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Make Quartersawn Picture Frame Stock

Make Quartersawn Picture Frame Stock

If you’ve got some spare 8/4 (2-in.) lumber lying around your shop, it’s easy to transform it into stunning quartersawn wood for your picture frame. Quartersawn figure in almost every wood is really something special, and quite different from species to species. Even an ordinary piece of thick oak, maple or cherry has a surprise waiting within it.


Mark both ends of a milled 8/4 board with a series of parallel lines that run at right angles to the growth rings. Tilt the blade to match the angle of the first cut—just eyeball it. Move the fence and make the second cut at the same angle.

Next, turn the board around and repeat the same procedure for the other outside edge. Continue to work your way from the outside in, so the last cuts you make are for the center pieces, where your drawn lines are almost vertical.

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Return the blade to 90 degrees and saw off the angled edges. Make sure the edge that runs along the fence has the point facing up. If it faces down, it could get trapped underneath the fence. Run the pieces through the planer, and you’re ready to make a very special picture frame.




This story originally appeared in American Woodworker January 2005, issue #112.

January 2005, issue #112

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Router Table Box Joints

Router Table Box Joints

The perfect fit comes easily with a simple shop-made jig.

By Tom Caspar

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Box joints are a cinch to make on a router table. All you need are a sharp bit and a basic plywood jig.

The biggest problem in making box joints has always been getting a precise fit, because the line between success and failure is only a few thousandths of an inch thick. Fortunately, the solution simply requires that your jig be easy to adjust, not difficult to make. I’ve added a microadjust system to my jig that is incredibly precise but takes only a minute to put together.

This jig is designed to make 1/2 in. box joints in stock up to 5 in. wide. It’s dedicated to only one size of router bit. To make wider or narrower box joints, you must build another jig. For box joints wider than 1/2 in., you’re better off using a tablesaw and a different kind of jig. If your project requires box joints that are more than 5 in. wide, widen the jig accordingly.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker March 2005, issue #113.

March 2005, issue #113

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Four-Sided Quartersawn Table Legs

Four-Sided Quartersawn Table Legs

How to rout lock miters on narrow pieces.

By Tom Caspar and Stewart Crick

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If you spotted an oak leg with quartersawn figure on all four sides, your first reaction might be: That’s neat! But if you know wood, your second reaction ought to be: Now, how did they do that?

Well, there’s more than one way. You could make a solid, plainsawn leg and glue quartersawn veneer on all four sides. Or you could make a leg from quartersawn wood and veneer just two sides. Or you can do what L. & J. G. Stickley did over one hundred years ago, in the heyday of the Arts and Crafts era, and make the leg from four interlocking pieces of solid wood. This method is the most durable type of construction because there’s no chance of veneer flaking off. Using a modern lock miter router bit, it works well for any size leg, big or small.

Figuring out how to make these lock miters safely and accurately on a narrow leg can be quite a challenge. On each piece, one lock miter is routed with the piece held vertically; the other is routed with the piece held horizontally. The problem, as you can readily see, is that the pieces have very small bearing surfaces. The solution: make a push block and a jig to hold the pieces rock steady for each pass.

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8. Glue four identical pieces to make the leg. The interlocking miters prevent the pieces from slipping side to side.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker April/May 2009, issue #141.

April/May 2009, issue #141

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Tips for Better Picture Frames

Tips for Better Picture Frames

Frame like a pro with simple tools.

By Dave Munkittrick

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Blind splines

Until somebody discovers a miracle glue for end grain, miter joints will need reinforcement. Nails work, but pounding them in delicate frame material can be risky. Blind splines offer invisible reinforcement without nails. Cut the slots on a router table using a guide board and a 1/8-in. slot cutter. Each piece is cut face up (mark the faces as a reminder). Feed the stock from the right for one cut and from the left for the second cut.

Cut the splines from a strip of hardwood with a 1-in. plug cutter and orient the grain perpendicular to the joint for strength.

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Four-point frame clamp

This shop-made frame clamp puts equal pressure on all four corners of your frame at once, for quick, hassle-free assembly. Use scraps of paper towel under each joint to absorb glue squeeze out. Set the pivoting corner blocks to fit your frame. Apply enough clamp pressure to hold the frame together but still allow you to align the pieces for a perfect fit. Finally, clamp tight.

 


Matting and mounting

 

1. Lay out the mat opening with a marking gauge. You can easily make your own from a block of wood and some 5/8-in. dowel.


4. Position the artwork in the mat opening. A simple block of wood with some acid-free mat board glued on the bottom keeps the artwork from shifting as the mat is raised and lowered for positioning. Don’t be tempted to use your finger as a hold-down, acids and oils from your skin will cause the artwork to deteriorate over time.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker August 2001, issue #88.

August 2001, issue #88

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& Spline Paneled Door">Slot & Spline Paneled Door

Slot & Spline Paneled Door

Hands down, the easiest way to make a frame-and-panel door.

By Tom Caspar

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A good-looking frame-and-panel door is really quite easy to make, if you keep it simple. The doors in this cabinet are held together by splines made from 1/4-in. plywood. The panels are 1/4-in. plywood, too. The splines and panel fit into the same size slots in the stiles and rails.

All you need to make a slot-and-spline style door is a router table and a 1/8-in. slotting cutter (see photo, right). Plywood is usually undersized, so a 1/4-in. cutter would be too big. Instead, you’ll make two slightly overlapping passes using the 1/8-in. cutter. That way, you can adjust the slot’s width to perfectly fit your plywood, whatever its actual thickness.  

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A 1/8-in. slotting cutter is the only bit you need to make this door. 



This story originally appeared in American Woodworker March 2006, issue #120.

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& Tenon">Wedged Mortise & Tenon

Wedged Mortise & Tenon

This joint will never loosen!

By Tom Caspar

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Tap, tap, tap. The wedges go home, the glue squeezes out and a big smile lights up your face. “This joint isn’t coming apart for a hundred years,” you say. “It’s as solid as a rock!”

Making a wedged mortise-and-tenon joint is richly rewarding. Once you understand how it works (see photo, below), you can’t help but admire the joint’s elegant simplicity. It also sends a message. A wedged joint says to one and all, “This was made by a skilled woodworker.”


How the Joint Works

Here’s a cutaway view of a wedged mortise-and-tenon joint. Driving in the wedges forces the tenon to flare into a fan or dovetail shape. The mortise is tapered to match the angle of each wedge. Like a dovetail, this joint can’t pull apart after the wedges go home.

This tenon has two unusual features: saw kerfs that create flexible strips and holes that disperse the strain that the wedges create. The wedges cause the strips to bend; the holes prevent the bend from splitting the rail.

 

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker July 2006, issue #122.

July 2006, issue #122

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