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DIY Screen attempt - Disaster....need tips

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok after months of waiting and reading about all things HT, the weekend to assemble my screen arrived. I am building (attempting to) a screen using Designer White laminate with a 1X3 poplar border and 1X2 braces in the middle. I can't even get past the building of the frame. The mitered corners will not stay together flush and tightly at all. I first tried wood glue and L brackets to hold the corners. When I lifted the top of the frame, the sides torqued and brackets bent slightly. The glue wasn't cured yet I guess, after 2 hours. Next I went and bought a corner brace and liquid nails for wood and let one corner stand in the brace overnight. This morning I take the brace off and applied very little pressure to test the glue strength and it fell apart. I am lost at what to do/try next. I have seen many people on here use the glue and L bracket method with success. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. Any suggestions/techniques out there? Would Gorilla Glue be better?

Thanks in advance...BBX4
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, and yes I thought the wood glue didnt have time to cure. I am confused on your suggestion for the L brackets. I dont see how I could put the screws in at an angle. These are 90 degree brackets and will be permenately on the back of the frame. They have 4 holes total with 2 screws going into each piece of wood. Thanks again
post #3 of 11
I like lap joints compared to miter joints when I can just sticking two boards together at the miter isn't going to be super strong and the L brackets on just one side will want to open up the joint sometimes.

If you can stand a thicker frame or you can find thinner stock you can do lap joints by making two frames and putting one on top the other and have the one made to lap the other in the opposite direction. Its hard to put in words but that's the method I used and there are pictures in the link below. My frame was many times stronger than what you are trying to make but the idea is the same just scaled down. See picture below.

Making the frame out of built up layers and gluing the layers together also makes it much stronger and less likely to warp. Kind of like how plywood works.

post #4 of 11
Your problem lies with the extreme flexibility of the DW, and the lack of cross supports. I suggest that you mount on the "Rear side" of the DW via an appropriate adhesive (contact cement) another thin 4' wide substrate that overlaps the surrounding DW edges by at least 2" ( 3/8" BC or AC Plywood)

Then sandwich the DW between the Trim and the Plywood, attaching the two pieces together with a Finish nailer shooting wire brads through the 2" gap. Be sure to shim the gap with something the same thickness as the DW so as to avoid having the outside edges pull together when you nail 'em.

I'd still use the Corner Bracing, but I'm sure your "Frame" will hold it's shape after this simple solution. It may not be as robust as Bud's, but it won't be nearly as heavy either.

....................and I strongly suggest that you wrap your Surface Frame with Black Velvet BEFORE you assemble it to the rear framework. Mitered Corners are not easy things to wrap, but you do want your velvet to wrap up under the leading "inside edge next to the Screen material" as well as under the outside edges.
post #5 of 11
If the choice still exists, I also would vote for butt joints instead of miter joints, just because the clamping and holding is a lot more straightforward.

In either case, I would recommend "biscuit joining" as the way to make the joint. If you want to strengthen after the fact with an L bracket, then go ahead, but what you need is an overlapping wood joint bonded with carpenter glue or something stronger. Since your pieces sound like they are already cut to length, you can just as well make the joint on the miter cut, it's just a little more interesting to hold in place while the glue dries.

If you do a web search on plate joiner or biscuit joiner, you can find what you need to know about tools, materials, and methods, including videos on how its done. The basic description is like the old mortise and tenon joint (round peg in round hole) but it's been simplified in that you only have to be precise in one axis instead of two. It has the added benefit of aligning your two pieces in one direction so you only have to clamp in two.

A biscuit is a pressed wood oval. They come in different sizes. Biscuits are about 1/8 inch thick and 1-2 inches in overall length. You need a special tool, about the size of a hand drill, to make the oval slot for the oval biscuit. Probably you have a wood-working friend who can loan you theirs. I'll loan you mine if its easier, just PM me. The way it works is you adjust the saw blade so it hits the middle of the thickness of your frame material. Plunge the saw on both pieces (backing up your frame piece with another block of wood -- don't ever use your hand!), and then drip glue in both slots, shove the biscuit in one side, assemble, clamp, and wait. It's really strong. I can make some pictures tonight and post them if that's helpful, just let me know.

Good luck with whatever method you try next, I'm sure its aggravating to have the first round move on you.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the tips everyone... I have just about finished the screen and it looks great and its very sturdy. I'll post pics when I put the finishing touches on tomorrow.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
By the way, the magic tool for me was using a nail gun I borrowed from my father. Worked great!
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by BB4X View Post

By the way, the magic tool for me was using a nail gun I borrowed from my father. Worked great!

Well.................., I don't know about all the others, but I cannot wait that long!!!!

Just KA

But please, do explain what method you decided upon. Pics can wait, this is primarily a "Typed' medium, so USE IT!!!!!!!
post #9 of 11
I'm glad you're on your way. For what it's worth, here's a picture of a "biscuit" -- this one is size 20, they come in different sizes but I use a lot of these. Also posting a picture of the business end of the special tool. That little saw blade is on a slide, so you push the wood piece up against the tool, pull the trigger and by continuing to push the sawa nd wood together the saw slides out and makes the plunge cut.

post #10 of 11
Butt joints are best because they're easier to clamp, but the same method would apply to a miter joint.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok I will attempt to explain the method I used.

End result: viewable screen of 86"X48" (99" diag)

I built a frame from 1X3 poplar with an inside opening 1" smaller than I wanted my screen size (85X47) I built the frame by using miter cuts on the ends. I applied some liquid nails then put on a corner brace to hold it in place and used a nail gun (18 GA 1.25") to put 4-6 nails in the corner. Then removed the brace and moved to the next corner. After all corners were complete I then added two 1X2 poplar vertical braces to help support the laminate in the middle. I attached these using T braces screwed into the back on each end, they held up great.

Once I had the skeleton of the frame it was time to add the laminate. I cut 9" off the length of my 49"X97" sheet off DW laminate making it 49"X88". I flipped my frame over, so the T brackets were face down, and applied liquid nails to the entire face of the frame. I then placed the laminate on top of the frame and spent about 15 minutes smoothing out and pressing down on all surfaces where the frame was under the laminate. I used a large rock with a flat side (20 lbs) and placed a towel between the rock and laminate to help press it all down smoothly.

Now if you can picture I have a bare 1X3 poplar frame with a sheet of laminate glued to it with about 1 1/4" of frame exposed past the laminate. Now it was time to add the molding that will frame in the viewing area. For this I used basic pre-primed 3" baseboard molding. I painted all peices flat black with spray paint, and they came out really well. I then cut these peices to the inside dimensions I wanted my screen and used the nail gun to tack it down all the way around. The baseboard had a contour to it where one edge is thicker than the other, I used the thick edge to the inside of the screen. All done? NOT QUITE.

I made a rookie mistake and cut the miter ends the wrong way on a piece (yes I'm man enought to admit it....hey it was my first miter job). So tonight I go back to HD and get some more molding to cut and paint. Then i'll be able to complete the frame. All said and done the molding will overhang the poplar frame about 3/4" all the way around. Leaving just enough room for a mini rope light 3/8" set. I may or may not add that later, just wanted the option.

I hope I explained my method clearly enough, if anyone has any questions please let me know.

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