First project - Picture frames

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Project by Chris McDowell posted 08-24-2012 11:23 PM 1793 views 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was hesitant about posting this, but I thought it would be good to look back on to see where I started.

The joints are half-lap. I hand cut them with a cheap Stanley backsaw like the ones that come with miter boxes. I wanted to do something that would help build skill with a saw. I also didn’t do the traditional 45 degree joints on my chop saw because I didn’t think I would be able to hold the joints together for the glue to dry since I don’t have a band clamp or anything like that.

I finished them both with 3 coats of boiled linseed oil followed by an application of paste wax. It was also my first experience finishing anything.

Both pieces are from the same trash pile and both the same kind of wood (southern yellow pine, I believe), but the one with gray streaks had some kind of fungus or something. The oil and wax really made the grain pop out and it’s crazy how different it looks than before sanding and finishing.

I had a blast making these even though it is something simple.

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

19 comments so far

View dust4tears's profile


397 posts in 968 days

#1 posted 08-25-2012 12:19 AM

Cool frames!

-- Ride hard or go home~

View Dallas's profile


3340 posts in 1307 days

#2 posted 08-25-2012 12:23 AM

Well, Now…. That’s finer than a frog hair split three ways!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View gfadvm's profile (online now)


12122 posts in 1510 days

#3 posted 08-25-2012 01:56 AM

Hand cut half lap joints. That wasn’t easy! And they turned out well.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View PC24omni's profile


18 posts in 921 days

#4 posted 08-25-2012 02:10 AM

I’ve made many of the same, different method but the end result being the same. But, what I also do to add dimension plus holding power, plus some old time look, I drill a mortise at each corner, put in a different type wood in the mortise. There is an amazing difference. Try it…’ll see. It looks much richer.

-- Marty - Verona, Va.

View albachippie's profile


588 posts in 1855 days

#5 posted 08-25-2012 08:16 AM

These are great. Definitely worth sharing. Thanks for posting.

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland -

View Jetdok's profile


6 posts in 934 days

#6 posted 08-25-2012 12:11 PM

Very cool, love the grain!

-- Chris, Fl.

View workerinwood's profile


2716 posts in 1887 days

#7 posted 08-25-2012 12:23 PM

Nice work, well done!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View AngieO's profile


1212 posts in 967 days

#8 posted 08-25-2012 02:30 PM

Looks great. Thanks for sharing

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 1044 days

#9 posted 08-25-2012 02:39 PM

That was a good find on the wood – especially the colorful version! You can be very creative with clamps for something like a picture frame where there will not be tremendous pressure on the joint – rubber bands, binder clips, masking tape, lots of things. I would not recommend using them for a chair or anything, but for a picture frame they would serve you well!

And do not be hesitant to post a project, however small it seems to you. Firstly, one project here often inspires another for other members. Another big reason is the one you mentioned – it is a record of your work that you can look back on. I know there were a lot of things I built and gave away, never having taken pictures of them. I sure wish now I had a record of what I did.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View PC24omni's profile


18 posts in 921 days

#10 posted 08-25-2012 03:49 PM

Nice looking project frames. Here’s a type I make, similar only tongue and groove with mortise. I use old barn, fence wood, anything aged and old in appearance. The mortise and square tennon at each cornergives them a nice touch, (through my eyes).

-- Marty - Verona, Va.

View PC24omni's profile


18 posts in 921 days

#11 posted 08-25-2012 03:54 PM

-- Marty - Verona, Va.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

521 posts in 973 days

#12 posted 08-25-2012 06:09 PM

Thank you all for the encouragement.

Kookaburra: Thanks for the tips! I’m actually making another frame with normal 45 degree corners and I’m using blue tape. I got the idea from AngieO, another LJ. It works well enough and it is just for a frame like you said so it should be OK.

PC24omni: Sweet frame! I love the square pegs, too. Nice little Greene & Greene flavor. Thanks for sharing your work.

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

View NormG's profile


4761 posts in 1824 days

#13 posted 08-25-2012 06:31 PM

great job, love the pins

-- Norman

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


11956 posts in 1826 days

#14 posted 08-25-2012 08:29 PM

Nice work on the frames chris. If you cut those half laps with just a wee bit of a back bevel your joints will tighten up nice under clamping pressure and leave a little pocket for glue. Well done hand cuttin those bad boys.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View jtworkshop's profile


71 posts in 1483 days

#15 posted 08-26-2012 04:36 PM

you’re way ahead of me, i don’t even know what a half lap joint means. I like these, and like another person wrote, there’s always something in a project that will inspire or encourage other members.

I use raw linseed oil alot on projects, especially easy to use for frames. While it may dry a little slower, there are zero chemicals in it. Jamestown Distributers has an online site that sells it if interested.

Good luck with your next projects

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