Picture Frames anyone?

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Forum topic by therealSteveN posted 06-10-2021 03:59 PM 393 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8183 posts in 1728 days

06-10-2021 03:59 PM

Hi All

Fine Woodworking was nice enough to release the Mark Schofield series on picture frames. He does Soup to Nuts, and after a brief introductory video shows building the sled first offered to FWW from a real time picture framer, since duplicated a number of times on You tube, and also showcased by a number of Jocks here at LJ’s

As far as miter sleds go for the purpose of a picture frame, this jig build is the one to beat, making a perfect miter, and then duplicating lengths to ensure you get two rails, and two stiles of exactly the same length, which is the secret to a good frame, or cabinet door.

Then he goes on to show how to make a couple of frame stocks on the router table, after that he cuts a frame, showing how easy the jig makes it, then even mounts the art into the frame after he assembles it. In total 5 videos, most being around 5 minutes, the sled build is the longest at just over 7 minutes. What most would call succinct, to the point productions.

Along the way, as he is assembling the frame he uses a corner clamp to do so. I don’t know where Mark got his, because they are sold everywhere, but I got mine at Harbor Freight. and they work just fine. I’ve seen them as high as $40 apiece. Mark only seemed to have one, so you can clamp only one spot at a time, sure I get that. But if you have 4, then all 4 corners will be held steady at the exact same height, rather than the other 3 sagging, tying to pull the miter open, as you clamp one spot. Getting them cheap you can splurge for 4, just tell yourself it’s better than one for close to the same $$$$.

In the past when FWW opens up some video series like this they may only stay open to the public for a time period, so check it out.

Now go make some frames.

-- Think safe, be safe

7 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


8671 posts in 3353 days

#1 posted 06-10-2021 04:31 PM

I never could stand those type corner clamps… too much work to get things tight and square. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways available.. For box type stuff, either the wedge type (ala Izzy Swan) or band clamps work well, but for picture frames, I now use a homemade self-squaring clamp that only cost a few bucks in hardware to make:

That one can accept frames down to about 4”x6” or thereabouts, and the legs can be swapped out so there really is no maximum size. I do make some small 3.5” X 3.5” frames as well, and for those I have a smaller version made from some angle aluminum that works well:

I don’t do a ton of them, but I do make lots of frames for most of my scroll saw portraits and other artwork – including cutting the glass for them. The self-squaring frames have not let me down yet.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View therealSteveN's profile


8183 posts in 1728 days

#2 posted 06-10-2021 06:33 PM

Brad that is a great assembly clamp for picture frames, easily size adjustable, and even clamping pressure. It’s biggest plus is the corner blocks that keep the frames sides from slipping out. I thought I was pushing it to talk someone into building the sled, felt other builds right away might chase them off. :-)

-- Think safe, be safe

View splintergroup's profile


5430 posts in 2376 days

#3 posted 06-12-2021 10:26 PM

After getting the lengths and miters at a perfect 45, I like assembling the frame by doing a rub-fit with glue and using stretched tape across the joint (both sides). All this is done on a large flat of 3/4 melamine. No clamps needed, just wait for the glue to dry.

View therealSteveN's profile


8183 posts in 1728 days

#4 posted 06-13-2021 06:27 AM

Bruce do you do a glue sizing first on those? Or is your rub done with plenty of glue, to kinda achieve the same thing?

A friend who does period stuff and always uses hide glue had me doing them for a while, and I was always crossing my fingers.

-- Think safe, be safe

View splintergroup's profile


5430 posts in 2376 days

#5 posted 06-13-2021 02:21 PM

I don’t do the sizing mainly because my pieces are rarely over 2” wide. Among the 100 other things besides a perfect 45 that can affect how a miter closes, the glue in the joint is another. The “rub” evens out the glue layer and spreads it around. Once it starts to grab, I’ll add the tape. It’s very annoying if there is too much glue and the parts slide around while trying to clamp.

I have a set of 4 of those same miter clamps but I don;t use them mainly because the position, but don’t apply pressure to compress at the joint (can be a good thing, or not). Brad’s corner clamps have the double benefit of putting indirect pressure to close the joint and aligning the corners, but I’ll admit I’ve never tried them 8^)

Frames are a black art, It’s cool to see how the pros do it and expand my comfort zone !

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days

#6 posted 06-13-2021 03:17 PM

I have a set of clamps like Brad’s that I got in the summer swap way back in 2017. They work great, and I’ve used them a couple times for frames I made. Thanks again, Pooh!

For me, the biggest thing has been getting the opposites the same length. Doing the miters isn’t too bad, because I cut them a scosh long (maybe a 16th), and then trim them to length with a shooting board that’s set to a 45 just about all the time. I keep thinking I might need to make a jig so I can touch up the miters on two sides at the same time to guarantee identical length, but I haven’t figured out all the details of that yet, especially if I’m making a complicated shape for the frame.

I’ve also pondered buying a miter trimmer but keep putting that off. If I’m going to get that, I really should set up a separate corner of the shop just for framing, and I’m not sure if I want to head down that rabbit hole or not. Probably will eventually, but only after knocking the honey-do list down to size a bit.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View BB1's profile


2282 posts in 2002 days

#7 posted 06-13-2021 07:49 PM

Haven’t watched this yet but on my list. Thanks for sharing. I like this jig I bought years ago.
Similar to Brad’s setup. Use it to do a pre-glue check as easy to see if a joint isn’t coming together.

Dave – I bought a miter trimmer. Didn’t help me at all so returned it. Totally splurged and got the Incra sled and I was rolling with accurate cuts and lengths.

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