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Thread: Picture frame stock thickness

  1. #1

    Picture frame stock thickness

    I make a lot of picture frames for an artist friend of mine. I typically mill material to 5/8”-3/4” finished thickness. My rabbets are cut to accept 3/32” glass, mat, art, and 1/8” hardboard backer, plus enough room for everything to be secured with framing points. The one I’ve just started went awry - somehow Ive resawn my material right at 5/8”, which after lightly planing I’ll hopefully end up with 9/16”. This is really nice air dried quartersawn walnut from my “personal stash”. I’d hate to lose these pieces and throw them to the usable scrap stack. Is 9/16” too thin for a frame? This is a large frame, will be about 24”x30”. I always use miter keys as large as the frame width will allow. I’m behind schedule and I can’t wait for another slab from outside to acclimate to my shop for a few weeks. My other option is to go buy kiln dried walnut at $10+ bd/ft for 4/4. Also not guaranteed to find the quarter or rift sawn pieces I use for framing.

  2. #2
    Are the sections already cut into strips (cut to width)? If not, could you cut them to the depth you want and turn them on edge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Aside from any strength concerns, it comes down to proportion and consistency with existing if new work will be displayed with old work. IMHO. I tend to make simple frames when I do make them, but prefer thicker at least an there's more "meat" available when assembling the components, but as always, this is a subjective thing. The sixteenth difference you are faced with "may" not be an issue, but will it look right for such a large display?

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    They are tipped greater than final width. The dimensions are such that turning them on edge would result in the thickness I need, but width much smaller than I want.

  5. #5
    No, this frame will be going out to my friends customer, so it won’t be displayed with other frames I’ve made. I also make simple frames, typically just 1 3/8” - 2” width of nice straight grain, sometimes with a single inlay or beaded inside edge. Always with miter keys, usually contrasting in color. I’m worried about strength, as the frame wire is attached to the back of the frame, and also the aesthetic as you mentioned. I don’t want it to look like a cheap poster frame. Do you think, with keyed miters of course, it will be strong enough? It has to last beyond my lifetime, I’m 34 and am planning on living a very long time 😀

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    If the frames are "flat" against the wall and there was concern about strength due to the thickness, I might consider making another frame hidden behind and glued to the one in front. Could be almost any dry stock. This could even give an attractive shadow line around the frame.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    I'd consider adding another board for thickness near the glass and picture mounting, then do a compound miter so the rim of the frame comes off the wall. A flat 9/16 thick frame is going to come off a bit odd and not show a look that fine art should have.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Blog Entries
    I would resaw the material yet again and use it as a veneer or an inlay. That way you get the look of the nice material and you get enough thickness to allow frame integrity.

    11-14-frame (15).jpgFrame with Inlay (19).jpg5X5 Frame (16).jpg

    If the frames need to be of one material I would make new and save the questionable material for another opportunity. JMHO.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  9. #9
    I think you all have convinced me. 9/16” isn’t going to cut it. Realistically, just the fact that I was on the fence about using that material is a red flag. Thanks everyone

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Millstone, NJ
    What about changing the angle? Bring the edge up 10-15 degrees? It should add depth and limit loss of width. My only other thought would be to resaw it and fill with contrasting or matching "cheaper stuff"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    New Orleans, LA
    You can build a frame for the backside to bulk it up if you want. A simple butt joint frame will offset it from the wall and give it the look of being bigger than it is. Idk what depth you need for everything to fit but it either fits or it does not fit. Which is where the decision to use a back frame comes into play. I regularly frame canvases and if you can get even a little bit of purchase with the points your usually good. Angling the points down also helps if the painting wants to stick out of the back because the artists decided to lay it on thick in a spot or two. Paper covers anything that may not be pretty. As far as the frame matching the painting, that is up to you. Sometimes a thin frame works well on a large painting and a large frame works well on a small painting. Just depends what the artist has in mind and what you want to do. I use V nails and glue to lock my frames together. The times I have made a back frame for the front frame I use a pin nailer and glue. I'd say just make a sub frame for the one you have already made if you do not have enough thickness for everything you want to put in there. No one will ever notice what is going on behind the frame itself.

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