Mission Frame Finished

I’m still working on the Greene & Greene cabinet, but I made a side trip to build a Mission-style frame for the guest room.  The size and design were constrained by the left over white oak I had on and and the picture my wife wanted to display.  The frame is mortise-and-tenoned together, with the top being 7/8″ thick, the sides 3/4″ and the bottom rail 5/8″ thick.

Mission picture frame, dry fit

Mission picture frame, dry fit

Once the frame was roughed in, I shaped a subtle peak in the top (it tapers off 1/4″ to each side) and rounded the top corners.  I chamfered the edges and glued it up.

(there was an intervening trip to the ER for some stitches in between, but I won’t bore you with that).

Meanwhile, the square punches my wife got me for Father’s day arrived, and I immediately putt them to use.  Since the frame was already sanded and glued up, I didn’t want to layout the locations for the ebony plugs on the wood.  Instead I printed out full scale templates, and made patterns.

Full scale printout of plug locations

Full scale printout of plug locations

I glued the printouts to some 1/4″ MDF, and cut them out.

Templates ready

Templates ready

This made it pretty easy to position the square punch where it belonged.  I just flipped the pattern over to the the left side of the frame.

Punching mortises for ebony plugs

Punching mortises for ebony plugs

Then I made a batch of ebony plugs (I’m getting this down to a science now) and glued them in.

Ebony plugs glued in

Ebony plugs glued in

I used the same finishing schedule as the cabinet and sconces in the room — Brown Mahogany TransTint dye, Candlelite gel stain, linseed oil, garnet shellac and dark brown wax.  This picture shows just the dye and stain coats applied so far.

Starting to build up the finish

Starting to build up the finish

I wrapped up the project this morning with a couple of coats of shellac, a quick rub with 0000 steel wool and brown wax.  I used “single strength” glass, which they cut slightly oversize (grrrr!) and I had to cut 1/8″ off the edge.  If you’ve ever cut glass you know that’s not a great situation, but I pulled it off.

In retrospect, I should have made the rebate deeper than 3/8″ or used thinner backer material because there wasn’t much roll for brads to hold these parts in the frame.  It looks great in the room.

Apparently I need to hurry up and finish the Thorsen cabinet so I can make a bookcase for the room next.

Finished frame, assembled and hung

Finished frame, assembled and hung



Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Mission Frame Finished

  1. Nice!

  2. Hi Joe,
    two things – 1 You can’t mention stitches and not tell why
    2 – what do you think of the square punches? Did you get the drill bit for them also?

  3. Hi Ralph,

    On #2, I like the square hole punches. I got the corresponding brad point drill bits from Lee Valley too. They do just what they claim to do. A first trial on White Oak showed that I had to hit them a little harder to drive them in that I’d expected — but it’s Oak after all. It’s pretty tough stuff, I broke two drill bits drilling pilot holes for #4 screws on the cabinet I made. With the drill bits it was about $200 for the set, and I’m pleased with them. I’ll give a full report once I’ve used them a bit more.

    On #1, it was a sad day at the router table. I was using it to cut a stopped groove for the glass rebate and it yanked the part out of my hand. It’s embarrassing, I try to work pretty carefully, and this happened in a split second of inattention. As a result I spent the next 5 hours progressing from the local “urgent care” office to the emergency room at the hospital, and finally to a plastic surgeon who ultimately did the honors. That was *so* not fun.

  4. Hi Joe,
    hope you heal well and fast.

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