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How to Make a Picture Frame 3 Ways with Brad Rodriguez

By: Brad Rodriguez
How to Make a Picture Frame 3 Different Ways

Today I’m going to show you how to make a picture frame 3 ways.  I’ll go from a simple DIY picture frame to an advanced picture frame with several molding profiles.  The most basic version is from pine and poplar available at the home center then I’ll move up to some oak and mahogany for the more complex versions.

Thank you to Minwax and JET for sponsoring this project!

How to Make a Picture Frame DIY

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Here is what you’ll need for the project:

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How to Make a Picture Frame 3 Ways

  1. How to Make a Picture Frame with a Miter and Handheld Router
  2. How to Make a Picture Frame using a Table Saw
  3. How to Make a Picture Frame using a Router Table

1. How to Make a Picture Frame with a Miter and Handheld Router

a)  Build Auxiliary Fence for Miter Saw

The first frame can be made using just a miter saw and a handheld router.  One thing that will make your picture frames a lot cleaner and more accurate is an auxiliary fence on your miter saw.  I made a very simple one from ½” plywood screwed together at 90 degrees. Just make sure to place the screws outside the blade path.

Most miter saws have holes in their fences to attach an additional fence.  I used ½” pan head screws and secured the new fence to the saw.

Next I swung my saw 45 degrees to the left and made the initial cut in the fence.  Then I made a series of test cuts to see how well it lined up. And by some woodworking miracle it was perfect.  Typically you’ll need to nudge the blade left or right to get it just right.

I used a tip I picked up from Jon Peters and made some reference lines on the fence.  For the 8×10 frames I went 8-⅛”” and 10-1/8” from the blade kerf and made marks on the back fence. Then I used a 45 degree drafting square to draw lines parallel to the cut the line.

To make this picture frame I’m using an 8’ select pine 1×2 you can get at most home improvement stores.  I started by cutting it in half as you can get two 8×10 frames from one board. But I’d actually recommend cutting all your material directly in half at 90 degrees before adjusting your miter saw.

b) Use Handheld Router to Cut Recess on Picture Frame

Next I grabbed my handheld router to make a spot for the picture and glass. I used a ⅜” rabbeting bit and set it to about half the total depth I wanted.

Then I made one pass with the router along the length of one edge of the 1×2.  I lowered the bit to the full depth of ⅜” and made another pass to get the full rabbet for the frame.

c) Cut Miters for the Picture Frames

With my rabbet cut I could start cutting the miters. I cut the board in half again to let me do stacked cuts, but let’s talk about the measurements first.
When cutting picture frames you really have three different measurements. The outside length of the frame, the inside length of the frame and the length of the rabbet which is the one you need to get right to fit your artwork.

Instead of doing a bunch of math and figuring out the outside or inside lengths you can just line up the end of the rabbet with the mark for the size you want. This will give you a perfectly sized recess for your glass and artwork.

To help eliminate any small errors between matching pieces I stacked one on top of the other and cut the second 45 degree angle at the same time. This way if the pieces are slightly off the mark they are still the same size.

And with that I had my 10” sides for my picture frame. I repeated the process, establishing a correctly angled miter on the remaining piece first, then cutting them to size. And as you’ll see later, it’s very important to always keep the position of the rabbet top of mind.

I lined up the 8” pieces and cut them to size to complete my four frame parts.

d) Glue the Corners of Picture Frames

Since this is a DIY version for how to make a picture frame,  I didn’t use any special clamps for this one, just tape for the glue up. I lined up the parts end to end and used tape on the outside corners where each piece met. This let me fold up the joint without the parts moving.

I used a special glue on the miter joints to help make the end grain joint stronger. It’s a thicker glue that sets up faster so it doesn’t soak into the end grain as much. I put it on all the joints then folded them up and taped the last corner.

Then I used more tape to try and pull the corners tight. And honestly, I’m not a fan of this at all. I’d use some type of clamps here and I’ll show you my preferred version later. That said, it did work, but the joints needed some reinforcement.

A DIY version of reinforcement is to use these corrugated fasteners. They get hammered in across the miter joint and lock it into place.

After the glue was dry, I held the fasteners in place with pliers and hammered them in. And I don’t know why, but this didn’t go well at all. I kept bending the fastener and it was really just a mess. One was good, two were so so and the fourth was a complete disaster.

When I tried them out on a plywood test frame they worked great, so I think if you get your technique down right these are a good option.

e) Apply Stain to the Picture Frame

I don’t love the look of pine so I wanted to stain the frame dark for a richer look. I’m using stain and finishes from Minwax, a sponsor of today’s project, and I wanted to see how three different stains looked.
I made an identical frame from poplar to show the difference in the two woods, so I made some sample sticks to test the stain.

I applied pre-stain conditioner to the poplar test stick and one pine stick. This helps even the absorption of the stain and reduces blotchiness.  I tried out JacobeanEspresso, and Dark Walnut. The Espresso ended up being the one I liked the best and the conditioner definitely helped reduce blotchiness, so I went with that combo. Making test sticks like this is a great way to hone in on the look you want.

My favorite way to apply stain is with a shop towel and I wiped on a coat of the stain to both the pine and poplar frames after pre-treating them with the conditioner. The conditioner reduces blotchiness and makes the stain absorb evenly. I ended up doing 3 coats to get to the darkness I wanted.

After letting it dry I came back and topped the frame with a Minwax clear aerosol lacquer in satin. I love this lacquer because it dries very quickly and I could go back and forth between the frames almost immediately.

2. How to Make a Picture Frame using a Table Saw

a)  Cut Chamfer and Recess Rabbet Using Table Saw

For the 2nd frame I’m upgrading to a hardwood and adding a table saw. I laid out the profile I’d be cutting on the end grain of this oak.

The first cut to make is a subtle chamfer on the inside of the frames edge. I tilted the blade to 15 degrees and set the fence a half inch from the blade.  Using a featherboard for these cuts makes sure the cuts are consistent along the entire piece.

With the chamfer cut I could move on to the rabbet for the glass and artwork.

I raised my blade to ¼” and set the fence so the blade would just hit the outside of layout for the first rabbet cut.

For the last cut I flipped the board on edge and moved the blade and fence to line up with my last layout line.

Here’s the final profile using just the table saw. It’s a simple design but definitely looks more custom than just a squared off frame.

I cleaned up the saw marks on the frame with a card scraper before heading over to the miter saw.

To glue up this 5×7 frame I’m breaking out my web clamp. This thing makes clamping mitered pieces so much nicer. The little corner supports span both sides of the miter giving you even pressure around the whole frame.

b) Add Splines to Picture Frame and Apply Finish

After the glue dried I wanted to add some splines for support. Those corrugated fasteners would be a real bear in a hardwood like oak. I used a jig to position the frame and cut a slot in each corner.

Then I sized a piece of oak to fit the slot and cut out little triangles on my JET bandsaw.  I flattened the bottom of each triangle on sandpaper to make sure it had a solid fit. Then I glued them all in place making sure the triangle was bottomed out in the slot.

After the glue dried I cut the splines off with a flush cut saw. Be careful to cut with the grain here and not against it or the corner can chip out. I finished by sanding them flush with the frame.

We’ll be putting a beach picture in this frame so I wanted to try a white washed finish. I used the Minwax white wash pickling stain and applied two coats. After letting it dry I top coated the frame with Polycrilic by Minwax. This is a new take on oak which is not one of my favorite woods, but the white wash definitely changes the feel.

3. How to Make a Picture Frame using a Router Table

a)  Use Router Table to Cut Profile on Picture Frame

For the third frame I brought out the big guns and added a router table to the mix. With a router table you open up a whole new world of options for profiles. The one I’m using here is the cast iron top table from JET, the other sponsor of today’s project.  It’s got a chain-driven router lift that let’s you change bits above the table and make micro adjustments to the height of the bit.

I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do with the profile, but honestly I just jumped into it. Using a cove bit, I made a sweeping curve on the inside of the frame.

It was a little small for what I was going for so I raised the bit and made another pass. That’s the beauty of working on this JET router table, you can really fine tune things very easily.

Next I unplugged the router and changed over from a cove bit to a straight bit. I put a small ⅛” by ⅛” groove along the inner edge.

This is very subtle but will create some really cool shadow lines in the final piece.  I’m really a fan of simple looks so I decided to stop the profiling here.

I put a small roundover on both sides of a ¼” off cut from the frame stock to show how this could look. The possibilities really are endless when doing profiles on the router table.

b) Cut Recess Rabbet and Sand Picture Frame

Cutting the recess rabbet for the glass and artwork can be done with the same straight bit. And the dust collection on this table is superb with both above and below the table collection points.

With the more detailed profile I needed to sand everything before assembly. Wrapping sandpaper around a dowel is a great way to get into the curved areas.

c) Cut Miters, Clamp and Apply Finish to the Picture Frame

I went through the same process on the miter saw to cut the miters. Frankly I was going to cut them on the table saw using a jig, but my results were so good with the miter saw and auxiliary fence I just stayed with it.

For this frame I went back to the taped corner method but paired it with the web clamp. I got overconfident in the web clamp with the oak frame and the corners did slip a little up and down.

This combination gave me my best results yet and the profiles in the corners met up perfectly.

I went with a clear aerosol lacquer by Minwax to let the mahogany shine.

And for all these frames mounting pictures or artwork is as easy as dropping in some acrylic or glass, then attaching your piece to a backer like ⅛” plywood or even cardboard and securing it with glazing points or finish nails.

Whether you only have a few tools or access to some advanced woodworking machines, you can make some awesome frames.

If you liked this project, make sure to check out more of my Home Decor Projectsand Shop Projects!

Minwax and JET provided me with product and/or monetary compensation as a sponsor of this build.  All opinions are my own and are not filtered by the sponsors.

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Cozy Tray Ceiling Makeover with Thrifty Decor Chick: Sarah Saucedo

By: Minwax Partner
Oh my…I’m so excited to share this project with you! It is one of my favorite DIYs in this house so far! I work with Minwax occasionally throughout the year and this project is another I accomplished with their awesome products.
Our master has ten foot ceilings thanks to the tray ceiling. I shared the new light in this room a few months ago:
gold round chandelier
We love the tall ceilings, especially because we were so used to the tall angled ceiling in our last master. It really opens up the space nicely. But when I see a tray ceiling I see a potential project! I’ve seen many treatments on these types of ceilings, from adding crown to installing wood to the tray part.
I first saw my project in a model home but haven’t seen it anywhere since! This was a different take on the typical tray ceiling treatment and we LOVE how it turned out!
I had help with the first part of this project and because of that I did the steps a little backwards. I would have much preferred to paint the ceiling and then stain the wood after, but because I was at the mercy of someone else’s schedule, I did the steps the opposite way I would typically recommend. It wasn’t a big deal though. More on that in a bit!
Anyway, the goal was to create “beams” around the sides of the tray ceiling. We had two options — take the wood and 45 it on the table saw so when we nailed the side and bottom together, it would look like a true beam. Or, take the two pieces of  wood and just nail them into each other to create the look of a beam. We went with the latter, mostly because we were using very long pieces of wood — two at ten feet and two at 16 feet. I don’t trust that the mitered corners would have met up perfectly for the length of all the wood.
I’m glad we didn’t go that direction — it would have been WAY more work and the final result looks great without that extra step.
To start, you’ll need something to attach your wood to. The “beams” are only two sides — the bottom and the side. So the piece on the ceiling (be sure to attach to studs) was there to stabilize the side board, and the wood attached to the side of the tray ceiling was there to hold the bottom piece in:
How to add fake wood beams to tray ceiling
I hope that makes sense. The arrows are pointing to the pieces that the wood that makes up the beam were attached to. You can see the bottom part of the beam started in that photo above.
When the bottom pieces were up, the sides could go on — nailed into the board attached to the ceiling and then nailed to the bottom piece. The arrows show you where to nail:
Building "faux" wood beams
When you’re done you have “beams” running around the tray ceiling.
Like I said…the ideal way to complete this project would be to prep before hanging the beams. I painted the ceiling after the wood was up. Painting a ceiling is never fun but it went quicker than I though it would. I used a long painting pole to get the two coats up.
We moved furniture and put a big painter’s cloth over everything as I moved around the room. I did have to climb up and down the ladder a million times to cut in around the wood. If you paint before the wood goes it up it would be SO much easier because you wouldn’t have to worry about cutting in. (The wood would be covering it.)
I painted the ceiling in Westchester Gray by Sherwin-Williams (flat finish!) and then it was time to start the staining process. Even with the wood already installed, it went much easier than I thought it would! I taped off the ceiling and then started with what I think is a VERY important product, especially on a project like this:
Prepping wood for stain
I talk about using the pre-stain wood conditioner a lot because it is SO important. Conditioning the wood preps for stain so it isn’t blotchy. More importantly, it gives you time to stain the wood, which is incredibly important on a project like this that has large pieces you’re working on:
Pre-Stain conditioner for staining wood
It’s important to keep a “wet edge” when staining — which means you want to be sure you don’t apply the stain and then let it dry at all at any point. If you do, you’ll see where you stopped and started. The conditioner makes it much more forgiving so you have a lot more time to work.
Right after conditioning, I started with the stain color I thought I wanted to use — Provincial:
Provincial wood stain Minwax
Over the years I’ve found the easiest way to apply stain is with a rag. Gloves are needed! You just use the rag to wipe the stain on, then rub it into the wood:
How to apply stain with a rag
See that edge there? Where it’s wet and meeting the part I had just done? (The stain to the right looks like it’s dry but I had just applied it.) If the wood was not conditioned some of that line would stay — and it doesn’t look good!
Because of the pre-conditioner, it came together nicely. No line!:
Getting good coverage when staining
On the first beam, I did the first coat and stepped down to check it out. I usually only use one coat of stain on my projects — more coats will deepen the stain but I find it’s rarely needed.
I love the Provincial color, but it was leaning a little orange on this pine. I didn’t really notice it until I stepped back. Because of that, I went back with another coat of stain, but this time with another favorite, Jacobean:
Jacobean stain Minwax
You may remember Jacobean because it’s the color we used on the hardwoods in our old house.
It’s a beautiful color! Definitely more brown, which is what I wanted. Here’s a look at the difference — Provincial on the left, then with a coat of Jacobean as well on the right:
How to mix stains for perfect look
This is another reason I love working with stain! You can experiment with different layers of colors and get a custom look. You can also mix stains ahead of time to find a color that’s perfect for your needs.
The final step (after letting the stain dry) was to add a coat of polyurethane. I only did one coat since these will never be touched. Thankfully Minwax has a wipe-on poly that was perfect for this project!:
Wipe on poly on staining projects
Again, you’ll need gloves and a clean rag to apply. You can see how the poly on the left really deepens the stain and makes it look even better!
One thing to note here — when you stain there will be fumes! I had the windows open all day each day and had a air purifier running constantly. We didn’t sleep in this room for a few days.
(Side note — if you ever have floors refinished or do a staining project and smell a burning smell coming from your dryer or another heat source, check out this post!)
After all was dry, we were finally able to enjoy this room again…and we are obsessed with the ceiling! It looks amazing and I couldn’t be happier with it:
Dark gray ceiling wood beams tray ceiling

 

DIY wood beams and painted tray ceiling
It completely changes the feel of the whole room. It doesn’t darken the room at all — just adds a warm, custom touch that I like to lay in bed and look at. 😉
DIY wood beams around painted tray ceiling
Dark gray ceiling wood beams
Because of the ceiling height and having a bunch of windows in here, it doesn’t make it feel closed in at all. It does make it feel much more cozy and that’s our favorite part:
Painted tray ceiling with wood beams
Cozy master with dark gray tray ceiling and wood beams

There is a lot of gray in the room now but not for long — this is phase one of two as far as changes to this room. Or maybe one of three…when you give a DIY blogger a cookie she wants to change a bunch of things. 😉 I’m super excited about the changes coming up!
And I’m considering painting the dresser now too — still deciding on that one. Maybe black?
My favorite part — the before and after pics! Here’s a reminder of how it looked a few weeks ago:
Gold round bamboo light fixture in master

And this is how it looks now! Doesn’t that fixture look amazing against the dark ceiling?:
Dark ceiling in master bedroom with wood beams
There are a few things to consider if you want to try this project:
  • If you can do the staining and painting before the wood goes up, that’s ideal. But it really wasn’t that big of a deal to do it after. I thought it was going to be a lot worse!
  • We didn’t cut down the width of the boards — they are off the shelf and just the length was cut. We used 1×4 and 1×12 boards. We found the long 16 foot boards at a local lumber store (I don’t believe the big box hardware stores carry that length but I could be wrong.)
  • The 1×12 used for the side piece didn’t go all the way to the bottom of the tray ceiling, which doesn’t bother me at all. You don’t even notice it.
This project gives me ideas for the rest of the house! I love the power of stain! And I just love the warmth of it against both lighter and dark colors.

See another one of my favorite Minwax makeovers here!

For more from Sarah, check out her:

Building a Toy Truck with John Malecki

By: Minwax Partner

In this video I build a gift for my Girlfriends nephew. Instead of making the typical box, or blanket chest. I give this two year old the world’s coolest Wooden Toy Truck!

With the holidays right around the corner, i felt this would be a good time to get ahead on some gifts. When talking to my Girlfriend, I wanted to make something timeless for her two year old nephew. Understandably, she wanted to do some timeless furniture piece. My mind quickly went to absurdity, and landed here. On a wooden toy truck. So i decided to make him my own version of a Monster Truck.

If you want to see how I built it, check out the full video HERE! 

Building A toy like this is actually not as hard as it may look!

  1. Cutting A Template
  2. Preparing and Milling Materials
  3. Cutting the Body Parts
  4. Cutting, Shaping, and Assembling The Wheels
  5. Adding Details
  6. Sanding & Finish

Cutting A Template

Layout the shape of the side of the truck on a piece of 1/4″ plywood or cardboard. Use a bandsaw or jigsaw to cut the template.

Preparing & Milling Materials

Prepare the stock you want to use for the build. For mine, I chose a large chunk of white oak I have had sitting in the shop. This is because I knew I could basically get every part i needed out of this piece and the wood color would be matching. But you could use a long piece already planed to your desired thickness, and have no need for re-sawing.

Wooden Monster Truck-1

Cutting the Body Parts

Using your template, layout and cut the side panels for the truck. Cut outside the lines using your bandsaw, being sure to leave some room to sand the piece to final dimensions. Once cut, then shape your two sides on a spindle sander, and then begin cutting the interior parts to your desired width.

Wooden Monster TruckWooden Monster TruckWooden Monster TruckWooden Monster Truck

Cutting, Shaping, and Assembling The Wheels

Rough cut the wheels from the piece of stock you choose. My wheels are roughly 2″ wide, and re-sawed from a piece of 2″ stock. This isn’t necessary, if i was to make this again I would cut 8 total wheel parts from flat stock at 1″

Wooden Monster TruckWooden Monster Truck

Once cut to final dimensions, use a straight edge to align 8 lines through your wheel, intersecting the center. Then continuing onto the egge. Using your table saw and miter gauge, align the gauge to 60*. Then where the blade meets your extension fence on the gauge, drill a hole for a dowel and the tire to rotate around. create a mark on the back of the extension, and use the marks on the wheel to turn wheel and cut the treads.

 

Glue up the wheels using the center hole for alignment. Then clean up the outside of the wheels using your hand plane and sander, and cut the center recess for the hub using a forestner bit.

Glue Up Body & Adding Details

Glue up the truck body using CA and regular wood glues. Once dried, sand and shape the truck to the look you want and begin adding details. I added a bumper, side step, headlights, and smoke stacks all using CA glue.

Wooden Monster Truck-

At this point I also add the tailgate after hand carving the name into it using a V bit and a palm router. Wooden Monster Truck-

Sanding & Finish

Once assembled, final sand the piece and apply finish to each part before final assembly. Remember to leave the areas that will need glue, unfinished.

 

Assemble the stained pieces and apply a final coat of finish.

For this project i chose to use Minwax stains and Minwax Water-Based Poly Acrylic for finish. Both are products I enjoy and have been using for years. I know they will provide a high quality finish, and hold up well over yeas of abuse from a young little truck driver!

Minwax Products


For more from John, check out his:

DIY Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table with April Wilkerson

By: April Wilkerson

DIY Modern Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table

Check out April’s video here.

Things I Used in This Project:

It will be at least a year before the slabs I recently milled will be dry enough to use, so I purchased a few slabs from an Austin based Sawmill called Greenwood Milling and made a Live Edge Waterfall Coffee Table.

It’s called a Waterfall Coffee Table because you cut a portion off and that turns into a leg. But you do it on a Miter so the grain is continuous from the top onto the leg.

First step in the process being to fill in the many cracks the slab has, with epoxy. I first flipped the slab over, using Painter’s Tape to tape off all the cracks and holes I could see. This is so as I start pouring in epoxy it won’t of course just fall through the other side. I got a lot of recommendations from Instagram viewers that Tyvek Tape actually works better for this job. It apparently removes easier, so you may keep that in mind if you do this project.

Next was to flip it back over and start filling in cracks and crevices. For this I’m going with a Two-To-One Epoxymade by Total Boat. The Two To One number means that it’s Two Part Resin to One Part Hardener in each mixture. However, something I really like about the Total Boat System is their pumps are designed to make this a lot easier for you. They simplify it to one pump, to one part, and the pump dispenses the two to one ratio for you. After following directions on the stir time, I started pouring the Total Boat epoxy in the cracks. Also on the end crack, I again used painter’s tape so the epoxy would have a stopping point.

There are a lot of epoxy choices from which to choose but the Total Boat System is very good at self-leveling plus it’s extremely clear. On that note you could tint the epoxy if you prefer it not clear.

I’d pour it into the cracks until they had an overflowing amount of epoxy on top, then move onto a different area as that settled, coming back with a Heat Gun to rid the epoxy of any air bubbles. Once it had settled a bit more, I’d fill it up again, continuing this step until the crack stopped taking epoxy.

If you are needing epoxy, go to TotalBoat.com and be sure to use Coupon Code April W to get 20 % off your purchase. On top of the 20% off, it ships FREE within the US, AND this Coupon Code is valid until December of 2019 so you have an entire year to utilize it.

Now, onto flattening the slab out. I started off with my large Triton random orbital sander. On this Triton Sander there are two settings, a more aggressive setting and also a more gentle one. As I have a lot of epoxy to remove, I started with the more aggressive setting. This made quick work of leveling it out, switching then to the more gentle setting, to run along the entire live edge.

Next, I cut in the miter that will drop off the portion of the table that will become the leg. Using my Track Saw I got a Square Cut on the end of my slab. Not having a true reference to be square, I eye-balled it by using a squareagainst my Track, lining it up to what looked like a straight line down the center. This will at least get me close to where I can pull two tape references off this cut, setting up my track to cut the 45 degree angle.

I tilted my Track Saw over to use. As a note, the Triton Track Saw has a foot you can move over into the track, to keep it from falling off the track as  you are cutting at a bevel. Instead of trying to do it all in a single pass, I cut  three different passes. I’d make a pass, set the depth a little bit deeper, make another pass, then repeat.

With the hardest part done, I started joining these two pieces together. Using the Triton Duo Doweller, I removed one of the router bits to make it a Single Doweller. My join is at a 45 degree angle so I set my fence depth and also the plunge depth to match.  Beware, you are going in at an angle and you do not want to plunge through your entire work piece.

After setting the tool up, I put together my slab, marking off where I wanted the four dowel placements to be cut in. Although a simple tool to use, I still took my time ensuring 1) seating the work piece properly at the 45 degree angle and 2) making sure both the fences were flush against the work piece that was actually plunging in the bit.

Before laying down any glue I attached what’s called Glue Up Cauls. These Cauls are made of plywood and used solely to make clamping down this joint much easier. Grabbing a piece of scrap plywood, I cut it down the middle to a 45 degree angle. Next I took these and glued them to my work piece with the 45 degree angle, away from the joint. Not having a lot of time to wait on glue to dry I used the Titebond Quick and Thick as it has a very quick set time. I left that to set up for a few minutes and started working on the dowels.

Anytime I’m using a dowel for a joint I put in a spiral cut in order to give the glue some place to go whenever you put the dowel in the hole, so it doesn’t seize up. There are a few different methods but I used the Band Saw with my Miter Gauge set to a 45 degree angle, very gently rolling it as I pushed it through the blade at the same time.

Once the Cauls were dry I flipped the slab over and applied Painter’s Tape right up to both these 45’s. This prevents a lot of hard clean up work once these slabs are actually joined. I personally went with Titebond II and first placed a liberal amount of glue inside each one of the dowel locations. I then hammered the dowels in, covering the rest of the joint in Titebond II,  then started putting things together.

The Caul’s outside cut of 45 degree matches the miter joint which gives me two parallel surfaces to get a good clamp set, using the clamp strength in order to fully seat and tighten this joint. I absolutely love this trick.

After allowing he glue to set up overnight, I removed the clamps and started the clean up by first removing the tape from inside the 90 degree angle. Clamping down the workpiece I removed the plywood Cauls. One reason to use plywood is you can shear down the layers. I found it best to use two chisels to work down the length of the plywood until the entire piece pops off. However, it was suggested after doing the glue up that many people lay down Construction Paper, Parchment Paper, or even Painter’s Tape, in between the caul and slab to make removal the caul even more of a cinch.

After removing the majority of the caul, I used a chisel to get rid of the bulk waste then used my Sander to completely clean it up. Since I was sanding I went ahead and sanded the entire piece to prepare to Finish. I started with about 80 grit to remove the plywood then went down to 120 and then finally 220 grit. Cleaning it to get all the fine dust off, I set things up to start begin Finishing the table.

As I will be Finishing both sides, I set the slab on top four Bench Cookies with the pointer’s tip. I first Finished the inside of the table.

After the underside was coated, I flipped it around, using a 2 x 6 to prop it up then repeated the steps for the top surface. I personally am using Minwax Wipe On Poly. I love this finish as I find it the easiest one to use and not mess up. It’s very good at self-leveling and doesn’t leave a high glossy, plastic look to your piece after it’s done. It is very quick to dry but also very durable. I just pour it directly on my work piece, using two paper towels to smear it around nice and even.

The bark of my piece is a bit rough so I switched to a brush to get into all the nooks and crannies of the bark area. You need to wait about two – three hours before re-applying another coat of finish, so I started working on the other leg for the table.

I originally was going to go with a wooden, mesquite trapezoid. The trapezoid is normally the go-to leg for this style of table but after thinking about it, I decided to go with a Bow Tie shaped leg instead. Not a solid Bow Tie but just the outline of one. As the Mesquite piece I milled last week will not be dry for another year, I decided to make this leg from some ¾” Square Tubing I had.

I first drew this leg to its exact size on a piece of Construction Paper, then took it to my metal working side of my shop, cutting the ¾” tubing to the size needed on my metal cut off saw.

I cheated by simply placing the ¾” Tubing down on the drawing and used a Square to mark off where it needed to be cut and at what angle. This not only worked great but also very quickly.

After cutting all six pieces needed, I first tacked them together, coming back to weld each joint closed. I welded them closed not so much for strength but as I wanted to paint the leg, I did not want to be able to see through an open joint. I also wanted it nice and smooth so I next grabbed a grinder, grinding down each seam so it appears the bow tie was made of one solid piece of metal.

Just a tip, if you end up doing this you can see that the top and bottom horizontal pieces are the top of those vertical pieces. For this method I cut some pieces and capped off the end. However, if you switch the orientation and make the vertical pieces extend past the top and bottom, you can avoid this step.

Last thing step to this leg welding wise, I cut some very thin Flat Stock, mitered the ends just to give it little bit nicer look, then tacked and welded it into place as well.  This creates a wider footprint on the underside of the table. After sticking that into place, I used a scrap piece of wood on my workbench, drilling three holes across the entire length.

By now the first coat of the Minwax Wipe On Poly was dry on the table so I sanded it all down, using 320 grit Sandpaper, prepping it for the second coat.

Not being able to resist attaching the leg before doing it, just to see how it looked. I used the three hole locations in the bottom of the Flat Iron in order to attach it to the bottom side of the slab. I then continued on with Finishing of the slab, all total doing three coats of finish for this table.

AIthough I made this small coffee table for my chaise Lounge, keep in mind you can do the same process for any table, whether an Entry Way Table, a Desk, End Table – there are simply no limits. Although a relatively quick project, it is certainly a fun one.

I hope you enjoyed this project. I will see you soon.

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