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