Underpinning ash

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Underpinning ash

Postby timeless » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:56 pm

Firstly - apologies for bombarding the help section!

I just wondered if anyone has any experience with the 31mm barewood ash deep rebate moulding from Lion? (pic below).

It's perfect for me, as it's deep enough for 90% of the objects I frame, and it looks nice when finished... but, I can sometimes have a nightmare when both cutting and pinning it. Although, it's a bit random, as sometimes everything goes fine, but sometimes (like today), I can barely get the Morso to cut it (I end up jumping up and down on the pedal thing), and then when joining, the v-nails then do a ninety-degree about-turn and blast their way out the back of the frame.

Could I ask what you would use to underpin this type of moulding? It seems to me that if I use hardwood V-nails, they force open the corner at the back of the frame, but if I use softwood V-nails, they bend inside the wood and come out the back.

Also (last question) - is it possible to sometimes get an especially hard length of moulding? It just seems odd that normally I can cut this, but today I had jump on the Morso like Zebedee to get through it.

Cheers

Jon
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby fusionframer » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:15 pm

To answer your last question first, yes you can get timber than is denser and harder to cut. There is nothing you can do and you cannot tell any difference.

Could it also be that your blades are losing their sharpness. Again, blades can sometimes blunt quicker than other times. Some woods will blunt them quicker.

Always remember not to be too gready when cutting hardwoods and take a few more nibbles.

What underpinner do you use? I wouldn't want to use a manuel underpinner myself for hardwoods, but i know there are loads who use them to join hardwoods with no problem. It sounds like the top clamp is not providing enough downwood force. With hardwoods, don't position the wedge too close to the back of the joint as it can split the wood.

Cheers

Nick
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Skinnymarinky » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:27 pm

Hi Timeless

Fusionframer has covered most of the issues, I agree with what he's said.
Feel the weight of he wood as you pick it up. You'll soon get to know a piece that is 'relatively' light or 'relatively' heavy compared with other pieces in the same batch. This rule works for softwood too. The 'relatively' heavy pieces are denser and so harder to cut. If you spot a light piece, particularly Obeche, it may be so fibrous that the Morso crushes it before it cuts, giving an awful outside cut. Not to be confused with the symptoms of a blunt blade! Re the Ash, don't be over ambitious with the length of wedges. Just use a couple of 10mm wedges, one a quarter and one a half way back from the inside edge and plenty of PVA. An Axminster pin or brad nail gun are great tools to add a bit of grip at the top of the join.
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Not your average framer » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:51 pm

I have had a lot more trouble cutting and joining ash than I have ever had with oak and yet lot of people have told me that oak is supposed to be harder than ash. There are various tricks that I employ, which do help quite a bit, but there are some lengths of moulding which are so hard that nothing seems to work.

I used to use a deep box frame moulding in ash and my technique was to stack two wedges very close to the inside of the rebate and a single wedge nearer to the centre of the moulding. The idea is to create less resistance as the wedges are inserted due to the narrow thickness of the wood between the wedge and the inside of the rebate.

It does work very nicely, but wedges in ash tend to follow the grain in the moulding and it's not a good idea to try and underpin a mitre joint in ash, when the end grain of the two moulding pieces to be joined are heading in different directions. Perhaps the only sure fire method is to use an ash veneered moulding where the base moulding under the ash is something much easier to cut and join. Unfortunately such mouldings are usually more expensive.
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby prospero » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:26 am

Nothing much to add. :D

Personally, I would never stack hardwood v-nails. I find with Ash, softwood ones work better, but I wouldn't try a 3-nail stack.

If I had to join that moulding I would insert a single v-nail and then put conventional nails in nearer the top. You need to drill pilot holes.
This is how all frames were joined before the advent of underpinners. Punch the nails below the surface and use some wood stopping to fill the holes.
I find Brummer stopping is good stuff - lots of colours. This job is easier on unfinished wood as the filler can be sanded flush and the hole virtually disappears.
You need to work fast. Insert all the nails before the glue sets. A strap clamp is handy for this type of job.

The idea of the single v-nail is just to hold the joint in alignment wile you cross-nail the top.
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby kuduframes » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:54 am

You will be better off with a Hoffmann X line router, perfect for hardwoods, see Lion 7819.
There was a second hand one being sold on the forum a while back, not sure if it is still available.
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby prospero » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:43 am

kuduframes wrote:You will be better off with a Hoffmann X line router, perfect for hardwoods, see Lion 7819.
There was a second hand one being sold on the forum a while back, not sure if it is still available.



Even better. :clap:
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Framemaker Richard » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:24 pm

If you are mainly going to us a deep ash or oak frame for nearly all your framing then a Hoffman would be ideal, I've got one and is is very good.

But If I was pinning that profile in ash then I would use a pneumatic underpinner, personally I would not like to use a manual underpinner with ash or oak, tried it years ago when I was employed and did not find it anywhere near as good as using a pneumatic underpinner... I would use normal wedges (have never liked the hardwood ones), I would not even think about stacking wedges in ash, but put just one 12 or 15mm wedge at the front, maybe a second a bit further out, then clamp and cross drill and pin the top of the corner (pretty similar to what Prospero suggests).

And as has been said already, the hardness, density, and weight of ash can vary greatly...
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Not your average framer » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:49 pm

I'm not joking about stacking two wedges very close to the rebate on the inside of the moulding. Inserting the wedge into a wood as solid and resilient as ash is quite difficult, particularly as the wood does not want to give as the wedge is inserted, but wedges inserted very close to the rebate can displace very thing sections inwards into the rebate, resulting in the give necessary to reduce the force required to insert the wedges.

I an talking about inserting the wedge about 2mm from the rebate, this effect does not really work at all with thicker sections of ash between the wedge and the inside of the rebate. I don't have a pneumatic underpinner, but a manual one, it's a CS-88. I also use hardwood wedges, because I've found that the tightening action of softwood wedges in hardwood strains the 90 degree bend at the centre of the wedge too much and when you try to break up a mitre using a softwood wedge in hardwood the wedge often literally unzips along the 90 degree bend at the centre of the wedge.

I also find that inserting wedges into ash can tend to push the mitre apart. I beat this by using a right angle section between the fence on the underpinner and the two pieces of ash being mitred together. On the inside of this right angle section I have glued two strips of quite fine sandpaper and the pressure produced by the rebate clamp prevent the two pieces of ash from moving apart during underpinning the mitre. Try it, it works.
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby timeless » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:33 am

Thanks for all your replies. I'll try pinning/nailing as suggested (haven't got enough room or money to buy more machinery unfortunately, so everything has to be manual rather than pneumatic) and will try the right-angle section thing.

But at least I now know that it was probably a particularly dense length of ash that scuppered me this week, rather than me being useless :)

Thanks again

Jon
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Justintime » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:29 pm

I managed to get a second hand Hoffmann mu2 from Hoffmann's at a very good price, it was a game changer!
The only way I could underpin oak and ash reliably with my foot operated underpinner was:
-softwood wedges
- as close to inside and in middleish
- helped a lot to pin the middle one first then inside one
When all else fails, glue and clamp with good glue like titebond 3 and either figure out how to underpin while still in clamp, or wait and underpin in the morning.
I feel your pain!
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby prospero » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:16 pm

It's a risky business underpinning after the glue has set. You can weaken or even break the joint. :cry:
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Justintime » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:18 pm

Yeah, I've only underpinned the next morning once, so I guess I was lucky, although that glue is very strong.
If you can figure out how to underpin with the clamp on, I guess that is the best way!
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby prospero » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:15 am

If you are using a strap clamp with webbing rather than a steel band, take the corner bits off. :wink:
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby timeless » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:38 am

Ah that's a great idea. I'll try the glue/cornerless clamp trick and will report back :)
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby misterdiy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:26 pm

As one who did lots of these mouldings and made 100's of frames a year, I can tell you now that the advice given is spot on. It will drive you round the bend cutting these on a morso - having to replace your blades with sharp one every 30/40 frames and joining is horrendous. Having a pneumatic underpinner that was programmed for the moulding, let me hold the frames extremely tight and finish each corner in one operation.

For me it was useless, v nails through the side of the frame open backs of the frame and then having to cross nail each frame. It was hopeless.

I invested in the Saw and the hoffman. Its the way to go and unfortunately the only sensible solution.

You could move over to Obeche though? :?
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby Justintime » Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:35 pm

I agree about the Hoffmann, as I said earlier.
I only have a Morso and advice from many framers in the States, is that for Hardwoods the Morso will always give a superior cut to a saw. They are even encouraging framers who've only used a saw, to invest in a Morso, specifically for Hardwoods, so your experience surprises me misterdiy!
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Re: Underpinning ash

Postby kuduframes » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:14 am

I've just realised that one of my more popular ash mouldings has been discontinued by Lion and in checking others I see that the moulding in the OP and its deeper version (L935 and L1410) have also both been discontinued, L935 is still showing a small amount of stock but not too much!
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