Mounting Matters

by Chris A. Paschke, CPF GCF



The LA Framer – GLAC Newsletter August 2012

"Metal Frame Finishing"


Knowing how to prepare a metal frame for assembly is no doubt something every professional framer already knows, but here are a few additional tips  that you may not know. Metal is considered inert, which will not react with any other element to create a new chemical reaction making it a preservation material. It is clean, bolts together easily and there are numerous wonderful contemporary profiles well suited to contemporary art (photo 1).


Take a few simple steps prior to frame assembly you will maintain that professional presentation we all strive for. Chopped metal legs often arrive with rough edges remaining from the cutting saw. Lightly pass one quick stroke of a 100 grit file over the raw cut edge to remove any metal burrs that might prevent the corner from perfectly joining once assembled (photo 2). Though sanding sticks are sold through frame suppliers the best sanding stick I have found is a 7"x1"x3/16" thick sanding stick sold by  Sally's Beauty Supply from their Beauty Secrets line. It is a two-sided, course grit 100/100, washable stick,  #169400 regularly priced at a low 99¢ that is often on sale for only 69¢ each. I purchase 3-4 dozen at a time because I use them for sanding everything from plaque edges to cleaning of chopped miters prior to gluing.



photo 1

Layered wax and oil stick

on 1/4" birch wood panel.



photo 2

Lightly run a 100 grit file over the

cut edge to remove  metal burrs.





Just as you would tint the inside mitered edge of a wood chop, the mitered corners of a metal chop should also be colored before assembly. After testing a dozen markers, the three in photo 3 covered the metal best, with the Sanford KING SIZE Permanent Marker as my first choice (photo 3). Cover the entire raw metal edge above the base of the frame, and use two coats (photo 4). This obviously prevents raw silver metal from showing at the corner miters.




photo 3

(L to R) ZIG Permanent Calligraphy Marker;

ZIG Permanent Textile Marker, and

Sanford KING SIZE Permanent Marker.


photo 4

Cover the entire raw metal

above the base.





So polishing your metal frames—regardless of whether they were custom cut, ordered online or scavenged from old paintings—is as easy as 1-2-3…sand, color, and snap in the hanger.


Copyright © Chris A Paschke, 2012




Chris Paschke, CPF GCF

Designs Ink

785 Tucker Road, Suite G-183

Tehachapi, CA 93561