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Picture Frame Corner Clamp

How To Put Picture Frames Together!

Your #1 Source For Picture Frame Supplies
On this web site you can purchase corner clamps that are used to put picture frames together.  I will show you how to use them to put your picture frames together.  These clamps used the right way will work fine for making picture frames.

picture frame corner clamp for putting picture frames togetherPicture Frame Corner Clamps

This picture frame clamp is fixed at 90 degrees so you can't go wrong with the angle and will hold picture frame moldings up to 3 inches wide.

Click here to see a larger image of the
picture frame corner clamp

It leaves joints fully exposed for miter correction. Aluminum construction with steel turn screws.
The glue included on the order below is Our Corner Lock Glue - the best!

NOTICE ALL CORNER CLAMPS BELOW ARE NOW OUT OF STOCK PLEASE DO NOT ORDER UNTIL THIS NOTICE HAS BEEN REMOVED !

 


Picture Frame Corner Clamp Price $12.89

Picture Frame Corner Clamp with 2 Oak Pre-drilled
Blocks & Screws Price $14.69

2 Pre-drilled Oak Blocks and Screws for Picture Frame
Corner Clamp Price $2.89

Picture Framers Clamp Kit #1 - Picture Frame Corner Clamp with 2 Oak Blocks, Screws, 2 oz Corner Lock Glue and 1 leaf of 10 MM
Hand Drivable V-Nails Price $19.89

Picture Framers Clamp Kit #2 - Picture Frame Corner Clamp with 2 Oak Blocks, Screws, 2 oz Corner Lock Glue and 1 leaf of 10 MM Hand Drivable V-Nails, and an 8x10 picture frame chop to put together for practice.
Makes a Great Gift! Price $29.49

Click here to See our Larger complete picture framing kit

 

how to put picture frames together with a corner clampHow To Put Picture Frames Together With a Corner Clamp

Lots of our customers buy these corner clamps to put a few picture frames together.  They are lots cheaper than purchasing a professional picture frame vise for sure.  

Click here to see a larger image showing
how to put picture frames together with a corner clamp

When attempting to use these clamps to put your picture frames together they sometimes don't seem to work very good.  Picture frames are made in many styles and shapes and sometimes picture frames don't want to clamp together very well using these corner clamps when attempting to bring the picture frame corners together free hand.  At other times these clamps work quite well especially with picture frames with deep rabbets.

Some people try to use four clamps at a time and attempt to glue up and clamp all four corners of a picture frame together at the same time.  Again, this method will work at times, but this method can really leave a lot to be desired.

Well, these little picture frame clamps can be made to work very well to put picture frames together.  The problem lies in how they are used, and some adaptions have to be made.  I am going to show you how to make these clamps work really nice for you to put your picture frames together.  All you have to do to get really great results from them is to follow my directions exactly.  They do work nice! If you do this right. So let's get started!

When putting picture frames together many times you only have about one square inch of wood to work with on the ends.  It takes a really good glue to hold picture frames together.  The common glues that you see in hardware stores just don't cut it.  Picture frames glued up with these glues will snap apart very easily.  Because these picture frame clamps are not professional vises, it is even more important to use a really good glue.  It is the glue that holds all picture frames together.  Not the nails as most people think.  The nails driven into picture frames are there just to hold the picture frame together, if and when in the future the framed picture gets dropped and the glue bond is broken.

I am not trying to sell you something here. The fact is you will get really good results using our professional picture frame wood glue.  This glue works and is really, really strong.  It is not to be compared to common wood glues.  I am not trying to sell you something.  I just want you to know the facts and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I told you anything I felt was untrue.

The one unbreakable rule about putting picture frames together is that you MUST always put the long piece of the picture frame in the right side of the clamp and the short piece in the left side of the clamp.  If you ever should mix up this fact, you will find that your picture won't go together when done.  So mark your clamp if you wish on the right side -Long Piece- and on the left side mark it -Short Piece-. (it can be done the other way around but I'm not going there in this article).

The next rule is to forget about putting all four sides of your picture frame together at once.  You must learn to put your picture frame together just the same way as you would if you were using a professional picture frame vise.  You can easily put all the pictures together you want using just one professional picture frame vise, or one little picture frame clamp. If you wish to speed up the operation a little you can use 2.  This gives you the chance to put the first two corners together the first time around.  Than you are just back to putting one corner together at a time again.  Two or more vises only give you the option of putting together more than one picture frame at a time. 

Remember, professionals glue up and put one corner of the picture frame together at a time.  You must do the same thing! (unless they put the first two corners together on two vises as said)  For the purposes of this discussion, you will be putting one picture frame together, one corner at a time using one clamp.

Now to make your picture frame clamp work perfectly, we got to turn that little clamp into a little mini professional picture frame vise.  It can be done and work just the same way as a professional vise. This will turn that little clamp from doing a fair job into a clamp that does a really good job of putting picture frames together.

close up of a professional picture frame viseTo do this you must first understand how a professional picture frame vise works.  Look at the picture here.

Click here to see a larger image of the
professional picture frame vise

This is a close up photo of the jaws of a professional picture frame vise.  What I want you to notice is the flat bottom you see on the vise.  This bottom gets larger or smaller as the vise handle is turned which makes the back plate move.  THE BOTTOM OF THE PICTURE FRAME RESTS ON THIS FLAT BOTTOM.  Don't forget that!  Now look closely and see the little lips sticking up. NOTICE HOW SHORT they are!  It is important for you to understand this.

This is what happens.  The picture frame is set into the professional picture frame vise and the bottom of the picture frame rests on the flat bottom of the vise.  As the handle gets turned the frame gets pushed to the front of the vise and that little lip on the vise gets pushed into and UNDER the picture frame rabbet.  Notice I said UNDER the rabbet.  Even with just those little lips gripping the picture frame and the vise tightened even just snugly, this picture frame vise can hold a really big picture frame with no support required under the long ends sticking out of the vise. Also notice and remember that this professional picture frame vise is only gripping the largest of mouldings by just a 3 inch long bottom plate.  That is all it takes to hold even a very large heavy picture frame.

picture frame clamp screwed down to a benchSo, this brings me to a major rule. Your little clamp has to be mounted on a bench just the same way a professional picture frame vise would need to be mounted. 

Click here to see a larger image of the
picture frame clamp screwed down to a bench top

In actually practice it is darn near next to impossible to put a picture frame together, using one of these picture frame clamps unless it it screwed down to a bench.  I would just give up the very thought of putting a picture frame together unless I had the clamp screwed down.  You have to have the it locked down so you can maneuver the two ends of the picture frame together and be able to work the picture frame. You just got to screw it down just like a profressional picture frame vise and that is all there is to it!

Notice in the picture that the clamp is screwed to the bench so that the handles can be turned that move the back plate in and out which makes the bottom wider or more narrow like the professional picture frame vise does in the above picture.

So far so good.  What you are going to be doing is rest the picture frame bottom, on the picture frame clamp's flat bottom and when you turn the handles the picture frame gets pushed toward the front of the vise and with two sides inserted you can clamp the picture frame together.  Works good - yes!   No, it usually don't work at all.  In fact I got some pretty good names I won't repeat for this operation using the clamp as is! 

Look at the larger image above, using the link provided.  Do you see how tall that front lip is, on this clamp, compared to the lip you saw on the picture of the professional picture frame vise. The lip on the clamp is just plain way too tall to make this vise work properly on most picture frames.  Remember: the rule is, the bottom of the picture frame MUST sit flat on the bottom of the vise -or in this case, the clamp.

What happens is the picture frame gets pushed forward and the lip on the clamp is too tall to go under the picture frame rabbet where it MUST go or you will have a very difficult time of putting your picture frame together. 

Now we are going to make this picture frame clamp work like a professional picture frame vise so that it works great!

picture frame clamp installed on a bench top This picture shows the clamp reinstalled on the bench top, but this time I have placed a piece of solid oak inside the jaws of the clamp and I used the screws holding the clamp down reinserted so it holds both the piece of wood and clamp down to the bench.

Click here to see a larger image of the
picture framing clamp installed on a bench top

This piece of wood is now our new flat bottom, for the bottom of the picture frames to sit on. This small piece of oak is all you need, even for larger picture frames. Even two inch wide picture frames.  It really doesn't take much to hold the picture frames snugly in place.  Trust me, this works!  The only real problem is when you are trying to put picture frames together that are more narrow than the inserted piece of oak.  Luckily, most picture frame mouldings are wide as or wider than the piece of Oak I provide.  For narrow mouldings you would have to install a narrower strip of wood or just use a backer piece behind the picture frame moulding when tightening down the clamp.

Notice the wooden pieces are only about 3 inches long. The thought would occur that if you made them longer it would hold up the ends of the picture frames better. Resist that temptation!  It won't work and you will have trouble with your corners.  I am not going into detail why here because this page is already getting too long!  It wouldn't work even if you made the pieces out of a long solid piece of perfect metal. Just trust me. You want your little clamp to look like, and act just like the professional picture frame vise. There is a reason the professional vise foot is also only three inches long!

putting a picture frame togetherThis next picture shows another view, this time of a piece of picture frame moulding  installed into the clamp on top of the new oak floor.

Click here to see a larger image of putting a picture frame together

This is an exciting image!  Really, look at the larger image and look close.  See the piece of moulding that is installed in one side. Notice how the picture frame as it gets pushed forward, is now sitting up there and the lip on the forward part of the picture frame clamp is being pushed under the picture frame rabbet.   This is just exactly what you want to happen, on every picture frame.  In this case the picture frame rabbet is not even touching the corner clamp on its top side, and that is also exactly what you want. 

putting a picture frames together in a clampYou don't want that picture frame rabbet to have no bearing on putting the picture frame together.  If it touches NO part of your vise that is just perfect.  Remember the rule now is:  You always want the picture frame bottom, resting flat on top of the piece of wood you installed on the picture frame clamp. 

Click here to see a larger image of putting a picture frame together in a clamp

When you are putting the picture frame moulding into the clamps, make SURE you are holding the bottom of the picture frame moulding tight to the top flat surface of that piece of wood. The pieces of wood I sell above are made of solid oak which I have found works lots better than Pine or other soft woods.  I have also predrilled the holes for you and included the screws to screw the whole works down to your bench top.

finished picture frame in a picture frame clampWhen you put the picture frame moulding pieces into the clamp, all you need to do is install one side at a time and don't over tighten them.  Put one side in, hold the frame piece tight to the bottom of the clamp and line it up with the center of the clamp, just near enough and snug it.

Click here to see a larger image of a finished picture frame in a picture frame clamp

Then install the second piece of picture frame moulding and snug it, and loosen the other side ever so slightly.  Now work the moulding pieces together until you get a good fit and snug up both sides.  Hopefully both sides should come together nicely.  If not there is another article about putting picture frames together on this web site to show you how to use a saw to correct picture frame corners. And sometimes you can get away with just inserting a little piece of cardboard between the clamp and frame. Sometimes you need to just twist the frame a bit.  There are all kinds of tricks professionals use to "work" a corner and make it fit good. You need to experiment.  Use cutting as a last resort.

When you have both sides snugged up tight and exactly where you want them,  You no need to do something drastic.  Loosen up one side, and slide the piece of moulding out a bit and take your glue bottle and put some glue on the piece.  Then slide the piece of moulding back in and tighten it back up.  You only need to enough glue to barely see some bleeding out a bit. 

It doesn't take a lot of our glue to hold a picture frame together strongly.  Using other glues. Pray a lot!  Why, because the worse thing that is going to happen to you using other glues is to have the mouldings snap apart when you go to drive the V-Nails into them.  Our glue is made for gluing corners.  That's cross grain gluing. Other glues are made for gluing along the grain where there is no strain.  Use our glue, be happy!

If you are going to be using regular picture frame nails to nail your picture frames together you will want to wait and let the glued corner dry in the clamp. They would need to dry over night using common glues.  Our glue sets up in 15 minutes and is nail able in an hour.  If using regular picture frame nails you want to nail them together right here while the corner is being held in the clamp.  If using V-Nails, you would wait until all four sides of the picture frame are done and glued up and dried.  Then place the picture frames  on a flat surface, face down and drive the V-Nails into them.  Read the other picture framing articles about putting picture frames together. There is a link on the left side of this page.

Installing the picture frame corner clamp and using it like this article says,  you shouldn't have much trouble putting picture frames together.  In fact, with your new mini pro picture frame vise, you can now work and twist your picture frames together to make them fit better.  Just like the pro's do on their professional picture frame vises.

Does this clamp work as good as a professional picture frame vise this way.  Of course not.  But it now does work very well for a home picture framer who only wants to put a picture frame together now and then.  It is way better than using the clamp as is!

Thank You for visiting www.GrignonsArt.com
Sincerely, Reimond Grignon