Picture frame trouble with miters

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Forum topic by Cory posted 12-12-2009 05:49 PM 3780 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2841 days

12-12-2009 05:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: miter problem frame picture

I’ll save you the long story, but I had to pick up and leave immediately after putting glue and clamps on a picture frame I’m making for a christmas gift. I wasn’t able to fiddle with the joints or scrape the glue off of them, so now I’m in a pickle. I’ve got three of the four joints that are showing a gap and I’ve got squeeze out on all four joints. I can get rid of the glue with some scraping and sanding, but how in the heck am I’m going to close those joints?

I’m using maple and purpleheart, my finish will be oil, so wood filler really isn’t an option. Should I put the frame back on the saw and cut out the joints? I don’t have a lot of room, but I’ve got enough for a saw kerf. Pics below should help explain the situation better.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

14 replies so far

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2552 days

#1 posted 12-12-2009 05:54 PM

Looks like the angle is off a little anyway, so I’d say yes, recut them.

-- Gerry,

View Gary's profile


8965 posts in 2854 days

#2 posted 12-12-2009 05:54 PM

You may get some expert advice from someone else but, my first move would be to cut that joint and re-do. I have never seen a gap like that fixed any other way. I like the frame

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 3232 days

#3 posted 12-12-2009 05:57 PM

How about a fine hand saw down the center of the joint? We used this method when making chairs to close the gap on an open joint.

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5105 posts in 2616 days

#4 posted 12-12-2009 06:04 PM

Greetings Cory: Probably the first thing I would do is take the frame apart and start over. Try to remove as much glue as possible. Then recut the miters ever so slightly. Is your miter gage a true 45 degrees? I’d set the miter to 45, and place a playing card or two(depends on how many you need) between a piece of scrap and miter gage and try that to see if you get a good 45. Some miter gauges are off a little, so “tweeking” is a good way to test it.
Once you get the miter right, I’d use pocket screws to pull it together and it’ll be tight. You might put just a dab of glue on the joint( very little) before using the p.s. But try it on scrap first. Hope this helps. Keep on keeping on.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2902 days

#5 posted 12-12-2009 06:05 PM

The best would be to recut the joints, but if you dont want to do that, you can take poly glue and mix it with fine sawdust from the wood you have used and fill the joints. Becareful not to use too much since it will foam when drying. Then sand it and stain.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2989 days

#6 posted 12-12-2009 06:18 PM

If the frame is square, you could cut a shallow groove and put some inlay in it to hide the cracks. But if you go that route, those joints are going to need some kind of serious reinforcement like a spline and a patch on the back. Were the crack there during your dry fit?

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2841 days

#7 posted 12-12-2009 06:28 PM

Thanks for all the help. As I was dry fitting the joints, they were very tight. I had to sand one of them a little for a perfect fit, but they were dead on. I used my table saw and a miter gauge which I trued up using an engineering square (rather than going on the markings on the gauge). I think I got a little bit of racking during the clamp up, and since I had to jet away i didn’t get to adjust it.

I’m going to re-cut them today and only glue up one joint at a time. I’ll make darn sure those are perfect, then work my way around the frame.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3119 days

#8 posted 12-12-2009 09:29 PM

Make sure your saw is right on 45* and clamp your wood before making the cut.

View bladeburner's profile


88 posts in 2508 days

#9 posted 12-13-2009 04:04 PM

I’ve been using Merle band clamps for a few years. The band part is steel and does not stretch. The corners can be rotated while under pressure to fine tune a fit.


View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2989 days

#10 posted 12-13-2009 07:18 PM

Let us know how they turn out Cory!

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Stryker223's profile


1 post in 2512 days

#11 posted 12-14-2009 09:48 PM

Another fix you want to consider is filling the gaps with slurry when you put the oil finish on the frame.
I know it’s not as desirable as having a perfectly built frame but you’ll be the only one that knows about the fix up.
Just take some 360 grit sand paper and lightly sand the corners with the gaps while the oil is still wet and work the slurry into the gaps. Once the gaps are full, smooth out the finish and carefully wipe off the excess oil and slurry.
Something else for you to think about! :)

-- Take care!! Michael Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.-- Leo Buscaglia

View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2841 days

#12 posted 12-29-2009 03:44 PM

Sorry for the late reply, but it’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I managed to re-cut my miters and re-assemble the frame. Since I don’t have a fine handsaw, I just made sure my miter gauge was perfect and cut them on the table saw. I took extra care with the glue up process, too. They turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Thanks to all of you for your help.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2902 days

#13 posted 12-29-2009 04:16 PM

Looks great Cory. Nice job.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3012 days

#14 posted 12-29-2009 06:20 PM

It looks perfect now. Great work!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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