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.
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.
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.
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!