Jan/Feb 2006
Volume 49
Issue 1
Project Articles
The Adjustable Shelf Bookcase
The Nesting Tables
The Lantern Holder and Toy Top
Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Making Picture Frames
Service Pointers
Speed Changer
What's New
Shopsmith Overarm Pin Router
Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You
National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH
Online Accessory Catalog
Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Links Worth Visiting
Free Woodworking Tips
Contacting Shopsmith
Copyright 2006
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Hands On

Notes from the Shopsmith Woodworking Academy
Making Picture Frames

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Jan., Feb., Mar., 1986 issue of Hands-On! All photos
shown in this article feature a Model 500 Shopsmith MARK V. It’s important to note that the set-ups and operations shown here are practically identical for newer model MARK V’s.
Note also that since 1986, Shopsmith has introduced a number of jigs and fixtures that will make many of these tasks easier. We will mention these new products, wherever applicable in this article.

Whether they’re grouped in patterns, hanging in pairs or sitting on a mantel, framed photos, original artwork, or prints can do a lot to add a touch of hominess and elegance to every room in the house. Likewise, a well-crafted frame will greatly enhance its content.

However, these days, purchasing solid wood frames can get very expensive…especially if they’re made from anything other than softwoods such as pine, hemlock, etc. Mention oak, cherry, walnut, rosewood or other exotic wood, and the price goes through the roof !

These frame designs and accompanying instructions will help you create a beautiful Shadowbox Style frame with sides that slope away from the walls at a 60-degree project angle. It will compliment your artwork…at a fraction of retail costs. Our example was made with conventional 1” cherry (3/4” thick). We chose some highly figured boards for a more dramatic appearance. It’s important to avoid using wood that’s cupped, warped or twisted.

All cuts shown here were made with Shopsmith’s (505570) 1/4" & 1/2" Combination
Quarter-Round Molding Cutter.


1): Rip your frame stock to 2-3/16” wide. Joint both edges, removing 1/32” from each side.

2): Raise your saw Table to allow 3/32” of Blade to project. Set and lock your Rip Fence 1/4" away from the Blade. Place your board’s good face down on the Table surface and pass the board over the Blade. Rotate your stock, placing the opposing edge of your wood against the Fence and make another pass (See Fig. 1).

3): To make a shadowbox style frame with a 60-degree project angle, start by tilting your saw Table to 21-degrees and your Miter Gauge to 49-degrees. Attach a Jig with a stop to your Miter Gauge, such as the shop-made example shown in Fig 2. Such Jigs will provide additional support for your stock…and allow you to cut duplicate pieces to the same length more easily. If you would prefer to purchase one of these Jigs instead of building it, check out Shopsmith’s 24” Aluminum Miter Gauge Extension …or our 20” Aluminum Miter Gauge Extension with Flip Stop .

4): Here’s the formula for determining the length and width of a desired picture frame:
Length (or width) of your artwork – PLUS - two times the stock width – MINUS – 1” (twice the width of a typical rabbet).

Here’s an example, based on an 8” x 10” artwork using 1-1/2” wide frame stock:
Length: 10 + (2 x 1-1/2) – 1 = 12” long
Width: 8 + (2 x 1-1/2) – 1 = 10” wide

5): Place your Miter Gauge in the right-hand slot ( See Fig. 3) when making all cuts. Use your Jig to control the left side of your board. For extreme accuracy, use a Hollow-Ground Planer Saw Blade .

6): Using the stop block on your Jig, set the distance from the block to the inside of the Blade’s teeth (See Fig. 4).

7): Flip your board end-for-end and make the second cut. Turn the MARK V off and allow the Blade to stop completely. Repeat the process above for the second and subsequent pieces of stock (See Fig. 5)

8): Change your stop black’s position and cut the other two sides of your frame (See Fig. 6).


1): Using Shopsmith’s Tenon-Master™ Jig , cut the spline kerfs into your miter cuts. With the Trunion held as shown in Fig. 6, attach the Tenon-Master Clamp to the left set of holes.

2): Keep your saw angle at the same 21-degrees you used when cutting the miters.

3): Mark an “X” on the inside faces of the mating corners to help you identify the stock for future cuts (See Fig. 7).

4): Place your stock against the Tenon-Master Trunion with the “X” against the metal face of the Jig. (See Fig. 8) Make sure your Toggle Clamp is adjusted to securely hold your frame pieces to the Tenon-Master while making your cuts.

5): Set your blade height to one-half the width of the splines you plan to use…plus just a “whisker” to allow for glue.

6): Loosen the Tenon-Master Knob and move the Jig toward or away from the Blade to position your spline kerf cut where you want it on your stock. NOTE: Be sure your cut’s location will not penetrate the wood’s surface.

7): Make your first and all similar cuts at the same time. Be sure your “X” marks are always against the metal face of the Tenon-Master (See Fig. 8).

8): Remove the four screws holding the Tenon-Master’s Toggle Clamp to its Trunion. Position and fasten the Toggle Clamp to the other set of four holes.

9): Again, with the “X” against the metal face of the Tenon-Master, cut your final four spline kerfs into their miters.

1): To safely perform this rabbet cut, your Rip Fence must be moved close enough to the rotating Saw Blade to cut the rabbet and still support the workpiece. To accomplish this, you’ll need to install and cut a zero-clearance Table Insert. Start by raising your MARK V’s Saw Table well above the Blade and replace its Insert with a blank piece of hardboard or a polymer Shopsmith Blank Table Insert .

2): Next, you need to tilt the Saw Table (or your Blade Arbor) to an angle that’s equal to the difference between the project angle (see the introductory paragraph of this article) and the work angle (the angle formed by its mating “corners”…in the case of our 4-sided frame, 90-degrees). In our case, that would be 90-degrees minus 60-degrees – or 30-degrees. (See Fig. 9). Now, with your MARK V running (and the Saw Blade you plan to use attached to the Arbor), slowly lower the Table onto the rotating Blade to cut a zero-clearance Blade slot.

3): Set your Saw Blade height to project 1/2"…and your Rip Fence to cut the width of your Saw Blade’s teeth. Make a first pass cut on all four pieces of your frame stock. For deeper rabbets, simply move the Fence a Saw Blade width closer to the Blade and make additional passes until you achieve the rabbet depth you want.

Caution: For safety purposes, make and clamp a large wooden featherboard such as the one shown in Figure 11 to your Saw Table surface to keep your hands clear of the rotating Saw Blade when making the cuts in step #3 above