Latest Frame Commission and Box Done

I recently received an order for two picture frames from someone in the Portrait Artists of Arizona, they will be used on paintings entered into shows so that’s exciting!  She asked for a fairly simple frame with a black finish.  Black seems to be “the new gold” as I’ve been doing quite a few of them lately, these will  be over red clay with the black rubbed back to expose the clay undercoat.  One is a 10″ square and the other is 12″ x 16″. Since these are for stretched canvas I needed to begin with 8/4 Basswood.  The profile is angular, after the wood was brought to thickness it was a matter of cutting the angles on the tablesaw and then refining them with a smooth plane.  Rather than take the time to set up a dado head to cut the rabbet it was easier to make about 3 cuts and then smooth out the top with a rabbet block plane — hand work is more enjoyable anyway!  Here’s a photo montage of the process:

Clamped and Glued

This part went pretty smoothly, the 8/4 Basswood was purchased at Timber Machinery in Tempe and was wide enough to get two pieces that were 3 1/4″ wide.  Instead of  working with long lengths of material, I cut each side of the frame oversized for profiling, that makes it easier and more accurate.  After mitering, each end had a biscuit slot (#20) cut and was glued and clamped up overnight.  The finish process has started, just waiting for the paint to set up so I can begin rubbing it back to expose the red undercoat.  That’s always tricky, never know how much or how little of that the client wants so this is where I use my own digression and “artistic license”!


In between steps on the frame project I managed to complete the larger Walnut box that has the Asa-no-ha inlaid top.  The measurements on this one is 6″ tall by 7 1/2″ wide and 14 1/2″ long.  Used the same finishing procedure with the Osmo PolyX that has become my finish of choice after decades of using Watco and my 3 part mix — EPA has forced changes to make it environmentally safe but that’s ruined the quality IMHO!  This is just a summary of the final steps for this project, details can be found in my previous blog.  Kumiko is definitely addictive and all of this is leading up to making a sofa table that will have Kumiko work sandwiched between two pieces of tempered glass on the top.  Here’s the final results for the latest box.

The tray is mitered; after plowing a groove for the bottom they were cut using a guide on the table saw.  I set a stop for the longest side and then use a spacer to accurately cut the short side being careful to keep them in the order they’re cut for grain pattern.  The bottom is a piece of Birch plywood rabbeted to fit the groove.  Packing tape assembly works well for a tray of this size.

A scrap of Birdseye Maple is used for the lid lift, rather than using a router this seemed like a good opportunity to hone chisel skills!


As I mentioned, Kumiko is addictive!  Final fitting of what I call the rim piece that sets it into the box and trimming the small locking pieces keeps you occupied!

I like it — on to the next challenge!


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
This entry was posted in custom profile, custom profile, Hand Cut Dovetails, Hand Tool Woodworking Class, Picture Frames and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Latest Frame Commission and Box Done

  1. Bill )Patten says:

    Good story John, I clicked the signup thing and now am getting your blog. I went to Amazon to get Osmo Polyx but there seemed to be several to pick from. I’ll email you for details. Looking forward to your next post

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Sofa Table with Kumiko : Starting Point | Woodworks by John

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