Making picture frames requires certain unique tools in order to do the job properly. If you spend the time and the money for materials, you want to make a frame that is serviceable and attractive.
After selecting the proper materials to construct a frame, you will need to choose the correct tools for the job. First a router is required to inlet the back of the frame so that when assembled, there will be a channel for the glass, photo and backer board. The router can be used to run the length of the entire piece of stock prior to sawing the miter angles. You will need to determine the depth and width of the in-letting and select the proper router bit for the job. If you are removing a lot of stock from the wood, it may be necessary to make several passes and adjusting the depth after each pass.
Another requirement is a miter saw. This can be as simple as a wooden or synthetic miter box and a backsaw, or as sophisticated as an electric compound miter saw. The electric saw is much quicker an does a neat job. If you opt to use the basic miter box and back saw, you will need to take special care in cutting or you will waste a lot of material due to sloppy or incorrect cuts.
When cutting the frame, the old adage "measure twice and cut once" applies. Be sure that you have marked the proper dimensions on your material and cut carefully, staying on the cut line.
After the parts are cut, a frame clamp to secure the mitered parts together is essential. The parts should be laid out on a flat surface and the clamp used to align and hold the parts together. Prior to final tightening, use a good quality wood glue to coat the mitered ends. Tighten the clamp, forcing the ends together. Leave clamped several hours, following directions on the glue container.
If desired for additional security, small gauge wire nails can be used on the mitered corners. The light gauge wire nails will minimize the chance of splitting the wood which would be unsightly. This will require a lightweight hammer for nailing the parts together.
Sandpaper for hand sanding or an electric sander will be required to sand the frame and remove any burrs or rough wood prior to finishing. You must select either a natural stain or paint to finish the wood. It is a personal choice and is dependent on the furnishings in the area that you plan to use the frame.
After sanding, painting or staining, and allowing the frame to dry, check to see if another coat is needed. In the case of stain and even some paints, you may want to apply a sealer finish coat for a glossy look.
At this point, you should be ready to insert the glass, photo and backer board into the frame. Special tools are available that can be gripped like pliers that force a small metal insert into the edge of the frame and hold the backer board and other parts in place. This tool is called a fitting tool and it uses rigid inserts. Check www.logangraphic.com for details about this tool and inserts.
The last things that you will need are frame hangers to attach to the back of the frame. Most of these have saw tooth edges to allow easy leveling of pictures. Measure the width of the frame to find the center point and attach the hanger with 1/2 on each side of the center line.
If you plan to hang the picture where a stud is not available in the wall, use special hooks that can be nailed at a 45 degree angle to increase holding power. If the frame is heavy, it may require the use of screw eyes on each side of the frame and picture wire attached to the screw eyes for hanging. In that case, the wall hook should be nailed into a stud, or special wall inserts for wallboard are required. The special inserts will require a hole to be drilled with a hand drill and the inserted tapped or screwed into the wall board. This will allow heavy frames to be hung securely and in the case of extremely wide and heavy frames, two wall hooks may be required.
Following these basic principles will assure that your frames will be attractive and will be hung securely to display your photos, prints or other art pieces.