Diane is currently working on a painting that will look better with a more contemporary frame than the molding I had milled at Barger Molding. I always like the challenge of creating my own profile from rough stock plus it gives me an opportunity to work with the two new planes from Veritas, the plow and skew rabbet. Unfortunately, no local supplier had any 6/4 Basswood so I made a lot of sawdust and purchased some 8/4 instead. The process started by flattening one side with the scrub plane then using the planer to bring it to the required size — hybrid woodworking at its’ best. The painting is 9″ x 12″ so the choice was to cut 4 separate pieces rather than trying to plane and form two longer pieces. The profile is a fairly simple one as most contemporary profiles tend to be, it will be silver gilded.
Overall dimensions are 1 3/8″ x 3 5/8″. Cutting the 15° and 20° angles was done on the table saw then cleaned up with a smooth plane to remove the saw marks. The sight edge is the shorter one and in hindsight, I should have planed the rabbet before cutting the longer, 15° angle on the other side. It would have been easier to secure the board in the vise without the angled face — next time! Since the plow plane works best with a 90° corner, the edge I’m pointing to with the pencil was also cut at 15° to achieve that.
I’ve always liked the simplicity of beaded surfaces and in the past, created them with either a shop made scratch stock or the Lie-Nielsen # 66 bronze beading tool. An early frame I did of smoked poplar was completely done with that tool. That is a great way to add details to your work but, unfortunately; Basswood is too soft for that process. That’s why I was so excited about the small plow plane and the beading cutter!
Okay, enough back story, let’s get into this project. After roughly shaping the stock, the first step was to cut the rabbet which, as this picture shows; created lots of shavings. It was a bit of a process to get the blade adjusted exactly where it needed to be but with the set screws used position the blade it should be a one time deal. Yes, a tablesaw could have accomplished this in no time but hand tool work is soothing and I enjoy the process. It took around 40-50 passes to cut the 1 1/8″ wide by 3/16″ deep rabbet in all of the pieces. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to bore you with this video (2 parts) and share my enjoyment with you!
Since watching it in it’s entirety may be as exciting as the proverbial “watching paint dry” I broke it into 2 segments. Here I’m just going down to the final dimensions:
Hopefully you’re not too bored watching these videos and found something informative in them. Let’s continue with the Veritas small plow plane this time outfitted with a 1/4″ bead blade. This was also great fun and only took 16-20 passes to cut the beads. For some reason two of the pieces of Basswood developed this stringy cut, the others cut cleanly from start to finish:
All that remained was to cut the miters and slots for the #20 biscuits and glue it up. Remember the angled outside corner? Well, that created a problem when it came to the assembly process. I use a Merle band clamp for assembly purposes and the jaws are 90°, the outside of the frame is 15° so it wouldn’t clamp securely. Lucky for me, the cut off pieces were still by the saw so short pieces were attached to the corners with double-back tape — now I was able to glue the frame together.
Next up is the final preparation, gilding, and toning and hopefully it’ll be a great complement to Diane’s latest work.