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18 September 2016

Who Framed King Uke?

I've hinted that I'd been making picture frames in recent blog posts. It's time I gave you a little more info on my latest project...

Regular readers of this blog are sick to death of my lino-print obsession. The final piece of the jigsaw has been to frame a couple, just because I can. The first print I wanted to have a go at framing is this one. I call this picture "Midnight at the Alhambra" and is a firm favourite of mine. It comes from my latest comic "Locus Solus" which is still free to download and enjoy from all good bookstores... and a few rubbish ones too ;-)

It turns out that I made a trial frame for Mrs Uke. This one. It's made out of hemlock which I've stained far too dark resulting in quite a cool zebra effect. I can't say that I'm too impressed with hemlock as a wood; I found it quick to splinter, easy to mark, and the knots are like tempered steel! Bloody hell, you should have seen me jump when my chop saw hit the first, shooting the wood into the air like a needle of death!

And in case you're wondering like I did... no this isn't the poisonous kind of Hemlock. This Hemlock is a conifer and the wood I bought was a spindle for a staircase that I chopped up. There was no way that I was going to use Hemlock for my frames...

Surprisingly I have no pictures of me chopping some Oak to size. I've never worked with Oak before and I like it. The slab I have is one I bought from B&Q and is intended for making rustic shelving or chopping boards, or something like that. I had other ideas.

All the sizing for this batch of frames is being driven by the size of the prints I'm making. The lino blocks are approx 4x6inches (10x15cm) which fits nicely inside a standard 6x8inch mount. My thinking was that I wanted to buy some pre-cut plastic for the front and I would cut the mount myself. Therefore, the frames would need to be made to house a 6x8inch mount.

The corners were cut with my recently purchased chop saw. It worked well, though some of the cuts are a bit rough. The 45 degree angle is spot on. I wish I'd had this when I made my Highwayman banjo pot. I made a batch of top/bottoms and sides. There's enough to make about 5 frames, though looking at what I've got, I'll maybe only get 4 good ones out of it.

I didn't do anything fancy with the frame other than to cut an inlay for the mount with my router. This was the first chance I've had to use my new homemade router table. It worked like a dream!

I've told you in the past of my fear of the router. I reckon this is by far the safest way to use this beast. There was no jumping about, wrestling with the bloody thing. All my attention was on cutting the wood and keeping myself safe. Oak is a hard wood, but it cut like a dream. I had no problems putting in the inlay. It took more time to set everything up than it took to do the routing. Lovely! 

Here's a close-up of the second picture I've framed called "The Mysteries of the Horizon."

If you're interested in lino-cuts or wood-cuts, I've started a collection of some of the wonderful pieces I've stumbled across on the internet. It's a collection in Google+ and you can find it here. I'll keep adding stuff as I find it. There really has been some lovely stuff done in this way.

I was just looking at some photos from a trip I made to Lincoln yesterday when I saw this snap. It's an archer's window and that small hole is what is known as "the arrow slit". The general idea is that it's easy to get the arrows out, but not so easy to get them in.

I'm looking at this now and thinking picture mounts and bevels. One of the things that I've wondered long and hard over was how I was going to cut the 45 degree bevel around the hole that holds the picture. The whole point of the mount board is to keep the picture from touching the glass; The bevel is there to make everything look professional. It adds lines of light and shadow that sets off the picture.

Never mind the mounts, I pressed on with my frames. Here you can see me gluing the sides with some fancy corner holders I've had sitting around for over a year waiting for a job just like this!

I've taken a bit of a risk and I'm not using anything other than glue to hold the wood together. It'll be plenty strong enough... you mark my words ;-)

The two bits of wood you can see to the left of the bottom frame are simply measures to allow me to test the inlay to make sure that I got it right. The first frame fit first time. The second needed some fanangling.

I succumbed in the end and bought a custom piece of kit for cutting the mount bevel. See here a Logan kit that comes with a ruler, bevel cutter, straight cutter and spare blades. I can't say that I'm expert in it's use, but I've managed to make three mounts so far. Not bad!

I don't have any photos of me doing it (I must have been too engrossed in getting it right). The hardest part is the bevel and figuring out how big the inside hole needs to be. 

Okay, I've talked enough about frames. Here are the two I made with my prints in finished with wax. What do you reckon? God knows where I'm going to put them. ;-) 

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