Picture Frame, 8×10 – Project

This is the first picture frame I ever made and it was a birthday gift to my wife. I had originally intended it to be made of alder, but I messed up the miters and had to scrap that version. Therefore, I used some maple I had on hand instead and I think it turned out looking better with the maple than it would have with the alder. The alder was more dull in color and had didn’t really have anything interesting about the grain. Being my first picture frame, I learned a lot of lessons while making it. One such lesson was that mitered corners are more difficult than they look. I wasted a lot of wood while trying to get perfect miters and ended up ditching the idea altogether, opting for a different method.

The method I chose to use was that of cutting the ends of the boards square and then using dowels to secure the corners. I first glued everything together as butt joints. When that was dry I went back through and drilled the holes for the dowels. This made it so I didn’t have to try and figure out hole alignments. I like the look of the dowels and due to showing end grain they are darker than the rest of the frame, creating a feature.

A view of the dowels used in securing the corners.

I decided that the frame needed something else to help give it more life, so I gave in a 45 degree chamfer around the outside edges. It might look a bit basic to some, but I am a proponent of simplicity in my designs. Sometimes too much detail or fancy work detracts from the project as a whole.

A close-up of the dowels and chamfer.

The maple I used for this frame had ambrosia running through it, that is what those darker streaks are. I really like this feature of the wood and I wish I would have done a better job of showing it off. It doesn’t show up very well on camera, but the boiled linseed oil I used to finish the frame helped the ambrosia to pop out even more.

I didn’t use the ambrosia features of the maple to its fullest, but it still looks really good.
Some more of that gorgeous ambrosia.

Everything is held within the frame by finishing nails. I drilled small holes all around the inside of the frame and then pushed the nails in. The holes I drilled were just slightly smaller than the nails, creating a snug fit.

Some simple finish nails were used to secure the back.

As already mentioned, I finished the frame with boiled linseed oil, which needs to be reapplied every year or so, and that really helped bring the frame to life. This project took me a few days, largely because of mistakes I made along the way. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out size ratios and of how I would secure the corners. Mitered corners have always presented a challenge to me and I almost always end up utilizing a different method. I am not sure why I have such difficulty with them. However, I am sure I will master them at some point!

If you enjoyed reading about this project or have any advice for me, either about the project or the way I presented it, please let me know in the comment section below. Thank you and have a great day.

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