Saturday, 30 March 2013

Rack construction

I've finally got round to starting to build a big drying rack. It will be used for holding frames in between coats of gesso, bole, paint and various other processes. There are some big orders coming up in the next couple of months, and we will need every single area of flat shelf space to put frames while they are drying, so it seems like a good time to get this built.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Just about finished...

Just needs a little distressing and finishing touches and this corner repair is complete...

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A couple of frames

These two frames have been finished today, simple but stylish gilding combined with painted scoop and sides.

18th century carved frame

This is a beautiful little carved antique frame, I would describe it as an English 18th century carved running pattern with pierced corners, perhaps mid to late 1700's. I think the design would have been influenced by the French Louis XIV and XIII style frames. I really like the grey painted finish which gives it a slightly rustic look. I think this frame would be good for an impressionist type painting, a much better choice than an extravagant wide gilded compo Louis XV frame that were at some point the frame of choice for many museums, dealers, and collectors. My second choice after a good carved frame like this one (for an impressionist picture), would be a simple profile with a painted  or gilded finish, maybe with some reeded detail or simple mouldings or ornament. Just my personal preference of frames for impressionist paintings!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Carlo Maratta sample


The gesso frame at the top shows the base profile I will use to make a reproduction 18th Century Carlo Maratta frame. The middle layout shows one variant with four runs of ornament, and the bottom photo shows a simpler version with three runs. Lots of different types of ornament can be used on these frames, I am working on making a sample of the simpler version with gadroon inner, ribbon and stick middle, and half leaf and flower outer ornament. Next stage will be to make the moulds for making the composition ornament.


I had a good rummage through my ornament impressions today, I always like looking through all the different designs. I really want to make more of these into moulds and start making more use of them, I need to make some time one day for doing this... 

I was searching for a large ribbon and stick and a half leaf pattern, for use on a Carlo Maratta type frame, I found a good selection to choose from. I also found a leaf and shield style pattern which is used on classic Carlo Maratta frames, but I don't need it for this frame.

Good swept frame

This good quality antique compo swept frame had a couple of dozen areas of missing ornament. These have been replaced and finished to match the original gilded finish. The top photos shows the frame before the repairs were done, not the best photo but you can just about see some missing ornament.

Drying rack

The strange wooden storage rack in the photo at the top was bodged together from scrap wood when we first moved into the workshop, (2 1/2 years ago now) and for a while it was used to store short lengths of moulding. To be honest it was rather useless and has not been used for over a year, it has been taking up space under a work bench since then. Instead of breaking it up for rubbish or firewood I decided to make it into a storage/drying rack for small frames. I have fitted some supports made from scrap wood, and then some MDF and plywood shelves which are also scrap and of not much use.
One 6mm MDF shelf can be seen with lots of 1" drilled holes, this is because it was used as a drilling support when air holes were cut in styrene, used for the protective backings on canvases. This gave me the idea to add some air holes to the other shelves, to allow some air flow for drying. Metal grilles would be more suitable, but these will do for now. I will add another 7 shelves, so in all it will have 14 racks for storing frames in between stages of gilding and painting.

More steps in a repair...

This repair is nearly finished, just need to add the gilt and antiquing on Monday, and it will be done.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Corner repair

Another repair to an English style swept frame, this frame is very big so I am doing it on site. Much of one corner is missing so an impression is taken from a good corner.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

White float frame

This box canvas is framed in a 2" deep white painted box frame, this is mounted to a white painted MDF backing, then another white painted frame which is about 2 1/2" deep, surrounds the outside of the backing. The outer frame is a wide flat frame which has been cut on its side or at right angles to how it would usually be cut and joined. This general style is sometimes called a 'St. Ives frame', although now this can refer to almost any white framing, some people also call this style after the artist Ben Nicholson, although I think lap or butt joints and natural wood finish would be more typical of Nicholson frames. With the example here no glazing is used, although you can also have them with glazing, by having the outer (or inner) frame made from two parts; a rebated frame and a space or fillet.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Finished repair

Friday, 15 March 2013

Little antique frame

A lovely little early 19th Century frame with composition ornament corners, nice spline construction. It has been overpainted and has areas of gesso loss, but once restored it will be a great period frame.

Part 3 of repair

Thursday, 14 March 2013

More frames waiting for gesso...

Stage 2

The step in repairing this frame is to use some epoxy putty to replace the missing areas of composition ornament.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Modern cove

A cove shaped frame (also called scoop or spoon shape) with a distressed water gilded and painted finish.

A typical repair

This English style swept frame has some damage to one corner, which is being repaired.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Gilded slip

Here are photos showing some of the various stages in making a gilded slip to fit an antique frame. From the sanded gesso surface to the finished effect.

Gesso finish

These frames have had a simple gesso and painted finish. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Frame slip

This frame slip is about 30mm wide, I needed a smaller slip in the same profile for a job so I quickly cut the slip down on the table saw to the size required.

Gesso day

I have a lot of frames to gesso at the moment, 24 done today, amongst other jobs like cutting/joining more frames, spending time with customers and clients, and doing repairs. I've got another frames 12 to gesso later this week, and about 12 more next week. Thankfully spraying makes it much easier to get frames coated in gesso relatively quickly.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Fabric frame

This frame is a little different, it has been covered in fabric that was originally a sarong. The frame was made as normal, then the wood was sized and sealed. The fabric was carefully ironed to remove lots of deep creases. An adhesive was put all over the frame with a roller, when this had nearly dried the fabric was put over the frame and was smoothed down and trimmed to size. After some drying time, the fabric was ironed all over to reactivate the adhesive and increase the bond strength.