Dovetail picture frames

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Project by mummykicks posted 08-20-2013 04:55 PM 2623 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made some picture frames for my daughter for her composers (Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven). Little bit different than most frames as I used a dovetail to join the corners. I felt it was worth it to do it this way so I didn’t have to worry about clamping or adding additional means to secure/align them. I’m going to make a better jig so I can gang like 10 of ‘em at a time to cut the dovetails, and I’ll clean up the miters at the same time. Should make the process quicker and more consistent.

I made the mistake of doing the undercut for the backing and glass in the pieces first, which caused the miter cuts to wander a bit on the miter saw even though I had them clamped good. So I made a bandsaw picture frame jig to clean the miters up. Then another one to use with my Incra fence on my router table to cut the dovetails.

The other differences were that I used 3/16” masonite for the backing and I got ten 19” x 24” pieces from an $8 (or was it $13?) 4’ x 8’ sheet, which is way cheaper than anything else. I just screwed it to the pine in 4 places. 3/32” acrylic ‘glass’ was $10. Used 1×3 ‘select’ pine for the frames from HD.

Finish is Charles Neil’s pre-conditioner (2 coats), followed by general finishes cranberry red water based stain followed by GF black water based stain and then a couple coats of shellac. Both my daughter and I really like the effect of having the red underneath. Debating whether the pre-conditioner is necessary or not given I’m going for some color variation.

So about $25/frame, which is about $50 cheaper than buying something close.

5 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5755 posts in 2954 days

#1 posted 08-20-2013 05:21 PM

Had some extra time on you hands did you? Thought you’d make some dovetail miters?
That’s pretty impressive! I would not have thought to make a joint like that.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BusterB's profile


1970 posts in 2149 days

#2 posted 08-20-2013 07:35 PM

oh thats not fair….just figured out how to get the gaps outta my frame miters and here you go upping the stakes in the game….lol Super job…

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View Monkman's profile


134 posts in 2426 days

#3 posted 08-20-2013 10:36 PM

Wow! I have a hard time with just regular miters and I own an Incra system. Great Job!

-- MonkeyMonk

View mummykicks's profile


109 posts in 1943 days

#4 posted 08-21-2013 05:07 PM

Obviously I posted the best joint of the bunch :-).

I think the time saved fumbling with clamps and the ability to do as many as I want in one setting was worth the extra time to route the dovetails.

The Incra made this possible (for me at least). I thought I might have to micro adjust it a bit to get them to fit, but I think the .005” runout on my router was enough to let them fit together.

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2523 days

#5 posted 08-23-2013 03:37 AM

Interesting technique. Good looking frames.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

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