Some time ago, Fred and I arrange a trade for some audio/visual equipment I had for some art work of Fred's. It has taken me some time to get around to making a picture frame for Fred's art, but I recently found some rustic boards that I thought would help to augment the beautiful painting of Freds'.  The boards were a beautiful aged grey and were rough cut, which meant that getting straight edges would be a bit of a challenge, but I purchased enough material that I was confident I would get the right lenghts from. Some of the boards were partially live edge on one side and not on the other so I really had to pick and choose which parts of which boards would be suitable.  I did not want to change the outside of the boards, so the face side and the outside edges needed to be natural, as I found them.

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The first order of business was to cut the boards to a rough lenght, then then needed to be cut to width ...

Since some of the boards were somewhat warped on the outside edge, I could not run them through the table saw using the fence. I would make my cuts uneven at best and dangerous to cut at worst. This is where my table saw tapering jig comes in very handy ... one more time. This jig was designed to be both a tapering jig, but also to be able to cut boards that are uneven on one edge, like live edge boards and similar, and these boards were all uneven on the edges.

I needed to have straight sharp cuts on the inside because I needed to be able to cut a rabbet to accommodate the matting for the picture, and glass if I decide to put that on later. For now ... no glass, and especially no non-glare glass. Pictures are often hard to view when covered with glass because of the glare, and  non-glare glass make the images fuzzy so in this case I opted to try framing without any glass to allow viewers the best viewing of this art with no impediments.

Before I go too much further, I want to give you the facebook link to Fred Anderson's art -  in case you want to see more this fine artist's work.

After cutting the wood to length, then cutting it to width, next was to cut a rabbet out of the inside back of the wood. For this I used my table saw and simply made 2 cuts as you can see in the video.

The next thing to do is to cut the angles for the sides of the frame, easily the most important step and I will detail it here for those who ask how to make those measurements. 

Remember 3 Things
There are 3 things that are important in making picture frames - 1) the sides should all be the same width  2) each of the pairs of sides of the frames need to be exactly the same length tip to tip - so the top and the bottom need to be EXACTLY the same length, and the left and right sides need to be EXACTLY the same legtht  3) the corner cuts need to be exactly 45 degrees. If you do all these, you will end up with perfect joints.

Now for the measuring. Normally we are making picture frames for a specific size picture or print, so we really don't care what the finished outside measurements of the frame are. What we want is the rabbeted area inside the frame to be an exact sized to fit our picture (or matte).  Now is the time to measure how deep the rabbet of the frame is, or if you making the frame material, pick a size that will work. I often work with 3/8" (three eights of an inch)  square rabbet, just because it is easy to work with and works well on most frames. Now to figure out the length of the each of the frame sides, you need measure from the outside edge of the rabbet on one frame side, to the outside edge of the rabbet on the opposite frame side. This measurement is then transferred to the opposite frame sides to give you and exact size. Be sure to make these sizes a wee bit long so there is room to insert picture, matte and glass easily.

My barnwood wood, happened to be yellow cedar, not ideal framing material, but nice and light and easy to work with. The problem is it is quite porus and very poor to hold any kind of glue ont the edge grain. For this reason, I elected to use dowel which I have only done once before and it worked well then so decided to try them again this time ... and they worked perfect.  For those not familiar with the Dowelmax Jig, you can find it on that link. This was the perfect solution for this wood, it allowed the uneven face of the frame to come even on all corners and give a excellent strong bond, and I didn't even have to wait for the glue to dry ... I put the glue in, stuck all the dowels in and put the frame together and just kept on working ....

 Last of course was to put the wire hanger on the back, install the picture and matting and back it all with a firm cardboard backing. When I hung the picture up for the first time I was extremely happy with the results. The matting and the frame material didn't take away from the quality of Fred's original art but helped to make it stand out.  This also gave me an opportunity to try out my new self-leveling laser level tool from Tacklife. This unit works for anyone who needs to find a common level area, especially over a long area like when installing shelves, cupboards or even things like doors and windows that often need to be level and aligned. It comes with it's own clamping device but I used one of my tripods to set up the new picture and align it with others I already had, it worked great. You can check these out on Amazon if you woiuld like to know more.  Well, the whole picture frame experience, matting and framing was worth wait ... and now it sits in the perfect spot in our living room ...

Copyright Colin Knecht