APFS code:

Product Search:
Faq Categories

Frame Joining FAQs

Does the type of timber in the frame make a difference to the quality of the frame join?

A very definite YES. If you are having trouble joining your frames then usually it is a result of the type of timber the frame is made of, and the shape or design of the profile.

Easy to cut and easy to join frames are made from obeche, they always have a flat straight back, and the shape has some sort of "bump" in the middle of the frame..

Read the comments about different timbers, and frame design in the FAQ "FrameCutting" section to learn more about this important subject. Good quality moulding really makes a big difference to the quality and success of your framing projects. And quality moulding does not cost that much more than moulding which is difficult to work with. The problem is that many professional framing supply companies sell "specials" which are usually profiles they cannot sell!! .....as a DIY framer you need all the help you can get...you do not need to be treated as a second class customer just because you are a hobby framer!! At FrameCo, we may not have the biggest range of mouldings, but the profiles we do have, all cut and join so well that you achieve great results.

Good Shape with "Bump"

Good flat  & high backs.

Bad shape/Gesso finish.

Should I use glue on the frame joints: and which glue?

For wide and large frames glue should be used on all joints. This provides added strength to the join, which is necessary for some framing jobs such as heavy mirror frames. If you clamp using the FrameCo strap clamp you can apply glue to the four corners, clamp the frame and V-nail immediatley. The clamp can then be released and the frame put aside while the glue dries. But which glue?

There are many glues on the market, but the professional framing industry still mainly uses a good quality PVA glue. PVA is a good glue for end-grain glueing which is what we are doing in frame joining. There are some glues which dry so strong that the joint will not break open. But most of these compounds seem to be ideal for flat laminate applications rather than frame joining. We believe that these glues are subject to "creep" over time so the joint may move. There are two part "Super" glues which are instant and very strong. We have used these ( Mitre-Fix) on very wide large frames, and deep reverse style frames where applying a clamp was difficult. These are instant drying and difficult to use because there is no time to align the corners. For 99.9% of our applications PVA glue used in combination with a good quality clamp and then v-nailed is quick and easy.

* Before starting to glue, colour the outer edges of EACH mitre with a marker.
* Use a Black marker for black frames; Brown for stained frames; Gold for gold frames etc
* Apply a small amount of PVA blue to the mitre.
* spread evenly over the whole surface...then proceed with clamping.
* PVA will wipe easily off the surface of most mouldings without marking the frame.
* When joining raw wood frames do not allow the glue to touch the front surface of the frame

More about V-Nails

V-Nails are packaged in two ways....in a cartridge and in a strip. Both are the same item. Some people prefer the cartridge system while some prefer the loose strips. FrameCo can supply both, and we supply what we have availabale at the time of your order. If you have a preference for one form of packaging please tell us at the time of ordering.

To seperate the V-Nails from the strip, turn the strip so that the coloured top is facing downwards, then fan out the pointed end of the strip. Peel off one v-nail at a time. Read more about this technique.

To seperate the V-Nails from the cartridge, insert the end of the PushMaster into and UNDER the exposed end of the cartridge. Pry one V-Nail off from the end of the stick, and slide upwards to realease it from the cartridge. Read more about this technique.

All V-Nails are not the same. The FrameCo V-Nail is easier to insert into the frame because it is sharper. So you will get different results from different brands of v-nails. It is important to use a good quality v-nail because the mitre join in your frames will be more secure and tighter with a FrameCo v-nail than any other brand! The small curl on the outer wings of the FrameCo V-Nail locks the V-Nail into the grain of the timber. Poor quality V-Nails do not have a straight side or only a small curl on the wings and therefore do not work as well

The White and Red coating on the end of the V-Nails is a coating of silicone. This lubricates the V-Nail as it enters the wood frame. This means that the V-Nail enters the wood causing less stress on the join and therefore the join will be tighter and more secure.

The Standard V-Nail, or white top strip has a sharp point, and is ideal for soft to medium woods which have a more open grain than harder woods. The Hardwood N-Nail, or Red top strip has a blunter or less sharp point, and this suits hardwood timbers which have a finer and more closly packed grain. The Standard V-Nail cuts across the grain while the Hardwood V-Nail moves the grain of the timber.

There are 5 different sizes. They are all the same width, but have a different length. The sizes are: 5mm or 3/16" 7mm or 1/4" 10mm or 3/8" 12mm or 1/2" 15mm or 5/8" V-Nails are also available in Hardwood and Standard versions. The Standard version has white top and the Hardwood has a red top. The Standard version can be used in both soft and hardwood frames. The Hardwood version should be used ONLY in hardwood frames. It is important to place the V-Nails in the correct position when joining. The first V-Nail should be placed in the front or picture side of the frame and close to the rebate. The second V- Nail should be placed towards the back of the frame just past the middle point of the width of the frame. Do not place a V-Nail in the back 1/3rd area of the frame width. The drawing shows the correct position. Use only two positions...placing V-Nails in 3 or more positions may weaken the join.

Use the correct size V-Nail for the frame you are joining. It is best to use a V-Nail which is about 50% to 60% of the moulding height. There is no need to place large V-Nails into small timber frames. In hardwood timbers always select a smaller v-nail as the grain is more closley packed it will hold the V-Nail more securely.

V-Nails can be double stacked...ie two V-Nails ontop of each other in the same position. Place the first V-Nail onto the magnetic tip of the PushMaster or BenchMaster so that the point is facing upwards..ie away from the frame. Place the second V-Nail on the magnet, in line with the first, but with the point downards..ie facing the frame. Push both V-Nails into the frame. The lower or first V-Nail penetrates the wood first and the second V-Nail follows in the same hole. This procedure is best done using the BenchMaster as it has more power to push in the V-nails. Read more about this technique, see illustrated instructions here.

Can I use a hammer with the PushMaster

Any type of hammer can be used with the PushMaster. We have found the Dead-Blow Hammer to be most successful as there is no rebound to damage the joint.

The problem with “tapping” the end of the PushMaster to drive home the v-nail is that you run the risk of forcing the frame joint to open unless you support the frame corner if it is not flat on your workbench, and hold the frame securely with a good quality strap clamp, ….we recommend the FrameCo Metal Strap Clamp for that job. So hammer away,no problem….just make sure that the frame is held tightly together and that the underside of the frame is also supported with the Corner Jack.

If you cannot find the answer to your question click on the special FAQ "Answer Link" below and we will email you with suggestions and advice from our framing panel. This is a free service to all FrameCo visitors.
FrameCo Help Desk -