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Another late Xmas project by Darrell LaRu

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One of the Xmas gifts I had to come up with was for my sister-in-law.

The theme was 'pictures', so it was pretty wide open. I decided to make her a picture frame. I've done similar things before, and I recall that it was very expensive to get glass and mattes cut to fit a custom frame.

So, this time I bought a cheap frame and pulled the glass & matte out of it for the frame I was building. Instead of challenging my local picture framing store to cut glass to fit my frame, I am being challenged to build a frame to match the glass.

Since I had recently done some carving, and I can still use a bit of practice, I decided that I should put some carved details on the frame. I dredged a few interesting images and patterns up from the Internet. I looked over the molding planes on the shelf, and picked a couple of likely prospects and some scrap pine for a sample.

The sample turned out OK, but was more of a 'you get the idea' (TM Roy U) thing than a definitive specimen. My wife offered some opinions and I went back and made a couple more samples, but as it turned out, the first one was definitely the best.

I selected some butternut for the frame, and broke it down to manageable size using the bandsaur and thickness planer (so much for the ENB label, eh?). Then a quick cleanup with a jack plane to remove planer & saw marks and make sure that the stock was all the same width. I examined each piece to determine which face and edge were to be the 'show' faces, and to grade the stock for grain.

Since I am molding both edges of the material, I need stock with very straight grain because I will be running my planes in both directions. I identified the best four pieces and marked the reference faces.

Time to get down to the real work. I set up my fillister plane (a Stanley #78 in this case) to cut a rebate to match the one in the original crappy plastic frame, and worked the rebates on all four pieces.

Then it was the inner 5/16 bead on the face of the frame.

No maker's mark on this plane but it is boxed. I had to be careful to make sure I was putting the molding on the correct edge (above the rebate). This plane has some issues with the cutter. I think the profile of the outside of the quirk is wrong. It's pushing the plane over a bit on each subsequent cut, which produces a deformed bead. Still looks OK, but is too uneven if you are after perfection.

I'll have to fix that some day (yah, right after I finish the other 10,000 projects).

The larger 1/2 inch bead (another no-name plane, this one is unboxed) on the outer edge of the frame works fine. This left a square central potion of the molding.

I used a #8 Griffiths hollow plane to round this over to create a half inch wide hump between the beads.


Woodworker's Guide to Wood Collection only $79.99 at Shop Woodworking

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