Custom Picture Frame
This custom picture frame is made in the woodworking shop. Black walnut is the primary wood choice for the picture frame and a hardwood inlay pattern known as the “feather pattern” is applied to the wood project. The overall dimensions of the custom picture frame are 11- 3/4” x 13-1/2″ x 3/4″. Each interior corner has a 1/8″ thick walnut triangle that is notched into the frame. Splined miter joints are employed by the woodworker to both strengthen and adorn the decorative picture frame.
“There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge, but can never prove how it got there.” Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Theoretical physicist.
1.) A dado blade set was installed on the tablesaw to create the groove which houses the hardwood inlay. Featherboards were used to minimize the possibility of kickback and also to maintain control of the cut during this procedure. The dado blade set and the featherboard were also used to create the rabbets for the walnut picture frame.
3.) A tenon jig for the tablesaw was used to create the slots for the splined miter joints.
Feather Pattern of Hardwood Inlay
The total width of hardwood inlay feather pattern is 1/2″. This is comprised of a 1/8″ mahogany borders, a 3/32″ center strip of black walnut, an alternating pattern of maple and cherry (each segment is 3/32″), and four negative spaces.
My goal for this custom picture frame was to reveal the lovely grain of the walnut while embellishing the frame with the hardwood inlay. The black walnut creates a dark backdrop while allowing the contrasting lighter wood tones such as the mahogany border and the maple interior to stand out. These varying wood tones and their resulting patterns cause the viewer’s eye to travel to and fro within the custom picture frame.
Balance, Stability, and Movement
My goal for this custom picture frame is to have a combination of balance, stability, and yet movement.
Here’s how I tried to attempt balance and stability:
1.) Each interior corner has a similar walnut triangle of horizontal grain direction.
2.) The negative spaces of the top and bottom rails are symmetrical to one another as are the stiles.
3.) The 4 miter joints mirror one another.
4.) The interior rabbet is equal at the top and bottom as well as from side to side.
5.) The hardwood inlay is centered in the walnut rails and stiles of the custom picture frame.
6.) The direction of the hardwood inlay pattern is balanced from side to side and & also top and bottom.
Here’s how I attempted movement:
1.) The walnut grain pattern of the custom picture frame creates a subtle movement for the eye to travel.
2.) The interior walnut triangles point outward. Their silhouette of the lighter picture creates an irregular octagon thus causing subtle eye movement for the viewer.
3.) The combination of the miters, walnut triangles, negative spaces create directions for the eye to travel inwards towards the center of the picture as well as outwards.
4.) While the hardwood inlay pattern appears centered in the walnut rails and stiles of the custom picture frame, notice that the interior rabbet of the frame creates a subtle shift in eye movement inward towards the picture.
5.) The contrasting wood tones create an interplay resulting in eye movement.
6.) The contrasting direction of the hardwood inlay feather pattern causes the eye to travel.
Weldwood plastic resin glue was used for the splined miter joints of this custom picture. The same glue was used during the entire process of the hardwood inlay.