Blogging in Place Archives
June - Dec 2013
Thoughts about picture framing and life in the work shop

Thankful this Thanksgiving for picture framing????


November is a month for reflection, being grateful and giving thanks.

I've done some reflecting already and am very grateful for so much. I could write a book about my family, my girlfriend and the many blessings in my life.

One day, I may just do that.

But, this blog is about picture framing...

Over the years working in my shop has brought me peace, enjoyment, challenge and a sense of pride. Some say it must be lonely and it doesn't offer much interaction with others. I used to agree.

Used to....

By taking my "lonely" passion from the workshop and channeling it into this website (just finishing my first full calendar year of working on it) I'm connecting now and interacting with people all over the world - literally.

Your suggestions for the site, comments and questions - whether they are from the comment boxes at the bottom of each page or through the Contact Me form, have motivated me in many ways!

I find my self thinking about the site, and those of you who reach out to me, while I work in my shop and how the things I am doing there can help this community. Just thinking that a community is forming through this site is, in and of itself, amazing to me. 

I'm keeping Areef in mind - I will have the several glass cutting pages done and on the site in December Areef,  - thanks!

I'm taking a great idea that Dan shared with me about framing the puzzles he completes and working on new gift ideas - thank you!

I'm hoping that Marilyn and her husband are finding success with framing Marilyn's water color paintings - thanks for sharing! 

There are many more of you that have helped and turned this into a great experience for me. I look forward to working with and getting to know more of you and sharing our knowledge as we build this community.

It seems like I'm never actually in the shop by myself now...

So, in closing - take some time yourself to reflect and think about things you are grateful for in your life. It's a lot of fun actually and once you think about it, you'll be amazed at how much you have to be grateful for!!

Happy Thanksgiving!! 


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Thinking about the holidays. Already?? Absolutely!


It sounds crazy, but the summer is half over and fall is making it's move.

Now is actually the best time for wood workers to start thinking and planning for the holidays.

Many people will point and click from the comfort of their homes, others will brave the madness of Black Friday to find the perfect gift for their families and friends.

Christmas Tree close up

Still, others will wait until the last minute to take advantage of discounted left-overs.

No matter which of these approaches are used - there is plenty of time to figure it all out.

A worry for another day - a few months from now....

We, meaning wood workers of course, are a different breed however. We need time to visualize our projects; to pick out just the right woods with just the right grain patterns or color.

We love to personalize what we make, so the lucky receiver can feel the thought and love that went into making their gift.

We also need the time to actually make whatever it is that we each make. In addition, we have to (or should) build in some extra time knowing there may be mistakes, hurdles and do-overs.

Creating the perfect gift by hand can't be rushed

So, start planning now and add picture frames to the list of possible projects. 

Pay attention now to favorite pictures taken of family vacations or things you have done over the summer with your kids.

A beautiful sunset or maybe the moon rising.

Sunset at Buffalo NY Airport
Full Moon over Buffalo NY

Collect programs, ticket stubs and small mementos from the things you've done with your sweetheart or some of your friends. 

If that doesn't do it for you, buy a poster of a favorite movie or TV show, a band or a favorite celebrity or athlete. 

Sit down and sketch a layout of assorted items as a collage. 

Take the time (not as much as you think is needed) to learn how to cut mat board and put together your own design. 

Make a beautiful frame for whatever you come up with, add your picture or collage and feel the pride of giving such a meaningful gift made by hand - YOUR hand!!!

Not ready to make your own frames or cut your own mats?

If you don't have the time or the tools yet to make your own frames, buy a nice frame and and take a stab at cutting a mat.

Check out my mat cutting pages to see how you can do it for less than $40 - all materials included. 

If you'd prefer someone else make the frame and cut a mat for you, contact me.

For a FAIR price I'd be happy to help you with your project. Contact me here

Glen Falls Williamsville, NY

So, you don't really have to start working on holiday gifts right now - but  as the title of this article says it would certainly help to start thinking about it and learning what it takes to get the job done.

If you wait until October or November - life has a funny way of changing plans you know - you might just end up feeling guilty for letting yourself down while you're surfing Amazon for a way out of last minute holiday jam. 

Have a favorite type of gift you make for the holidays? Have any last minute holiday scrambling stories you can share? Tell us about it - we can all use a good laugh now and then....

C'mon now - be brave.... leave it below.

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Don't Crack Under Pressure

June 14, 2013

As woodworkers, one of the skills we acquire with experience - otherwise known as learning from our mistakes - is the ability to hide our flaws, cover up our miscalculations, and make everything seem like it was planned that way.

It's a good thing I have a lot of experience.

I was recently working on a fairly large frame, one that I wouldn't want to have start over because of a mistake. Not only was it large, but it was made of 1 1/4" solid walnut, so it wasn't cheap. 

After all of the milling, routing, and cutting the miter joints, I glued it together and felt pretty good. That feeling didn't last very long.

After and hour of dry time I took the frame out of the clamps and pulled out my corrugated staple gun and compressor and began firing staples into the back of the miter joints to re-enforce them. When I flipped the frame back over I saw 2 cracked glue lines, the miter joints wide open. Oh man......

Fastened together from the back, but open in the front; my options were limited.

Trying to glue the joints together from the front could create problems because of the intricate profile on the face of the frame.

I could scrap it entirely, cut around the fastened joints and make a smaller frame for some other project. Before taking this unfortunate approach I had to at least try to save this frame (and all of the time and money already invested in it!).

I carefully put just enough glue into the cracks, near the edge of the rails, to hold the joint closed while I thought of how to re-enforce the joint.

While looking around the shop (and through the vault of "experience" I have stored in my head), I spotted some dowels I had used a few years ago and the light bulb went on. 

This is a great solution, I thought, and the panic quickly subsided!

Using the specially designed stepped drill bit and dowel system from Miller, I was able to run a decorative dowel through the sides of the frame into each miter joint.

After drilling the holes and filling them with glue, I tapped the dowels in and let the glue dry.

All that was left then was to sand the dowels flush with the surface of the frame.

      Miller Dowel System

The dowels added a great deal of strength to the joints and since I used cherry dowels, there was a nice looking contrast with the walnut.

The frame was saved, the joints were actually stronger than they would've been and I wondered why I didn't try this before.

As usual, I left the shop with more than I entered it with. Not just more woodworking "experience", but another lesson about life - when things go wrong, don't panic...

...there is usually a solution somewhere near by, you just need to look for it.


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