A set of 3 Frames for Chinese Prints

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Project by sras posted 10-30-2021 04:02 PM 1360 views 6 times favorited 40 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago my son went to China for training. It lasted a few weeks. He was able to buy a set of prints at a local market. I build a set of frames for 3 of them.

I chose Asian style joinery and mahogany for the construction. After some searching I found the Japanese Shiro Joint – also known as a castle joint This was a first for me and I really enjoyed the challenge.

I turned the joint upside down to make it work for a frame. I also made the “castle” block oversize relative to the frame pieces.

The frames consist of half lap joints with extra space for a corner block. All cuts need to be very accurate.

The main challenge was the corner blocks – I needed 12 of them. They are basically the shape of little tables.

I formed the legs with my tenon jig.

The sides and corners were marked with guide lines to achieve a uniform curve on the top.

Three of the “table legs” reach all the way to the bottom of the frame. However the 4th leg reaches only to the glass. To get an accurate cut and support the leg during the cut I built a jig.

First was to create a blank that would fit between the legs.

Then I used part of that blank to create a box to hold the “table”.

The depth of the box sets the length of the 4th leg.

Then the center blank is installed.

And the leg is cut.

The open corners in the bottom of the box allowed me to push the table out.

The finished block (table) has the top curved as well.

The frame half lap joints were glued up first.

Then the parts were treated with potassium dichromate.

And then finished with polyurethane.

This was a very interesting project and an enjoyable build. The build/finish time was about 24 hours (8 hours per frame).

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

40 comments so far

View mtnwild's profile


4765 posts in 4868 days

#1 posted 10-30-2021 04:15 PM

WOW, that’s an amazing design and great build!

Never saw a frame design like that…Looks fantastic with those beautiful prints…

You really did a skilled build on those…Awesome…Super…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dutchy's profile


4295 posts in 3509 days

#2 posted 10-30-2021 04:28 PM

Complicated and time consuming, but very nice. Well done.


View sras's profile


6520 posts in 4469 days

#3 posted 10-30-2021 04:37 PM

Thanks Jack – I found this joinery style by searching for Asian joinery. Its a variation of a joint used for timber framing.

Thanks Jan – The build was about 24 hours. I’ll add that to the description.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View hairy's profile


3359 posts in 4872 days

#4 posted 10-30-2021 04:49 PM

Very cool! Excellently done.

-- there's someone in my head but it's not me...

View pintodeluxe's profile


6520 posts in 4154 days

#5 posted 10-30-2021 04:54 PM

Great color and corner detail. Haven’t seen that exact joinery before. Must have been a fun challenge.

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

View sras's profile


6520 posts in 4469 days

#6 posted 10-30-2021 05:13 PM

Thanks hairy & Willie

I added a reference for the joinery style. The potassium dichromate works really well on the khaya mahogany. Also works great on cherry.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9388 posts in 1922 days

#7 posted 10-30-2021 05:16 PM

Great looking frames, Steve! Good job on the joinery, too.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View rtbrmb's profile


859 posts in 3729 days

#8 posted 10-30-2021 05:24 PM

Wow- very impressive. Thank you very much for sharing additional pictures/description of your build process.

Does not look like a simple procedure/s to me.

The frames are a great match for the Chinese print.

Thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View Kcmwoodworks's profile


18 posts in 713 days

#9 posted 10-30-2021 05:24 PM

That’s an impressive frame, thanks for sharing the build.

-- KCM. “When you know you’re an expert, its time to be careful”. My Dad!

View Eric's profile


2874 posts in 1213 days

#10 posted 10-30-2021 06:12 PM

Very nicely done, great joinery and the finish line s superb. The prints are beautiful too.

-- Eric, building the dream

View PapaGary1's profile


231 posts in 328 days

#11 posted 10-30-2021 06:16 PM

I agree with everything said. Very impressive.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23337 posts in 5016 days

#12 posted 10-30-2021 09:21 PM

Awesome! Congrats on T3.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Phil32's profile (online now)


1648 posts in 1244 days

#13 posted 10-30-2021 09:48 PM

Well described and illustrated. Thanks for sharing with us!

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View crowie's profile


5261 posts in 3291 days

#14 posted 10-30-2021 10:05 PM

The frames are different and extremely apt for the prints, gorgeous!

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5096 days

#15 posted 10-30-2021 10:23 PM

As always, Steve, your approach and techniques are a joy to see.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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