Curly Maple Picture Frames

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Project by MarkTheFiddler posted 08-25-2013 12:10 AM 3744 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch


These poor paintings were just hanging on the wall and suffering from my poor attempt at carpentry a couple of years ago. I had to do something about it.

The frames are curly maple dyed with antique maple tint. I used water to mix the dye. Even though I raised the grain and sanded carefully, I think I should have raised it twice. I got some more raised grain when I applied the dye.

I hand rubbed three coats of tung oil then added three coats of General finishes, Arm-R-Seal Oil and Urethane topcoat which is a De-waxed Shellac. Did I get that right A1Jim? Jim taught me a little lesson today which is all good. I’m a little more savy than I was this morning.

This was my first dye job. I was going to attempt to just use tung oil without the expensive dye. I heard that the tung oil will just muddy up the wood. It had to be dyed before adding the tung oil or I would have lost that famous Curly Maple movement.

These are also the first frames I have ever cut exclusively on the table saw. The miters were done on a 45 degree sled. I tell you what I wish I had. A nice dado stack would be just an awesome Christmas gift. Since I don’t have a stack. I made 5 passes with a full kerf blade and nibbled a little off at a time to create the recess. Help me out again please. Is that called a rabbit cut?

Now I may sound like a clumsy oaf but I want to show you what passed for my woodworking skill 2 years ago. Don’t laugh too hard.

The paintings I did 2 years ago as I tried to capture a Navajo feel.

The Turquoise striped painting on the left was inspired by a blanket I saw.

The one in the center was inspired by some pottery Martha and I picked up in Santa Fe New Mexico. What we think is awesome about the pottery is that the artisan continued the pattern to the bottom. Instead of seeing rings around the pottery, you see circles that close in on the center. I thought that was the coolest – SO – I scammed it.

The one on the right is questionable. It is supposed to be a painting of a Navajo rug pattern. I’m not sure if that is a true Navajo design or what inspired me was tourist art. Oh well – I liked the pattern.

Blanket, Pottery, Rug. Missing is a sand art impression. Maybe one day.

Thanks for looking and thanks for teaching me how to build and use a miter sled. I also thank you for the tips on dying maple.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

14 comments so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3471 days

#1 posted 08-25-2013 12:19 AM

Oh – I need to point something out. I cut the miter the wrong way on two of the boards. I was out of wood so I used the half inch rough edge off cut to fill. I then shaved off the excess. That’s what you probably see on the side of the painting with the beige background. If you didn’t catch it the first time out, I’ll call it a successful repair. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27002 posts in 4388 days

#2 posted 08-25-2013 01:07 AM

Great frames, Mark and also super paintings. You weren’t just fiddling around there!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3575 days

#3 posted 08-25-2013 01:08 AM

Beautiful job in popping out the grain on that curly maple! I’m getting ready to try the same thing with some curly (or tiger) maple and aniline dye, so this post is really timely for me. Do you mind if I ask what brand of aniline dye you used and where you got it (local or mail order)? Thanks for a great post.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3471 days

#4 posted 08-25-2013 01:42 AM

Thank you much Jim! I’m ok painting geometric stuff. If you get me on real life or terrain with lots of curves and organic movement – Forget about it. Any marginal talent I may have for painting ends right there.

John – I was looking for the bottle and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I bought a two ounce bottle from Rockler that will make 2 quarts of dye for about $21.00. Really expensive that stuff. That’s why I’m a little upset that I couldn’t find it. I’ll get the name as soon as I can. I have to confess that I don’t know if it was aniline dye or not. It probably was. I’ll surf their site to see if I can recognize it.

Gotta love multi tasking on the PC – Rockler Dye.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4933 posts in 4392 days

#5 posted 08-25-2013 01:47 AM

While I dig curly maple to no end, I would have used a finish that looked like sand around those beautiful paintings. Just sayin’, as it is a personal preference. And I loves me some curly maple!

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3575 days

#6 posted 08-25-2013 02:00 AM

Mark—thanks for the info and the link. I missed the part about these being your paintings—outstanding! A real “twofer” for you on this project. That’s super cool.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5335 days

#7 posted 08-25-2013 03:15 AM

COOL frames…

Sure beats your Original frames…!! LOL

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3471 days

#8 posted 08-25-2013 04:27 AM

John, you are most welcome sir. Twofer heh heh. Thanks again for the compliment.

Jack, whereas I think your suggestion is spot on about a sand color I still have to contend with you about the paintings being beautiful. ;) that’s a high compliment indeed. Thank you sir.

Joe, LOL does not qualify as laughing too hard at my earlier carpentry attempt. LMAO would be getting close to that level ROFL LMAO is definitely laughing too hard. 

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View J's profile


48 posts in 3430 days

#9 posted 08-25-2013 05:17 AM

Nice frames Mark, your wood selection and frames are top shelf. You have advance your skills an immeasurable amount. You should be proud.

View mmh's profile


3697 posts in 5005 days

#10 posted 08-25-2013 05:52 AM

The important thing here is that you are working and learning and continue to work in wood and have a good time in your journey creating. Learning to avoid mishaps is always good. But even if the mishaps happen, at least you are creating and learning. Enjoy your journey!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Ivan's profile


17046 posts in 4150 days

#11 posted 08-25-2013 06:17 AM

Very good final result.Looks great!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View CarverShavings's profile


32 posts in 3087 days

#12 posted 08-25-2013 03:54 PM

I really like the way you brought out the grain in the maple. I’ve been thinking about trying it with an artificial shade like blue.

You have come a very long way in just 2 years. Keep it up!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3471 days

#13 posted 08-25-2013 04:06 PM

Howdy J! Good to see you sir. Thanks for the progress report. I’m having a hard time reconciling the work I have put out lately with how I think about my skills. They don’t seem to match up. That’s a good thing. ;)

Mnh, I totally agree with you. It’s an awesome experience. I’m beginning to see art in my creations.

Thank you very much Ivan! You are always so positive with your comments. I really appreciate you.

Carver thank you. Please post the Blue offering when you are done. That should be way cool.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 3661 days

#14 posted 09-10-2013 03:40 AM



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