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blumoon
08-02-2004, 09:12 PM
I am wondering if anyone here could share some tips on making 'floater frames' for canvas, or if you might have a link to instructions for this. What I am trying to find out is how the 'floater' is constructed and attached to the inside of the frame itself. I wanted to make the frames out of moldings, a fairly simple design. I have been searching all over google, but haven't, as of yet, found the answer. Would really appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance. :)

colin
08-03-2004, 06:11 PM
Hi Blu,
Why not cut a peice of Luann or masonite or whatever to fit the frame, then screw your canvas to that from the back into the canvas' stretchers?

If you are constructing the frames first , it's maybe easier to make sure of aligned and equal edges if you rough cut the Luann a bit bigger than frames rabbett , then trim to final size after canvas is secured to its face .

If you are a beginner at cutting mouldings, its probably gonna be way easier to make the frame first .

Do you have a decent saw ? Or decent mitre box ? Or , failing that , a big can of wood putty ?
:D

blumoon
08-04-2004, 03:12 AM
Thanks for responding Colin. I have cut moldings before, by hand with a mitre box. It was a terrible way to go, as it took forever, and was hard to get the corners accurate. Don't have any tools at this very moment, but am thinking of getting some, or I may be able to borrow from a friend.
What I don't get is where the screws go in. The one I saw had masonite on the corners, but I couldn't see how it was constructed inside. The other thing I don't understand is, if there is another strip of wood inside the frame(molding), and if so, is it the length of the frame, and how is it attached? Would that be the rabbet?
This floater thing is new to me, but I really like how they looked, and thought they could be made more reasonably than other framing solutions. :evil:

colin
08-04-2004, 04:43 AM
blumoon
Thanks for responding Colin. I have cut moldings before, by hand with a mitre box. It was a terrible way to go, as it took forever, and was hard to get the corners accurate.

Hi blu,
With a little practise it gets easier . Seriously, even with a table saw you need practise to get a decent mitre . I would buy a decent hand saw for your mitre box at least -- a good sharp saw will make life way easier!



What I don't get is where the screws go in. The one I saw had masonite on the corners, but I couldn't see how it was constructed inside. The other thing I don't understand is, if there is another strip of wood inside the frame(molding), and if so, is it the length of the frame, and how is it attached? Would that be the rabbet?
This floater thing is new to me, but I really like how they looked, and thought they could be made more reasonably than other framing solutions


I dunno if my picture explains properly but you can see how the floater panel lays in the rabbet, and the art is screwed or glued ( not tattoo'd though! ) to the panel . Obviously, the rabbit has to be deep enough so that the top of the art is below the top of the frame . You will be able to find the right kind of moulding for this at the lumberyard , with the rabbet cut right into the moulding profile --IE , its one piece . Otherwise it means a whole extra step in constructing the thing .

The masonite corners you see on frames is just for stiffening , to keep it straight . Its a good idea , especially if the frame is merely nailed together thru the corners as in my drawing . Use Panel Nails ( they really grip
well ) , but cut the head off one with nippers and chuck it up in a drill and use it to drill pilot holes for the nails . This will make it easier to drive em while yer trying to hold the corners together . You could also use drywall screws and countersunk holes for 'em , but its a little trickier .

Glue up one set of corners, drill em and nail em ( its kinda tricky to hold them together by hand while nailing, but it beats fooling with those horrible framing clamps ! I hate those things . ) Then glue/nail the other set . Then join the 2 sets . The reason for doing it like that is so you arent trying to nail up one leg of frame on the end of two others --very wobbly and likely to spread the joints . Set all the nails with a nailset , putty the holes up with wood putty ( and also any gaps in yer mitres ) ,
and sand after its dry .

I guess floaters are a cheaper way to go -- the moulding is cheaper at any rate since you can find some thats suitable at most lumberyards . Personally, though I dont usually like em -- they always look just so homemade . Why not just use a plain pine 1 by 4 , gesso'd or painted with a nice finish ? Just screw the canvas to the back with frame clips -- dont even bother cutting a rabbet in em . Or crackle finish it even . Or find some old tin ceiling panels at the local antique store , cut them up with tinsnips and cover plain flat moulding with that ? Ive done those before and they look great . Once I did a bunch of frames covered with white Paper Birch bark , sort of criscrossed with red birch twigs -- they sold right away . I even had a guy wanted me to make production runs of em for his frame shop .

I guess my point is, try something new -- its always nice to frame stuff in a unique way, and it really does help sell paintings .

hope thats some help,
Colin

blumoon
08-06-2004, 02:23 PM
Hi Colin, sorry about the slow reply, but I have company from out of town right now.
Anyway, I am not seeing your picture that you posted, only a red X. :evil: Here's a pic I found on the internet, but, duh, still trying to absorb the whole thing.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2004/38069-floaterframeprofile2.gif :confused:

colin
08-06-2004, 09:43 PM
hi blu,
sorry about picture . Heres another -- these are slices from the ends off my rack . The ones on the left are common lumberyard type mouldings - cheap . The one on the right is from Foster Brothers - I think around 2 bucks a foot . You can see how the painting would lay in and you just screw from the back into the wood of the stretcher bar. If you want a whole lot of space between the side of the painting and the side of the moulding for some reason, you'd have to cut a panel to fit the moulding, then screw the painting to that panel .
hope that clears it up
Colin

blumoon
08-10-2004, 11:46 AM
Thanks Colin. My, you are a patient man. Your diagram makes more sense to me, than the one I had. Thanks for your help. :D

SanDL
10-26-2004, 10:39 PM
I like floaters to just "package" my paintings before they go out.
I order moulding from Xylo in Savannah, Georgia in the US. http://www.xylomolding.com/
They'll cut the chops, too for an additional fee. I have had success with both making the frames and their service.

blumoon
10-26-2004, 11:18 PM
Thanks for the info, SanDL. :)

vanroob
01-18-2010, 11:56 PM
Hi blumoon,
I found unfinished floater frames so inexpensive at canvasplace.com that I don't bother to try and make them anymore. You do have to buy them in a 3-pak or 6-pak depending on the size but they are so inexpensive that it doesn't bother me. Example: A 3-pak of 1.5 inch unfinished framesfor 22 X 28 canvases 3/4" thick only costs $50. That's a little less than $17 a frame! This may sound nuts but I put museum wax in the corners of these and then just press the canvas down into it. They stay just fine. Or if you really wanted stability you could put glue in the corners. Because these frames come unfinished (or you can order them in black) you can finish them anyway you want. Hope this helps.:wave:

Vanroob

Suvi
02-21-2010, 08:43 PM
Hi, a foater frame can be simple to make.. you can buy molding that is shaped like an "L" but even on each side, simply cut them to length (corners at 45 degree angle) dont forget to add some length to accomadate the amount you want between the canvas and the frame. Then i used some small 1/4" square molding in the corners to hold the canvas away from the frame, nice and snug, inserted the canvas and added a couple small finnishing nails into the corners - make sure they go through the piece holding the frame out as well so you cant seem them.

For the corners if the frame I use finnishing nails & glue the finnishing nails so i can set them deeper and fill them that way you cant see them. then paint to your own desire... :D

this is super inexpensive I think the whole frame cost me about $8.00 (with extra pieces allowing for some screw ups)

Hope that helps, I can be terrible at explaining these things :P

DaveMak
04-23-2010, 12:50 PM
Floater frames can be difficult to assemble without the proper framing tools. Mitering for floaters has to be pretty precise in order not to leave a gap at the corner.

A relatively inexpensive solution would be to buy a band clamp. Here is one similar to one I have:

http://www.amazon.com/Adjustable-Clamp-1225-Rapid-Acting/dp/B00006JSPX