Last week I showed Heather’s canvas frame box and this week continues the painting theme. Heather has finished a few paintings and wanted frames for them. Custom frames can be expensive as I discovered when we had one of her paintings framed. Pre-made frames are a bit cheaper, but then you’re tied to what you can find on the shelf and they can add up if need one every month or so.
Heather’s pointed out a few times that I could likely make frames in my shop.
Well, I could if I had the tools and jigs needed to make them. Likely I could make them cheaper than she could buy them and the real advantage would be the design would be our own. This ability to design and build our own frames to match her paintings is a compelling reason for this project – the miter sled.
Standard picture frame design relies on the 45 degree mitered corner. It looks good and is a standard feature. It’s also very difficult to cut accurately. Most of my shop tools aren’t that accurate and most times my mitered corners don’t match and end up looking like something out of the scrapyard. The solution is to build one of these:
I made this one using MDF as I wasn’t really sure if it would work on this saw and it’s the first time I’ve ever built one. Also, I’ve never made picture frames before so I didn’t want to invest too much while I was figuring out how the whole process works. If making frames really becomes something I do a lot, I’ll likely rebuild this with lessons learn out of birch plywood with hardwood for the rails.
The jig ensures that all cuts are precise and when mated together, form a perfect 45 miter in a 90 degree corner. Here is my test piece:
Turns out it was a perfect fit.
There are a couple of things left to do on the miter jig: Make a stop block, add a grove for the hold down clamp and put a light coat of varnish on it.
The other tools for framing I already have: Corner clamps, a router table, router bits, and various hand tools. The next step is to make a test frame and then there is a backlog of about five frames to make.
There is one other jig I’d like to make for framing – a spline jig, but that is a project for another day.
If you need me – I’ll be in the shop