80 – How to Build a Wooden Picture Frame
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80 – How to Build a Wooden Picture Frame

August 24, 2019


Marc:Today I’m going to make this fancy little picture frame for Nicole. (fast paced music) I’m using figured maple veneer, wenge, and solid maple as my veneer substrate. And I’m also using this amazing, exotic, afzelia wood that I got from David Marks. I hope I’m pronouncing that right. I start by milling the
maple using the jointer to flatten one face and one edge. And then I use the planer
to make the other face parallel to the first. The final thickness of the maple was about 7/8 of an inch and that’s one of the great things about milling your own wood from rough stock. You usually end up with thicker material in the end. Now, using the drum sander, I clean up this great afzelia home sawn veneer. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful woods I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And that’s exactly why it’s going in Nicole’s frame. By the time both sides
are smooth, I’m at about 1/4 inch in thickness. And while I’m here, I’m
bring the wenge down to an 1/8 of an inch. And now it’s time to prepare the veneer. With a straight edge and a razor blade, I clean up one edge. It usually takes several passes to get all the way through. I then use one of my maple frame pieces as a guide for cutting
each piece of veneer to the appropriate width. My piece of maple is actually double wide and that saves me some time and effort. After the veneering is done, I’ll split each piece of maple down
the middle, ending up with a total of four frame pieces. So I only need to cut
four strips of veneer. (funky music) So here I’m using a couple of scrap two by fours as a veneer press. And to improve the
distribution of clamping pressure, it’s always a good idea to line the inside of the press with something relatively soft like cork, newspaper or, in my case, adhesive backed felt. That’s really all I had
on hand at the time. And, surprisingly, this worked very well. So here’s how the sandwich
is going to go together. The sold maple in the middle with a maple veneer on each face. Followed by a [call] on both sides. Now, normally, I would never use a water-based wood glue for veneering. Some people like it, but I don’t. Introducing water into the equation can sometimes spell trouble. So I usually stick to
the urea resin glues. But since this frame is
so small, I really don’t have any majors concerns about movement and moisture so standard PVA glue it is. A liberal coat on both the veneer and the maple substrate will do the trick. I like to secure the
veneer with blue tape, just to stop it from
slipping in the clamps. Now, clamp the heck out of it. I put as many clamps as I can fit on there and try to alternate them up and down. That’ll promote even
distribution of pressure. And the next day I take the sandwich apart and admire that beautiful maple veneer. And next I clean up one of the edges with a block plane. And with the clean edge
up against the fence, I clean up the other
side perfectly parallel to the first. Then at the band saw,
I slice each veneered piece of maple in half to
get my four frame pieces. I used the band saw
because I want to maintain as much width as possible. And a thin curve for the band saw blade is perfect for this. And now it’s time to glue on the trim. The order of the trim will be a 1/4 inch afzelia, followed by 1/8 inch wenge, followed by the veneered maple, and then another piece of 1/4 inch afzelia. And to save time, I’m going to glue up two frame pieces at the same time. Just be sure to mark
which faces receive glue and which ones don’t. You don’t want to accidentally glue your two frame pieces together. So here’s a quick tip for you. Our trim is about 1/8 of an inch oversized in width. So, to center the veneered frame pieces, I prop them up about a 1/16 of an inch using blue tape and a
thin strip of veneer. And now I can start
assembling the sandwich. Notice that I’m using a couple of random pieces of scrap to distribute the pressure on the outer edges as well. And you do need to be
careful here because, with all that glue,
those pieces really like to slip and slide around. Have I mentioned that I like clamps? After a few hours I
take the assemblies out of the clamps and start
cleaning everything up with a block plane. Just don’t go to far here. A tear out, at this point,
would be disastrous. With a dado blade
installed in a table saw, I create a rabbit on the
inside of the frame pieces. That’s going to hold the clear glass or plastic, the artwork,
and the backing material. Also notice that I’m using a sacrificial fence here. This allows me to bury
part of the dado blade into the fence and my
rabbit can go right up to the edge of the work piece. Using my router and a
chamfering bit, I put a small chamfer on both
the inside and outside edges of the frame pieces. And at the miter saw,
I cut each frame piece to length while also
creating the 45 degree miter. For extra reinforcement, I’m going to add a domino loose tenon here. Alternatives would be biscuits, dowels, or a simple spline. Gluing up the frame is
pretty straightforward when you have reinforced miters. Just add glue, add your
dowels, your splines, or in my case, dominoes,
and hammer it home. Now, even with
reinforcement, you can still clamp the frame out of square. So it’s important to check. My frame happens to be
slightly out of square. So to fix it, I use another
clamp on the diagonal to force the frame in the
direction I want it to go. This is the same thing that we would do for an out of square piece of case work. Work’s like a charm. Once the frame is dry,
I sand the entire thing to 180 grit. And now, the moment I’ve been waiting for. Time to apply the finish. I selected some pretty flashy wood here and I’m really excited
about how the finish is going to bring out the vibrant color and figure. And nothing does that quite like an oil-based wiping varnish. Oh yeah. That’s the stuff. I like to brush on a pretty liberal coat, let it soak in, and then
wipe off the excess. Now this frame was meant
to house a very special Christmas gift for Nicole. I had some custom artwork made up for her and decided that a custom frame would be the only way to go. So I drop in the
Plexiglas first and remove the protective film. Then I add the art, followed by 1/4 inch plywood as a backer. And the whole thing is secured using some plastic clips that I picked up at Rockler. Now, for those of you
who don’t already know, Nicole and I are big fans of the World of Warcraft game, and those are our toons enjoying a beautiful sunset in Azeroth. And, yes, I’m a gnome. (guitar music)

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  1. Hi Marc, this project inspired me for my gifts to a lot of people! I'm going to batch out a lot of picture frames that are steamed beach at 45mm (sorry about the metric I'm European and young so when you talk in inches it confuses the heck out of me! :P) in the middle and 9 mm mahogany either side.
    My question is did you have your stock in the workshop for very long? as when I cut my beech stock in half, it caused some major movement issues. It's not economical to buy lots of little pieces.

  2. I usually dont when I buy the stuff locally. It very dry in Arizona. But it's always a good general rule of thumb to give your boards a few weeks to acclimate just to be safe.

  3. Joints can open up over time since it isn't a very rigid glue bond. Many still use it but there are some cases where things can get fouled up.

  4. man I've been watching your videos all day today but I'm not sure if I can continue knowing you play alliance(that is if you still play. If not then I guess I'll let it go) 

  5. you do not need to OWN a $50k shop – you can find Maker spaces in most states that will let you use their $100K shops for a small daily or reasonable monthly fee. I live in NJ and the best (and nearest) one is The Maker Depot – http://www.themakerdepot.com
    They even have a 4x8ft ShopBot.

  6. For starters, I'd like to say that's one awesome shop you have there!  In addition, great job on explaining everything in simple detail.  Even if I don't build a frame exactly like that, it's nice to know different techniques and styles I can use that I often can't some up on my own.  Thanks for the video!

  7. beautiful! and then it's topped off with that awesome artwork! love watching your videos even though I don't even do any woodworking. thanks for posting.

  8. Oh my gosh! That veneer looks amazing against the dark wood edge! Very nice mix…looks GREAT!!! I have just the project that could use that kind of frame!

  9. You are my favorite woodworker! That drum sander makes me jealous . . . but I have maple, angelim, and ipa from when I was in the flooring business so at least I don't have to buy the wood, lol (Dang, I should not have sold my 3 phase floor drum sander, I could have made a jig and used it!)

  10. What a beautiful frame you made!! Only matched by the fantastic tools in your workshop! I wish you had shown a finished product hanging on the wall, to see the finished frame a bit longer. Well done!

  11. Well done on the woodworking…I love the final frame product. Regarding Archival measures, I never would have framed the art directly against the glass (plexi), either using a mat or spacer between the art which would be dry mounted to an acid free foam core board. Being a frame shop manager I am forced to used molding purchased from the different molding companies. This gave me a great insight into the process. Thanks again! Very inspiring

  12. The acid in the plywood will destroy your artwork. You need to use an acid free backing board or acid free foam core.

  13. hey dude that's fantastic looking picture frame. I was thinking about buying a dewalt sander like yours in the video. How do you like it?

  14. Is that Boney M I hear around the 3:50 mark? It really isn't Christmas until you get the Boney M going! Great looking frame, now I know what to make for my wife's birthday!

  15. I've seen this video a couple times, but just noticed that the string ties to your hoodie come really close to the table saw blade halfway thru this video. You might want to rethink them in the future as you are what people see. 🙂 Fun project.

  16. I'm fairly new to woodworking and really just picking it up as a hobby last year. After watching this video, I decided to make a similar frame for my parents since we were giving them a family portrait. I purchased a bit of Bolivian rosewood for the outer edge and used some douglas fir reclaimed from a tool stand in my grandfather's old shop for the inside. I used cypress reclaimed from a friend's old fence for the spline material. I don't think it turned out half bad, myself. Thanks for the inspiration…

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BymnVQvDIunUUHVuZ0RBb19KNk0/view?usp=sharing

  17. I just found your videos. fabulous work. thank-you for sharing your skill. your videos are an inspiration.

  18. Awesome stuff man. I'm not a WOW gamer, but the fact that you put that last bit of effort in there made me click the Like and Subscribe button. Good job man!

  19. noooooooo you are an ally 🙁 i was afraid of it lol JK I love your lessons , i find your show helpful and inspiring thank you

    Ps. Lok'tar ogar

  20. Two questions: why did you veneer the back of the frame and why plexiglass over real glass? Otherwise beautiful frame and fun artwork.

  21. Great frame. Your really need a matting board or if not spacers to stop your artwork touching the plexiglass if you want it to last.

  22. Очень красиво! Посмотрел с удовольствием! Спасибо!

  23. beautiful work but i have to ask. why put a veneer on the back side? it will be against the wall wont it?

  24. Your tools SUCKS I hate you Mark! lmaoo All jokes aside, older video, but still pleasant to watch. however, I am shocked that you use solid maple for the substrate rather then a structurally stable birch plywood or something like that. I would tend to think that, with all the different woods and different  shrinkage and expansion movements between them, would cause a problem in the long run with seasonal weather changes.

  25. I'd love too but I can't get it. none of my local dealers can get it. it has one of the most beautiful grains I've seen.

  26. Beautiful frame an I really like the afzelia wood! One suggestion, I recommend using museum glass to protect the artwork from fading due to UV light exposure. It is readily available from any picture frame shop and is not expensive. I use it on all the flag cases I build to protect the flag color.

  27. Tried making one earlier based on my own plans. Due to inexperience with small projects like this and not many woodworking tools, I screwed up, got pissed, and left the garage. lmao

  28. OK, very nice frame but it's best to add a mat or spacers to the artwork so it doesn't touch the glass. Eventually the artwork can stick to the glass and get damaged. Nice work!

  29. I know is old, but how was it even possible for those toons to be there together? She is obviously horde and you are a warlock gnome 🙂

  30. i live where flame maple is abundant and relatively cheap, maybe 10 $ at most for that amount used here. seems like veneer, hardwood, glue, and your time (most important and costly) outweighs just buying one board

  31. We don't have a shower stall but use our bath but then I have quite a few w/working tools. I love the timbers you used but I would have preferred the main timber (Maple?) with the grain going Long ways – am I being finicky? Incidentally I like your videos very much. Keep up the good work … even if you are a gnome!

  32. I selected some pretty flashy wood here, and I’m pretty excited about how the finish is going to bring out the vibrant color and figure. And nothing does that quite like the original I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Oh yeah, that's the stuff.

  33. I sense that this was a very nice exhibition of your, out of reach multi thousand dollar woodworking shop. Oh, nice frame by the way.

  34. Since I just started watching your videos a few weeks ago, I am catching up. I really enjoyed this episode. The picture frame is beautiful, and the artwork is awesome. I am learning fine woodworking, and your videos have been most helpful and fun to watch. Also, I too am a WoW player. Do you still play in 2018?

  35. When I was in woods class I came across this small peace of dark brown and orange wood, I thought it looked quite pretty so I decided to turn it. The wood was a pleasure to work with.
    After sanding boy did that grain look good.
    That was my favorite type of wood from that point forward, I had to find out what it was. That wood that I had loved so much turned out to be cocobolo.

    In re-reading this I just have to say it……

    That’s what she said.

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