picture frame joining

Using Tabs & Point Drivers to Secure Frame Backing Board

Inmes Points DriverThe contents of a picture frame – including the glass/mountboard/artwork/backing board “sandwich” – is commonly secured into the back recess of a picture frame using picture framing tabs and points. The points can be manually pushed in with a screwdriver (certainly an easier task with a soft wooden moulding), or pushed in with a point fixing tool, or can be fired in with point drivers (tab guns).

Flexi framer tab
Flexi framer tab

The tabs and points themselves come in a variety of styles (triangular, narrow with a point), sizes and rigidity (flexible, semi-rigid, rigid). The more rigid points won’t bend easily and will help to securely hold the contents of a frame in place (in conjunction with a brown frame backing tapes). Flexible points/tabs can be bent (without removal of the tabs from the frame) which allows easy access to the contents of a frame (say to change the artwork, mount or remove some dust), before bending the points flat again to re-secure the contents.

Points Driver Firing Points into Back of FramePoint drivers are a fast way to drive points into the rebate at the back of the picture frame and are a must-have tool for any framer from a keen hobbyist to a small workshop based framing business. Some industrial point drivers can be pneumatic but are larger and designed for larger volume production environments.

Handheld point drivers are spring-loaded, easy to set up and fired by pulling the hand trigger which drives a point into the side of the frame rebate. Complete frames can be secured with multiple points driven in around the frame in an operation that can often be achieved in under one minute.Picture Frame Back Finishing with Points

The Inmes Fi-150M Point Driver is one such manual points driver. It takes 15mm long flexi-points/tabs (UKPFS822) or semi-rigid points/tabs (UKPFS823). It has a sturdy die-cast body, with a soft grip handle, easy front loading and adjustable firing pressure to suit different hardnesses of woods.

You can buy an Inmes Points Driver with some sample points from us here.

PIcture Frame Hanging

Bifurcated Rivets with D-Rings

Bifuricated RivetSometimes you may find yourself using a moulding that is just way too narrow to attach a screw and D-Ring to. If you do, the rounded edge of the D-Ring can end up being visible from the front of the frame when hanging on the wall, which isn’t pleasant to look at.

One alternative is to continue to use D-Rings but instead of screwing the D-Rings to the frame, you can attach the D-Rings to the backing board by using Bifurcated Rivets. This is method I’d recommend for lighter frames only as there is a finite strength to MDF backing boards. The Bifurcated Rivets come in both nickel plated and brass plated finishes and require no specialised hardware to fit (a ruler, pencil, bradawl, screwdriver and hammer will suffice).

The procedure for attaching them to the backing board is as follows –

MDF Backing Board Measured for Bifurcated Rivets 1. Select a backing board at least 2mm thick MDF. (a relatively solid material). Mark the two points where the rivets are going to go (about 1/3rd way down from top and about 30mm in from sides)
 Use a bradawl to punch holes through the MDF 2. Use a bradawl to punch holes through the MDF at your measured points. make the holes close to 3mm in size – just wide enough so as to allow the bifurcated rivets to push through.
D-Ring with Bifurcated Rivet 3. Push the rivet through the hole of the D-Ring and then through the hole you have made in the MDF.
Splaying a Bifurcated Rivet 4. Turn the MDF over to see the rivet protruding from the other side of the board. Place the D-Ring and Rivet head on an old wooden off cut, and place a screwdriver over gap in the rivet legs.
Bifurcated Rivet Legs 5. Hit the screwdriver shaft with a hammer to start to splay the rivet legs.
Splayed Bifurcated Rivet 6. Take away the screwdriver and splay the rivet further apart with a hammer. Flattening the rivet legs against the board. If you are not using a barrier board between the backing and the artwork, then at this stage you should tape over these ends as they may push against the artwork (which is really not desirable). I recommend using a mount board or similar barrier layer of acid free board between the artwork and the backing board.
D-Rings attached by Bifurcated Rivets 7. Repeat with other D-Ring.
Finished Frame Backing wiht Bifurcated Rivets and D-Rings 8. Assemble the frame and finish tying picture cord between the two D-Rings. Congratulations the picture frame is now ready to hang.