Craftsman style picture frames

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Project by Douglas posted 08-13-2012 02:57 AM 6746 views 28 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Three craftsman style picture frames, that I am going to use to house some WPA National Park posters . I used three different woods, and three different finishes, as this was sort of test run to try out some different approaches.

The first frame is cherry, with a few coats of oil-varnish wipe-on, sanded between coats. The second is qtr sawn white oak, first with a dark tint dye, then a few coats of wiped on amber shellac, then some dark brown paste wax. The third is red oak, and was first going to be just a test piece to make sure the cuts were set as I went. But, it turned out well, so I stuck with it. It is finished with two coats of dark walnut Dansih oil. It still needs a coat of clear paste wax.

All three have ebony pegs.

Here's a link to higher res version of the photos

-- Douglas in Chicago -

14 comments so far

View jeepjake's profile


1 post in 2285 days

#1 posted 08-13-2012 03:10 AM

Douglas Looks good do you have any sort of write up on how you made them? What kind of paste wax do you use, and do you buff it?

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2732 days

#2 posted 08-13-2012 03:28 AM

I used “Mylands “Antique Mahagony , first time using it (and for my recently posted doorbell cover project). I was going to try making my own colored paste wax out of regular Johnsons, but I thought I’d try pre-made. I just put a tablespoon sized dab in a cotton rag, made a ball with the wax on the inside, and wiped it on pretty thick, as I wanted to fill to pours of the oak. Then I wiped it off with a clean cotton rag. I’m newer to finishing this way, but so far, I love it. I updated my post with links to higher quality versions of the photos.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3239 days

#3 posted 08-13-2012 12:08 PM

Well done!! Very nice.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View a1Jim's profile


117270 posts in 3749 days

#4 posted 08-13-2012 02:39 PM

simple elegance,well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View rance's profile


4264 posts in 3332 days

#5 posted 08-13-2012 04:10 PM

Simple, but looks great.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2348 days

#6 posted 08-13-2012 08:01 PM

I admire your craftsmanship. This is simply exquisite.

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2732 days

#7 posted 08-13-2012 08:48 PM

some pictures with the posters matted and mounted…

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View woodrookieII's profile


273 posts in 2835 days

#8 posted 08-13-2012 10:28 PM

I really like the simple elegance of your design.

I suppose you used tenons at the corners, are they stopped/blind or through tenons?


View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2732 days

#9 posted 08-13-2012 11:52 PM

I should have put up a picture that shows them better. They’re basically half-laps, with the rails going past the stiles. Here’s a couple shots of that…

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View woodsyguy81's profile


22 posts in 2316 days

#10 posted 08-14-2012 04:08 PM

I don’t know what looks better, the WPA pictures or the frames! (Disclaimer: I’m a NPS lover, been to 13 thus far) I’d buy one! I have some hardwood scraps laying around the shop that may now have a purpose after seeing these pictures. Did you prefer one of the finishes over the others?

-- Loving the outdoors since 1981!

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2732 days

#11 posted 08-14-2012 09:30 PM

woodsyguy81—I’m a NPS lover too, but these two I’ve never been to. I’m hoping that gazing into these posters will help turn the wheels of fate so I can go to them one day.

As for which one I prefer… that’s tough. I think cherry should get oil or clear, and the arm-r-seal (terrible name, great product) does a great job of finishing, but getting out of the way.

For the white oak, I’m obviously trying to match antique Stickley fumed oak, but without the ammonia fuming. The water based tint process is really easy to do, and really forgiving. The only PITA is having to pre-raise the grain and knocking down the stand-ups; not hard, but just another step. I love shellac, and am still trying to get good a wiping that on. I make the mistake of flooding it too much, and it starts to get messy. HVLP spraying shellac goes on much nicer, but there is a lot of sprayer set up and cleaning to do with that. But I wiped this, and didn’t do it as neat as I’d like (I wish I’d sprayed). But the amber shellac adds great warmth to it. Finally, it all comes together with the dark colored past wax, which “ages” it nicely, fills the deeper oak pores, and nails the effect I’m after.

And finally, I like Watco Dainish Oil too, on the red oak piece. Again, its super easy to apply (wipe on, wait a few, wipe off). But with oak, especially red oak, it takes FOREVER to dry. The deep pores in red oak will continue to “bleed out” wet oil for days afterwards. So, you need to keep a rag handy, and stop by a couple times a day for week and wipe off the oil that bleeds out. Maybe there’s a better way to do that, but I just keep an eye on it. The trouble with putting oil, or any stain onto red oak is that it really enhances/exaggerates the contrast in the summer/winter grain. Some people love that (my wife does), and some people think it looks lousy. Doing the tint dye beforehand levels that out. I don’t mind that effect on the right piece.

Well, that’s enough of my ramblings. I’m starting to talk like I know what I’m doing, and I’m really just trying things and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View rance's profile


4264 posts in 3332 days

#12 posted 08-15-2012 06:40 AM

Douglas, Did you route the backs before or after assembly? Dude, these really look nice.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2732 days

#13 posted 08-15-2012 01:53 PM

Rance – Thanks! I routed after assembly with a slot cutter, then chiseled out the corners.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2324 days

#14 posted 08-22-2012 12:44 AM

Awesome frames. Great job! This gives me something to try.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

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