Life as an Amateur Woodworker #11: Picture Frames

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Blog entry by PhilBello posted 11-27-2013 12:31 PM 2355 reads 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Remove those loose cables from the floor. Part 11 of Life as an Amateur Woodworker series Part 12: Grinder Stand or Piece of Furniture? »

If there is one thing I dislike doing, it is making picture frames, but when needs must!...

Following my six year old Colombian Nephew’s ‘passing out’ from Infants School last week, there were obviously a raft of photos, and unfortunately the next stop, was my door, so I had to do some quick thinking, because I no longer had my framing equipment. It was back to my old friend, YouTube, to get some ideas, and the easiest was a video by George Berry, which showed a simple and cheap method of framing.

Firstly I had to prepare the frame, I had to make two frames initially, a 12×8” and a 8 1/2×6”, I decided to use some 2×1/2” timber, which I used ‘as is’ for the large frame, but for the smaller, I cut it down to 1×1/2” using my table saw. I then routed a 1/4” rebate, on the timber before cutting out the parts with the Sliding Compound Mitre Saw.

Now came the time to put Georges method to the test.Take a piece of plywood, or any other sheet material, larger than the frame you want to make. Cut sixteen wedges, four for each corner, I did this on the Bandsaw, and I wasn’t too particular about what the finish looked like.

Next, I drew the size of the frame onto the plywood and screwed two of the wedges, one on either side of each corner:

George recommends then using a candle to put some paraffin wax in each corner to stop the frame fixing to the timber sheet, but I didn’t have any, so I used a bit of clear plastic bag in each corner (It just peeled off afterwards, with no problem). I glued the pieces and placed them to the lines I had drawn, and then carefully inserted the extra wedges between those screwed to the sheet, and the newly positioned frame, and tapped them secure, one at a time.

An hour later, the glue had set and I had my frame:

Then it was on to the next one. I have just got to give them a light sanding and stain them.

I have to say this was easier than using all the picture framing clamps and straps from the past, and I actually enjoyed it, thanks George… I can’t believe I said that whilst smiling!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

5 comments so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3518 posts in 3589 days

#1 posted 11-27-2013 12:47 PM

Now that is clever! I’ll be rigging one of these for boxes. It should make gluing up easier on mitered corners.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#2 posted 11-27-2013 02:18 PM

Well done Phil and certainly a good idea. I usually use masking tape which also works very well, but your jig looks even easier.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5975 posts in 3293 days

#3 posted 11-27-2013 05:32 PM

I used to think I hated making picture frames.
I realized that I hate making MITERS.

A pinned through mortise, or a dovetail joint is easier to make than a miter!

You have a good solution for a finicky joint.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View PhilBello's profile


411 posts in 2447 days

#4 posted 11-27-2013 06:11 PM

Thanks for the comments. I agree this can be applied to any mitre, you can always make different size wedges to accommodate the frame. The nice thing about it, is that once the wedges are in place, it doesn’t move…at all!

I wish I had known about this method years ago, I could have saved myself a fortune in photo frames, I did everything and anything to get out of making them, not any more!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View Paulr's profile


3 posts in 2121 days

#5 posted 11-28-2013 04:30 AM

Thats great phil. Well done.

-- Paul, West Hollywood,

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