Sunday, March 4, 2012

Emma's Picture Frame

Back in 2008 my daughter Emma went to China on a school trip and brought back a beautiful watercolor.  At that time I said, "hey I could build you a frame for that".  And now 4 years later I finally am.  The main idea in doing this post is to show Emm that I actually did make her the frame.

I started by selecting a couple of cherry boards that my Dad had given me probably 15 years ago.  The cherry has started to oxidize and take on the deep cherry color it is so well known for.  I setup the table saw and ripped them to width.  I also made a pattern for the top.  My idea is to make a simple rail and stile  frame with the top rail being an over sized cap with a shape inspired by a Chinese pagoda.

For as much time as I spent in the shop watching my Dad work I am realizing I never really made a whole lot.  For instance I never recall making a mortise and tenon joint.   But I really wanted to use this classic joint for this project.  So while I have a lot of what my Dad had in his shop I don't have a way to use his mortising jig.  I had to figure out a way to cut them with what I have.  I also remember watching Norm (Old Yankee Workshop) using a tenon jig to make the cheek cuts, also something I don't have.

Tenons first.  I put on the two outer blades of my stacked dado set on the table saw.  I don't have a dado plate for the saw so this was all I had room for.  I then simply cut around board and nibbled away at the remainder until I had a pretty decent tenon.  I used a brass setup bar to set the right depth on the saw.

  The mortise was made with the router mounted in a table.  I can see way Dad loved these rockwell routers.  (Now sold under the porter cable brand.)  While they are as fancy as many of the newer routers on the market today this thing just work.  The are centered and stay put where you set them.  I purchased a new up spiral bit which made the cuts clean and well nice if I do say so myself.

These picture are for Emm's benefit.  With the amount of work I put into making these joints I wanted her to know there was more than a few boards slapped together.  Here you can see most of the mortise and tenons in the project.  It's taking shape!

With the major joints cut it's on to the cap or top or pagoda or what ever you care to call it.  I spent pretty much a whole evening drawing it out and making a pattern.  I traced the shape on the board and off to the band saw I went.  ( Thanks kids!!!!)  Tables saws are great for straight cuts but if you have a curve the band saw is the way to go.

I then taped the pattern and board together with some double face tape and headed to the router table with a pattern bit chucked up.  Things were going really well and then OOPS.

The bit grabbed the end grain and..., well time for a redesign.  Luckily my first design had enough over hang that I could cut off the ends and not lose the rest of the board.

By now things are getting closer.  I wanted to put chamfers to accent the project.  Back to the router table with a new chamfer bit.  

The last cut, again at the router, was a rabbet around the back of the frame to hold the glass, picture and backer board.  Keeping all of the lines I've been drawing on the parts is beginning to be a chore, but I actually got all the cuts made and they all seem to be where I intended them to be.

A final dry assembly and glue up.  I need to remember to make a trip back to Owego and get some of Dad's claps.  For some reason I only have a single bar clap.  For the life of me I can't figure out why I only got one bar clamp.  Oh well, innovation was the call of the day.  An old cargo strap along with a square ( you know to make it square) and I'm up here writing this as Emma's Picture Frame is down stairs drying.

1 comment:

  1. :0) This is so cool. I have no idea what you are talking about with the different cuts and corners and such, but the pictures make it great and I really like it. Thanks Pete!