Saturday, July 25, 2009

Artist Turned Carpenter

Well, that's probably a stretch. But for the first time in my career, I built a crate for shipping a painting. In fact, I built two crates. These two crates will be used to ship my painting and drawing to the NMWA in Jackson, WY for the Western Visions Show & Sale.

Typically, I use Strongbox Art Shippers to send my paintings, but this year the museum was very adamant that participating artists ship their work in crates. I'm not one to argue, so what the museum wants, the museum gets.

Since this was my first time building art crates, I did a wee bit of research and made sure to enlist my dad for not only his extensive reservoir of tools, but also his help in constructing the crates.

Note to self: Make sure to build crates before the middle of summer. It was 114° F the day we built the crates in my dad's garage — with no air conditioning.

Although building the crates certainly took some time (about two hours), it cost less than purchasing the two Strongboxes I would have needed; about $20 less. Here's a list of the supplies I picked up at my local Home Depot and Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts:

2 8ft lengths of 1x4" pine boards
1 4x8' sheet of 1/8" luan mahogany (door skin)
1 box of 1 1/4" gold screws
2 cabinet handles
2 24x60x1" foam sheets (these I purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics)

The finished art crates measure 23x20x3 1/2" interior dimensions. This allowed for about 2" of foam all the way around the framed painting and drawing.

After cutting all of the boards and luan panels to the sizes I needed, it was just a simple matter of assembling them. We (my dad and I) started by joining two 1x4" boards (a 24 1/2" length and a 20" length) by putting two screws in the corner joint. We repeated this until the entire frame was assembled. We then cut triangles out of the scrap laun panel to place in each corner of the crate for added durability and strength and then screwed all of the triangles and a 24 1/2 x 21 1/2" luan panel to one side of the wood frame. Finally, we added a cabinet handle to the top of each crate.

I then cut 6 pieces of 23x20x1" foam sheets — 3 for each crate. I laid a single foam sheet into each crate then cut a hole in the two middle sheets to match the exact exterior dimensions of the frame for both the painting and the drawing. I then laid these pieces of foam into each crate and placed the painting and drawing into their respective crates directly into the hole cut in the center of the foam. The final sheets of foam went on top and then I placed the final laun panels and corner triangles on the crates and screwed them down.

Once I'd completely assembled the crates with the painting and drawing inside, I stenciled my last name and the words "fragile" and "up" with an arrow to the crates. I placed Duct Tape over the corner pieces on each crate to help keep them from catching on things during shipping.

Here's a photo of one of the final crates.

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