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Picture Frame Bowing

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Forum topic by pfleming posted 02-15-2016 02:22 PM 579 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


02-15-2016 02:22 PM

I built a 4×6” picture frame out of 1×4” beaded ceiling board pieces, and decided to glue it on the back side of the tongue and groove only (to make sure I wouldn’t have any glue on the front of the boards). I planned to glue a 1/4” piece of board on the front (this provides the rabbet and decoration), so I figured that would help keep the frame from bowing as well. I finished the frame, and let the customer know that it was ready, but as I was walking by it last night (it was hanging on the wall), I saw that the frame had bowed just enough for me to notice. Does anyone have an idea as to why it would have bowed after a few days? I figure it has to have something to do with the temperature, or humidity difference between the shop and the house, but not sure if it’s more to do with only using glue on one side of the boards. I’ve attached a pic from the side of the frame to show the bow.

-- Patrick, Mississippi


14 replies so far

View JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 856 days


#1 posted 02-15-2016 08:39 PM

Wild guess…because your thin board is glued to the front, it is keeping the front side of the tongue and groove stuff from changing in size…while the back side of the tongue and groove is not constrained in that way, and the back side is slightly changing in size due to humidity change.

It is very much like what happens if you finish only one side of a board or if you veneer or laminate only one side of a piece of ply. Both sides of a piece of wood need to have nearly identical “treatment” or it will cup like that.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#2 posted 02-15-2016 09:10 PM

That’s kind of what I was thinking, but not wanting to accept. I made 8 more of those frames yesterday…..glued only on one side. I wonder if I bring them inside and lay them flat, with some weight on top, if they’ll stay flat as they go through their changes, or if they’ll just bow as soon as the weight is lifted? Man, I may have just wasted a day in the shop, and a lot of material, only to learn a valuable lesson.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

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MadMark

978 posts in 917 days


#3 posted 02-15-2016 10:57 PM

The cupped side is too dry vs the crown. The side towards the wall may be experiencing absorption from the drywall.

Stand on edge and see if the bow goes away or lessens overnight. If it does, then you have too little finish on it.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#4 posted 02-16-2016 01:03 AM

I’ll try standing it on edge and see what happens. I took it off the wall and put it on the table last night, but no change so far. I did bring the other 8 frames, that I made yesterday, in from the shop and laid them on the table too. We’ll see what happens if I let them warm up and get acclimated to the warmer temps without paint on them. I guess if they bow too, I’ll know it has something to do with the glue being on one side of the tongue only. I also wonder if I went back and put some thin (1” wide x 1/4” thick or so) strips on the back of the frames, if it would keep them from bowing. Kind of for some reinforcement of sorts.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#5 posted 02-16-2016 03:28 AM

After more research on the topic of cupping, I believe the problem is that I have NO finish on the back side of the frame at all. The front was painted, but the back was left natural. I think I’ll try painting the back and see what happens. Maybe the moisture from the paint will hep straighten it out.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

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tomsteve

394 posts in 683 days


#6 posted 02-16-2016 02:14 PM

no suggestions, but hows about a view from the front? just to see if it looks as nice as im tryin to picure.

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#7 posted 02-16-2016 02:43 PM

Sure thing. I’m pleased, as is the customer, with the way the frame itself turned out. But that cupping has got to go! I may just end up making them another one.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

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tomsteve

394 posts in 683 days


#8 posted 02-16-2016 06:49 PM

now that is pretty slick!!! very creative! i like it!

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#9 posted 02-16-2016 07:21 PM

Well thank you sir! The trim piece around the glass area (painted blue-green) was free-hand drawn by my wife. A couple of days later we were at a Michael’s store, and she happened to see a couple of picture frames that were for 4×6” pictures, and were only $1 each. One of them was the wavy style, and one was a plain rectangle, so I picked up one of each to use as templates. I liked the rabbet size of my trim better (1/4”), so I used the inner dimensions of mine, and the outer lines of theirs, to make one nice looking template to use on the router table. I took a piece of masking tape and put a small piece on opposite corners, just next to the glass opening, and put a pea sized spot of hot glue on the tape. Then I pressed the 1/4” board I was making my trim out of onto the hot glue. After letting it set and cool off for a couple of minutes, I put it on the router table, with a 1/2” straight trim bit with a bearing on it, and traced my template for a perfect replica. Did that 8 times, and every one looked great! No need to use double sided tape for me, and more than 2 spots and you’ll have to take a scraper and pry it apart. NONE of mine slipped or moved at all. Best of all…..when you’re done, just pop them apart, peel the tape off, and you’re pieces look like new. Hope this helps somehow.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

273 posts in 307 days


#10 posted 02-16-2016 09:05 PM

Does the cupping change with the changes in season? Does it cup one way in the winter and the other in the summer?

You have glued with the front grain running at right angles to the rear. Wood expands and contracts at different rates along and across the grain.

I was a picture framer for many years (until arthritis became my companion) and I have never seen a frame done in the manner.

My suggestion is that you make a new frame in a more conventional manner.

For me, the side view of the frame does not scream “professional framing”.

I would not ever had done a frame in this manner.

What are you using for a backer board for the art? Is it resting directly against the wood? Or do you have a mat board behind the art?

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#11 posted 02-16-2016 09:40 PM

Man, you take this stuff way more serious than I do. I’m just a simple guy in a shop that enjoys making frames from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I do want them neat and clean, which is exactly why this bothers me, but I have never, and probably will never, call myself a professional framer. The boards are cut shorter on the sides, so that the picture sits between the side boards, not on them. This happened over the course of a couple of weeks, not months. That’s why I think it may be from painting only one side of the frame. Sorry about the arthritis coming home to roost, I have it in my lower back….it’s no fun at time. Thanks for any advice on how to clean these up in the future.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

394 posts in 683 days


#12 posted 02-17-2016 12:05 PM



Well thank you sir! The trim piece around the glass area (painted blue-green) was free-hand drawn by my wife. A couple of days later we were at a Michael s store, and she happened to see a couple of picture frames that were for 4×6” pictures, and were only $1 each. One of them was the wavy style, and one was a plain rectangle, so I picked up one of each to use as templates. I liked the rabbet size of my trim better (1/4”), so I used the inner dimensions of mine, and the outer lines of theirs, to make one nice looking template to use on the router table. I took a piece of masking tape and put a small piece on opposite corners, just next to the glass opening, and put a pea sized spot of hot glue on the tape. Then I pressed the 1/4” board I was making my trim out of onto the hot glue. After letting it set and cool off for a couple of minutes, I put it on the router table, with a 1/2” straight trim bit with a bearing on it, and traced my template for a perfect replica. Did that 8 times, and every one looked great! No need to use double sided tape for me, and more than 2 spots and you ll have to take a scraper and pry it apart. NONE of mine slipped or moved at all. Best of all…..when you re done, just pop them apart, peel the tape off, and you re pieces look like new. Hope this helps somehow.

- pfleming

dam, i completely forgot how useful hot glue can be and the tape thing makes complete sense! ive got some work comin up that im goingbto be using that on.
very creative frame. thinkin outside the box!

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rwe2156

2194 posts in 945 days


#13 posted 02-17-2016 12:41 PM

I think the problem with the t&g boards is in the joints flexing due to the facing bowing. This type of wood is meant to be fastened down to a substrate like ceiling joists. And xgrain gluing is a no no. Good chance is what’s causing the problem.

I would fasten the beadboard down, maybe to a couple cleats that simulate a rafter. The frame itself could be screwed from the back through stotted holes in the beadboard.

The other option would be to make a rabetted frame to go around the bead board since you want to cover the sides this is probably the best way.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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pfleming

76 posts in 679 days


#14 posted 02-17-2016 01:06 PM

As the root problem, I think you’re spot on. The way the beadboard connects with each other, it doesn’t have enough surface area to stay really flat. The (serious) thought had crossed my mind to add some kind of strips down the back of the frame to help the boards stay flat. I’ve done this on some in the past and haven’t had anyone say anything about any of them cupping. I just wanted a little cleaner look for these, but I may not have a choice. I could use 1/4” thick x 1 1/2” wide or so, and go all the way around the frame for a uniform look.

-- Patrick, Mississippi

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