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February 23, 2017

Finish Work Methods for an Inlaid Picture Frame

Finish Work Methods for Lasting Beauty

 

Finish Work Methods Include Surface Preparation

 

Completed Cosmati Picture Frame - Finish Work MethodsFinish work methods can make all the difference in a woodworker’s project. One of the major challenges for the beginning woodworker, intermediate woodworker, or even an experienced longtime woodworker can be the ability to achieve a satisfactory wood finish. Surface preparation is a key ingredient to achieving the desired results. In this woodworking article we will focus on these important woodworking skills. These finish work methods include the use of a card scraper and also the use of sandpaper with a sanding block.

 

The Value of Using a Card Scraper

 

Cosmati Picture Frame - Finish Work Methods - Card ScraperWhy include the card scraper in the finish work methods? The card scraper gives the woodworker a controlled way of leveling the surface of his woodworking project. In the woodworking video, the woodworker uses the card scraper to level the decorative wood inlay banding to the surface of the picture frame. Not only is the woodworker taking thin shavings off of the banding, he is also cleaning up all the glue lines and any excess glue that may be on the surface. It is critically important to remove this dried glue prior to applying the finish. If not removed, the glue will stick out like a sore thumb once the chosen finish is applied. So, it is imperative that we take care of that now before it becomes an issue.

 

Control the Wood Being Removed

 

Another important reason the card scraper is included in these finish work methods is because the decorative wood inlay banding is of only 3/32″ thick and the banding is inlaid and glued into a shallow depth of a 1/16″ dado. The card scraper allows the woodworker to remove thin shavings of wood at this time while eliminating the need for any heavy sanding. In this way the woodworker can carefully control the amount of material being removed. We definitely want to make sure that the inlay banding is not sanded through.

 

Why Sand with a Sanding Block? 

 

Cosmati Picture Frame - Finish Work Methods Sandpaper is used with a sanding block. This woodworking technique allows for the woodworker to comfortably grip the sandpaper. This method also provides the woodworker with a great means for applying an even pressure to the picture frame surface. Keep in mind that we are looking for a smooth, flat surface for our woodworking project.  Depending on how well the work is performed with the card scraper and the type of wood being used for the project, it is likely that the initial sanding can begin with 100 to 200 grit sandpaper. In the case of this picture frame, the woodworker continued to prepare the wood surface up to 400 grit sandpaper.

 

How to Check for Glue Stain

 

A portion of the finish work methods includes applying a small amount of paint thinner to a rag and then applying it to the picture frame. Why is this an important element of the finish work methods? There are two parts to this answer. The wiping of the woodworking project with paint thinner helps to clean up any sawdust that may remain from the sanding. This cleaning technique will also show us any glue that may may be left on the surface of our project. If we see any glue stain showing at this time, we still have some more work to do before we apply the wood finish. If any glue stain remains, we need to remove it with further sanding.

 

Sanding Sealer, Cherry Wood, and Blotching

 

These finish work methods lead us up to the important moment of applying the finish. In the case of the woodworker’s picture frame, he chose to apply a coat of sanding sealer to the cherry picture frame. Cherry is prone to blotching and the sealer will help to remedy this issue.

 

Applying the Lacquer

 

Cosmati Picture frame 086After the sanding sealer has been applied and given time to adequately dry, it is time to perform a light sanding. This sanding will help by giving the surface some “tooth.” In other words, when the lacquer is sprayed onto the freshly sanded surface, the lacquer will have a good surface to adhere to. (Be sure to remove any and all sanding dust prior to applying the lacquer.) The woodworker can then proceed to build up layers of lacquer to achieve a desirable wood finish for his or her woodworking project.

 

Watch more YouTube woodworking how to videos online.

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The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Custom Picture Frame with Hardwood Inlay

Custom Picture Frame

Custom Picture Frame with Hardwood Inlay - "Feather Pattern"This custom picture frame is made in the woodworking shop. Black walnut is the primary wood choice  for the picture frame and a hardwood inlay pattern known as the “feather pattern” is applied to the wood project. The overall dimensions of the custom picture frame are 11- 3/4”  x  13-1/2″ x 3/4″. Each interior corner has a 1/8″ thick walnut triangle that is notched into the frame. Splined miter joints are employed by the woodworker to both strengthen and adorn the decorative picture frame.

“There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge, but can never prove how it got there.” Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Theoretical physicist.

Note:

1.) A dado blade set was installed on the tablesaw to create the groove which houses the hardwood inlay. Featherboards were used to minimize the possibility of kickback and also to maintain control of the cut during this procedure. The dado blade set and the featherboard were also used to create the rabbets for the walnut picture frame.

2.) A dedicated miter sled for the tablesaw was used to cut the miter joints for the custom picture frame.

3.) A tenon jig for the tablesaw was used to create the slots for the splined miter joints.

Feather Pattern of Hardwood Inlay

The total width of  hardwood inlay feather pattern is 1/2″. This is comprised of a 1/8″ mahogany borders, a 3/32″ center strip of black walnut, an alternating pattern of maple and cherry (each segment is 3/32″), and four negative spaces.

My goal for this custom picture frame was to reveal the lovely grain of the walnut while embellishing the frame with the hardwood inlay. The black walnut creates a dark backdrop while allowing the contrasting lighter wood tones such as the mahogany border and the maple interior to stand out. These varying wood tones and their resulting patterns cause the viewer’s eye to travel to and fro within the custom picture frame.

Balance, Stability, and Movement

My goal for this custom picture frame is to have a combination of balance, stability, and yet movement.

Here’s how I tried to attempt balance and stability:

1.) Each interior corner has a similar walnut triangle of horizontal grain direction.

2.) The negative spaces of the top and bottom rails are symmetrical to one another as are the stiles.

3.) The 4 miter joints mirror one another.

4.) The interior rabbet is equal at the top and bottom as well as from side to side.

5.) The hardwood inlay is centered in the walnut rails and stiles of the custom picture frame.

6.) The direction of the hardwood inlay pattern is balanced from side to side and & also top and bottom.

Here’s how I attempted movement:

1.) The walnut grain pattern of the custom picture frame creates a subtle movement for the eye to travel.

2.) The interior walnut triangles point outward. Their silhouette of the lighter picture creates an irregular octagon thus causing subtle eye movement for the viewer.

3.) The combination of the miters, walnut triangles, negative spaces create directions for the eye to travel inwards towards the center of the picture as well as outwards.

4.) While the hardwood inlay pattern appears centered in the walnut rails and stiles of the custom picture frame, notice that the interior rabbet of the frame creates a subtle shift in eye movement inward towards the picture.

5.) The contrasting wood tones create an interplay resulting in eye movement.

6.) The contrasting direction of the hardwood inlay feather pattern causes the eye to travel.

Note:

Weldwood plastic resin glue was used for the splined miter joints of this custom picture. The same glue was used during the entire process of the hardwood inlay.

The custom picture was leveled and finished sanded using an open drum sander. A sanding block with fine grit sandpaper was then used to detail the custom picture frame.

Woodworking Power Tools

Recommeded Videos & Articles:

Build a Miter Sled for the Tablesaw

Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings

Let’s Make Spline Miter Joints


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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