> I need a split-back printing frame. I have woodwrking skills. Any
> suggestions on the design?
I have made a couple printing frames. Here is some advice:
+ Use rock maple. It is a good strong wood. 1x1 stock should work fine
for 8x10; 1x1/2 for 11x14; 1x2 stock should work fine for up to 24x20.
The trick is not to have any flex for the length chosen.
+ Remember to make the frame large enough for the paper size not the
negative size. Most alt-photo prints have a boarder of paper.
+ Use a box joint at all four corners.
+ Remember to have a rabbit cut so that your glass, back, etc. will be
+ Use a split back if you wish to check exposures (This frame will keep
registration following these directions).
+ Use good hinges that do not have any play. This will cost more, but
this frame will out-live you. Also use a shallow tongue and grove at
the split. This will help reinforce the back when closed.
+ The locking mechanism does not have to be a spring. A strip of wood
(rock maple), with a washer spacer to keep it off the back, which slips
under washers on the sides will work fine. The pressure should be
applied to the center of each back piece.
+ Use a piece of glass without defects. For larger frames use tempered
glass for obvious reasons.
+ The negative and paper are loaded onto the glass. On top of these is
placed a piece of black vinyl (same size as glass). This will block
moisture and help prevent reflection. This will also help distribute
the pressure. On top of this is placed a piece of foam sheet (same size
as glass). 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness works fine (experiment). The foam
sheet will apply the pressure necessary to keep the paper in contact
with the negative. This is why a spring locking mechanism is not
necessary. In fact, the old century frames work better with the foam
Other considerations may be to bevel the edge by the glass to prevent
reflections or add some decorative carving and a fine finish.
Jeffrey D. Mathias