Picture this: your favorite family
photo in a frame made of
wood harvested from your
own backyard. Believe it or not, there
are some real diamonds in the rough
to be found in firewood or even fallen
limbs, and the best part of all—it’s free!
First, run the flat of the log on your
jointer to create a reference surface
for sawing the log on the bandsaw
(Photo 1). Then, create a 90˚ edge to
use against the fence of your bandsaw.
Mark each piece in the order it comes
off the log. This helps you orient the
grain when you build the frame. Sticker
your best pieces indoors and let them
dry. Use a moisture meter to test for a
moisture content of around 8% before
using your wood.
Once your wood is dry you can start
to build the picture frame. Joint and
plane each piece to a uniform thickness.
On the bandsaw, rip the pieces
down so they are somewhat equal in
width. Then joint the inside edges so
they can register against the fence of a
miter box. Cut miters on all the ends.
With a bark edge it’s hard to take precise
measurements, so a little bit of trial
and error is required to get good miters
on all four corners.
Dry fit the frame and even up the
inside edges (Photo 2). Cut the inside
edge profile on the bandsaw and sand
it smooth. You’ll have to cut a rabbet
on the back of the frame to hold your
picture. Use a router table and a rabbeting
bit set deep enough to accommodate
glass, matting, picture and
backing (approx. 3/8"). Glue one joint
at a time. To avoid damaging the bark
edge, use your hands to clamp the joint
Highland Woodworking, highlandwoodworking.com, 800-241-6748, Titebond Wood Molding Glue, #165024.
Rustic Wood: Your woodpile, your neighbor's woodpile, fallen limgs, storm-damaged trees.
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker August 2000, issue #81.
August 2000, issue #81
Purchase this back issue.
1. Saw the log into 1” thick slices. After each cut, joint the log's edge to smooth the face of the next piece. Set the slices aside to dry.
2. Mark the inside edges for
trimming while holding the outer edges flush at the corners. You can
shoot for a perfectly straight inside edge or follow the grain for a
more natural look. Letter each miter joint for easy identification.
3. Clamp the joints with your hands—the most versatile clamps in your shop! Usually a few minutes of hand pressure results
in a good initial tack set. Let the glue cure a good half-hour before
moving on to the next joint.