I get a million questions about this picture frame woodworking jig. I didn’t invent it; I first saw it in Fine Woodworking magazine years ago. I haven’t seen any detailed plans on how to make one. Since I’m asked so many questions about it, I decided to make this video in which I describe all of the major parts of the sled and how to make it. I do not sell build plans for how to make it. It’s not my design and I do not feel right about selling plans. This video is the best that I can do. I also didn’t build the sled during the video because, honestly, I don’t need a second one. If I decide to upgrade my jig and make a new one, I’ll film it and put out a video.
This jig is amazing for one major reason – you don’t need to do any math in order to make a picture frame. There is a mathematical formula for making a picture frame: Wide of the picture + (width of the frame x 2) – (width of the rabbet x 2) = the width of the picture frame. You would do the same to calculate the length of the frame.
I don’t want to do math unless it’s necessary, and this jig makes it so I don’t have to do any math. If I want my frame to hold an 8” wide picture then I set the jig’s stop block at 8” and cut my pieces. It’s that simple. Here’s how you can make your own picture frame jig.
Make some rails out of plastic or hardwood. Make them so that they fit in the miter slot of your table saw, and slightly under the table top surface. I used a 1/2” thick x 30” long x 15” wide piece of plywood for the top. Turn the plywood at an angle so that the front tip is perfectly inline with the saw blade. Move the table saw’s fence so that it’s against the plywood’s back corner. Use a large square, such as a framing square, to align the plywood at a 45-degree angle to the fence. Place a few drops of superglue on the rails and set the plywood on top of them. I like to have my rails stick out the front a bit.
I took a 36” long aluminum straight edge with a ruler on it and cut the tip off at a 45 degree angle. I cut the ruler in half at 27”. The small piece (28” to 36”) is used on one side of the jig, and the large section is used for the other side. I cut a 1/8’ thick piece of hardboard and cut it at 1” wide. I used some double sided tape to stick it to the underside of the ruler. At the drill press, I drilled a few holes in it. I put the small piece on the left side of the plywood jig, at a 45 degree angle to the blade. Screw the piece in place. Attach the larger ruler piece to the right side of the jig.
In order to make my stop block, I took a piece of plywood and cut a groove down the edge. The bottom of the stop block fits under the aluminum ruler. I attached a toggle clamp to the stop block. It can slide back and forth, letting me set it to the measurements on my ruler.
I’m confident that there are other ways to perform these tasks. This video is a glimpse into my shop and how I make things. If you want to follow along on my woodworking journey, make sure you subscribe and hit the notification bell so you are alerted to my videos.
Here’s a list of tools and materials that I used to make this project. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
•• Tools & Materials ••
1/2” plywood: https://amzn.to/33CUE5E
Cyanoacrylate glue: https://amzn.to/38VSy0V
Aluminum straight edge: https://amzn.to/3g3IjvW
Adhesive backed sandpaper: https://amzn.to/37ukMR5
Toggle Clamps: https://amzn.to/2JF5fpu
Framing square: https://amzn.to/3mAwu2O
Doubled sided tape: https://amzn.to/2I44Zjp
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