Miter-Free Picture Frames
By Tim Johnson
Mitered corner joints define
most picture frames—but not
these! The Framed Frame (top right) goes
together with half-laps, the Magnetic Frame
(middle) employs butt joints and the
Grooved Frame (bottom) is simply edgeglued.
These distinctive frames share another
common trait—they’re routed. All three
frames are made using a router table; the
Framed Frame also requires a small handheld
router. Most of the routing is done with
different types of straight bits (flush trim pattern
bits and a spiral bit). You’ll also need a
You can make any one of these frames in
less than a day. They’re all made from 3/4-
in.-thick boards—at most, you’ll need a couple
board feet per frame. Simple jigs and fixtures
make each frame a perfect candidate
for making multiples, so they could also be a
great solution for your scrap stock problem.
Click any image to view a larger version.
1. Create two-tone blanks for the
2. Saw rabbets for the half-lap joints
3. Create the framed edges by
4. Rout stopped rabbets for the glass.
5. Clamp the joints with spring clamps
1. Lay out two corner sections on each
2.Cut the short legs to final length
Caution: The blade guard must be
3. Rout the inside edges with a 1-in.-dia.
4. Flip the workpiece over to rout the
5. Rout a centered slot in each piece.
6. Reduce the slots’ depth to 3/16-in.
7. Drill holes for the rare earth magnets
1. Rip 1-1/16-in.-wide pieces from 3/4-
2. To glue the blank together, stand
3. Rip the blank into three pieces. Then
4. Glue the outer pieces back together
5. Position the fence so the frame’s
6. Rout the first groove on the face.
7. Use a sled with a support block (Fig.
8. Remove one spacer from each side.
9. Rout the remaining grooves in
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