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Transform a plain top into a stylish surface

Here’s one technique every budding furnituremaker should know: how to make a framed top. A mitered frame adds a polished, professional look to a project, in the same way that a picture frame sets off a work of art. It also offers many practical benefits:

  • A frame can make a 3/4-in. or thinner top look much thicker, because the framing members can be thicker than the central panel.
  • A frame puts long grain on all four sides of a top, so every side looks the same when the top is finished. In a solid-wood top, the ends often appear darker, particularly if they’re stained.
  • A frame may be made from a contrasting wood, adding drama to a top’s appearance.
  • A frame may surround veneer laid in a pattern, such as a diamond shape.
  • A frame is more durable than thin edging, and can be shaped with a molding.

Generally, a framed top is built around a plywood panel. You can use commercial plywood, of course, but you also have an opportunity to make your own.


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