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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For Mothers Day I made my Mom a sapele picture frame. I was overall pleased with how it turned out - not exactly flawless miters, but not too bad considering I rarely make frames. It got me thinking about the best way to do my glue ups. I have those Bessey 90 Degree Corner clamps, which are quite good. But for smaller picture frames like this, there’s not space in the middle for this style clamp on all four corner…the threaded rods butt into each other. So in this case, knowing my 45’s were dead on, I glued up the pairs separately then joined those pairs with a band clamp. Not great practice, I know and sure enough that 4th corner reflects it. Sometimes I’ll do that blue tape thing when making boxes, but I’ve not had great results on thinner workpieces like frames. Guess what I’m saying is, I’m always trying to get better. And find excuses to buy more clamps! I’d welcome suggestions on your preferred clamps, jigs, and set ups for picture frames. Particularly smaller ones where you can’t use four right angle corner clamps. Thanks!
Brown Picture frame Rectangle Product Wood
Picture frame Rectangle Wood Dishware Serveware
 

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where's my table saw?
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Think outside the box. Make a frame of 1x's about 1/2" larger than your finished frame, with perfect square corners.
Saw up some small wedges that when placed with opposing ends together will force the finished frame together into the corners.... no clamps required.

 

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I realize this is not a good picture, but it's the best I could come up with. Sears sold these back in the 70s and 80s. It's threaded rod with metal corner pieces. Wing nuts on the threaded rods tighten it up. They claim it could clamp from 4" up to 36". I grabbed one for $2 at an estate sale a couple of years ago. I haven't used it yet, so I can't say how it works. I think an advantage might be that it can clamp something a little out of square because of it's adjustability. I bet you could make something like this to suit your needs with wood blocks for the corners and whatever rod length you want. Threaded rod is pretty cheap at a hardware store or big box.

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Termite
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When I made picture frames for Chili’s restaurant, I really wanted one of these
Hand Facial expression White Organ Human body

Hand tool Product Wood Picture frame Rectangle

several brands on the market..
 

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One size fits all.
 

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Cabinetmaker
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For many years, I’ve purchased several various-type framing clamps. As you have noted, I’ve always experienced certain problems with each clamp. The framing clamp that I use on a regular basis, is shop made and the materials can be purchased cheap at any hardware or box store. It’s a combination of a standard ratchet strap and a galvanized corner brace. A photo of my combo is included below. Both items come in a variety of sizes. Size purchase, depends on your project’s wood thickness. My size suggestions are noted in the photos, but I stock a variety for both light and heavy duty uses. For storing the straps, I pull the webbing tight and wrap the webbing onto the clamp, in a spooling fashion. Then secure it with velcro or a rubber band.

For picture frames: If inside routing is desired, I first rout the inside of each frame piece with the desired bit -- and then miter the corners. Routing first, guarantees sharp inside corners. The pieces are then glued to make a frame with the braces at each corner, using the ratchet strap to tighten. Tighten just until the glue starts to ooze out, as you don’t need a lot of pressure to close the joints tightly. I then use a damp cloth to wipe any wet glue from each frame corner and look for any gaps. If any, just tighten the strap. When the glue is dried, I retrieve the frame and complete any corner rounding, outside routing, splining/dowel support, final sanding and finishing. Also, outside corner shaping is always easier than trying to glue up an already-shaped corner, especially with your project’s choice of only 2 rounded corners. I find it unnecessary to place padding of any type between the frame and metal braces. The wood glue dries and is easily removed from the metal. But, you can always place a piece of wax paper inside of each brace for easier cleanup.

With your irregular-shaped glueing like octagons, hexagons, etc., the ratchet strap alone works well for tightening just about any angle joint. Rather than solid materials, I use 1/4" thick rubber strips (box store or plumbing store purchase) between the strap and each joint. The flexible strips help to provide equal tension on each joint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For many years, I’ve purchased several various-type framing clamps. As you have noted, I’ve always experienced certain problems with each clamp. The framing clamp that I use on a regular basis, is shop made and the materials can be purchased cheap at any hardware or box store. It’s a combination of a standard ratchet strap and a galvanized corner brace. A photo of my combo is included below. Both items come in a variety of sizes. Size purchase, depends on your project’s wood thickness. My size suggestions are noted in the photos, but I stock a variety for both light and heavy duty uses. For storing the straps, I pull the webbing tight and wrap the webbing onto the clamp, in a spooling fashion. Then secure it with velcro or a rubber band.

For picture frames: If inside routing is desired, I first rout the inside of each frame piece with the desired bit -- and then miter the corners. Routing first, guarantees sharp inside corners. The pieces are then glued to make a frame with the braces at each corner, using the ratchet strap to tighten. Tighten just until the glue starts to ooze out, as you don’t need a lot of pressure to close the joints tightly. I then use a damp cloth to wipe any wet glue from each frame corner and look for any gaps. If any, just tighten the strap. When the glue is dried, I retrieve the frame and complete any corner rounding, outside routing, splining/dowel support, final sanding and finishing. Also, outside corner shaping is always easier than trying to glue up an already-shaped corner, especially with your project’s choice of only 2 rounded corners. I find it unnecessary to place padding of any type between the frame and metal braces. The wood glue dries and is easily removed from the metal. But, you can always place a piece of wax paper inside of each brace for easier cleanup.

thank you! I more or less have the same order of steps, but because I do frames so infrequently I do things slightly differently each time. Usually I’ll end up overlooking something! In this case, I cut the miters before inside rabbetting and immediately realized my blunder. So I cut my rabbets on a table saw, which thankfully worked out fine thanks to the GRR-RIPPER push block….

I used a band clamp similar to one of your photos (pic below) but it’s missing those little plastic corner angle thingies. If I recall they were useless and I probably tossed them. So to follow your approach, I’d imagine the loose metal corner braces would work much better! I’ll give that a shot sometime.


With your irregular-shaped glueing like octagons, hexagons, etc., the ratchet strap alone works well for tightening just about any angle joint. Rather than solid materials, I use 1/4" thick rubber strips (box store or plumbing store purchase) between the strap and each joint. The flexible strips help to provide equal tension on each joint.
Automotive exterior Auto part Machine Automotive wheel system Bicycle part
 

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Cabinetmaker
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I think you'll find they work very well for framing & segement glueing. They've always worked great for me, even with wide/thick frames from oak. The beauty of the metal braces is they are all sizes available at most local hardware stores and they are relatively cheap. Also, you will find the separate webbing straps are more durable than the ready-made web clamps, especially for thicker wood frame use. The optional thin rubber pads I mentioned, will not interfere with clamping pressure and protect the existing finish, if you are only re-glueing an already-finished item.

Good luck & stay healthy!
-Bob
 
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