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Professional Picture Frame Vises


Your #1 Source For Picture Frame Supplies

picture frame visesOn this web site you can purchase the same professional picture frame vises in use in professional picture frame shops. These vises are large beautiful vises.

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Professional Picture Frame Vise

These are large heavy duty cast iron picture frame vises built to last. With this picture frame vise you can put any picture frame together even long picture frames because this vise will hold your moulding very securely.

picture framing vise for putting pictures together

Professional 4 inch
Picture Frame Vise

This large 4 inch professional picture frame vise will clamp any picture frame moulding up to 4 inches wide. This vise is the most common vise in use and is quite heavy.

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Professional Picture Frame Vise

The jaws hold both pieces very securely. You can easily work corners together using one of these vises. Unlike cheaper brands, this vise is made from very heavy cast steel as are all our professional picture frame vises. These vises will last a lifetime.

Please choose UPS shipping when ordering these large vises as these are heavy vises and UPS delivers them more securely, insured and in better condition then USPS.
I really DON'T recommend USPS on these vises! The boxes take a real beating.



working a picture frame together in a professional picture frame viseHow To Put Picture Frames Together With A Professional Picture Frame Vise

Using a professional picture frame vise to put picture frames together is the best method to use if you are doing more than a couple of dozen picture frames a year. 

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Professional picture frame vise with a picture frame locked inside of it

These professional picture frame vises allow you to "work" a troublesome picture frame corner to make it fit, which is more difficult to do using the small picture frame clamps.

Most people buy one or two of these vises if putting together more than a few picture frames a year. Using our glue you can easily get by with just one vise if your only doing a few frames once in a while because our glue sets up so fast. These vises are equipped with speed handles covered with texfoam which gives a soft feel and is easy on the hands.

The vises are locked at 90 degrees. Since most picture frame chops are cut at 90 degrees basically all you need to do is to place the picture frame chops into the vises, glue em and your good to go.  Well, you hope it works out that way and it actually does much of the time.  So the rest of this article is to show you how to improve on the process, correct mistakes and put together a real professional looking picture frame.

Most picture frames have a long side and a short side.  So the picture frame chops you receive have two long pieces and two short pieces.  When you go to put your picture frames together you must remember to always put the pieces into the picture frame vise the same way every time or else your picture frames won't go together!

I usually advise people to mark their vises right on the metal using a black marker.  Mark the right side of the vise "Long Side" and the left side of the vise "Short Side".  This way you will get into the habit of doing it the same way each time and won't end up with a picture frame that won't go together.

The reason is the steps involved in putting the picture frame together. Lets go over this for just a moment.

You are going to put the first two pieces into the vise, and glue the corner.  Then let it dry for 15 minutes and take that corner out of the vise.  Then you are going to do the second corner the same way, let it dry for 30 minutes and take it out of the vise.

If when doing the first corner you put the long piece on the right side. Then when doing the second corner you happen to put the long piece on the left side.   Guess what, your picture frame won't go together!   You got to always do it the same way every time.  Mark your vise! 

How to put a picture frame together using a professional picture frame viseIn the picture shown here I have put the two pieces into the picture frame vise.  The long side is on the right and the short side is on the left.

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Notice the how this corner has a damaged area from being dropped and the seams where the corner comes together is showing.  I put this corner into the vise for you just to give you a "not so good" corner to look at!  It isn't that bad. 

Do you want your corners on your picture frames to look like the one shown here?  Look at the big picture and then think about this while reading the rest of the story.   A professional picture framer would make this corner look great in just a few minutes.  I will show you how one of the best picture framers of all time fixed it in little while. 

Once this first corner has been glued up and the glue has set for 15 minutes you can safely remove it and lay it on you bench and put the next two pieces in (the same way-long side on right both times) and glue the corner and let them set up.  You might as well let the second side set up for 30 minutes to give the glue time to set up good.

The times quoted here are based on using our professional picture frame glue. This glue is super strong and quite thick.  It has almost three times the solids of any glue that you can buy in a store.  Those hardware store glues just don't cut it for this kind of work. It takes lots and lots longer for those glues to harden and when hardened  they just plain snap apart with your fingers, or even by just giving the frames a shake.  It is a plain bummer to glue up a picture frame just to have it snap apart when your trying to drive a V-Nail into it.  That is a real pain to fix, so make life easier on your self and order our glue.  At least give it a try with our little 2 oz. bottle and see if it makes a difference in your work.

picture frame being put together in a picture frame viseAfter the first two corners are dried a while, you put one side of the picture frame into the professional picture frame vise, then the other side goes in the other side and you proceed to glue up the third corner. 

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picture frame being put together in a picture frame vise

When the third corner is glued up and I would let it set for at least 30 minutes or longer if I had the time ( note, I am writing this for do it your self and homeowners - Pro's don't need my help) before doing the fourth corner. The third corner is the corner that is going to take the most stress when putting your picture frame together. Allow the third corner more time to dry.

To glue the corners you put the pieces of the picture frame into the picture frame vise work them together to get a good fit and lock them down.  You will get pretty good at this quite quickly.  Once you have the picture frame together looking good, you want to loosen up ONE SIDE only, and slide the piece of the picture frame over to put glue on the frame.  Then push the two pieces back together and lock them down again to let the glue dry for a while.

The fourth corner is the hardest corner to do and you might have to work and twist the frame a bit to get a good fit.  In some cases even recut the corner. I have another article on this site that goes into more detail about that.  This article is about putting together a fairly good picture frame as is usually received. Because the forth corner is the most difficult corner to put together.  It's the third corner that takes the most stress.  You want to have that third corner glued up with good glue!

You will notice that in doing one picture, more vises won't help you speed things up hardly at all!  If you are putting the pictures together properly, the only savings in time you would receive is that you would be able to put the second corner together while the first one was drying.  After that you are back to one corner at a time again.  For this reason, most home picture framers don't need more than one vise.  The only advantage to having more than one, is if you are constantly doing several picture frames at a time over and over again.  One vise is really all most would ever need.  But, hey, I'll sell you all you want.

Remember the picture above with the damaged corner and the seams showing.  You can do better than that!  The picture shown here is the exact same corner you saw in the above picture. 

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picture frame moulding being put together in a vise

I fixed the corner shown in the first picture so that it looks this NICE in just under a minutes time.  You can do the same thing. 

It's all in knowing just a little bit and about 5.00 worth of tools. Don't you think having pictures with corners this nice is worth 5.00?

To fix this corner all I did was use a picture framers file to very carefully, and only slightly dress up the corner.  Most times the less you do the better because you want to disturb the finish on the picture frame as little as possible. I had to dress up the damaged dropped corner a little bit as well.  Again, it pays to do as little dressing as you can get away with.

After using the picture framers file,  I then used a picture frame corner marker to mark the edge of the seams.  All you need to do is come close with a color and the seams just about disappear. 

This whole process took less than a minute.  Both the items above are sold on this web site and explanations for use are given on there respective pages.  You want to do all this repair work BEFORE gluing and putting your corners together in the vise!

Also, you have to decide whether to use our hand drivable V-Nails, or use real picture framers nails to nail your frames together.

To use V-Nails you would glue up all four sides of the picture frame, then lay the picture frame out flat on a nice smooth surface to drive in the nails. (To see how to put picture frames together using V-nails, go to my V-nails page.)

To use real picture frame nails (never use carpenters finish nails) most picture framers glue the corner together and while the corner is right there in the vise, they drive in the real picture frame nails.   That is, they finish each corner as they go.  This includes using the nail hole filler to fill the nail holes with.  All is done right there while the picture frame corner is in the vise. You still want to let each corner dry in the vise for a while before removing the corner. (To see how to put picture frames together using real picture framers nails go to my picture frame nails page.)

Putting picture frames together can be easy and fun. Sometimes though things don't go that well.  It is then you have to be resourceful and work harder.  Sometimes picture frame mouldings get damaged while being shipped, or a piece gets dropped and yes, they do always land right on the corner.  Never fails... 

Also, once in a while a picture frame corner won't go together correctly and you have to recut it. Picture frame corners are cut on either a picture frame chopper or a picture framers miter saw.  Picture frames cut on a chopper are cut using a very, very heavy solid steel cutter head that is locked at 90 degrees and has very heavy steel blades.  Those cuts are almost always very accurate.  Once in a long while, even though the cut is accurate, the frame has a slight twist in it and when the picture frame is put together you have to twist it back to make it fit correctly.  These choppers, all in all handle a wrapped or twisted piece of moulding better than a miter saw due to the fact that when chopped the moulding lays along side a solid steel rail where most twists and bends can be seen, or even if not seen, the rail locks the moulding in place.  This makes almost all of these mouldings go together correctly in the vise just by working them a little bit.  You almost never have to recut a moulding that has been chopped with a moulding chopper.

The problem faced today is that many mouldings are not made to the same standards of former days.  The wood used is not the same quality it used to be years ago.  This means that the finishes now used on mouldings are not as good as they used to be.  For example, to cover up flawed wood, many mouldings are finished with lots of compo on them and it is getting worse all the time. Molding choppers don't like compo at all. So more and more mouldings are being cut on miter saws.  Miter saws give a very accurate cut but the mouldings aren't locked down as tight as choppers do.  Picture frames are made so that both ends of the moulding have to go together.  When frames are cut on a miter saw, if there is any bend or twist in the frame the saws don't always take this into consideration as  well as the choppers do.  This can result in mouldings that don't go together as well, even though both ends have an exact 45 degree cut on them.

Professional picture framers can't return chopped picture frames no more than you can. Once the moulding is cut it is gone.  So professional picture framers get really good with making the corners and frames fit no matter what.  In fact, there are very few picture frames that can't be repaired to make look like new. There are many techniques used that are way beyond what I can explain here.  Your job is to make them look just as great as you can.  Our job is to send you the best picture frame chop we can. Almost all picture frames go together just great and you should have very few problems.

Picture frame vises are dirt cheap now compared to my early days.  These professional vises used to be made only in the United States by Stanley.  In the 70's these vises sold for well over 350.00 which was a lot of money back then.  But of course now these vises are made by the greatest copy cats in the world located in deep in the heart of China.

Thank You for visiting
Sincerely, Reimond Grignon