Many of you have requested information on how to make the picture frame clamping device so we have finally decided to publish our own information on this device. Before we get into the building of the device a word of safety. This clamping device uses a few small pieces which can be somewhat challenging to cut on some power tool equipment. We recommend making the smaller components on a band saw. If you do not own a band saw or are not familiar with it's use we recommend cutting them by hand with a hand saw using a bench vice to hold the work.
For the list of materials and the methodology, please see the following section.
The List of Materials you will need includes:
1 – 12” Threaded Ready-bar
2 – flat washers and wing-nuts that will function on the ready-bar
4 – “arms” 3/4” x 1-1/2” x 20” long
4 - “frame corner blocks” 3/4” x 3” x 3” Plywood
2 - “connecting blocks, hardwood 1-1/2” square x 6” long
8 – 1/4” or suitable nuts and bolts
Cut the arms to the size shown in the materials list then mark “B” for the bottom of each arm. Mark all arms 1” up from the bottom where the hole will be drilled for connecting the arms to the connecting blocks. Then mark every 2” all the way up each arm to accommodate different setting for the “frame corner blocks” when assembling different size frames. Drill all holes up the middle of each arm, then set all aside.
Cut the 2 connecting blocks, oak or maple or similar is best. The blocks are 1-1/2' square by 6 inches long. Both blocks need cutaways to receive the arms. These cutaways on each end of the block should be 2” long by 3/4” high. After the cutaways have been been made holes will need to be drilled through each cutaway to connect with the “arms” these holes should be 1” from the end. Another hole to accept the ready-bar will need to be drilled through the sides of each block as close to the centre of the block as possible.
The final components are the 4 “frame corner blocks” The cutaways on these blocks should be 1-1/2” square but before you cut these you should drill holes at the apex of the cutaway as well as a hole for the connecting the component to the “arm”, this hole should be about 1/2” above the apex hole of 3” from the furthers right angle on the block. Once the holes are drilled the cutaways can be made.
Now that all the components are made it is a simple job of connecting the 4 arms to the connecting blocks which will have the ready-bar running through both of them with the flat washers and wing-nuts on each side. Finally attach the frame corner blocks and the clamping devise is assembled.
To use the device start off with dry fitting a frame. Make the clamping device such that when you tighten the ready-bar it will pull all the arms toward the middle in at the same time in an even pressure. You may have to re-adjust the positioning of the 4 frame corner blocks to be able to get sufficient pressure on the ready bar. Be sure to check your frame when gluing for squareness.
One last suggestion, for larger frame we highly recommend some sort of mechanical corner connecting device (nails, screws, staples) or cut and insert splines into the corners to make sure the corners cannot pull away. Remember you are only gluing end-grain to end-grain on a frame so there is very little for the glue to hold, you should use some additional fastening particularly if you will be using glass in the frame.
Copyright Colin Knecht – Woodworkweb