Cosmatesque #4: Picture Frame - Cosmati Wood Inlay

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Blog entry by Bob Simmons posted 12-27-2012 05:50 PM 5241 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Cosmati Wood Inlay Banding - Part 3 Part 4 of Cosmatesque series no next part

Picture frame of Cosmati wood inlay design. Learn woodworking methods and techniques for picture frame making. Learn how to inlay a wood inlay banding with wonderful designs of sacred geometry based on a cosmatesque pattern.

Watch the methods and techniques employed by the woodworker to create the wood inlay banding in the workshop. Band saw sleds are used to create uniform segments for the inlay banding. White glue is used for its slow setting capabilities and the fact that it dries clear. Watch how the woodworker glues and clamps the wood inlay banding log.

Thin strips of 3/32” decorative inlay banding are ripped on the bandsaw while using a Rockler thin rip table saw jig. These veneers will be arranged to form a matching pattern at the miter joints once the picture frame is made using the table saw miter sled. A dado set is used to cut the dado on the table saw. The ploughed dado will house the inlay banding.

A dedicated miter sled for the table saw is used to cut perfect miter joints. Ulmia spring clamps secure the miter joints during gluing.

Spline miter joints of walnut accent the cherry picture frame. A flat toothed dado blade cuts the slot for the spline on the table saw. A spline miter jig along with spring clamps secure the picture frame during the operation.

Chisels are used to clean up any glue squeeze out. Notice how blue painters tape is used to protect the surrounding wood from glue stain at the spline miter joint.

The finish is of sanding sealer and multiple coats of spray lacquer.

The inspiration for the design for the wood inlay banding is taken from a Cosmati marble pavement in a medieval church in Rome, Italy.

Your comments are welcomed.

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The Apprentice and The Journeyman

............Learn more, Experience more!

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

8 comments so far

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2977 days

#1 posted 12-27-2012 06:58 PM

great learning video, thanks for sharing!

View Northwest29's profile


1642 posts in 2484 days

#2 posted 12-27-2012 09:59 PM

Another great video Bob. Would it be safe to assume that you ‘sized’ the picture frame to get the corner designs to match up so perfectly? Thanks again for sharing your work. You should consider a book on the subject.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10091 posts in 4046 days

#3 posted 12-27-2012 10:22 PM


That new molding made a darn NICE COOL picture frame!


Thank you.

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

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 3008 days

#4 posted 12-28-2012 12:17 AM


Thanks for watching and for your comment. Greatly appreciated!


Thanks! Yes, you are right. The picture frame was sized so that the patterns of the wood inlay banding would match at the miter joints of the picture frame. This is an interesting challenge & a challenge worthwhile.

I would love to write a book on the art of making wood inlay banding. If I could ever pull myself away from making inlay bandings, perhaps a book will be written. However, I feel more importantly at this time at least, my videos and blogs are being freely shared with woodworkers who have an interest. The making of wood inlay banding is a lost art. Hopefully, this will help others to get started.

Thanks again Ron for your interest and support.


I thought you might enjoy this picture frame with its wood inlay banding. The banding has been a while in the making and now the picture frame with inlay is finally finished. (Actually, 2 picture frames were made and both with the Cosmati wood inlay banding. Twins!)

Thanks for following along!

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

685 posts in 2775 days

#5 posted 12-28-2012 12:17 PM

Beautiful result. Again an excellent step-by-step demonstration that should provide inspiration for many others to help revive the art of inlay banding.

I hadn’t thought about the corner matching, just taken it for granted, but it confirms your eye for detail and accuracy.

Bob, I’m certain that the ancient artisans would be delighted to have you join their Guild!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 3008 days

#6 posted 12-28-2012 06:39 PM


Thanks very much for your feedback! The corner matching of the inlay banding is subtle as the pattern just seems to flow. Since the miters mate at each corner, few people will even notice. Yet, if the inlay banding did not match up at the corners, everyone would notice.

Nothing would delight me more than to have a place within the Guild of the ancient artisans.

Thanks for watching Don.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

View Aries Bergsma's profile

Aries Bergsma

55 posts in 3376 days

#7 posted 01-19-2013 02:14 PM

Wow truly amazing and you held my attention throughout patience is also a key how long did it take from start to finish. You took my breath away, thanks

-- AGB

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 3008 days

#8 posted 01-19-2013 02:31 PM


“How long did it take from start to finish.” That is a tough question to answer because I was filming the entire process.

The making of the wood inlay banding…figure 2 days minimum. This includes the time needed for the glue to cure. Making the picture frames, inlaying the banding, sanding and finishing….figure 1 day.

I actually made 2 identical frames.

Thanks for watching & sharing your feedback.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

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