In this Art & Design episode, I wanted to challenge myself to creating a unique photo frame with lots, and I mean lots, of interlocking lap joints. The result is awesome, but it was quite a struggle getting to that point!
The main challenge is that for this to work, there is no room for error. The measurements for all the lap joints must be exact. If you are off a slight amount, it will become magnified throughout the rest of the frame.
I made a crucial error by not measuring the thickness of the walnut boards I was using. I assumed they were 3/4″, but in actuality they were about 1/16″ thicker. Without accounting for this, my detailed plan measurements would be off.
I began by ripping a bunch of strips to so they were square rods. (Make sure they are 3/4″ if you use my plans!)
I cut all of the pieces to length using my table saw sled for accuracy. For even more, accuracy, I marked the cuts with a knife instead of a pencil. Then I labeled the length of each piece with chalk so I could easily identify each one.
I ran a series of tests to precisely dial-in the correct setup for my dado blades.
My dado stack isn’t thick enough to cut the grooves wide enough in one pass. So I added a couple plastic washers to space a couple of the blades apart. This left a couple slivers that the blades missed, but were easy to break off. I also filed the bottoms of the dados flat.
From there, it was just a matter of taking my time and carefully laying out each cut, fitting th e pices along the way.
Gluing all those joints required almost all my clamps!
After the glue was dry, I cut rabbets on the back of the frame and cut plexiglass and backer boards to fit. Then I held everything in place with framers’ points.
Note: I don’t have metric plans this time because a strict conversion would not be accurate enough. Plus, these were mainly for my own reference so they aren’t very pretty. They are accurate, just not pretty. But let’s get real…who in their right mind is going to try to make this anyway!