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Old 01-22-2020, 03:02 PM
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Non Floating Float Frames

One thing I don't like about float frames is that they require about twice as much wood and therefore weight and expense as a conventional frame.

A float frame is made of two strips of wood and the panel needs to be cradled as opposed to a conventional frame made of just one strip of wood (with a recess cut out) and no need for a cradle.

But mounting the panel directly onto a float-frame would also eliminate the need for a cradle. The panel would lose some of the float effects but you would still be able to see the entire panel and edges.

I'm not that sure that it makes that much difference in presentation - curious to hear what others think.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:28 AM
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

I don't think a floater frame is using any more wood than a conventional frame of similar depth. I suppose you could save wood by creating a shallow floater frame for thin panels, but how do you go about attaching the panel? You can't put screws into a 1/4" panel and you don't want to glue it to the frame.
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Old 01-23-2020, 02:14 PM
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames



#1 is a cut-away of a typical floater frame. A cradled panel attached to a ledge. So you have the frame, the ledge, and the cradle all made of wood.

#2 is a typical conventional frame - one strip of wood with a notch cut to hold panel

#3 is a "non floating" float frame. The frame, with attached ledge. So you have the frame and ledge made of wood but NO cradle. A cradle goes completely around the perimeter of a panel - so it requires almost as much wood as the frame itself. This adds cost and weight.

The panel on the NF Float frame is attached with a silicone sealant. It comes in a tube like calking. I use the type used to seal aquariums. To remove slide a knife or razor-knife between panel and ledge.

This is the same way I attach panels to cradles. It gives an option of removing the cradle if you want to frame the painting in a conventional frame.
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Last edited by theBongolian : 01-23-2020 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 01-24-2020, 12:49 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

I frequently frame uncradled panels in floater frames by gluing small strips of pine spacer boards set inside slightly from the edge of the panel. I tried doing it without spacers but they didn't look good to me - being too deep in the frame. Most of the time I use a spacer block of pine that brings the panel face up to about 1/8 of an inch below the frame face. They don't have to be fancy or mitered because they don't show. I paint them black with acrylic paint just to make them less visible at sharp viewing angles.

I use super glue and wood glue to glue them in place without the need for clamps. The super glue acts as the "clamp". I place the dried painting face town on a soft towel then press the boards in place with my fingers. Just make sure they are positioned correctly because they will be very difficult to remove almost instantly. They hold extremely well. I tested them beforehand and could not get them to break off the panels without literally ripping chunks off the tempered hardboard. By doing this I don't have to paint on cradled panels to use the floater frames in a pleasing manner. Saves time and money overall since I usually don't frame everything I paint.

You can do the same thing using super glue and urethane glue or epoxy for gluing wood strips on the back of ACM Panels. Trying to clamp boards on finished paintings without damaging the paint was too risky for me so this has been a superb solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=che6U4lm1cE

Last edited by contumacious : 01-24-2020 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:02 AM
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

Quote:
Originally Posted by contumacious
I frequently frame uncradled panels in floater frames by gluing small strips of pine spacer boards set inside slightly from the edge of the panel.
Yes I've done (do) that. A 1/2" square spacer on the 3/4" tall ledge puts an 1/8" panel an 1/8" below the front of the frame. It works but with larger paintings you end up having to put spacers nearly the entire perimeter to support the panel so it's not that different than putting a cradle.

I know about the CA glue "trick" but haven't gotten around to getting some. I place weights on top of the panel until it sets. But since I want the option to remove the panel from the frame CA and wood glue would not be good a choice. One benefit of the silicone is that it allows you to adjust the position of the panel since it doesn't dry instantly. If you are off a little on the frame, and/or off a little on the panel, even a tiny bit out of square, you need to be able to fudge things.

Quote:
I tried doing it without spacers but they didn't look good to me - being too deep in the frame.

Attach the "ledge" a 1/2" up from the bottom then when you put the panel on it will be an 1/8" from the top of the frame.

(so instead of the frame and ledge forming an "L" it will form a sideways "T")
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Last edited by theBongolian : 01-24-2020 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 01-24-2020, 11:07 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

I will have to try your technique. Thanks for sharing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theBongolian

I know about the CA glue "trick" but haven't gotten around to getting some. I place weights on top of the panel until it sets. But since I want the option to remove the panel from the frame CA and wood glue would not be good a choice.

I don't glue the painting into the frame. The spacers are glued to the back of the panel then screws are used from the back of the frame into the spacers. What I really like about the system is I can paint everything on flat panels and choose later whether to frame it in a back load or a front load floater frame. It cuts down on time, materials and expense and the thickness of stored finished paintings by 4/5ths. No clamps to possibly ruin the painted surface and zero waiting time for the glue to cure. You can literally go from a a finished flat panel to having it installed in a floater frame and sent off to the gallery in just a few minutes.

I quite like the look of a nice floater frame with a fairly narrow but deep gap between the frame and the painting. The thin floating panel enhances the floating look due to the inside offset spacers that are not visible from the side like they are with a cradled panel. Also, when a flat panel is set down deep into a floater, the shadows cast by the frame are not attractive to me. I want even light across the entire surface.

Last edited by contumacious : 01-24-2020 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:54 PM
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

Quote:
Originally Posted by contumacious
I don't glue the painting into the frame. The spacers are glued to the back of the panel then screws are used from the back of the frame into the spacers.
I don't glue anything to the panel so it can be stored again, or framed differently, of shipped - without risking damage when the spacers or cradle is removed. I use a silicone sealant. It does take longer to cure, but I've read there are accelerators out there to reduce curing time - haven't looked into it.

Quote:
I quite like the look of a nice floater frame with a fairly narrow but deep gap between the frame and the painting. The thin floating panel enhances the floating look due to the inside offset spacers that are not visible from the side like they are with a cradled panel.
When I've offset a spacer it doesn't get enough purchase to hold a large painting imo it needs a full 1/2" contact to be safe. It does however look cool.

Quote:
Also, when a flat panel is set down deep into a floater, the shadows cast by the frame are not attractive to me. I want even light across the entire surface

If you raise the ledge 1/2" from the bottom then when you attach the panel it will be 1/8" from the front like a normal floater. But I'm still debating the look of having it.

The best look I saw for a panel was at a design trade show. The panels were hung unframed but had a pair of 1" x 2" on the back so the panel stood off the wall. Like your offset spacers the 1"x2" was an inch or so in from the edge. So the paintings really appeared to float - The back of the painting was painted black, and if you tried to look behind the painting the 1"x2" was too far in to see. She(the artist) also painted fairly thick and let the paint slop over the edges of the panel making for a variegated edge that gave it a very organic look.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:39 PM
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

I wrote:
Quote:
When I've offset a spacer it doesn't get enough purchase to hold a large painting imo it needs a full 1/2" contact to be safe.

after I posted this I realized what I wrote is only true for the way I make frames out of plywood, BUT not true if you make frames the way most do with 1"x2" then you'll have room to off-set the spacer and still have plenty of room to secure the spacer to the ledge.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:56 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Non Floating Float Frames

I like to do frame-less floating panels as you described. A 4mm or 6mm sheet of ACM panel with the edges sanded smooth so the black core is showing look very nice on the wall, set off about 5/8" to 3/4". It is very easy to do even on HUGE panels with the CA and some other glue combo. No clamping or weights needed and you can adhere them onto the panel with the painting resting on your easel facing backside out. If you want the sliver edges of the aluminum to stay shiny put a some kind of clear coat on the edges.

Some of my floater frames are a bit skimpy on the width of the material inside the back opening so with the glued on and offset spacers with frames like that you can use small metal offset Z brackets to attach it to the frame from the back. They are easier to use then drilling holes through the back of the floater frame, particularly if you re-use your frames. I found that if I drilled through the floater frame to attach my canvas or panel, when I went to use that frame with another painting, some of the screw holes were visible from the front. Just be sure of your screw placement or that your screws are short enough so they don't poke through anywhere that they can be seen from the front. If your entire panel overlaps the back of the frame, you actually don't even need to put screws into the frame. Just attach the Z brackets to the panel so they hold it centered in the opening, though that takes quite a bit of fitting but can save the day with really thin backed floater frames. Bend the non screwed in down tab down so there is a tight spring fit when you attach the bracket to the panel spacers.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=offset+ca...f=nb_sb_noss_2

Last edited by contumacious : 01-25-2020 at 12:03 PM.
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