Friday, September 12, 2008

Hear Those Sleigh Bells?

Christmas will be here before we know it and if you plan to make gifts, it might be a good time to start. If you're like me, projects usually take longer to build than anticipated.

Every adult on your list can always use two things—picture frames and cutting boards. (And gas cards if you plan to buy gifts instead of make them.)

You can make simple and attractive picture frames from 2" square pieces of wood. It's quick, it's easy, you can make a bunch at a time, and it cleans out your offcut bin.

I used purpleheart and yellowheart with ziricote pegs for this frame. The back is recessed with a router to allow space for glass, photo, and backer board, which are held in place with bent wire. The ends of the wire are glued into predrilled holes.

The frame stands upright with a dowel that is plugged into a matching-diameter hole. You can glue the dowel in place or not, if you want the option to hang the frame on a wall.

To glue up the frame, I used a jig made of 2 strips of pine screwed to a board, and a loose block of wood with a 90ยบ corner cut into it. (I drilled a hole at the cut-out corner of the loose block to allow for glue squeeze out on another project). The best thing about this jig is you only need one clamp to use it.

It's a good idea to lay a sheet of wax paper beneath the frame so it doesn't stick to the jig. The other thing I did was place a loose 2" square block in the middle of the frame to help keep the frame squares in alignment during glue up. Rub plenty of wax on the middle square so it won't stick to your workpiece.

Okay, elves...time to get to work!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Remember the Christmas you turned pens and you gave them to everyone...even people you didn't know!

Don said...

What a nice idea!!!!

Don

Charles said...

Let me guess.... you're the one who's always on time for meetings too, right?

Why is your mission to make the rest of slackers always look bad??? ;-]

I'm still confident that I can knock out some nice Chippendale pieces one of those weekends after Thanksgiving... mmmm... Turkey and Stuffing... where was I... ohhh, cool frame and enjoyed the post!

The Village Carpenter said...

Charles, I'm actually never on time for meetings...I'm always early. ; )

Dan said...

I like it! The one clamp jig is great too - I always enjoy seeing the variety of ways woodworkers meet the challenge of clamping. Some are impressively complex, but I prefer the straight-forward and simple. Thanks!

Dan said...

I like it! The one clamp jig is great too - I always enjoy seeing the variety of ways woodworkers meet the challenge of clamping. Some are impressively complex, but I prefer the straight-forward and simple. Thanks!

Dan said...

Oops! Not sure what happened there?

Oops! Not sure what happened there?

What! Stop!

Vic Hubbard said...

I like it! The one clamp jig is great too - I always enjoy seeing the variety of ways woodworkers meet the challenge of clamping. Some are impressively complex, but I prefer the straight-forward and simple. Thanks!



Oops! Not sure what happened there?

Oops! Not sure what happened there?

What! Stop!

OMG! Dan has taken over my computer with a replicating virus:D

I've still gotta come up with a quick Christmas gift. I might steal yours.

Gary said...

I get it! The picture frame doubles as a cutting board. Neat idea.

The Village Carpenter said...

Thanks Dan.

Um, thanks Dan.

Uh, no problem Dan.

Thanks Vic.

Hey, no problem Vic.

Gary....and it triples as a chess board. : )

Stephen Shepherd said...

Scrooge here, I buy presents for the few people I give presents to. My family draws names so I have just one gift to buy.

Why I don't make wooden items as gifts is that I make my living making wooden items and don't give them away, rather I sell them.

But that is just me, Happy Christmas everyone.

Stephen

Identity Mixed said...

Don't mention Christmas to me again.... at least until I figure out how to make a cheese Halloween costume.

The Village Carpenter said...

Stephen, I don't blame you. I wouldn't sell them either.

IdentityMixed, please post a photo of your son in the Halloween cheese costume once you've figured out how to make it.

rgdaniel said...

Okay, don't laugh, but I finally built one of these, (been saving it in Bloglines for like a year) and I have a couple of questions: (1) Since half of the joints are end grain to end grain, my first attempt fell apart when I tried to tap out the centre block... I ended up doing a "sizing" coat of glue before final glue up on my next try, seems to be holding... did you have this problem? (2) I was unable to get enough clamping pressure using this jig to get a squeeze-out bead, and ended up clamping across the normal way... more of a comment I guess... and (3) dumb question, how did you insert the square pegs?

The Village Carpenter said...

Bob, I'm sorry that you had so much trouble! I did not size the pieces and mine have held together for probably 17 years. I even taught a class on this and no one's fell apart. We only used one clamp with the jig. Did you put wax on the middle piece so it didn't stick? I wonder if you make the middle piece thicker so it stands proud of the others, if you could remove it while the frame is clamped in the jig. I don't know if the pieces would stay together if you did that, though.

You could also try cutting the corners off the center piece so it won't come in contact with the glue squeeze out.

I cut the square holes—which go all the way through—on a hollow chisel mortiser and glued the square pegs in them.

rgdaniel said...

Thanks Kari! And don't misunderstand, I wasn't complaining, just trying to learn... isn't end-grain to end-grain gluing thought to always be problematic? ... and yes, I did have a wee bit of stuckness despite waxing up, so had to hammer it a bit, which proved fatal!... I LOVE the idea of cutting corners (no surprise there, some would say) from the middle piece... but I honestly don't think that jig provides enough pressure... I only see the bead line you look for when I clamp it conventionally... still, a terrific little project, just my speed... thanks for sharing it

The Village Carpenter said...

I wondered the same thing when I first made the frames: are they going to fall apart because of the four end grain to end grain areas? I'm guessing it holds together because the pieces that are edge to edge (the 3 blocks on the left and the 3 on the right) provide enough strength to support the two middle pieces. If you were gluing 9 squares together all in one line, end to end grain, then I would imagine that they would fall apart under a small amount of stress.