On this web site you can purchase real picture frame nails. Picture frame nails are not the same thing as carpenters finish nails. You could ruin a picture frame using regular finish nails. Picture framing nails are much thinner and go into the ends of the wood with out splitting the picture frame moulding where as regular finish nails will split most picture frame moulding ruining your picture frame.
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Looking at the photo below you can see the difference in thickness. The picture frame nails are on the left and common finishing nails on the right. Although the sizes in the picture aren't exact, the comparison between the two types is accurate. You should never use common finish nails to put pictures together. Use real picture frame nails. Real picture frame nails can be quite difficult to find as stores don't stock them, they only stock common finish nails. These nails are now very difficult to get. Sad to say, some of the picture frame nails below are now impossible to get and when our stock is gone no more will be available. To use picture frame nails properly you should also use our picture frame glue, and nail hole filler.
Other picture framers use our hand drivable V-Nails which are located on a different page. Most professional frame shops use a large machine to insert similar V-Nails into picture frame mouldings. But you can drive ours in using just a hammer. We recommend our hand drivable V-Nails to everyone including beginners.
How To Nail Picture Frames Together
There was a day when all picture frames were put in a vise, glued and nailed together using the same picture frame nails as we sell above. To me it doesn't seem like such a long time ago either!
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The truth of the matter is, is that V-Nails are so much simpler to use and don't require any nail hole filler, that most people use V-Nails. There are hold outs that still constantly use real picture frame nails. After all, these nails have a couple of enduring factors.
Real picture frame nails hold every bit as good as V-Nails, in fact better when a picture frame is dropped. I still use the real picture frame nails above on large picture frames.
When a heavy picture frame that is nailed together using real picture frame nails is dropped. The glue in the corners usually snap, but the nails still hold the picture frame together. In fact, when a really bad fall is experienced, the picture frame nails above may bend, the frame corner may come loose, but the frame will still hold together. I've seen this happen lots and sometimes the picture frame glass didn't even break.
Contrast this with a picture frame put together with V-Nails. The V-Nails are case handened, but due to the slim diameter of the the V-Nails, when a really heavy picture frame is dropped the glue comes apart, the corner looses and the V-Nails snap right in two. This means the corners come apart and the glass and art gets dumped out of the picture frame. Most times at least two corners come apart and I have seen all four corners snap apart, multiply times, on just one fall.
But don't knock V-Nails. Each way of putting picture frames together has it's purpose. The V-Nails work extremely well on picture frames that are 20 x 24 or smaller. Actually, it is the weight of the picture frame that matters. The heavier the picture frame, the more thought you should give to use real picture frame nails.
There is the thought about using both types on a picture frame. Put the picture frame together with nails, then drive in some V-Nails. I tried that and gave it up as to many times one kind of nail would hit the other kind of nail. It created problems. I didn't need those kind of problems anymore so for me it is one way or the other, not both on one picture frame.
In the picture frame image above I have shown you a picture frame nailed together using a real picture frame nail. The top nail has been driven close to the face of the wood picture frame and the other hole is a pre drilled hole made for the picture frame nail to be driven into. Lets begin by me telling you how we got to this point.
First off you have to decide how how many and where to drive in the picture frame nails. You can either put two nails into one side of the frame as shown, or use one nail on the bottom of one side, and one nail on the top of the other side of the corner. Bigger frames require more but I am leaving all judgement of how many nails you wish to use, up to you. For this example I am showing you two nails in one side as it is easier for picture taking.
If you use two nails in one side. You can take the picture frame apart some day in the future if you like by snapping the corners apart and pulling the nails through the picture frame. It works and sometimes you can even put the picture frame back together again using the same corners. Now why you would want to do that is beyond me, but, this is a method of nailing that is much used.
The other method is to put one nail in one side on the bottom, and another nail on the top opposite side of the corner. If you use this method the frame is basically locked and isn't ever coming apart without lots of repair. It is the strongest method for large heavy frames. And as I said, your not locked into using just two nails.
You shouldn't drive the nails into the wood with out pre drilling the holes. OK, I know many people don't do this as these picture frame nails are thin and don't usually split the wood. They do drive in good. It's that "usually" part that gets to me now a days though with the cost of picture framing material these days. I have split the wood....Oh, I hate to admit it.. Also, these days picture frames aren't made from clear wood. Gad, they now got knots. Also, some picture frames aren't even made of clear wood. It is becoming increasing common to find picture frames made from plywood. Picture frame nails can bend when driven into these without a pilot hole.
So, to drill a pilot hole we have to have a drill that is the exact size of the nail used, slightly shorter and a drill that just plain works great. And it has got to be fast.. You get dozens in each box of nails you buy from us. Are we good or what!
You see you can't use a standard drill bit because the hole would never fit the exact size of the nail used, and if you ever tried using them you would find them to be quite slow. Modern drills slow? Yep, wicked slow compared to what the Indians used to use.
So what we have to do is go back to the early days of this country, before the white man came, find the Indians and get them to give us a drill that meets all the above requirements. Since none of you are able to do that, I've have gone and done it for you! Age has it's benefits! It was under very tough conditions but I got their drill.
To drill the pilot hole just the perfect size for the nails you are going to use, you need to open the box and take out a nail. Then using a wire cutter you need to cut the head off the nail.
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In the picture here I am showing you what to do, but I haven't got the wire cutters positioned just right in the picture. I placed them lower so you could see the whole nail, but what you want to do is to just cut the head off about 1/8 down from the head. This will give you just the right amount of length you need once our Indian drill bit is placed into the drill.
We have advantages over the Indians, our drill bit is made from steel and theirs were made from bone. They didn't have electric drills either but had to use a piece of robe and a bow. Don't laugh, until recently they still had us beat.
So place your new Indian drill bit into your power drill about 3/8 or 1/2 inch deep and now you got just the perfect combination to create all the holes you need in your picture frames.
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Now you need to remember to make a new drill bit for each size of picture frame nail you are going to use. I just make a new one each time I do a picture frame using the picture frame nails. You want to use the exact same size of nail as the nails you are diving into the picture frame. Because the head was cut off and the nail inserted into the drill, it also automatically makes the drill bit just the right length as well.
The perfect time to do this job is just after you have the picture frame glued and locked into your vise. Make sure you know exactly where you want the holes to be and then you can drill.
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You won't believe how fast you can drill holes with this operation. Those Indian friends of mine knew exactly what they were doing. I can easily drill 5 holes with this drill while you drill one with a small modern drill bit. When I am awake I could drill even more!
To test this out, drill a few holes with this rig, then put a 1/16 metal drill bit in your drill and drill a few. You will go back to the Indian drill... (plus regular drills don't fit exactly).
OK, we got holes in the picture frame. Now you got to drive the picture frame nails into each hole. You want a good tight fit, which you'll get using the drill rig shown above. Just use your little picture framing hammer and tap in each nail to about 1/4 inch from the face of the picture frame. You can go closer if your good.
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Just make sure that at no time does the hammer hit the picture frame. You should never use a carpenters hammer to work on picture frames. You always want to use a picture framers hammer (like we sell) to nail in these picture framing nails and also the V-Nails. If you use a bigger hammer you will end up damaging the picture frames. They are just plain too big to use on this delicate work. Drive the nails towards the picture frame so that there is just 1/4 to 1/8 th inch of space between the head of the nail and the face of the wood picture frame moulding.
You need to make sure you use the right size of nail punch. The most common nail punch you would use comes in three or four sizes and you can buy them in sets. If you use a punch of the wrong size for the nail, the punch can slip off the head of the nail and damage the picture frame. You'll have another hole to fill!
After you have the nails driven up close to the face of the picture frame, you want to use a nail punch to finish the job of driving the nails into the wood.
Click here to see a larger image of driving a nail into a picture frame with a punch
The nails don't have to go into the frame deep. Just drive them in just deep enough so that the nail head sits into the wood just about a nails head deep. After that it is easy to place some of our picture frame wood filler into the holes.
Our picture frame wood filler is different from common wood fillers found in stores. It is made with different ingredients. It never dries out and when placed in the holes it doesn't dry with that dull messy sheen that comes from using other types of wood fillers. Using this wood filler you can mix a small cap of one color on top of a different color in a different can and mix them up with the small puddy knife to get a closer match. When done I just leave the small dab of colors in the can. They come in handy and if done right it really doesn't mess up my cans of colors. At least it works for me.
Lastly there is one final thought about using real picture frame nails to put picture frames together instead of V-Nails. It is the plain fact that your using real nails! There is just something nostalgic about using real nails, using a real hammer and punch, putting real wood filler in the holes and doing it your self the old fashioned real way. You just can't say that about V-Nails. At least not if you as old as I am.
You just don't get the same feeling by quickly driving in V-Nails, and getting the job done. You surely don't get that feeling if your putting picture frames together with a big machine firing in dozens of V-Nails a minute.
Now in the year 2525 they will be talking about the good old days of using V-Nails. That's when all picture frames will come fully assembled with fake wood, corners pre-made, and you don't have to do anything. Most likely you won't even need a picture frame anymore, all pictures will just be instantly electronically shown on your wall or in a frame made out of cooked dirt.
Oh God, it's happening already, saw em today in Walmart. It's time for me to die.....
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