Easy Picture Frames
and unique picture frames can be made with basic tools, for some only a
saw and a square are needed. It is much easier to cut mitered corners
with a miter box or trimmer, if the fit is not exact the angles can be
fine tuned by sanding them. Often a cause of poor fitting joints is
that the two opposite side pieces are not exactly the same length. A
disk sander is a very handy tool to have to adjust the angles to fit,
there are plans to build one here.
Make a base using 3/8" thick material as shown in fig.1, the inside dimensions should be standard photo sizes, 5 X 7, 8 X 10, 11 X 14, etc. For the top use strips 1/2" wider than base, use thicker and wider material for the corner blocks. Glue top pieces to the base as shown in Fig 2.
Traditional Molding Profiles
Make Your Own Profiles
Even if you don't have a router or a shaper you can use stock pieces of molding to build your own profiles.
Precise cuts are best made using a miter saw or trimmer, use a combination square to mark the cut position, you will have to extend the line from the inside of the rabbet to the outside of the frame.
For additional strength on larger frames use a spline to reinforce the joint.
VIntage Patent Prints are available
There are several ways to clamp your frames, perhaps the easiest way is to use a picture frame clamp. There are manufactured ones available or you can build your own. Masking tape will also work, simply lay a strip around each corner to hold it together until the glue sets. Rubber bands cut from innertubes can be used but it is difficult to keep the parts together while stretching it around the frame.
There are other tools made especially for framing in addition to saws and trimmers, a miter vise, brad pushers, point drivers and mat cutters are helpful additions to the serious frame maker.
Picture Hanging Jig