This is a special blog post just for Duncan Mattocks because he asked. I've been making timber frames for my canvases and this is how I do it. I've seen this style of frame applied to canvases in many ways. Some appear professionally finished, others are nailed directly to the canvas stretchers with the nail heads still visible. I saw one recently that seemed only to be held together with the brown tape framers use. My goal is to make something that looks neat, is of a reasonable quality but also economical to produce.
I'm using 65x12mm dressed pine for these frames. It costs $10.50 for a 2.4m length at Bunnings and the mitres are cut with a small framers saw I bought on Ebay for around thirty dollars. It's not a particularly high quality tool but with a little patience and dexterity it gives a fairly neat cut. Once the pieces have been cut to length, I assemble them around the canvas to keep it square, add a small amount of PVA glue to the corners then clamp it in place with a tensioned strap. You can buy special framing clamps for this but I find old tie-down straps and timber wedges work just fine.
In the back face of the frame I also drive vee nails with a small framing tool. Framing can be very expensive but with limited tools you can do much of the assembly yourself. Bizzare Framing at Windsor offer a "Chop" service. They supply their full range of framing timbers mitre cut to length as well as glass and full sheets of matt carboard. It's like buying a kit you put together at home. I've successfully made a few picture frames this way.
Once the glue's had a chance to go off, I tack-in right angle plastic support strips to the back of the canvas. These are edge beads for plasterboard walls which cost around $2.50 for a 2.4m length and can be cut with a pair of tin snips or a saw. The frame's still not attached to the canvas at this stage but once it is, these angle strips should take all the load off those glued corners.
With the glue dry and the backing strips in place, I remove the canvas and seal the frame with a couple of coats of water based satin varnish. Final assembly simply requires screwing through the backing strips into the back of the canvas stretchers. I needed a bit more than one length of timber to make this 64x94cm frame but that's still only around $15.00 for materials plus glue, paint and screws.