|Project by Mike in Wisconsin||posted 07-01-2013 04:17 AM||10400 views||168 times favorited||22 comments|
Here’s my take on a self-squaring picture frame clamp. It’s pretty much like most people’s. Here’s how I built it:
I had some chunks of prefinished maple from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (check these out if you haven’t yet and you’ve got one in your area – they’re pretty great). I cut my stock down to length:
The four long pieces in the middle are the arms. The four small pieces at the top are the crossbars that connect each pair of arms. I doubled them up, one above and one below the arms, but it would work just as well if you don’t.
You’ll notice I’ve cut notches and drilled holes for the small pieces that will hold the corners of the frame. I don’t like working with small pieces when I can avoid it – too easy for something to get pulled out of your hand. So I’ve made most of the cuts in the small pieces while they’re still in one piece of stock.
After cutting the pieces out and trimming the corners (just for the hell of it), here’s the full set of corners. The square pieces will go underneath the arms and will hold the bolt that keeps the corners in place. Here’s the squares with bolts:
T-nuts, washers and machine screws.
Next I needed to drill the holes in the arms. These are for the bolts in the corner pieces, and they allow you to reposition the corners for larger or smaller frames.
Most of this clamp can be built without worrying about precision, but this is the one part that should be accurate. The holes on each of the four arms all need to have the same spacing. If one arm’s holes are a little farther out, the clamp won’t pull the frame into square.
Other folks might have a more elegant solution, but mine was to drill one arm, then duct-tape it to another arm and use the first as a template. Using duct tape instead of clamps let me drill the whole length of the arm without having to reposition clamps and risk losing alignment. Worked like a charm.
The finished product, clamping up a test frame:
Nice square corners. There were three more that looked just like this one. The hole at the corner allows a little bit of room to slide the pieces around to ensure proper alignment. I was using biscuits for this one. The hole also makes sure that the clamping pressure is applied evenly to the edge of the frame, not just at the corner where it might damage the piece.
I’ve put together a half-dozen frames with this already, and I’m pretty happy with it. It was an easy build, too. Well worth the time if you’ve got some blank spots on the wall to fill.