Ribbed frame

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Bertie
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Ribbed frame

Post by Bertie » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 10:36 am

Hi all,

I may have to make a copy of this frame and I was curious to see how people think it could be best done. It has been gessoed and has some bole showing through. Given the specific profile of the moulding, off the shelf doesn't seem to be an option, from my research.

If it was an order for multiple linear metres of the stuff then I would consider having the moulding CNC'd to create the ribs, however it is just one frame.

So, once the moulding has been machined, and gesso etc dried, is it a case of carving each one by hand? Or would it be better to carve directly into the timber and gesso over.. but I fear the detail would be lost that way.

I'd say the ribs are a mm or two deep and so it could be done with a small gouge chisel. Or is this the sort of thing that could be compo laid over the frame?

2019-03-21 11.13.19.jpg

2019-03-21 11.14.01.jpg

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 11:48 am

I've seen a few frames like this before, but have never needed to create one like this myself. From what I remember and looking at your photo, I would say that the ribbing is carved into the gesso. There is an obvious difference between something that is machine made and something that has been crafted by hand. For myself, I would say that the variations in the ribbing suggest that they are carved by hand.

There are other forum members, more knowledgable and more experienced than myself, who are much more able to tell you about the practical side of undertaking such work. I suspect that this will be quite demanding in terms of skill and technique.
Mark Lacey

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prospero
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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by prospero » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 12:40 pm

It appears to me as you say, carved gesso. Also it must have been done after the frame was joined.
Not too difficult to do on first glance. It would need quite a few coats of gesso to build up the depth.
I seems that the raw gesso has been given a wash of mucky-coloured paint after the carving and then sanded
back a tad. I'd use something like a coarse round file to do the carving. Good idea to do a sample chevron first.

Good Luck. :P
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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by vintage frames » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 12:59 pm

NYAF describes exactly how this frame was made. Some poor sod has had to scribe into the soft gesso using a sort of home-made tool. This was obviously done on the instructions from the original artist who may or may not have gone on to be of some importance.
If you did use a cmc to carve the wood then could you reproduce the variance of cut that gives the frame it's character? And even then you'd still have to carve out the gesso to retain the detail. Can a CMC carve into dry gesso?
Otherwise it's give the frame a heavy coating of gesso by several layers built up over a few hours, then just before it dries hard, carve the detail as shown. You may need to brush on some warm water as you work. It looks as if the the frame sides were carved first oversize, then the frame joined and gesso applied to fill in the mitres.
As I said, this was a lot of work for a frame that wouldn't have achieved a lot of value but maybe there is more history behind it.

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by cleaver » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 1:14 pm

Prospero, would your sloppy Polyfilla mixture be relevant here - or that ripple paint you use? Then comb in the effect with a comb thinggy when it's almost gone off?

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 1:58 pm

It's no accident that gesso is used for carving as it really is the ideal medium for this sort of work. Craftsmen who really know what they are doing, make this sort of job look easier than it really is. Technique and experience are very significant factors in doing this sort of thing. You might find some suitable tools by doing an on-line search for "wax carving tools", or "wax carving chisels".
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prospero
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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by prospero » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 3:56 pm

Ripple paint would maybe work. Hard to tell. Worth a shot. Bulking it up slightly with some sort of filler would speed the process
but not too much. 10% by volume max. But gesso has a particular colour and to get a good replica of the original finish gesso is preferable.

My first thought for carving was a round file or a round rasp. Using the tip mostly. Any sort of similar instrument would do it.
Question of experiment. :wink:

It's very hard to perfectly match another framers finish. A bit like copying handwriting.
But don't overthink it and might be easier than you think.
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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by vintage frames » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 4:40 pm

And then when you carved the gesso, the frame needs about two coats of red bole. After that, two coats of a heavily pigmented wash of raw umber/terre verte and maybe some ultra marine or cobalt blue - you'll have to experiment to get a colour match but don't use acrylics as you need to keep the finish water absorbent. When all that's dry, flood the frame with very dilute gesso and dab off again leaving it to pool inside the carvings. When dry you may need to further tone the finish to match.
'Bet you're glad you've been asked to make this frame.

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Timh » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 4:50 pm

another way to get consistency on the flutes is to use the tool from a diy shop that is used for laying down ceramic tiles

it's a sort of plastic toothed comb

you can soften the edges of the plastic with sandpaper and even mitre one end so you get the closed corner joint
after you have done that, apply more gesso to muddy it up a bit

the colouring Dermot describes would be ideal

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by vintage frames » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 6:51 pm


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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 7:07 pm

I'm not so sure about the plastic comb type things, because the pitch between the different ribs, will lack the random element that makes it look hand carved. If it's going to look too much like something that's been machine made, I think it loses that authentic old hand made look. I also agree with Dermot about not using acrylic paint, by it's self acrylic paint neither looks, or feels quite right for something that needs to look old.

I rarely use acrylic paint by it's self, but usually it's mixed with something else to get rid of that synthetic look and feel. Old fashioned natural ingredients are often what it's all about when creating that traditional and aged look and feel. Also the ability to absorb water often is a characteristic that goes with matt finishes. I'm really into matt and muted effects, that just look and feel right.

Sometimes I'll even mix in a little grouting cement into a coat of primer to help me get that nice natural lumpy texture. I also like various types of fine sand, like mica sand, or silver sand and I've even got some extra fine vermiculite. It's all about creating something that mimics some of the randomness found in nature and how such ingredients look after various washes, glazes and distressing the completed finish.
Mark Lacey

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― Geoffrey Chaucer

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 09 Jan, 2020 7:10 pm

vintage frames wrote:
Thu 09 Jan, 2020 6:51 pm
Or maybe one of these -
http://tiranti.co.uk/products/no-47-sta ... f-spatula/
Oh yes, I think so too.
Mark Lacey

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 10 Jan, 2020 11:14 am

It occurs to me that I have a small skew chisel and that this might be a fairly straight forward tool to use for cutting these ribs. It can be angled by hand to produce the angle required for the sides of the ribs and being quite thin and extremely sharp, would probably produce excellent results. I find that it is a good thing to sharpen carving chisels a little, but often.

For me, sharpening a skew chisel is more difficult than most other carving chisels, because it requires a different technique. I have a small powered tool and drill sharpener, which I have successfully sharpened other carving chisels with, but I found this to be most definitely the wrong machine for the job. incidentally it is not difficult to re-purpose old narrow second hand chisels from junk shops, or car boot sales to make all manner of small carving tools.

I don't do this just to save money, but trying to buy a carving tool that is perfect as small tool for detailed work, often proves to be impossible. I'm not suggesting that I'm a really wizz at re-grinding old chisels, but you do get better with practice. Of course it does help to have the proper tools for the job, which I have to do something about before long, but you would be surprised how good you can be even with less than ideal tools, if you try.

I mentioned grouting cement in my last post. Grouting cement is somewhat gritty and when mixed in a small quantity into whatever you are using for you priming coat adds a bit of lumpiness and thickness, which can be quite useful for filling the bottom of a carved groove and rounding of the bottom a bit. Just in case anyone thinks that there's anything really clever about this, it's only stuff that get made up as you go along.

It's not rocket science, anyone can do it and ideas that don't work get discarded along the way. Please don't be put off from experimenting and trying out ideas, every technique that you can name and is now reccognised as a proven technique was originally an ideal that came from trial and error. Who knows you might invert something which is really outstanding and becomes a reccognised technique.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Bertie
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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Bertie » Fri 10 Jan, 2020 2:23 pm

Thanks for all your generous replies.
Yes, I think lots of gesso is the way to go. I have a couple of tools which I could try. Using the CNC would do a great job, but in reality it would be too good a job and have no character as mentioned. The spatula looks like it could be worthwhile.

All options are labour intensive. (Thankfully!) the job isn't a go yet.

NYAF, surely just a waterstone is good for sharpening skew chisels? You're right about re-purposing old chisels, that's how I made mine.

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Re: Ribbed frame

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 10 Jan, 2020 6:14 pm

I've got an ordinary waterstone of the type that you use by hand and it's a bit slow if you are removing a lot. When I'm re-purposing an old chisel and need to remove a lot, I think something a bit faster is probably the only way to do it , otherwise the time it takes gets a bit crazy.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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