173 Piece Picture Frame

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Project by Rickterscale posted 02-09-2012 10:52 PM 1528 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For a few years I’ve had this poster commemorating UCLA’s last defeat of USC in football. (It’s especially sentimental since, the way things have been going, it’ll likely never happen again.) I finally came with the perfect idea for a frame when I saw the mosaic tile frame by fellow LJ Plantek (see I had a bunch of mahogany plywood left over from past projects, and thought that with beveled edges the contrast between the veneer and the lighter plywood would create a cool brick and mortar look. Plus, it’s reminiscent of the beautiful red brick buildings all over UCLA’s campus.

Instead of tiling ¼” thick pieces of hardwood over a substrate as done by Plantek (I think) and the original project in Popular Woodworking (Oct 2010), I edge glued the ¾” thick plywood pieces together. I cut a piece of particleboard to the size of the opening of the frame, drilled a bunch of holes for clamps, and used that to glue up the frame in sections. I glued it up over my granite countertop to make sure everything is perfectly flat (theoretically). End result is a perfectly square frame. There was a little flex in the frame when grabbing opposing corners and twisting, so I glued some maple veneer onto the back. That firmed it up quite a bit. I also had some ¼” thick strips of African mahogany hardwood from past projects, and used that to cover up the sides of the plywood.

Sometimes one of the more satisfying parts of a project is a good save. (I always seem to make at least one or two bonehead mistakes that need fixing.) When gluing up the frame, apparently I failed to ensure that one of the pieces was flat on the granite, and therefore it sat a little proud of the surrounding pieces. I took a random orbit sander to sand the whole frame down (that in itself was probably a bad idea) and sanded right through the veneer on one corner of one of the center pieces. To fix it, I sliced the veneer off a corner from an extra piece, glued it on, and then sanded it back down flush with the rest of the veneer. See the last two photos for before and after pics. Can’t see the line, can you Russ?

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 02-09-2012 10:53 PM

Wow that’s wild , a very cool frame ,that must have taken forever.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1369 posts in 3143 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 11:41 PM

This looks super, and alot of work. The results are great.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2785 days

#3 posted 02-10-2012 01:32 AM

Very Nice, it’s amazing sometimes what we can create with leftovers from another project. How long did it take?

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Rickterscale's profile


167 posts in 2840 days

#4 posted 02-10-2012 01:54 AM

No idea how long it took. Definitely much longer than a normal frame. A lot of time cutting pieces on the table saw, then a lot of time beveling all those edges on the router, then a lot of time gluing up all those pieces. Even got a little carpal tunnel (not sure if I’m spelling that right) brushing glue on all those pieces. I’d say at least 20 hours.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2785 days

#5 posted 02-10-2012 03:19 AM

It was worth the hours you put into it, it’s fantastic. Sorry about the carpal tunnel, sometimes its the price we pay for our craft.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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