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  • Writer's pictureSarah, Fellows Framing

Tools of the Trade

I often get asked what tools and equipment I use to make frames so I thought I would share with you the main tools I use, some of which may surprise you.

Once the design & size is decided on and the materials are available then I can start. There are lots of stages that need to be done in a logical (ish) coordinated way. St Ives frames, for instance, require 2 bare frames in one, 3-4 coats of paint, fitting the inner frame & artwork, fitting outer frame, sealing up etc, a process that takes several days.

St Ives Frame - artwork by Ali Edgson

With paper based items I cut the back board, mount and undermount first using a sheet cutter. This cuts the materials square and to scale by using the measuring sliders on the left and right for height and width. A sharp blade in the vertical rotating cutter head cuts as it is pulled down the board. This piece of kit also has a glass cutting wheel in the cutter that scoring a line in the glass, a little physical pressure breaks it clean.

Next I cut the window/aperture out of the facing mount with the mount cutter. Again, a sharp blade in the cutter head cuts a crisp bevel edge which falls out when all 4 sides are done. Careful calibration ensures no overcutting or undercutting at the window corners.

The process of making the frame is twofold. Firstly, the four mitred sections/lengths are cut to size from long length of moulding (2.4 up to 3m) with my Morso guillotine. Large sharp blades cut away in small increments in the wood until right through.

The second part is joining the sections of moulding with a under pinner. Aptly called this as it fires V shaped nails up into the mitre corners from underneath one corner at a time resulting in a frame.

I use six main pieces of equipment – sheet cutter, mount cutter, morso guillotine, under pinner, and of course my brain and hands to make the complete frame. including brain and hands. Not many is it? However, the amount of small hand tools and bits and bobs makes sure makes up for this.

This gives you an idea of what you will find in the workshop drawers!

Lots of Tape measures, pencils, calculator, scalpel, scissors, Lighter fluid, thread, needles, Velcro, wire, wire insulation, rulers, staplers, staple gun, stretching pliers, screws, drill bits, hammer, magnets, plasters, concrete brick weights, compass, protractor, pens, marker pens, rubbers, various glues, various paints, paper, bradawl, impact driver, screwdriver, tape, oil, pliers, Dremel, saw, hacksaw, tension saw, chisels and so and so on.

After all you can never have enough tools can you?

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