Podcast #4: Building Picture Frames in Your Shop

Chris Fitch, senior designer for Woodsmith magazine takes you step-by-step through “building” picture frames. He offers pointers for making a one-piece molded frame and shows how to add contrasting wood to a basic frame. His easy-going style makes the entire process seem so simple.

In less than an hour, Chris manages to rout moldings for two frames, cut the rabbets and miters, glue the frame up (with some great tips for clamping), plus cut the mat and glass to size for a finished frame. Click on the thumbnail (or download the video to your hard drive) and join Chris in the Woodsmith Shop for a close-up view of how he does it.

14 Responses to “Podcast #4: Building Picture Frames in Your Shop”

Jim Crockett said,

Are there plans somewhere for the tablesaw miter sled used in this seminar? I don’t find a seminar handout available for this one or I would purchase it.


Joel Hess said,

Jim, The miter sled isn’t available for sale, but it’s pretty easy to build. I sent you a pm with details.

Best, Joel

Gene said,

Would you send me a copy of the plans for the miter sled?

Joel Hess said,

Gene, I think I could help you, but I need to know where to send it?

Joel Hess

John Recznik said,

Could I also get a copy of the sled plans, please. It really looks like this is the best way to go, as opposed to using the miter saw.


Ralph Attwater said,

I’ve been looking for some instruction on putting together picture frames, and I must tell you that this video was excellent. I learned a lot.
But could I also get a copy of the table saw sled plans?

Thanks – Ralph

Joel Hess said,

Thanks Ralph,

Chris Fitch does a great job with this seminar. In fact, he does such a great job, he was featured on Episode 106 of the “Woodsmith Shop.” The Woodsmith Shop is America’s newest woodworking show and it’s currently airing in Iowa only. But it will be available to local PBS stations throughout the country after the first of the year. If you’d like to see the Woodsmith Shop in your area, be sure to contact your local PBS station and let them know of your interest.

Here’s a link to the miter sled: Shop-Built Miter Jig

Joel Hess
Associate Editor

Bruce Benjamin said,

That was a very informative video for people who’ve never made frames before. I’ve made frames but I never thought of using copper strips like that.

The only problem I saw was that this was some of the scariest tablesaw and router table use I’ve ever seen on a video. His fingers were so dangerously close I couldn’t help but cringe. No guards, no push sticks, nothing to protect his hands in any way if the wood were to suddenly get kicked back. Safety glasses would’ve been nice too. I’m just not brave enough to EVER put my fingers that close to a spinning blade or bit.

I hope nobody new to woodworking watches this and thinks that what he was doing was in any way safe or smart, from a safety standpoint. I’ve never seen a better example of when to use a good pushstick.


Paula Turano said,


Could you please send me the plans for the mitre sled for picture frames. I do a good deal of needlework and would like to be able to frame it myself. This mitre sled would make it a breeze. Besides, my husband might even let me use his table saw if he thought there was less of a chance I could do anything to mess it up.


Paula Turano

Joel Hess said,


You can go to the Woodsmith Shop website and click on Miter Jig Plan to get your free plan.


stan mashek said,

I would like to say Chris did a EXCELLENT JOB showing all of us how to make picture frames. Thanks so much.. stan

Mike McGrath said,

I am very disappointed to see a “professional” teaching people to put their fingers so close to a saw blade and a router bit. Push sticks should be used to keep fingers a minimum of 3″ away from the cutters. I would expect Woodsmith to teach safe shop practices.

Jason Odermatt said,

I am just getting re started in wood working after 18 years since High School. And I am having trouble cutting my miters to the correct size for my pictures; I just can’t seem to measure correctly for the cut. Like for a 10×12 photo what be the cut length or how to measure for the cut. Thank you

rita said,

Jason, great questions it took me forever to figure it out. You need to cut 2 times the width of the inset. I used 1/4 inch inset and had to make my lengths 1/2 inch longer. So for a 20 inch side, I cut it at 20 1/2 inches long