Making picture frames with Diamond Willow

I've been into Diamond Willow for a long time and wanted to make a picture frame out of it. Just never "got around to it." Finally, I did. Welllllllllll, that was a "learning experience" as I had to take several stabs at it before I got it just the way I wanted it. Even now, I am well aware that "Practice Makes Perfect" and each frame I make from now on will (hopefully) be a little better than the previous frame.

Let's just fuggedabout all the failed attempts and get straight into the one that WORKS! Here is the one I am finally happy with; I hope you are too:

diamond willow picture frame

My Favorite Method: the ends of the 4 pieces "stick out" a little. No need to sand first; if you mess up, your sanding time will be wasted.

Making the picture frame:


Assuming you like that one as much as I do, let's work through it; these are my procedures; adjust yours to suit yourself; that's OK with me. In fact, if you want to suggest improvements, by all means fire off an email to me. And Thanks!

diamond willow 
picture frame

First, add your backing or cardboard or whatever to the back of your picture; presumably a little larger than the picture is, and then cut the glass to match that.

Then cut a piece of ordinary corrugated cardboard same size. That cardboard will be the very back of the package.

Let's refer to this (glass, photo, backing, cardboard) as the "package."

diamond willow 
picture frame

Cut your Diamond Willow ("D.W.") sticks so that one side is flat.

When I do this, I try to cut a whole bunch at the same time; more convenient. Pick 4 pieces to match the package size.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Then cut your strips to go on the back of the frames.

I use wood 3/8 inch x 3/8 inch, various lengths, and cut them from any old scrap wood I happen to have handy.

When I cut these, I make a point of cutting LOTS of them for future picture frames.


cut finger

If you are using a table-saw as I do, PLEASE don't do what I did. Finally, after using that saw for more than 40 years, it happened. Glad it was not serious. This time.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Lay the package on the workbench, and lay two pieces of D.W. on two of the sides so that the glass is "just barely" hidden under the D.W.Then lay the other two pieces of D.W. on the first two so as to "just cover" the edges of the glass.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Put stickers on the D.W. so you can easily put them back in place after working on them; I make stickers "a," "b," "c" ................. "h."

At this point I am paranoid about still getting the pieces in the wrong place so I make a very quick sketch of the pieces and it has helped me.


diamond willow 
picture frame

With a pencil, mark on the two TOP pieces, the widths of the bottom pieces.

The top pieces are going to have to lay flat on the working surface, so you have to make the notches the full width of the bottom pieces.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Now "notch" the two top pieces, on the UNDERSIDE, i.e. the FLAT sides. I use a tablesaw; for depth I go about 1/2 way.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Lay the two top pieces back onto the two bottom pieces and mark the bottom pieces to show where the top pieces are to fit.

Note that now, after notching the two top pieces, the part where they fit onto the bottom pieces is much narrower.

Now notch the two bottom pieces, making SURE TO CUT THE ROUNDED sides and NOT the flat sides as earlier. After marking the two bottom pieces, make the marks on the UNDERSIDE (flat side) as well, to make it easier to cut the rounded side accurately.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Trim the ends of the 4 pieces to suit your taste.

Lay it all "together" and make sure everything fits well and it all lays nice and flat on a flat surface.

If all is as it should be, sand the 4 pieces.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Then glue them at the 4 notches and insert small screws in, from the BACK of the flat UNDERSIDES. I wrap a tiny piece of tape on my drill bit to make sure I don't drill too deep. Then I use a much larger drill bit and "countersink" the holes so that the screw heads will go into the wood and not split the wood.

Here it is after varnishing.


diamond willow 
picture frame

Next, lay the package on the frame just where you want it to be, carefully turn it upside down without sliding the package, and lay the 3/8 inch wood strips on the back of the frame, snug up against the glass.

First do the sides where the strips will cover the "connections" between the frame; then fit in the last 2 strips between the first two.


Finally, take out the package and varnish the frame. Give it as many coats as you feel you should, and when dry, replace the package and insert little nails behind the cardboard to keep the picture in place. Add little screw-eyes if you want to hang the frame.


NOW, doesn't that beat paying "The Guy" $150 to frame a picture!?


The OTHER Method: (not recommended)

diamond willow 
picture frame

This method involved butting the ends up against each other so no ends stick out. I "round" the end of one to fit the other:


diamond willow 
picture frame

Then I clamp the 4 pieces onto a piece of plywood, and drill for screws. Problem was, for me, the screws split the wood when I drove them all the way in. YMMV.


diamond willow 
picture frame

You could make the frame much simpler, like this one, with unfinished wood, but that just did not look very good to me.


how to get Diamond Willow

in fact, tell EVERYBODY!

Diamond Willow Sticks

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