Building a Table Saw Picture Frame jig and Photo Frames
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Building a Table Saw Picture Frame jig and Photo Frames

October 13, 2019

I’ve been wanting a picture frame jig for a long time. Looking around, The Ultimate Picture Frame Sled by David Picciuto seemed to be a good design. I have plenty of scrap sheets in the shops, so it was fairly easy to make. As it isn’t my design, I gloss over building the jig. I highly recommend watching David’s video on the jig, link in my description. Now, the build. Dave uses an aluminium ruler. They don’t seem to exist in Melbourne… I bought a $5 stainless steel ruler instead. It works the same way, but I cannot cut it on the tablesaw. I did it by hand with a hacksaw. And with the sled mounted at a perfect 90 degrees I was able to mark an equal distance in from both edges and then screw in a squared up scrap of mdf to act as the main guide. The ruler then gets screwed to the long edge Because the ruler is steel, I have moved it back away from the blade so there are no accidents. 4 Spotted Gum lengths, and one Merbau.
I didn’t use the merbau in the end. I wanted small frames, to fit a 5×7 photo. So I decided to make the frames around 15mm thick to match. I don’t often use the Gripper, but it did come in handy here. I tend to prefer to use it on the router table, not the table saw. I thought it might make things easier if I cut the rabbet for the glass now. This worked out ok, but I know now that I prefer to assemble the frame first, and then use the router to cut this out. Eventually though, I got to this stage which was fun. Certainly less dust if you cut the groove out rather than routing it! Test cuts came out great, so onto the real thing. I still have to buy a toggle clamp, so my end block is just screwed into position on the sled. It is set up so that my cut will leave a 7 1/4 in rabbet in my frame. It really is a treat to use! One cut to set the angle, then one to set the length, And repeat a few dozen times! I have to screw the block into position for the short side. That toggle clamp will really come in handy for setting the length. Not long until everything is cut though. Spotted Gum is hard and brittle. It is mainly made up of splinters… I use a spongy sanding block, splinters go into the block, not my fingers. Glue up on small frames is so easy! Masking tape on each joint is perfect and all you need. Each frame came out perfectly square and they were all within 1mm of each other. The backing is just some 3mm mdf Not very exciting to watch being cut ๐Ÿ™‚ The glass, is a sheet of acrylic which has been kicking in my shop for maybe 3 years Cutting it on the table saw leaves a slightly jagged edge Though if you go slow, it will come out nicer Seeing as it is for a frame and the edges are hidden, I wasn’t too fussed. But the end result is MUCH nicer if you use a router. I wouldn’t take the plastic off until finish time normally But as it is so old, I was worried it might be scratched. Worked out well, no marks! This wood just pops so beautifully with a bit of lacquer! 4 coats, with one very light sand after the first coat is dry And you end up with a bunch of really attractive frames Although I might be biased, as I think the photo subjects are pretty special too ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s the end, thanks for watching, or reading ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers,
Mario ‘The WoodFather’ Cappellano

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  1. Nice picture frames! Mario, looks like a nice family you have there as well.๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ˜Š JP

  2. That didn't take long – nice job. The fact that you cut the backs and 'glass' AFTER making the frames might make viewers miss the very important part of David Picciuto's design, in that it enables making frames to the size of the contained picture so easy! There is no working out the outside dimensions by allowing for the 45 degree cuts – the stop is set to the ruler at the size of the picture, and the frame comes out exactly right. So I agree, it is well worth checking out the original video from David @ Make Something. See

  3. Nice work Mario, I have to make some picture frames and will be using some of your Technics. Thumbs up.

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