Make sure to give your framer a hug

Severe storms are a gift to the Midwestern artist, providing lots of time to hang out in the basement getting work done. I have been somewhat impatiently waiting for my latest linocut to dry, so my dear husband and I have been making frames.

Framing materials 1
Maple from the Midwest waits to be assembled into frames.

I should explain that my husband is a woodworker at heart, and loves good wood, especially maple. We get the raw boards from Northwest Lumber in Indianapolis, and transform them into framing stock. This process — with about eight boards — takes an entire Saturday. Luckily we have all the machines to do this, and the working style to tolerate the tedium and sore muscles.

Framing materials 3
With guidance from the internet, my husband created jigs to help us glue frames together. Note the reused linoleum in the “arms” of the jig.

After measuring each piece and mitering the corners, we have to glue and nail each frame together. We have two of these jigs that my husband built, and we can switch out frames after about 30 minutes of letting the Corner Weld wood glue sit. A careful nailing with our headless pin nailer — aided by an air compressor — and the frame is ready for finishing.

Framing materials 2
One of the biggest challenges is remembering not to drive into the garage over the frames. After doing this once, I now put up a step ladder to stop myself.

The sanding takes place with an orbital sander on the front sidewalk of my house. I routinely disturb salamanders and chipmunks who live in the adjacent flower beds. The frames are then wiped down with mineral spirits, and laid down for three coats of polyurethane. The polyurethane wiping happens on my garage floor, where I am trying desperately to avoid having the frames coated with maple leaf helicopters. Maple trees are very aggressive. Maybe they sense that this wood was once a cousin.

I hope I have convinced you that framer’s are special people, willing to put up with sore muscles, tedium, wearing respirators and battling helicopters. If I didn’t have such a fabulous framing partner, I would not do this myself.

So be sure to hug your framer!

2 Replies to “Make sure to give your framer a hug”

  1. I love this post! I guess I had forgotten that your husband did your frames. Or did I know? Keeping it in the family.

    My brother makes all of the support for my sister-in-law’s paintings. He’s an MD and busy dad, but I’m not sure he’d let anyone else have that job.

    1. That’s how it is at our house. It does mean that evenings and weekends we have to wait to celebrate with our favorite brew until after we have used the power tools.

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