Oil Framing
The choice of framing an painting yourself or taking it to a framer will have crossed many artists minds.

There's no simple or at least an easy answer but it can be broken down to help make the choice.
Number one is cost, while you will/should be able to make the frames cheaper, how many paintings do you need to frame before the cost of the equipment is recovered. In most cases the real saving will be that of the labour which leads to the next point.

Number two is time, is it better to be painting or framing (or the many other things in life) to cover the saving you are making. Also the more paintings to be framed equals more time framing them.

Number three is space to do the framing, have all the equipment set up and ready to do a professional job in a room no smaller than 8 foot x 16 foot. Also storage, in the correct conditions, of all the materials is needed.
Equipment Needed - a few item less than for framing watercolours:
Morsø:
The standard machine used for mitre the corners. This machine is foot-operated - by pressing down on a bar, the two knifes then cut through the moulding.

A lever on the right hand side moves the knife block (horizontal) as you cut sections out. A longitudinal stop and measuring scale ensure accurate work. A second set of knifes is useful, for when you send the main set away for sharpening (needs to be done often).

The more expensive option is the Mitre Saw, which has two circular saws that cut through the moulding, starting at about twice the cost of the Morsų and increasing to ten times for the top of the range model. Really only for mass production.
Point Guns:
One gun is needed for straight points (Framers points). If the board (painting) and backing board fall within the depth of the moulding a straight point is used them in place, with help of tape if required.
Underpinner:
These machines are used for fastening the moulding sections together to make the frame.

Can be either foot or air operated and insert from underneath 'W' or 'V' shaped wedges (usually two or more - depending on the moulding size) that hold together two sections of moulding. This is repeated on all corners.

The foot-operated versions are more basic, usually having to hold (by hand) the moulding while pressing down with your leg to insert the wedge via a lever arrangement.

The air-operated versions have advanced over the years and now hold the sections of moulding in place as the wedges are inserted, adjusting for height, width etc automatically.
Other useful equipment:
Some of the other equipment needed is more general. Things like a shape knife, a metal ruler, screwdrivers, paint brushes if hand painting frames etc
Materials Needed:
Mouldings for oil paintings:
Oil painting frames and therefore the moulding are generally larger than those used for framing watercolours. Above all, it's really better to select a moulding that suits the painting - this is never an easy task, with the wide variety to choose from. This variety can be from the pre-made ones seen at your local framers, who may stock ranges from a number of different companies right through to the bespoke hand finished frame which again can be in different moulding profiles, different colours, slips etc.

I use the bespoke method, as I can then use different shaped plain wood mouldings, sometimes in combinations, to make the frames I require, which can then be painted in the colour or combination of colours needed.

I prefer to have a slip between the painting and the moulding as this adds a visual separation between the moulding and the painting, much as the mount does in on a watercolour. Usually these are of a light colour, mainly off white or cream etc.

Although many of the larger companies only deal with the trade there are companies selling mouldings to the amateur framer. Most lengths of moulding are around 3 meters (9 foot) in length (beware: some companies will only sell packs of four lengths, as this is how they arrive from some factories). As mentioned before, there is a wide range to colours, shapes, finishes to choose from when framing an oil painting but this wide range also applies to the cost per metre/foot of the moulding. If using your local frames, they can tell you the difference, in cost, between selected mouldings which may help with your selection. If going down the DIY route, the biggest cost involved in framing a picture is going to be the moulding.

Types of moulding:

Wood - mouldings made out of wood (of varies types) are my preferred choice. Moulding made from wood provide the greatest choice of colours, shapes and sizes, while if using plain wood mouldings and hand finishing then the choice of effects, colour or combinations is endless.

Aluminium - improved greatly in recent years, mouldings made out of metal are now very creative in colour, texture, and profile.

Plastic - improvements have been made in this area in recent years particularly in the finishing, however, the structural integrity of plastic mouldings is poor on middle to large pictures and some galleries do not accept works with a plastic or metal frame.
Paint - if planning to paint plain wood mouldings:
For painting plain wood frames the best paint, used by many framers that do hand finishing, is Farrow & Ball, though other makes are available. F&B tester tins are available in a small range of colours in some U.K. DIY stores.

Some of the framers forums have some interesting demos, or show frames that have been produced for their clients. Its well worth spending some time researching what may be to your liking and above all compliments the painting.


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Framers Points - for flat boards:
These points secure the painting into the rebate of frame, depending on moulding and thickness of board either straight or flexi points need to be used.
Z Clips:
Used in situations where the canvas stretcher is deeper than the frame, rebate depth. These are made from Semi-spring steel, with a coppered finish. The only way I've used for holding a stretched canvas into a frame, really simple and neat way to.

Tap one end into the inside rebate of the moulding. I use a small piece of mount board to protect the moulding while doing this. Repeat with 4 to 6 clips then bend the free end back allowing the canvas to drop into the rebate of the frame. Bend the free end of the Z-clip forward so the sharp point touches the canvas and then tap into the stretcher bar. Boxes of 100 to 500 can be purchased.
Hooks, D rings, Cord etc:
D rings are used to attach the wire or cord to the back of the picture. Picture hooks or screw eyes can be screwed into the vertical edges of a frame (about one third of the way from the top) to carry the picture wire or cord. I prefer to use 'Single D rings' instead of screw eyes - they are closer to the moulding/frame (less damage to frame or screw eye if knocked) and better screws can be used (stronger).

There are different sizes of both screw eyes and D rings and they are available in small packs or in a boxes ranging up to 1000. Wire is available in different gauges or thicknesses and should be selected according to the weight of the picture to be hung. Low stretch cord is suitable for smaller and therefore lighter pictures.
Back Board:
Back or backing board needs to be strong, rigid and flat, eg Greyboard with Neutral pH (1mm to 3mm thick), Art Cor, which has a low pH level, or Conservatek Board.

I use this to make the back of the painting look neat, held in place with framers points and then the bare wood moulding and the edge of the board covered with either 25mm/1" or 50mm/2" wide brown gum tape.
Staple Gun:
Used to hold framers points when joining slip and main moulding.
Brown Gum Tape:
Used to cover the framers points or flexi points plus acts as a secure seal and protects the surface of the wall on which the frame is hung. A sponge and small plastic tray (containing water) is needed to dampen the gum strip, this must be carefully applied.