Building a Big Black Frame

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Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:52 am

Got a job to build a big frame. The design was to emulate some of the frame styles that the artist Robert Lenkiewicz used on some of his works, typically a wide, flat, reeded black with a narrow gold sightedge.

Went to local DIY shed to look for some reeded architrave. Found some in oak that was megabucks, but the same can be had in M*F

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It came "ready primed for painting", but you have to sand it well to get paint to stick. My workshop is a bit small to manipulate a 5'x4' frame, so I had to set up temporarily in the front of the shop.

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The MDF sections are quite weak and bendy, so a bit of beefing up was called for.......

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tbc.....
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:20 am

I built a chrevron as I went for future reference.

The reeded sections are 76mm wide. Behind these is glued/screwed lengths of 19mm x 95mm PSE pine. This forms the main core of the frame.

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The wider pine section forms a shelf which it just so happens is the same width as the back of a square oak moulding I had on the plot. This is glued in.

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Next, a suitable moulding for the outside. This one was acquired during a recent visit to a fellow framer in Ireland. :) Anyone know where to get this profile this side of the water? :roll: The back was extended with more PSE pine.

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btw. click the images and you should get a bigger pic

tbc.........
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:46 am

Later..... The frame all put together. All the sections are glued to form one continuous lump.

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Next step is to fill any gaps and (possible) defects with fine surface Polyfilla to blend the different parts. I then brushed on more of the same (slightly diluted) to fill any rough grainy bits. When dry, the whole frame is given a good sanding and a couple of coats of ripple paint brushed on. This stuff is nice an thick and fills the grain a bit more. The colour is not important in this case. I used some Burnt Umber powder colour mixed in as the ripple paint is only available in white which takes more covering when you come to do the top coats. I like to leave this stage for a few hours to dry completely.

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While that was drying I made the slip. Plain wood filled the same way. Sanded smooth and given a couple of coats of acrylic Red Oxide prior to gilding with gold powder bound in varnish.

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tbc............
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:15 am

Now the boring bit. The whole thing is given a good sanding. The a few coats of black acrylic. When this is dry the whole thing is covered with wax - brushed on and slightly thinned with White Spirit. Wiped off with a rag leaving thicker deposits in the groovy parts. I left this to dry before dusting all over with Rottenstone. Then the final polish with a nice yellow duster to buff up the high points.

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Cut and joined the slip and lock it in place with a 10mm thick piece of PSE. The slip is about 25mm, so this nicely forms a 15mm wide rebate. Plenty of elbow room for the big canvas.

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Finished article. :D

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One thing I didn't do was to grab a pic with the painting fitted. Too preoccupied with trying to install it safely in the back of a van. The artist has promised to send me a photo later.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby JFeig » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:33 am

Just to compare what a custom job sells for on your side, I would be interesting to know the price range of that project.

I did a frame from raw lumber 2 years ago for an artist - 8" wide moulding for a 48x96 painting on a honeycomb panel. It was in the $2700 range.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/18551838@N08/1891428465

Yes, I know that the painting is upside down. It was about to be placed in a crate for shipment to California for gallery show this artist was in. It was originally priced as a antiqued metal leaf finish. At the last minute he changed his mind and wanted a pickled finish after 3 coats of gesso being sanded.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby John » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:20 am

Great work Prospero.

Thank you for sharing with this excellent step by step guide.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby Gesso&Bole » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:23 am

That's an absolute stunner! I'm well impressed. Thanks for taking the time to show the stages.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby mikeysaling » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:07 am

lovely piece of work - well done!
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby markw » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:44 am

Nice job.
Had to frame a much smaller Lenkewicz recently - fortunately I could find the profiles I needed as bare woods from Simons and combined they came very close to the original.
My customer was lucky enough to have a couple of original frames - she described them as Proust frames, so I was able to study the form and finish. The only comment I would make is that the original frames ridging was very deep, and I found nothing really came close to that depth.

I hope to have some bigger ones to do in the future and your example is very enlightening on the technique required to make a bigger frame Lenkewicz's work was fairly dark and this frame design really works well - the ridging seems to have a much greater depth to it leading your eye into the work.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby pinkybanks » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:14 am

I'm sooo glad I found this forum, I'm constantly inspired by the work of others, and look forward to the day I can concentrate on making this my living (18 months and counting). Thanks for the step by step instructions, I think it looks fantastic, and is a credit to your hard work and artistic eye.
I have friends in Plymouth who have several original Lenkewicz in their collection; I have always admired the pieces but would be too scared to touch them....God knows what they are worth, and came to them as a gift from the great man himself.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:31 pm

A few years ago I actually had a 5' square Lenkewicz oil locked in a cupboard for a while. It came over from the US, the canvas in one tube and the stretcher bars in another. I had to persuade it back on the bars. :? Forunately, the quality of the canvas and bars made it fairly easy. I was holding myself in readiness to make a frame for it, but the guy it belonged to sold it on before I got a chance. :(

I did the frame above at mates rates, but for a retail job I would be looking for about £1200+vat. The artist himself was very pleased with it. He asked if it was possible to do one twice as big. 8x5. That would make the outside dimensions a shade under 9x6. Doesn't sound that enormous, but once built it would need two people to shift it about. If I did attempt it I would have to wait for a spell of good weather and work on it outside. :P
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby Framerpicture » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:08 pm

Fantastic job- Thanks for showing, the rottenstone look really does make the difference
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby Nigel Nobody » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:02 pm

That is an excellent piece of craftsmanship and the finish looks superb!
Congratulations!
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby David » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:32 pm

Brilliant job, very impressive, well done.

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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby MITREMAN » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:59 pm

Prospero,
What a lovely constructed and finshed Frame and a great visual work in progress explaination.

The way you have used of the shelf products and adapted them to build a custom made frame should be an inspiration to all framers to follow in your footsteps and learn to adapt all the available mouldings and decorative timbers to build wide mouldings and overcome the lack of width and deep rebated mouldings available and provide a custom made product.

Constructing wide and deep rebate section from multiply mouldings is something I like to teach in my box framing course.

Quality Job :clap:

Kind Regards
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby Not your average framer » Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:13 am

Hi Peter,

Another excellent job as usual. :clap:

I haven't done anything that large for about a year now. Probably something to do with the recession, but recently I've started getting customers asking about me doing some again.

Like you I don't have much space and I get around this by working on a sort of angled work surface, which erect when required and dismantle afterwards.

I find some jobs get almost too heavy to move around while working on them and worry about moving them after the glass has been fitted.
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby DEEPJOY » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:04 pm

Great job Peter.

Are you ready to retire and take up training? I know of at least 2 of us who would be delighted to get you over to Staffordshire. :clap:

Regards
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:33 pm

Thanks Mike. It's worth a thought. :wink:

Only problem is, it's a messy process. Might have to issue onlookers with so'westers. :rain: :wondering:
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Re: Building a Big Black Frame

Postby prospero » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:40 pm

Just received photo of the frame+painting. :) The artist is Andrew White who I have known for quite a few years and he's a good lad. :D

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The gentleman in the foreground (don't know him personally) is a Lenkewicz collector who commissioned the painting. It's quite a weird image, especially the mirror which is reflecting Andrew himself photographing the scene. :?

Click the pic for a slightly bigger one.

(The chair in the bottom left is nothing to do with anything)
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