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Thread: Why can't I make picture frames?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    3,737

    Why can't I make picture frames?

    I have always had trouble making picture frames and hate them.
    My DIL asked me to make a frame for my son's MA diploma. I made him one out of brown oak for his BA and she wanted one to match. Well, I can't get any brown oak and figured trying to match it would be a fool's errand, so I made it out of red oak, figuring they would go together because they had the same grain, but were obviously different woods. The first one was matted maroon (BC) and this one will be matted red (UW), so it seemed appropriate.

    I spent some time to make sure my kapex was perfectly adjusted, both vertically and horizontally. I cut my pieces and they are 45* dead on. I put them together and there is a space on the inside of all the corners big enough to slide a sheet of paper in. A little filler and no one will ever notice it, but WHY?!?!?!

    What could I possible be doing wrong?

  2. #2
    Use your tablesaw. Miter saws (even the festool) are not very accurate. Omga maybe, that's about all.
    Last edited by John Kananis; 11-27-2022 at 9:54 PM.

  3. #3
    I use my miter saw, then a shooting plane and board to refine.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

    “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
    Posts
    1,650
    My miter saws do a fine job as do the table saw, radial arm saw, wooden miter box, back saw, etc. Learning how to keep them all dialed in has been a 40 + year journey.
    Missouri, it's not that bad. Best Regards, Maurice

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    62,698
    Hearne carries English Brown Oak...one of my favorite non-cherry/non-walnut species.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Hearne carries English Brown Oak...one of my favorite non-cherry/non-walnut species.
    It was just one piece in with a lot of wood I bought at an auction. The edge of the board looked like normal red oak. I've never seen English oak, but presume it doesn't look like red oak.


    I will try the table saw next time.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    I use my miter saw, then a shooting plane and board to refine.
    This ^^^^^

    Or a miter trimmer. I found a Lion Miter Trimmer on Ebay and use it for every picture frame.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I have always had trouble making picture frames and hate them.
    My DIL asked me to make a frame for my son's MA diploma. I made him one out of brown oak for his BA and she wanted one to match. Well, I can't get any brown oak and figured trying to match it would be a fool's errand, so I made it out of red oak, figuring they would go together because they had the same grain, but were obviously different woods. The first one was matted maroon (BC) and this one will be matted red (UW), so it seemed appropriate.

    I spent some time to make sure my kapex was perfectly adjusted, both vertically and horizontally. I cut my pieces and they are 45* dead on. I put them together and there is a space on the inside of all the corners big enough to slide a sheet of paper in. A little filler and no one will ever notice it, but WHY?!?!?!

    What could I possible be doing wrong?

    I feel your pain. Seems like a simple project, but its not. Lengths have to be exact, and each miter joint has to be a perfect fit. Its one of those projects that
    is just not as simple as it seems.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post

    I spent some time to make sure my kapex was perfectly adjusted, both vertically and horizontally. I cut my pieces and they are 45* dead on. I put them together and there is a space on the inside of all the corners big enough to slide a sheet of paper in. A little filler and no one will ever notice it, but WHY?!?!?!

    What could I possible be doing wrong?
    Your miter saw is adjusted as close to 45 as you can measure - over the length of one piece. When you put eight pieces together the discrepancies add up. A sheet of paper is about .003" thick. Most miter saws have a bit of play in the bearings and wobble in the blade - the only ones I have used that give flawless results are made by Omga, but CTD saws are said to be equivalent. The cure is to use a rigid, perfectly adjusted cutting tool with solid length stops or tune up the imperfect joints by hand with a shooting board, sanding block or similar.

  10. #10
    Do the research, then buy yourself a Dubby for use on your TS. As to my Dubby, my only regret, is waiting so long to buy it. Jerry Cole has a video demonstrating his Dubby making various picture frames.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
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    1,650
    I find it much easier to pay attention to my power saws than to even think about trying to true up end grain with a plane and shooting board or sander. My saws are some of the humblest on this forum. With careful use and adjustment I have no problem with picture frames. Once again I try to point out that adjusting machines is a very big part of modern wood working.
    Missouri, it's not that bad. Best Regards, Maurice

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    FINGER LAKES AREA , CENTRAL NEW YORK STATE
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    Possibly some of the links here could help.
    https://www.google.com/search?client...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    6,756
    Spend an afternoon and make a nice picture frame sled, or jig for your Kapex out of quality materials.
    You may never get an exact 45degree angle from a mitersaw, or sled, but you can pretty easily get two 45 degree complimentary angles close enough to 90 degrees that the cumulative math doesn’t bite you in the end.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 11-28-2022 at 11:21 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    3,311
    It is impossible to make dead on 45 degree cuts and then have every miter open. How or what you are measuring with has to be part of the problem. You should make one 45 degree cut, then place the board on it's edge on a flat surface. Take the other piece and flip it over and place it up against the first cut. You should see no light through the seam. You must use stops to make each side absolutely identical.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    2,443
    Make a dedicated miter sled that is dead 90 degree, it doesn't matter if the 45's are dead accurate if you make each corner on the opposite sides of the slde that mate. I have never had problems.
    Miter saws (even kapex) are not going to beat this setup.

    doors22.jpg

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