An Arts and Crafts Picture Frame

throughTenonFrameI was delighted to find this Hokusai print while in Kyoto and wanted to build a frame with an Arts & Crafts influence. I didn’t have to look far for a suitable design–several American Arts & Crafts makers produced mirrors in this style with the stiles capturing rails in through tenons.

I cut the stiles to size and chopped the through mortises, then turned my attention to the rails. I defined the tenon shoulders on the table saw, then cut the cheeks on the bandsaw. With joinery cut, I could fine tune the tenons. And that’s where my trouble began. I was trying to separate a too-snug tenon from its mortise when the mortise snapped. Disgusted, I put aside the frame and moved on to other projects.

Over the intervening months, the parts surfaced in the shop on occasion, but I ignored them until a coupon at local frame shop prompted me to revisit the project. Unable to face through tenons again, I  decided to use false through tenons. The Domino made quick work of the loose tenon joinery, and I chopped shallow mortises for the false tenons with a mortising chisel.

Pre-finishing the parts made sense, so I sanded through 220 and applied a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil before assembly. After glue up, I routed the rabbets for the glass and art, then cleaned up the corners with a chisel. Then it was off to the frame shop for UV protected glass and mounting.

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