QSWO Picture Frame from Scrap

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Project by Luke posted 02-15-2012 08:27 PM 2628 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year ago I was with neighbor buying maple off a cabinet maker for his entertainment center and right as we were leaving the cabinet maker offered to sell me some White Oak after a conversation that I love craftsman style furniture. He had some oak boards 3 (8/4×6” x 8’) that he said he was going to just use as firewood. I paid $20 for all three of them, one board was plain sawn oak, but the other two had some beautiful sections where the wood was perfectly quarter sawn.

I had some Black and White prints that my grandfather had made (taken and developed and printed in his darkroom) that I knew would be perfect for a rustic style frame.

Being el-cheapo with wood, I decided to resaw the wood into thin strips about 1/4” to get the most of the wood, and I was going to at first glue them to the plain sawn oak and make frames. I realized that I could essentially veneer them to even cheaper wood (poplar) that I had laying around the garage to make the most of my materials. So I jumped head first into resawing White Oak with my 1980’s HF style 3/4 horse power bandsaw.

I quickly found out that wasn’t as easy as I had intended. After a burnt capacitor on my band saw and two Olson blades messed up (HITTING A NAIL ON A SCRAP PEICE!) I finally cut enough thin strips to make a frame.

This was a great exercise for me, not only did I learn the ups and downs of resawing on a cheap old saw, and the importance of a sharp blade, I made a mitre sled, as well as a miter key sled.

I glued the 1/4” oak strips to the poplar, and ran everything through the thickness plainer to remove some of the cupping that had happened after the resaw, and then put the oak and poplar pieces together on the miter sled.

I have to say, making the miter sled was probably the hardest and most frustrating part, but finally I got perfect 45 degree cuts. I think in hind sight I’d use MDF or Plywood as the fences because changes in weather knocked them out of square.

I don’t have any picture frame clamps so I used the Woodsmith technique of clamping a triangle block to the frame and then clamping the two blocks together to put even pressure on the miter.

I then decided to try to do miter keys, so I used some scrap maple laying on the ground as a miter key. Then to cover up the poplar I cut strips of oak and glued them around the frame.

I used dark walnut trans-tint dye mixed with water and brushed on, then sanded the frame down w/ 800 grit sand paper (didn’t have anything less other than 220) to “pop” the grain and sprayed 3 coats of shellac over it. I then knocked the sheen down with #0000 steel wool and finished the frame off with paste wax for a satin finish.

The frame looks like it has an open miter on one of the cuts, but thats just the way the dye absorbed into the grain, each cut is tight, which made me very happy.

I have to say, its an awesome feeling looking at something and realizing how much you learned from it, as well as how much better you are getting at doing something that you really like doing. Now I have like 20 more frames to make…

5 comments so far

View Viking's profile


881 posts in 3700 days

#1 posted 02-15-2012 08:36 PM


Well done frame. You’re idea to stretch your white oak score by using the poplar is a good one.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View tbone's profile


288 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 02-15-2012 08:59 PM

Love the frame. Love the photograph. Love the matting. And love the story.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View StumpyNubs's profile


7734 posts in 3306 days

#3 posted 02-16-2012 12:26 AM

This project proves, there’s no such thing as scrap! Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Blue Collar Woodworking? That's the best show since wood was invented! ”- The Eastern Northwest Southerner’s Journal

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2888 days

#4 posted 02-16-2012 03:43 AM

Nice job. Beautiful piece.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2811 days

#5 posted 02-16-2012 04:44 AM

Beautiful, I agree with Stumpy Nubs, no such thing as scrap, I have proved it before, and proving it again, just check my blog here

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

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