In this article I will go over the process of making picture frames using a mitered half-lap joint. This is joint is easier than it looks and results in a very strong frame.

Tools used

Affiliate links are used on this page. See my disclosure page for info on affiliate programs.

This joint is much stronger than a normal miter and, I think, looks better than a normal half-lap. I had four 16x20 prints done using some images from NASA. The frames are made from solid cherry left over from my credenza project. I just used scraps of what I had for backers for the prints. Two of them were made from foam board, the other two from some wainscoting left over. The prints were glued using spray adhesive. I was going to use glass fronts, but gave up after breaking a few pieces.
The frames were sealed with two coats of shellac.

I started off milling the boards and cutting them to size. Once the boards are to size, I started with the short ends and cut a half-lap joint into each end with the table saw. I do not have a dado blade, so I did this in multiple passes with a single blade.

After the half-laps were done, I moved over to the miter saw and cut 45° off of the ends. This finishes up the short sides.

Now I move over to work on the long sides. I use the miter guage on my table saw with the blade set to the same height as for the earlier half-laps. On one end per board, I cut out a 45° half-lap in the long pieces up until I get to the 45° line from the corner of the board to the length of the half-lap. Then I flip the miter guage and do the same to the opposite end.

Once this is done, they go together like this.

Glue them up, sand and finish. I sanded to 220 grit and finished with Shellac, thinned down with a bit of denatured alchohol, sanding between coats with 220.