Grandma's Picture Frame #1: Thinking through the Design & Dimensions

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Blog entry by spunwood posted 02-09-2011 06:14 PM 2114 reads 2 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Grandma's Picture Frame series Part 2: A first go at the Insert »

My mother suggested that I make a picture frame for my grandmother’s 100th birthday. The party is in march, and the four of us (Stephanie, Beatrice, Elijah, and I) will be flying to New York. I looked online for table saw frames because I do not have much skil with or many bits for a router, and no router table.

What I found was:

This is a lovely and classic frame. The wood is beautiful. However, I think for a smaller frame and considering my Grandmother’s style (which is more modern than my own), I will edge glue some walnut and hard maple.

I will edge glue them with the walnut ouitside and smaller (a 3:2 ratio).

After a visit to Goodwill, I found that no one make the picture frame opening the exact size of a standard picture (5×7), but they rather undersize it a bit and allow the rest of the picture to be hidden, and also to be held in by a rabbet on the back side.

Therefore the dimensions of the frame will be:

Opening (amount of 5×7 picture viewable): 4 1/2×6 1/2

Length of mitered sides from longest corners: 7” and 9”

Rabbet on back: 3/8 deep & 1/4 wide.

Thickness of edge glued wood: Total: 1 1/4”
Outer walnut: 1/2”
Inner maple: 3/4”

When doing calculations, such as for the opening, I have to take into account the fact that if the frame opening is 5.5, the picture will loose a 1/4” on each side, not a half inch on each side. That is how I arrive at the rabbet width.

I arrive at the length of the frame itself by continuing the line from the opening to the outer edge of the frame. I draw in the miter line and knowing the thickness, that gives me a right triangle with 2 equal sides 1 1/4”. So I just add 1 1/4 twice (for each mitered edge) )to 4.5 & 6.5 (the opening).

I arrived at the thickeness of the maple and walnut by seeing the 1 1/4” can fit nicely into 5 quarter inches and divided it up from there.

The rabbet depth I got from the site I mentioned above, and the width (1/4”) from what remained of the 5×7 photo after the opening dimensions.

Finally, I found a craftsman molding cutter head with 11 cutters. I will use this to give it a nice molding profile. I have selected a profile which has a straight edge for half of it, than a protruding ovalo and than a higher round and than a flat spot. I shall call it flowerflat.

Next entry: Gluing up stock and making a zero clearance insert for the molding cutters, and generally getting an orderly process in my head for all that will follow.

Comments Welcome!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

1 comment so far

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 3806 days

#1 posted 02-10-2011 02:35 AM

Something you might want to consider – HP's snapfish allows a person to print “poster” sized pictures on commercial paper, in case you have a large family photo you’ve always wanted enlarged or a collage of pictures produced in google's picasa3. Print your picture and build a frame to match, and then use Micheals or hobby lobby’s custom framing shop to order a custom mat. this frame and picture combo was built with that process.

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

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