Ultimate Picture Frame Jig & Spline Jig

  • Advertise with us
Project by Don Johnson posted 07-07-2015 01:26 PM 5618 views 7 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As a subscriber to The Drunkenwoodworker’s channel on YouTube, I naturally viewed his videos on making picture frames:

I was struck by the design ingenuity and ease of use of these two jigs,and would have liked to make both of then, but really could not justify doing so as I had no reason to be producing picture frames. A little while later, whilst discussing the website I am setting up for an artist friend – – she happened to mention that she had a business proposition for me, which would be to make her some picture frames !

So, immediately (as is my custom) I found a source of an aluminium ruler of similar length to that specified, and set about making the frame jig. I did not use the Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar (not available in the UK ?) but fitted two oak strips as I did previously for a table saw sled. I found that I needed to attach a washer to mate with the mitre gauge T slot, as otherwise the jig wanted to fall ‘backwards’ due to the cantilever effect of the extended length sticking beyond the front edge of my table saw.

I was lucky that my narrow kerf table saw blade cut just the right slot thickness in the stop block to suit the ruler, but instead of using a toggle clamp, I used a brass thread insert and a steel screw to lock the stop block in position – see picture six. However, as shown by the arrow in picture three, the steel screw marked the soft aluminium ruler, so a new stop block was made with a tapped thread into which was fitted a bolt made of nylon. The ‘sticky’ effect of nylon meant that the bolt did not need to be screwed very tighly, and could be just finger tight, so a knob did not need to be fitted to the bolt head.

I made the spline jig pretty well exactly as the YouTube video, and changed the saw blade to one that creates flat bottomed cuts – which are 3.2 mm wide. There is MDF sheet available which is also 3.2 mm thick, so splines were easy to make and fit into place. Picture four shows the first frame I made, from some pine, and the jigs worked very easily and accurately. I set the stop to 10 inches, and the finished frame rebate was exactly ten inches when measured. No tricky calculations needed.

As a safety feature, I may fit a 45 degree ended block to the first jig so that it will cover the saw blade if it comes past the guides.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

7 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3376 days

#1 posted 07-07-2015 01:30 PM

It certainly is an interesting jig. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Drunken Woodworker's profile

Drunken Woodworker

70 posts in 2762 days

#2 posted 07-07-2015 01:46 PM

Don, this is awesome! Hope it works out well for you!

-- Visit my blog at

View stefang's profile


16740 posts in 3844 days

#3 posted 07-07-2015 02:08 PM

Nice jig!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GerardoArg1's profile


1002 posts in 2503 days

#4 posted 07-07-2015 04:00 PM

Great idea. Very useful really.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2918 days

#5 posted 07-07-2015 05:51 PM

Nice jig and thanks for sharing it.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Mean_Dean's profile


6994 posts in 3657 days

#6 posted 07-07-2015 11:50 PM

Definitely a useful jig for anyone making picture frames!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

711 posts in 3290 days

#7 posted 08-05-2015 06:36 PM

Further to my initial posting, I’ve made a change that might be of interest to anyone else using David’s design.
I found that the Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar IS available in the UK – see – so as my wood guides tended to be a bit ‘sticky’ I decided to give one a try, and it did improve sliding without increasing play. I fitted only one Bar, but again found the problem of the whole jig tipping backwards off the saw due to the amount hanging over the front of the saw.

My solution to this was to use the Stop insert – which has a ‘T’ section – to hold the jig down at the front. I fitted it in the OTHER mitre slot, near the front, using a bolt in a counterbored hole – just like those for the Bar mountings, but larger – to get the position correct, then tightening the bolt fully, and putting a screw into the smaller square hole on the underside to lock it in place. Initially I tried putting the Stop insert in front of the Bar, to use the same mitre slot, but that meant that the Bar was too far back on the jig, and not all of it was functional at the point where the saw blade was actually cutting.

My friend is delighted with the frames I’m making with this jig, and I’ve just taken up a special offer for the Spring Mitre Clamp Kit – see – which has speeded up production quite a bit.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics