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Thumbnail Join Wood Frame Part 1

Hi. I'm here today, and I'm going to show you how to assemble a frame, corners with dovetails. Basically, before we get started, you've more than likely unwrapped your package, you see that there's holes in the ends of your frame and you've gotten some supplies, basically. You've gotten at least a package that has dovetails in it. You may have gotten a package that has spacer as well as dovetails.

I'm going to unwrap this, get this going here and set these out. Get my package unwrapped. Set that all aside there. I'm going to also notice that I have two different sizes here of these thumbnails. I have a much larger one and a smaller one. So I'm going to make two separate piles here so I don't get them confused later.

When I start this process, I'm going to show you how to make two different Ls in this procedure. This is basically because I like to keep my work station here versus having to go around. If I had a really large frame here, which more than likely you do, because assembling-it-wise, we usually assemble our frames when we ship them to you versus giving them to you in a chop. So you're probably dealing with a 30-by-40 frame or something that's much larger than what you see here. We don't need that for this demonstration, though.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to take each individual piece of this, and I'm going to kind of rub out anywhere along these edges and knock off any little chunks that may have been on any of these joints when we routed it out. I'm just going to clean these up with my thumb here, keep setting them aside. I also have a pad of paper down here, and that's basically so that ... It's just something a little softer to protect maybe your kitchen table or your kitchen counter that you're working on, or even a hardwood floor. And also protect the frame, so it's not on something really hard, and I'm going to damage my frame.

I cannot overstate how important it is right now for you to lay these four pieces of molding out in the right order. When I do this, this is exactly what I do every time I've ever done one of these frames. I take my two long pieces, and I put them directly in front of my body. I take my two short pieces, and I put them directly to my right. I've done this because ... I'm going to show you something real quickly. If I were to reverse these, and I put this corner together right here and I put this corner together right here, when I rotate this over and I try to put this together, that is not a frame you want to see created at any time in your life because it's not good when you have the same two sides connected together. So please by all means ... let's start that over. Take your moldings, your long pieces directly in front of your body. Your short pieces, to your right. You're going to assemble two corners just like that. One at a time. Okay?

I can leave these two here in front of me or maybe even slide it out. But it's all right here in front of me. I'm going to put these back underneath my pad here, whether it's a magazine or something else that you might have, a few sheets of paper. You can also see the reason we've done this spacer is because this joint is falling in on itself. Depending on the type of molding you got, it could be falling out on itself. It just depends on the profile of the molding. I'm assuming that this is a more difficult one. If sometimes you have a perfectly flat board, you won't get a spacer because it's laying flat on the ground. You don't need a spacer. In this case, we've cut a perfect spacer for you to put under the lip of this frame. And now, these two holes will line up and not fall down and basically be to where I can pound on them without having this crazy angle going on. That being said, I've put my spacer underneath my edge here, and I'm ready to assemble some glue into this joint.

When I assemble the glue, I either use a good white glue or a carpenter glue. I just basically start here by dabbing this. I'm going to just kind of push that joint together, and then I'm going to put a little more glue on here. Not a ton. I don't want this oozing out everywhere. I have this all over. Top of my picture here. Not my picture, but my frame. Now I'm going to put this together. When I do that, I'm going to take my hand and I'm going to actually clamp this together with my hand and line up all these holes here.

I'm going to back up. Two things I'll get to show you on this. One, where do I put my small and my large holes here? Small holes get the small wedge in the front. Large ones get it in the back. So I'm going to make sure I remember that when I start putting these in here. I don't want my big ones sticking out the back or my small one going all the way inside of here. Okay?

So now one thing I did is ... it was my mistake by not telling you that first, but I broke this seal of glue. Had I been here, and I'd been messing with it, and it popped it, and I went, "Ah, you know what?" Once I touch those two together, I want that seal to remain locked with glue. If that seal breaks for any reason, I'm going to apply a little bit more glue on this thing right here. My Kleenex over here. I'm going to go down. Clamp system again. Lining these holes up. I have a perfect two holes here. So I'm going to grab my wedge. I'm pulling it together right here. I'm going to ... I know I'm a little bit shielded here, but I'm sticking this wedge in here. It's wanting to fall over, so you gotta have to get it set up there good. Little hammer. I just tap that. Eh. Didn't like that one. Tap that in to where it's flush.

Now it's not going anywhere once I have one in there like that. I'm going to get my bigger one for the back. Once again, I'm squeezing in on here, and I'm going to tap this one in. All right. They're both flush. Now we sent you probably a little piece of metal that's basically here so that you can tap these in further and make them to where they're all the way in. I'm going to put that on top of the wedge here. Tap it till it's all the way. That wedge goes all the way down into its hole. You can kind of hear the sound change even when it bottoms out there. You don't want to drive it in really super hard because it can sometimes even crack finishes on the top. So go slow when you're putting that wedge in there and just kind of softly put it down in the hole. You can see I've got a little knife here that I'm kind of cleaning up that glue.

Once again, we're assuming this is really large here. We don't want to put any undue stresses on this piece of molding here or on this joint. What I do in this situation is I will actually ... I can just clear this stuff out a little bit on one side. It's best to have a really large table. Maybe even a floor of a room that you can do these on. I'm simply going to lift this edge over, never touching that joint, and I'm going to fold it right over. No stresses were placed on that joint at all. I have all this glue out over here. So I'm going to get that out before I move to this next corner. I'm going to get all that out of this joint here. Clean all that up good. Even apply some stress here and some edges right in the corner and dig all that glue out of there.

Now, next thing I'm going to do is ... This is another very, very almost scary part to demon- ... get that out of my way for a second. I have a little bit of height difference here. I've done hundreds of these. I can't tell you how cautious you have to be here to not put undue forces on this. If you want to skip this part, it's okay to do. If you don't mind this little bit of edge up here that's not exact. If you want to go for this, just please use caution.

When I grab this molding, I'm going to grab from one hand on the bottom of the molding and one hand on the top of the molding. I'm going to leave both edges on the edge of my table for support. What I'm doing here is I'm going to very gently rock my hands back and forth. When I do this, I'm concentrating very hard on applying pressures into the joint area. I'm just going to barely rock my hands, and it takes some force, but there it goes. It moves. I get that to go away, that little bump that was there. You have to do this fairly quick because if that glue starts to dry on you, you're not going to get any movement out of that and you don't want to wait awhile and break that seal. So you only have a window of just a couple of minutes basically after that. I got rid of that little bump there. It's perfect.