View Full Version : Frame for Masters diploma completed

Jimmy Williams
04-20-2008, 7:23 PM
After asking many questions and viewing many posts on here, I have finally completed the frame for my brothers Masters diploma from the University of Oklahoma. The frame is made out of walnut with a maple and bloodwood inlay (the inlay resembles the school colors). The finish is 5 coats of Danish oil with 2 coats of Minwax paste wax as the top coat.

This project had many firsts for me and my woodworking skills. This was my first time using real wood (other than poplar), first time making and using inlay, first time with Danish oil and paste wax, also the first time dating a piece of my work using a quarter.

The quarter is from the state series and it just-so-happens that Oklahoma is one of the states for 2008 so it works out well that the diploma will be from the University. I love the figure in the maple and bloodwood (hopefully you can see them in the close up pictures). Not sure what the light areas in the walnut are as they don't appear in normal lighting.

Looking at the pictures now, I think the proportions of the frame may be off. I think the mat should be bigger which would pull the frame farther away from the diploma. Of course the LOML loves the frame and now wants one for the house. I have enough left over that I should be able to accommodate her wishes.

Let me know what you guys and girls think.

p.s. I have also submitted my donation to the site. The site is awesome and want to say thanks to all involved that keep it going.

Dewey Torres
04-20-2008, 7:55 PM
Homemade inlay... great! A picture frame was one of my first projects using inlay. Now I try to put a taste on everything (like a trademark). Keep it up!

David Tiell
04-20-2008, 8:02 PM
Nicely done! At least from the back of the frame it looks like the walnut might have a bit of figure to it too. As for the walnut portion of the frame, is it one piece with different profiles cut? Or did you cut two profiles, and glue one into the other? Would love to know what bits you used.

Again, great job!


Cary Swoveland
04-20-2008, 10:04 PM
A very nice frame, Jimmy. I think the proportions are fine. Cary

Jimmy Williams
04-21-2008, 7:50 AM
Nicely done! At least from the back of the frame it looks like the walnut might have a bit of figure to it too. As for the walnut portion of the frame, is it one piece with different profiles cut? Or did you cut two profiles, and glue one into the other? Would love to know what bits you used.

Again, great job!


Thanks Dave.
The walnut does have a bit of a figure to it as well although it is not as evident from the front of the frame as it is on the back. Too bad that side won't be viewed as much. As for the frame, it is one piece with different profiles cut into it. I have attached the drawing I used while making the frame. I have also labeled the cut order on the drawing as well. I referenced all of my cuts off of the lower left hand corner of the drawing/pieces of wood so that all of my cuts could be repeatable. That is why the rabbet was last to cut. It also provides more material on the router table when routing the decorative edge. The bits are both from Rockler. The cove end is just a 3/8" cove bit. The decorative end is a specialty moulding bit (item number 91859). I'd post the link but not sure if I can do that here or not. I think I have more money in the bits than I do the wood for this project.

Thanks for the comments

J. Z. Guest
04-21-2008, 8:36 AM
Very nice Jimmy.

To my eye, the frame's too big compared to the mat opening for the document. If I were to walk into a room with that hanging on the wall, it would take me a while to notice what is in the frame. But that is from a woodworker's persepective, and is certainly a nitpick.

I'm sure your bro will love it and treasure it. The quarter is a very classy touch.

alex grams
04-21-2008, 9:46 AM
I like it. though, being a graduate from Texas A&M I may be partially biased against a degree from OU;)

David Tiell
04-21-2008, 11:26 AM
Thanks for the details! Again, great looking frame, and I may have to use that to make a few myself.


Jim Becker
04-21-2008, 6:01 PM
Beautiful example of a built up/inlayed frame, Jimmy! Great work!

Richard M. Wolfe
04-21-2008, 7:07 PM
Very nice work, Jimmy. Matte might stand to be a tad smaller but works the way it is also.

John Thompson
04-25-2008, 9:07 PM
Excelletn job on those edges, Jimmy. Good for you and good for your mother for getting that degree.



Edit... correction to brother! he....

Mike Langford
04-25-2008, 9:07 PM
I LIKE IT! I think the proportions are just right! When the viewer looks at it....He/She will see everything (eventually!)

I'm sure you sized the matte opening to the size of the diploma.....and then left enough border around it to show off the frame too!!....

Great work on the inlay and the nice crisp miters!

Congrats to you and your brother!

Don Bullock
04-25-2008, 9:26 PM
Jimmy, that's beautiful!!! You just gave me a good idea. I should make a frame for my Master's Degree diploma and perhaps some of my other diplomas and awards.

Bob Grimshaw
05-23-2008, 1:46 PM
This a really wonderful frame, and one that I would like to emulate for my wife. I have never done inlay work before, and I'm curious about a couple of things here. Please excuse these very basic questions, and let me know if I should start a new thread on it:

1. Where did you get (what looks like) such intensely curly maple? It looks like its rippling every couple millimeters! It's really nice!

2. How did you joint the edges of the inlay pieces to each other and the outer maple to the walnut? It looks flawless!

3. How did you lay out the inlay? Did you put it in first and then miter the frame piece as a whole, or did you do something else?

4. Do you think it would be worth using curly walnut for this piece, or do you think the figure wouldn't show?

Thanks, and again, wonderful job!

Jimmy Williams
05-24-2008, 8:12 AM
Thanks Bob for the comments. Here is what I did to make the frame.

1. All of the wood in this frame came from my local Rockler store. I don't have a jointer or planer so I choose to buy the wood pre dimensioned. The maple was 1/8" thick (bought two boards) and the bloodwood was 1/4". Each board was around 5" wide and 24" long.

2. I guess I was lucky on the inlay faces being pretty straight. Also used a lot of clamps during the glue up of the inlay. I then used a stacked dado to cut the slot for the inlay. I used some scrap to get the right width of the dado before cutting the actual walnut.

3. I did place the inlay in first. I then routered the profiles and then finally cut the miters.

4. The walnut on this frame had a bit of curl to it as you can see in the picture of the back. It shows up a little on the front but not much.

Again thanks for the comments and let me know if I can help out any further.