured. I'll try that on my next one.

For the finish, I have quite a few layers with some wet sanding between. The final coat is a spray-on sealer.

I didn't use a primer, and I got some of that for this next frame, also.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Use lacquer putty

It's an automotive filler, air dries, is very fine and will sand smooth.
It's used to fill minor scratches on car finishes just like shown in the photo. Use a fine wet dry paper with a little soapy water after the paint is dry then you can paint right over it.

http://www.evercoat.com/productDetail.aspx?pID=31
 
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John
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+1 on the auto body body filler. I'd probably use bondo though as it is readily available, Wally World even carries it. :smile:
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I may have to get some of that! I don't get to play in the shop until after my kids get to bed, and I have to be at work early in the mornings, so it makes it hard to do this as much as I want.

I got some finer grit sandpaper and some higher quality filler, so I will try that next time. If it doesn't work, I'll definitely look into that product. I hadn't thought about moving into automotive stuff... I usually just build things, and finishing them with paint is new to me.
 

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Here is a shot of the corner. If I fill in with much more filler, then the corner is built up higher. I am so close, just have to try again. I got a different type of filler, one that is more finely textured. I'll try that on my next one.

For the finish, I have quite a few layers with some wet sanding between. The final coat is a spray-on sealer.

I didn't use a primer, and I got some of that for this next frame, also.
the cut look's like it isn't a clean cut look's like the edge is rounded a bit ? i would use spackling that would sand down to a smooth finish where you wouldn't see the seam, lot's of way's have been mention all ready, the spackling is for hole's in a wall but work's any where it meed's to fill a hole work's for me, it sand's down smooth and you wouldn't see the seam my 2 cents
https://www.google.com/#q=spackling
 

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Old School
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the cut look's like it isn't a clean cut look's like the edge is rounded a bit ? i would use spackling that would sand down to a smooth finish where you wouldn't see the seam, lot's of way's have been mention all ready, the spackling is for hole's in a wall but work's any where it meed's to fill a hole work's for me, it sand's down smooth and you wouldn't see the seam my 2 cents
https://www.google.com/#q=spackling
+1. :yes: Using Bondo or spot putty, takes feathering out the edges so they aren't noticeable. Spackle is easier to sand, and is less likely to hold air bubbles. One of the best I use is [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Synkoloid-Co-1008-Interior-Spackling/dp/B000H5OQP8"]Synkoloids[/ame].





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where's my table saw?
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spackle vs lacquer putty

For a "metal" high gloss finish, especially in black :yes: lacquer or spot putty is what I would use and have used for years. It has virtually no particles and will sand as smooth as the surrounding surface and feather without a "seam". That's why the car guys use it instead of spackle.
Synkoloid is a great product, the best for interior walls and wood, and for other heavier bodied painted surfaces, but wouldn't use it on a surface that needs a very seamless surface since the paarticles are not as finely ground as spot putty ....JMO :smile:

There are some other issue here, not just filling the glue line:
 

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Old School
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For a "metal" high gloss finish, especially in black :yes: lacquer or spot putty is what I would use and have used for years. It has virtually no particles and will sand as smooth as the surrounding surface and feather without a "seam". That's why the car guys use it instead of spackle.
Synkoloid is a great product, the best for interior walls and wood, and for other heavier bodied painted surfaces, but wouldn't use it on a surface that needs a very seamless surface since the paarticles are not as finely ground as spot putty ....JMO :smile:
Car guys don't use spackle because it's intended for this type of fill, not metal. Bondo and body fill products are more dense than the wood to be filled, and sanding to feather the edges can sand the wood more than the fill. Synkoloids is ground finer than any spackle I've used. JMO.:yes:






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Alan Sweet
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I've used bondo, I like it. Works wonders

It will make seams disappear.

If you are looking at alternatives and using paint, and assuming only the 45 degee miters are your concern, you might experiment with large enough sheet goods. First create a foundation frame of whatever. Then cut a whole square template, like a mat and glue it in place over the foundation. Then put the molding on the outside and interior over the top of the sheet good matting and also covering foundation. If you have well sanded sheet good you can get a satin finish.And no glue concerns.

I've used this approach on a number of frames.

But the seam in the picture, does not look like it was cut was true. There seems to be a gap in the miter. I would check my saw/sled to make sure it is aligned correctly.
 

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a few additional tips that may help.
1. very little sanding, if any, on the cut miters before joining. place a backer board behind your cuts to help get the perfect cut.
2. use a miter clamp
3. while the 2 pieces are in the clamp, and in their best position, wipe off any glue squeeze out, then lightly sand the joint (220 gr). the sawdust will fill any imperfections and close the joint up very nicely.
 

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Really underground garage
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I'd be "upping the ante" on tooling,ultimately shooting for no fillers.

Saw and fixturing whilst cutting would be one place to start.The larger the blade's diameter the higher the incidence of wobble/inbalance.So a smaller stiiffer blade may help.TS sleds suffer from too many "stacked tolerances".

Look into hold-downs for your chopbx.Then possibly find a smaller blade for it.

Next up would be sidestepping the cutting,somewhat.....with the use of grinding equipment.The "grinding" here is usually called sanding.......In anycase we're grinding the mitre,achieving precision angles not possible in any cutting opperation.I'll spare the details because it's one of those things that unless you've actually done it(grinding into the .001's)...you simply won't believe it.Not refering to "sanding" the face here.

Understand that even though you're using the same piece of mould....it's still a few inches apart when making your mitres.The higher the quality of mould...the better precision is attainable.Also understand that most commercial,"picture" moulds(those made of real wood)are contour sanded after they're profiled.All of this is leading to small,almost inperceptible variances in moulds profile.The intolerances run in to each other and aren't noticed.

Once you cut them a couple inches apart,to allow for reversing the 45,you are bound to get into some small profile errors(we're into the .001's now).Does your customer understand this?NO....they don't.Do they want to discuss it?....Usually not.But they do need real expectations on what is attainable in real wood mitres.You can NOT compare plastic,metal,or any man made products.......this is wood.This is not an excuse.....we grind wood here regularly into the .001's.It's easy once you have the equipment.But at what cost?

Just sayin,you're going to have to step up your tooling a little.If you want precision results,while entirely possible on "hillbilly" tools....it is most deffinately easier with better,more refined equipment.The very best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
After a trip to the hardware store, I have been working in the shop this week after the kids go to bed. I'll post photos later, but it seems as though I have a much better result. I'm putting the finishing layers of paint on it now, and waiting on drying and all that.

I ended up just making a few "corners only" pieces. I have to say that in the early stages, the difference is quite noticeable. I'm pretty pumped. I got a finer filler, but next time I'm in town, I'm getting some Bondo to play with as well. I'm also playing around with base coats, primers, sanding sealer, etc...



There are a few tools that need to be upgraded, beginning with my miter saw! It's 45 degrees isn't exactly mathematically true, so that took a bit of adjustment to find. I also like the recommendation of a new, smaller, blade.

Maybe I can make a decent enough frame or two to sell, then treat myself to a new saw! That's the plan, at least. My husband says that the shop has to now pay for itself. :)
 
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