Timeline Picture Frame

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Project by MattD posted 12-16-2007 05:01 AM 3645 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Timeline Picture Frame
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This 4×6 ash frame shows a record of events that occured in my family as I grew up. The wood is from a dead ash tree from my parent’s yard that we felled in early spring. Family events (birth years, marriages, etc) are marked near the growth ring for the year in which they occured. I made a few of these for family christmas gifts.

The wood was carefully rift cut to reveal the center of the tree (the pith) at the bottom and the annual growth rings. From counting the growth rings, the tree is about 42 years old. This tree was just a twig soon after my parent’s house was built.

I’ve been impressed with big cross sections of old trees in museums with dates stamped on the rings which is where I got the idea to try to use growth rings like this, but it took me months to think of doing it this way.

The construction was mostly done with a router. I made an MDF template to route out the space for the picture with a pattern bit and used a chamfer bit on the inside edges. The back is cut out with a rabbiting bit to hold the glass and the inside corners squared with a hand chisel. Outside frame edges are angled with a low profile hand plane to give it faceted edges. I used carbon transfer paper to trace out the numbers before I painted them (arcrylic) as I can’t paint anything for real. I bought 3 cheap frames from the dollar store for the glass and mounting parts. Finish is 2 coats of sanding sealer and paste wax, which seems to be popular for pictures frames. I can see why. It’s really a nice satin finish in person and easy to do.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

12 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4869 days

#1 posted 12-16-2007 05:08 AM

Wow Matt, that is a very nice frame and piece of your family history. I suspect that a few lucky people in your family will be quite pleased with their Christmas present. Good job, thanks for sharing the frame and the history of the frame.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4684 days

#2 posted 12-16-2007 05:28 AM

very thoughtful and creative !! nice job

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 5077 days

#3 posted 12-16-2007 06:45 AM

Now that is special… I would have never thought of doing such a thing. Very neat idea…. and a great frame.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5204 days

#4 posted 12-16-2007 06:53 AM

Great idea and a timeless treasure.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Grumpy's profile


26509 posts in 4655 days

#5 posted 12-16-2007 09:58 AM

Nice nostalgic touch. Very novel idea. Thanks for sharing.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4973 days

#6 posted 12-16-2007 03:00 PM

Very cool idea Matt.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View RobG's profile


71 posts in 4626 days

#7 posted 12-16-2007 05:04 PM

That is a fabulous idea!!! I really like like it, good work and Merry Christmas.

-- Woodworking is Life. Anything before or after is just waiting.--S. McQueen sort of

View clieb91's profile


3970 posts in 4738 days

#8 posted 12-16-2007 08:29 PM

Matt, A very cool idea. Looks great.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4964 days

#9 posted 12-17-2007 04:20 PM

brilliant idea!! absolutely love it.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Occie gilliam's profile

Occie gilliam

505 posts in 4100 days

#10 posted 07-12-2009 03:34 AM

Wow I’m a little late, all most two yeary but a grate idea

-- OC down in Costa Rica. come down and see me some time. I'll keep the light on for you [email protected]

View tomakazi's profile


686 posts in 4087 days

#11 posted 07-12-2009 03:47 AM

Very good Idea.

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3231 days

#12 posted 11-15-2011 12:36 AM

It is truly humbling when you start counting the rings in some of the pieces of wood that you aquire during your travels. This frame is a great way to show your children the way that nature writes history.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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