Handmade oak picture frame

Last Friday was my and my wife’s fifth wedding anniversary. The traditional gift for a fifth anniversary is apparently wood, and with Wood being our name and woodworking my newly rediscovered hobby I thought I had to try and make a special gift to mark the occasion.

Handmade oak photo frame
A photo frame I made by hand from some oak firewood, as an anniversary present for my wife

I had previously not worked with hardwood at all. Recently I took delivery of some hardwood offcuts from local specialists British Hardwoods which are really supposed to be fuel for our woodburning stove, but as I was stacking the firewood I found a few slightly larger pieces that looked potentially useful, so I kept these to one side.

Using my Aldi bandsaw I cut some small boards and then planed them square by hand – which took a bit of practice. My first attempt I had to discard since I kept planing it out of square until it was too small to be usable. After a while I figured out the correct technique and ended up with four suitably sized pieces.

I followed Paul Sellers’ video on a tenoned mitre joint for the corners and while a few of my cuts were a bit off the line (more practice needed!) I achieved a pretty good result for a first try. Glued up the frame is solid and, as Paul would say, will last for 100 years. Certainly much better than the cheap store-bought MDF picture frames we normally use.

Oak photo frame constructed using tenoned mitre joints
I used tenoned mitre joints for the first time ever – I make a bit of a mess of cutting one of the tenons, but it still made a solid joint.

I used the glass and hardboard back from a cheap 7×5″ clip frame which is mounted in a rebate with a couple of small oak turnbuttons. The hanging wire is simply attached with a couple of small screws (and the wire itself is special – it came from a roll I inherited from my grandfather, who years ago worked at BICC Cables in Helsby, and was allowed to take some unwanted samples home with him at some point).

The back of my handmade oak photo frame
The rebate houses the glass and back from a cheap 7×5″ clip frame.

I finished the oak with three coats of Liberon Danish Oil and a final coat of clear furniture wax, and topped it off with my “TW” maker’s mark branding stamp which I made from an old coathanger!