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Thread: Pair of Cherry Picture Frames

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario

    Pair of Cherry Picture Frames

    A tale of two pictures...

    These two paintings were made by a distant relative in Western Australia in the early 70s. I've had one for a few years, and recently obtained another. I decided to make some matching frames for these two paintings. I don't have any exotic Australian wood to go with the subject matter, so I had to "settle" for working with native black cherry lumber.

    I tend to prefer fairly simple picture frames. I don't go for heavily ornamented or gilded or carved or... or anything like that.

    I used Sketchup to come up with a design that I liked for these frames. One neat feature of Sketchup is the ability to import pictures, so I snapped a photo of one of the paintings and imported that into Sketchup, and used that when doodling designs. (I doodled a whole bunch of different options before settling on this fairly conventional design.)

    This is an end-view of one of the frame pieces, as designed, with all the measurements noted. If you want to duplicate this yourself, all you need is a tablesaw and a router + router table.

    Step One: plough a pair of dados in the frame stock on the table saw.

    (Yeah, I'm skipping a bunch of steps here. I just was going to present a fairly high-level look at this project. I first sorted through my stock, selected the boards I wanted, made sure I had enough, cut some boards down to workable sizes, jointed and planed to 3/4-7/8" thickness and ripped to 2" width. Actually made a 3rd frame at the same time, out of 3" stock, but I'm not showing that...)

    Step two: Take a series of cuts with the roundover bit to round the outside of the frames.

    Step three: Take another series of cuts with a cove bit to cut out the inside edge of the frames.

    Step four is not shown. Depending on the size of what you'r framing, rip a rabbet along the bottom/inside edge of the frames to receive your painting.

    Step five is to cut the pieces to size. I used a 45-degree mitering sled to cut these on my tablesaw. Mine is based on one of Steve Ramsay's (woodworking for mere mortals) videos and plans, but there is nothing that unique about it. Works awesome to make tight joints.

    I don't have a strap or band clamp, so clamping 45-degree angles is tricky. I tried just using my parallel clamps and "Bad Things" happened... ('nuff said about that!)

    Of course there are many ways to approach a problem. I own a Dowelmax dowelling jig, and that proved to be a fairly quick solution for my situation. I used the dowel jig to put one 1/4" dowel hole in the face of each joint. I don't need them for the strength, just for the alignment. Here is one frame being test-fitted.

    I applied some glue inside each dowel hole, slip in a fluted dowel. (I use compressed/fluted dowels which expand when in contact with water based glue.) Then apply glue to the face of the miter joints and close up the joints. The dowels force the joints to stay aligned. The clamps can then be tightened just a bit to hold things tight and square as the glue dries.

    For finishing I wiped on one coat of sealcoat shellac, followed by two coats of waterbased varathane. I was tempted to just use some spray lacquer, which would be quicker and look much the same, but we are having a -15c cold snap right now, and it is far too cold in our garage to spray lacquer.

    That is about the end of that. All that remains is to hang the paintings in their new home. And as a bonus, I have some frame piece already prepared in storage for future framing needs.

    (more on the design side on my website, but this is the most of it)
    Last edited by Art Mulder; 01-07-2014 at 02:08 PM. Reason: messed up a picture
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Just beautiful. Those set off the artwork much better. You do them proud.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Independence, Kentucky
    Nicely done Art, Just the right amount of detail
    I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    looks good art, what is that a picture of? some form of cactus?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Arkadelphia, Arkansas
    I like them Art! Excellent design and craftsmanship!

    I have a mind like a steel trap....
    ....rusty and illegal in 29 states.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Beautiful work, Art! Nice tutorial, also.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Well done, Art, and thanks for the details about the process.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Great frames Art, I'm like you I prefer simple ones that do not steal the attention from the picture.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    looks good art, what is that a picture of? some form of cactus?
    Strangely enough, given how long we've owned the paintings, I have no idea.
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Just beautiful. Those set off the artwork much better. You do them proud.
    Dang it Glenn. Way back when you were age 16 I told you to get a haircut. See what happens when you don't listen to your dear old dad!

    Art, you have a good feel for art frames. What you did suits the paintings.

    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

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