Picture frame - Mahogany with Oak inlay and splines and OSMO finish


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Established Member
22 Mar 2019
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Stoke on Trent
Another thread mentioned there was a lack of project threads, and I try to take pictures of stuff I do, so thought I'd post this on how I do picture frames.

My dad had some Mahogany in the garage for years which he gave me a while back, so I used this to make 2 frames:


Cut into 8 strips each 40mm wide, then ran them over the tablesaw blade to create a groove for some inlay


Inlay then cut from some offcuts of oak


Checking for fit



Then glued into place


Once glue had a chance to setup, I then put a 10 degree bevel on the face and cut the rebates


When I cut the mitres, I always cut one end of each piece, so they have a good 45 on them, and then I can put a stop block in place to do the other sides - works well for me, and I always get decent mitres. The saw is a 10 year old Aldi special, with an 80 tooth blade, and ive got it dialled in dead on at 45 degrees - bit of sanding too, cleaning things up.


I can then measure the length of the rebate needed for the picture/glass etc, and mark that, and cut the first one - using a stop block, and also a block of wood to hold the beveled side flat to the fence - I also use a sacrificial fence on the saw to line up the marks made with the kerf of the saw cut in the fence, and to allow me to secure a stop block easily.


Once the mitres are all cut, I go for glue up - I apply a small amount of glue to each face, and then leave that for 10-15 mins, then wipe my finger over it - this stops the end grain sucking in so much glue straight away, ive had the joint starve a few times, so doing this since has stopped that happening. Using a band clamp then to pull everything together - removing any glue squeeze out with a damp cloth and making sure everything is aligned.


Once the glue has a few hours to set up, I then add in some splines to re enforce the corner joints. I made a spline jig for the table saw, so run the frame over the blade using the jig to cut the splines


Oak splines then rough cut to size, but importantly the grain direction is parallel to the joint for strength


Once the glue dried, I cut off the ends of the splines, and gave everything a good sanding up to 240 grit - ready for finish


Finish then applied, and glass tested for size


And the finished frame with picture mounted in mount board - ready for hanging

Nice effect. I want to make a bevelled frame soon, mine are all very flat, but then I try to use funky veneers, I thought I hadn’t taken a picture of these two made last month

Very effective, and the proportions are just right, nothing wrong with the way you’ve done it,
just to say when I do it I plane the sides of the inlay and at the same time put a slight taper on it so that I can tap them home into the grooves, it just precludes any tiny gaps appearing. Ian
This was a test run for a bed I was making.
really nice - and there is the difference between a hobby woodworker and a pro :)

I get them best I can, hammer them in, and then when the glue is still drying, give it a good sand to fill any small gaps. Probably ok as the material is only 2.7mm thick so squashes a bit, but hammering it in any bigger would either split the inlay or the frame I guess?

I really need to get a plane - I struggle to get the inlay material perfect, and then much pratting about occurs - then I have to sand the inlay etc etc - would be much easier with a plane - what sort should I look for - or are you using planer/thicknesser type machine to do it? I also felt one would be useful to run across the face of the material to get rid of any saw marks from the tablesaw blade to save the sanding, as that can leave little dips if ive been to aggressive!
Thank you, yes you do need a plane. Now you really have asked a question, what sort of plane shall I get? And you will get lots of different answers so here’s mine, as I have said elsewhere I’m still using the same Stanley (Bailey casting) number 4 smoothing plane that I went to college with 46 years ago.(yawn) It’s really the only plane I use, a lot of people say you need a longer plane, well I disagree. Certainly start with a nr4.
I think you can probably buy one for less than £50 and you will then need to fettle it up, there is a mass of advice on here about doing that I would imagine.
Best of luck with the woodworking, you’ve certainly made a good start. Ian
Thank you. My dad had some old record planes so will try and beg a number 4 from him and see how I get on, assuming the older planes are better, I think read that the blade material was a lot tougher?
Thank you. My dad had some old record planes so will try and beg a number 4 from him and see how I get on, assuming the older planes are better, I think read that the blade material was a lot tougher?
You can do most things with most planes, just some are better than others at certain things.

For planing inlays down to size it’s more about the jig that holds the work than the plane, that’s just scraps of ply to hold the inlay down and give the plane something to run on