Creating a Custom Frame

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Project by Smed posted 10-15-2009 03:41 PM 2256 views 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Creating a Custom Frame with Tim Smith

by Christian Smedberg

A month go I spent a couple of weeks in the wilderness of Alaska on vacation. While dodging bears and hiking glaciers, I was able to take a good amount of photographs, which is a hobby of mine. Upon returning home, I had some time to go through the photos and pick out some that I would like to see on my wall. So, after I had the photos enlarged and the matting cut I talk to Tim, and we built a custom frame together.

The first step in making a frame is making sure you have all your measurements right. In my case the photograph was enlarged to 18×14 and then applied to a mat which measured 24 3/4×18 3/4 on the outside edge. After this I drew out the frame profile that I had in mind. (Picture 3)

I decided to use the 7400 carved molding as a decorative onlay to the frame. I also wanted to paint it black so we used paintgrade maple wood.
Part 7400.96

After getting a design and good dimensions, Tim started the construction of the frame by ripping some maple boards into 2 1/2×1 strips on our table saw. Then, while we were still at the saw, he cut a 1/2×1/2 dado. This cut would hold the glass, matting, photo, and backing. After this, we then cut 1/4×1/2 strips of maple for the frame detail.

Each of these strips were then mitered on a 45 degree angle, so that the inside of the dado cut was 24 3/4×18 3/4. I choose to have a mitered frame, though there are many different options when it come to framing. Some frames have the sides butt up into the top and bottom, while others have separate corner blocks with decorative rosettes. Though all these options were available, I really just wanted a kind of simple frame.

After mitering the 2 1/2×1 strips, we mitered the carved molding and the 1/4×1/2 strips. (Picture 2)

Once all of our strips were mitered, we lined them up on a table to make sure all our angles matched up well. Then Tim rounded over the edges on a table router. At this point, the construction of the pieces was complete and it was just a matter of connecting everything. Again, there are many different ways to do this, and we chose to biscuit the base pieces together and brad on the molding.

Tim lined up the base pieces and made sure that the frame was square. It is also important to note that we made sure we were working on a clean flat surface so that the frame would not be skewed. After making sure all the pieces were in perfect position, Tim drew a 45 degree angle line across them, so that we can know where to make the biscuit cut.

After making our cuts in each piece we applied glue and put in the biscuit. We used a clamping system to hold all four sides together while the glue dried.(Picture 5)

After the glue dried we unclamped the frame and sanded the joints to get rid of any unwanted width difference. We then applied glue to the back of the carved molding and bradded it to the base pieces. Once the carved molding was installed flush to the edge of the base pieces, we glued and bradded on the 1/4×1/2 strips to add a tiered detail effect. (Picture 4 & 6)

At this point the frame needed just a little bit of touch up work. We sanded the sides with a belt sander and filled in any holes with putty.(Picture 1)

Once the putty dried, the frame was ready to be finished.

The pictures would not post with the steps but here are some that were taken in the whole process

Christian Smedberg, Osborne Wood Products, Inc
Table Legs for any projects

-- Christian Smedberg, Director of Marketing,

4 comments so far

View ohwoodeye's profile


1976 posts in 3117 days

#1 posted 10-15-2009 03:55 PM

Alaska wilderness, hobby of photography and woodworking…...dude, you got it made!
Nice job.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3354 days

#2 posted 10-15-2009 04:11 PM

Very nice, can’t wait to see the picture! Welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View woodworm's profile


14462 posts in 3554 days

#3 posted 10-15-2009 05:46 PM

Beautiful and different.
Great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#4 posted 10-18-2009 06:24 AM

Looks good Chris

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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