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Tablesaw Picture Frame Troy OH

Richard’s molding also simplifies assembly. Mitering and gluing odd-shaped picture frame molding can be a struggle. With this technique, the frame is mitered and glued when the stock still has its square profile. That makes building a picture frame much easier.

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Tablesaw Picture Frame

Tablesaw Picture Frame

Safely make shaper-quality molding on your tablesaw without fancy jigs.

by Eric Smith and Richard Tendick

This how-to story has a picture-perfect ending. In fact, you might want to round up some spectators for applause in the final steps. Richard Tendick has developed a safe, simple technique to help you make narrow, complex picture-frame stock using nothing more than a tablesaw. That’s right, there are no routers or specialized jigs and sleds to make, either. With Richard’s system, you actually glue the frame before the final cut. The fun comes when the frame is cut loose from the square stock. 

Richard’s molding also simplifies assembly. Mitering and gluing odd-shaped picture frame molding can be a struggle. With this technique, the frame is mitered and glued when the stock still has its square profile. That makes building a picture frame much easier. 

Grain and Color are Important

This technique requires 1-1/2-in. square stock. For a frame to look good, the grain must flow smoothly around all four pieces (see “Oops,” below) and the color must be consistent. Choose clear, straight-grained wood for your frame stock. It’s best if you can cut the frame stock from a single length of wood. Buy extra wood for test cuts. We found 1-1/2-in. square oak stair balusters sold at home centers to be an excellent source for frame stock. 

Set Up for the Cuts 

1. Rough-cut the frame stock to a few inches over the finished dimensions for cutting on the tablesaw. 

2. Sketch the cuts on the end of each piece for orientation (Photo 1; Fig. A). All cuts start at the same end, so if you find yourself reversing the piece, something is wrong. Pay attention to grain direction! (See Fig. A and “Oops.”)

3. Cut spacer strips 3/8, 5/8 and 3/4 in. wide by 18 in. long. You’ll use these for setting the fence and saw blade height for some of the cuts.

 Making the Saw Cuts

4. Set the blade to make a 3/8-in.-deep cut and make Cut 1 (Fig. A, below). 

5. Set the blade and fence for Cut 2 (Photo 2) and make the cut. 

6. Make Cut 3 with the blade titled to 33 degrees. Set the blade just high enough to poke through the wood about 1/4 in. (Photo 3). 

7. Make Cut 4 to create the rabbet that holds your picture, matte and glass (Photo 4). Set the fence and blade height using Cut 1 as a reference. 

Sanding, Mitering and Gluing

8. Sand the frame before cutting the miters (Photo 5). It’s a lot easier than sanding into the corners of an assembled frame. 

9. Before you cut the miters, take a 1/2-in.-thick slice off your stock. Save the slice for setting up the last cut. 

10. Attach a long subfence to the miter gauge. Use a drafting square to set the gauge at 45 degrees. (see “Tips for Perfect Miters,” AW #108, July 2004). 

11. Cut the miters (Photos 6 and 7).

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