foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

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daveym
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foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by daveym » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 1:54 am

I was previously informed on here that an alternative option for econospacers in a deep box frame would be foamboard. I've looked at a a previous post some years ago where someone asked a similar question but just wanted to know a few details that were not mentioned.

I require 5mm thick and 20mm width spacers but econospcers as far as aware only go up to 9.5mm thickness so I'm left thinking that foamboard is the only way to go. I can buy 5mm thick foamboard but I've been having real problems cutting it so that all 4 sides are equal especially when metting at the corner area as this is stillvisible within frame. When slotting them around edges the corners don't meet flush and there might be 0.5mm difference between the edge of one foam board meeting the corner of another foamboard so the back print doesn't sit correctly due to small gaps. This also looks unprofessional. when I press the foamboard into the sides of the frame, even though I'm using as little pressure as possible I can see noticable edges along parts of the foam that have slightly scuffed. Is there any particular method to use when cutting foamboard for accuracy and to avod scuffs when placing into a frame?

I'm also trying to find a 20mm metal ruler as this would give a more accurate cut considering my foamboard width will be 20mm as I guess the minimal inaccuracy in each of my cuts is down to using a standard ruler and maybe just being out by the smallest margin. I can't seem to find a 20mm metal ruler anywhere online so if anyone has seen one before this would be a bonus.

I look forward to any hearing from anyone.

thanks

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Justintime » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 9:33 am

I have recently bought a keencut ruler, it's non slip and has a bar that your blade runs along, rather than the steel edge of the ruler, very satisfying.
When using foam spacers, I face them with an appropriate coloured mountboard and then cut them.
I place the bottom and top first, then the sides.
I use atg with a few tiny dabs of pva for backup.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Justintime » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 9:37 am

I find a Stanley type blade better for this than a scalpel as scalpel will waver in the foam board.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Steve N » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 12:25 pm

If you have a mountcutter, just set the border width to 20mm and use the straight cutter to cut the foamcore

I use the paper covered wood spacers that Wessex, D&J Simons sell, they sell them in different widths, or just use the wood ones then you paint them
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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by daveym » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 12:47 pm

Thank you all for your replies. Sorry i dont know how to highlight a particular reply in this post but with regards to using the keencut ruler you mention that you face the foam with mountboard. Does this mean you just stick mount board to surface of foam with for example double sided tape then cut both foamboard and mount board together? I can understand that if that is the case. I'm using a particular Stanley knife and metal ruler so not sure if suitable to do mount board with foam. I would probably prefer yo use 400gsm card but thinking that is still quite tough to cut through if stuck to foam.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Justintime » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 1:07 pm

Yes, I'm describing when I make a shadow box and want the sides to be the same colour as the back (the mountboard that the piece is mounted/floated too.)
Yes I atg/double sided tape the mountboard offcut to the foam board offcut, measure and cut to fit, top and bottom to fit the frame and sides to fit between the top n bottom pieces.
I cut using many strokes over and over until you are through the board then the foam. The keencut ruler is designed to stop you cutting into the metal ruler and blunting the blade so quickly and it stops the ruler slipping. I also saw it demonstrated to do washlines with, perfect for supporting the brush.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by daveym » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 1:43 pm

Is atg tape the best to use for applying foamboard to inside of frame or will any good double sided tape work. I don't have an atg tape gun and don't really want to purchase one just yet so can I still use the tape without gun or is it only made to work with the gun?

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Justintime » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 2:04 pm

Any good double sided tape will be fine, the atg gun just makes it easier. I give the rebates a quick wipe over with an alcohol wipe first, removes dust and grease, but that's just me. Most of my frames are hand finished so likely to have some residual dust.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Steve N » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 2:16 pm

Justintime wrote
"Yes, I'm describing when I make a shadow box and want the sides to be the same colour as the back (the mountboard that the piece is mounted/floated too.)
Yes I atg/double sided tape the mountboard offcut to the foam board offcut, measure and cut to fit, top and bottom to fit the frame and sides to fit between the top n bottom pieces.
I cut using many strokes over and over until you are through the board then the foam. The keencut ruler is designed to stop you cutting into the metal ruler and blunting the blade so quickly and it stops the ruler slipping. I also saw it demonstrated to do washlines with, perfect for supporting the brush."


Sorry that's not the way I would do it, first only use a few bits of ATG tape or double sided tape and PVA glue between the ATG tape, just to hold the spacer in place while the PVA glue dries, as ATG/Double sided tape is likely to dries out and you will find the spacers at the top of the frame will sag and show. Also do it as two separate operations, cut and stick in the foamcore spacers, make them slightly smaller than the finished width, so if 20mm is the width make them say 18mm, then you don't have to be accurate, then cut the mountcard spacers, to the finished size, stick these to the foamcore in the same way, a few bits of ATG tape and PVA glue.
Of course if you use paper covered wood sapacers, you can glue them in the same way
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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Justintime » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 2:23 pm

Justintime wrote: I use atg with a few tiny dabs of pva for backup.
Totally agree about the pva. My techniques are evolving and thanks to you, improving! :clap:

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by poliopete » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 3:14 pm

Covering the Foamboard spacer with stripes of appropriate mountboard is the way I do it and it is a way of using up the board that would otherwise be waste :wink:

I too always use double stick tape and PVA glue because the tape holds the spacer in place while the glue cures. I find the tape easy to use without a gun particularly dj Simmons as the backing peels off effortlessly.

The way Justin explains positioning the spacers is the way to do it. I believe it was christened the "Stone Henge" method by Roboframer as the sides support the top to prevent the top spacer falling down in the event of glue failure. If you spiral the spacers around the rebate it's called the Catherine wheel method.

The way I cut the Foamboard is with a heavy straight edge and a sharp utility knife.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Not your average framer » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 4:28 pm

Use wooden spacer from Simons, Wessex, or Rose & Hollis, there all more or less the same, so it whoever I am ordering from at that time. I also have a table saw, so if I've got some suitable sized obeche off cuts, then I make my own spacers insead. I don't mind using the paper wrapped spacer, or painting my own, but I'm not all that keen on foam board spacers after have seen what can happen to some foam board spaces after a few years.

Wooden spacers suit me just fine!

When push comes to shove, have made foam board spacer, although foam board is not my preferred choice and I don't mind cutting them to width on my Systen 4000, which works well with a nice sharp new blade.
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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by prospero » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 5:23 pm

Rose&Hollis do a 4.5mm x 19mm Obeche strip. (Also 25mm, 12mm and 6mm)

If you stick a facing of mountboard to it, you have the perfect spacer.

Only one end needs to be cut neatly if you use the Catherine wheel method. Cut the neat end of the mountboard before you
slice it into strips, and make sure it protrudes just a small amount over the end. This way it will butt up to the corner nicely
and no gaps.

A crude diagram....
catherine wheel method.jpg
catherine wheel method.jpg (18.22 KiB) Viewed 525 times
Start with placing the first piece - but don't fix it. This is just to allow you to locate the second piece (adjacent to the first).
All the pieces should be slightly shorter than the rebate size less the width of the spacer. Fix the second piece permanently.
Remove the first (unfixed) piece and work you way round, this time fixing the pieces and making sure the 'neat' ends are snugly
butted up to the previous one. When you have done three you can locate the first piece.

A bit mind-boggling but it all makes sense if you think about it. Promise. :lol:
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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by daveym » Thu 01 Aug, 2019 11:40 am

Sorry to bump this post backup but I havn't been on here for a while and wanted to thank all for your replies. i've attempted numerous times what has been recommended whereby I've cut 2cm wide foam spacers then on top of this have 400gsm white card. I've tried this 2 ways whereby I've stuck the card to the foam prior to cutting then cut both together so as to get 2cm strips and also have tried cuting 2cm foam strips first then apply the card strips afterwards. The first method is best as cutting both in one go is quicker and gets a more event cut to both in one go.

My main issue is I can get to the stage of placing 3 of the foam strips with card into the frame within a carousel wheel. This is fairly straight forward but it is usually the last cut that is either just slightly too short or too long, literally by a matter of 2-3mm. When I do manage to cut this to a point that it fits in the corners don't meet evenly either with a the most minimal gap or uneven end which to me is really is noticable. I've also noticed that when I buy my foam board packs they are not always cut perfectly square at edges even though I'm buying A4 sheets so when I'm cutting strips the ends are not always perfectly symetrical. It's hard for me to see but it's noticed when I place the foam spacer into the frame as the edges don't always meet perfectly leaving tiny gaps that don't look desirable.

I also find difficulty using a ruler with stanley knife and just eyesight to mark the foam with a pencil at various places to get a decent 2cm wide cut. Alot of the time at least 1 or 2 spacers might be out of size by the smallest margin which causes issues when placing the art into frame as there are tiny gaps between the print and foamboard.

Is there any way of avoiding the above issues described so as to get an even cut on every spacer? I really would prefer to make my own spacers but they seem to take me ages and the end result is still never perfect. I've watched youtube videos online and they seem to make it look very easy and do it in a very quick amount of time.

The internal size of my frames that I require the spacers for is 23cmx23cm.

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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by prospero » Thu 01 Aug, 2019 12:28 pm

If you use such spacers regularly it's not a difficult job to make a little jig so that you can do repeat cuts consistently.
I'm thinking a piece of stout board with strip of timber fixed to one edge as a stop. Couple of screws sticking up either end
the locate a straightedge at a set distance. Then all you need to do is practice cutting with the knife as perpendicular as possible.
Foamcore is funny stuff. You need a very sharp blade.
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Re: foamboard for spacers in deep box frame

Post by Justintime » Thu 01 Aug, 2019 12:38 pm

I place them slightly differently to Prospero.
Instead of a catherine/pinwheel style, I do top and bottom first, then sides. The idea, I was told, was that if top spacer ever fails, then the sides will hold it in place.(I can see that if one of the sides fails, this technique doesn't help!)
I can only reiterate that the Keencut "steel tip and super grip steel edge" is amazing for this cutting. It holds the piece in place and maintains a more accurate straight line than a conventional steel ruler, I have found.
A great little tip someone gave me was that if there is a small gap between the spacers, take a wooden toothpick and push down behind the offending spacer to bring it out a fraction until the spacers are flush and then cut off the remaining toothpick so that it's flush. Its worked a treat.
If one side of the spacer is a better cut than the other, always use the best one to face the work, rather than the glass. The back corners of your spacers need to be as flush as possible for the work to sit tightly.
If your spacers are a darker colour then I found its good to use a marker to darken the rebate and front edge of the spacers, so that you don't get a white line behind the glass, unless you're using cotton rag board.
I pay particular attention when putting the points into the back of a floated work frame, to ensure that the points are keeping the work tight to the spacers where it's required.
Hope this helps!

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