Some picture frame moldings are impossible to create without a shaper or a handful of expensive router bits, but, that’s not the case with this project. Editor Rob Johnstone, art director Jeff Jacobson and I set out to design a frame that can be milled entirely on the table saw, and I think we’ve got a real winner! Here’s a handsome holiday gift — and a great way to show off a 16″ x 20″ portrait or art print. All you need is a sharp 10″ combo blade and a dado set.
The rails and stiles will require 1-1⁄4″-thick stock to accommodate the deep dentil inlay and the broad outer cove shape. I bought some 8/4 cherry and planed it down. Don’t try to save a buck by face-gluing thinner stock — you could end up with a glue line in the cove area … not a good look. After surfacing your stock, crosscut blanks for the rails and stiles four to six inches longer than necessary so you’ll have some leeway when mitering the pieces to final length. Make up some matching scrap now, too, for testing your saw setups.
Sawing the rail and stile profiles will remove a lot of wood, and you have to do it in the correct order to leave enough material for successive steps. Begin by milling a 3/4″ x 3/4″ groove along the faces of both the rails and stiles to accept the dentil inlay. Use a featherboard and hold-down to press the stock tightly against the rip fence and saw table.