Making a Valchromat Picture Frame

In this video I’m going to use some more scrap valchromat to make a simple picture frame for this amazing drawing I’ve been sent by Sirus.

To start with I cut the valchromat into four length at 24mm wide pieces.

I then set up my router table to create the rebate and turn the pieces into picture frame moulding. I’m going to router off 7mm in, and 14mm high, and I’m doing this in small section at a time.

I’m keeping the height of my bit the same and moving the router table fence away from the router bit – to widen the rebate.

The wrap around extraction port on my palm router is doing a very good job at extracting all the red dust. I was planning to 3D print something for the top extraction to fit within the c-beam but I’m not sure I need it.

Ok I’ve worked out that if I keep this bit of acrylic as high as it is, that’s 194, I only need to cut it down 261 and this drawing should sit quite nicely in the centre with an even gap around. 266.

I’m now going to cut the mitres, making sure opposite pieces are the same lengths. I measure up against the Perspex, and after cutting I use the first piece as a reference to cut the second.

The final mitre cut for each pair is done by holding the pieces, one on top of the other, making sure the mitre furthest away from the blade is flat, and proceeding to cut. You may notice that after I make my plunge, I let go of the switch to allow the blade to come to a stand-still. I do this to make sure I don’t cut on the lift, which is possible with mitre chop saws.

This chop saw is a real monster. It is probably as old or even older than my YouTube channel and again doesn’t have soft start of breaking. I also rebuilt the base. I really should think about fitting a clamping attachment to it, if I intend to carry on using it.

I put all the pieces on a flat bit of MDF and then check the frame is square by measuring between either corner.

This is my new workshop pet. It’s a v-nail-apeed. It’s highly dangerous and only a trained person can keep one – like myself. It seems to like me.

I cut the offcuts from the moulding into smaller sections. I’m going to need 8 to help me clamp the frame together. Note how I use the back end of a push stick to keep my fingers away from the blade.

I’m using a method of wrapping and tying some thick string around the frame, and placing the offcut of the frame itself between the frame and string, using two for either side. I then push the pieces to the edge and this tensions the string and applies clamping pressure to the corners. It’s a really effective way of clamping picture frames.

If you weren’t sure about the tension that this simple clamping method can create, just listen to that.

I tried to hammer a short v-nail into the edge but the velchromat is really dense and doesn’t penetrate as nicely as I’d like. Possibly using a micro drill bit and some veneer nails would have been a better option.

People often think this stuff is like MDF, it’s really not like MDF. It’s very different.

See that’s actually opened it up a little bit. Look at that joint, you can barely see it.

I’ve learnt a few other tricks with string, one in particular that will be really good for the CNC machine but also in terms of levelling something much larger then this. If you’re making a really big frame and you want to make sure it’s perfectly flat, you simply tape a bit of string from one corner to the other and again on the opposite corners and you look and where the line intersects. And if they’re just touching it means that the frame is flat. If one is a bit higher than the other or pushing too tight, you know you frame is twisting. It’s amazing what you can do with just a piece of string.

After the glue sets a little I give everything a sand.

I just oiled the frame, and what I did was, as it was drying I would sand the edge a little bit to flatten it out. Surprisingly it’s worked. You wouldn’t be able to do that with MDF. The alternative is to use a bit of polyurethane varnish. That would have been better to be honest.

Ok that’s not too bad. That’s Sirus’s drawing that he’s sent to me in a frame I’ve made from Valchromate with a cork backing board.

If you’d like to send me a drawing, and Sirus has set the bar very high with his attempt, drop me an email via the about section of my channel page and I’ll send you the address. Thanks again for watching.

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