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Wedding Photo Frame

author-gravatar Clock_Man Apr 15, 2018

I followed Marc Spagnuolo's design that he featured in his Frames guild project over at TWWG. My frame was at quite a larger scale and I chose to use a different construction method than he did. The end result is the same, but a far more detailed build report can be found at for free.

I like to draw things on my bench because I know that way the dimensions are right where I need them. Once things get too cluttered the bench generally needs a flattening so it works out.

Breaking down stock with a panel saw is my go-to these days. It's quiet and gives me ample practice at tracking a line. I have a need for a proper saw bench, but for now I just bring it to bench height.

At this point I finally realized the scope of this frame and that it's possibly 2x as big as what I've previously done. This should be interesting.

Even though no one will ever notice, I made sure to bookmatch the pieces for each side. This is the first time when I didn't just use the board as is, but rather cut out sections from a larger board that contained the grain pattern that I wanted. 

Best way for me to measure is using the piece itself. I wanted to see how deep I had to make the rabbet in the out walnut frame to accept the cherry transition piece.

80% of the time, it works every time.

One of the many many clamping sessions this frame required. and each one required every small clamp I had in the shop.

This is me trying to get a visual image for how it's going to look. SPOILER: It doesn't work in my head until I cut some real miters.

At least I see how friggin huge it is.

Now we're talking.

Frame & matte to picture ratio is off the charts. #noregrets

I marked the matching corners and here I'm just trying to see if I need to tweak any of the miters. They were almost bang on, but I had to hit a few with a shoulder plane.

Normally when I make frames I use a spline or key, but the sheer size of this required something a little more robust. Thankfully I adopted a Festool Domino this year who was looking for a good home. I think I will use the domino here on out for frames, these are the second to smallest size available and they worked great. The 5mm dominos should be perfect for smaller frames I make in the future.

4 dominos is probably overkill, but w/e, I do what I want.


Good layout and a firm hand is key when boring the mortises. I used the tightest setting for the most strength in the joint.

The next departure from Marc's methods was using glue blocks instead of a band clamp to bring everything together. I didn't have one big enough to wrap the whole thing, so gluing on pine blocks was the next best thing. The trick here is to use a wood softer/weaker than your primary, so when you're done using them as clamping support, you just knock them off with a mallet and plane off the remaining material.

You can see here how easy these make what would otherwise be a handful of a glue up.

I made many many many trips back and forth to get each side to close up equally. A shop apprentice would have been great for this, but the boy isn't tall enough to reach the bench yet.


Perfect example, only the pine broke leaving unmarred walnut underneath.

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

Turned out so well, I think I'll have to make another for my own self portrait.

Back from getting the matting set and glass done. The frame shop did a number on the finish that I have to touch up, but live and learn. From now on I'll just buy the glass and do the setting on my own.

I think it worked out great though.


Great job on the frame, it looks amazing! 

Nobody ever really notices the bookmatching, but it makes all the difference.

Great job, looks terrific.

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