Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mission Style Picture Frame

I mentioned doing a small Mission style picture frame out of walnut and it's almost complete.  I'd forgotten how small pieces such as this can be a challenge.  The frame members are 7/8" thick with the sides being 1 1/4" while the top and bottom are 1" wide.  I remembered (too late) that when cutting through mortises near the top of a piece you should leave the end long and trim after the joint is completely fitted. I think the proper name for that is a horn and it's purpose is to minimize the risk of splitting the thin end of the piece.  Happily, if you too forget this it can usually be repaired with a little glue and clamp.  The tenons are 3/8" thick and to chamfer the ends of them I used an old, Stanley plane that my stepson brought back from a trip to England.  I sharpened it and it did a good job on the chamfers.  I've received the small size kit from Lee Valley for making a wooden spokeshave which will give more control on these small chamfers.

At this point I've just completed gluing the frame together.  It wasn't too warm in the shop and the glue was pretty thick so I warmed it up with a sink full of hot water!  This was my first opportunity to use the torsion box as an assembly table and it worked well.  The detail I wanted to show here is how you can make a U-shaped caul when you glue tenons that are proud of their mortises.  I used very little glue, which once it was warm  was easy enough to spread inside mortises.  Rather have too little glue than have a mess oozing out.  As far as strength there really isn't much required for a picture frame and tomorrow I'll be drilling for the ebony pegs that go completely through the joint.

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