Post details: Custom-Made Picture Frames - Part 2


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Custom-Made Picture Frames - Part 2

Picture Frames

Front, Outside Edge
For aesthetics and eye appeal, a different edge profile works best along the front, outside edge of your frame. If you've used a bead on the inside edge, a Roman Ogee, Classic Roman, or Ogee Fillet would look nice on this outside edge. Taking away no more than half the wood fiber is a good rule for sake of both appearance and strength. (See Illustration 3.) Tip: this edge can be profiled after glue-up, which sometimes results in better looking corners.

Picture Frames

The Back, Outside Edge (Optional)
As an option, you may want to also profile the back outside edge of your frame. To maintain structural integrity and good appearance, don't remove more than half the remaining amount of stock from this edge should you choose this option.

Miter CutMiter Cut To Dimension

Once the frame members have been profiled to your liking, you can move on to cutting your miters. Use this handy formula to get the total length of each side:

[Length of Mat] - [width of rabbet]x2 + [width of frame]x2

Rockler Sure-Loc Miter Gauge

Miters can be cut with a power miter saw, manually with a hand miter saw, or at your table saw with a miter gauge or miter jig set to a 45° angle (for square or rectangular frames).

Trimming to Fit
Dry fit your frame. If the frame members are cut well, they'll fit. If not, a little trimming is in order. Don't be tempted to trim cut your mitered edges, it could end up in disaster. Instead, lightly sand them to fit with a stationary disk sander or use a miter trimming tool. This will give you more control over stock removal.

Gluing Up
Glue up your frame using a good web clamp or frame clamp. Instead of standard yellow glue, a good epoxy is best in this situation. It holds firmly against the end grain of the frame members.

Let the glue-up set until the epoxy cures.

A Decorative Option
As another option, you may want to spline the corners of your frame. This is a decorative approach to frame joinery that will be highly appreciated by your gift-giving recipient. The use of a contrasting wood for corner splines--a dark wood such as walnut or mahogany--can further accentuate this attractive element. A router table or table saw with a V-jig or Tenoning Jig can be used to cut accommodating slots for your splines along the outer edge of each corner. A 1/8" slot works well and leaves enough room on either side for a balanced look. Most table saw blades cut a kerf of about this size. Always cut the slots for your splines after you've profiled the edges with your router, otherwise you risk routing into your beautiful corner splines when you profile the edges.

Finishing UpFinishing Up
There are many good finishing alternatives for picture frames (which will not normally need to endure a great deal of wear or stress). A good-quality oil finish will achieve a nice luster, but wax or polyurethane will also do nicely.

Sam Maloof Poly/Oil Finish

Wrapping Up
Now that your beautiful, hand crafted frame is complete you may have trouble giving it away. If so, you'll need to make another. But before you wrap it for Christmas, make sure to brand your signature on it with your "hand crafted by" branding iron because you'll be creating a high-quality family heirloom that will be cherished for generations.

Tools you'll need for this project


Free catalog

Free catalog


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