When I was starting out in furniture making in the 1980s, some of my first commissions were for picture frames. I made frames mostly for artists, and they appreciated the care I took selecting choice wood, cutting spot-on miters, and reinforcing them with exposed splines. And I really appreciated the commissions—for the money, which I was in dire need of, but also for the opportunity to consolidate some of the fundamental skills I was learning. In the years since then I’ve built many more frames, tweaking my technique along the way and arriving at solid methods for building strong, understated, elegant frames. Developing a method for cutting flawless miters without a fuss is a key milestone for a furniture maker, and a steady source of pride and pleasure once it’s mastered. Whenever possible, I cut my miters with the tablesaw’s blade tilted and the workpiece in regular crosscut position, either on a sled, a miter gauge, or a sliding table. I think this approach produces a better cut, because the cutting action is less labored and doesn’t tend to move the workpiece. It also enables you to use stop blocks more easily, and it works just as well for long…
Sign up for eletters today and get the latest techniques and how-to from Fine Woodworking, plus special offers.
Start your 14-day FREE trial to continue reading this story.
Get instant access to all Fine Woodworking content when you try membership today!