heavy picture frame

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I have been asked to make a frame for a stained glass window. The intent is that this frame will then be hung inside a window so that the sun can pass through. Anyway, the glass is maybe 2x3 feet and pretty heavy; and they have requested a simple miter. My question is: are biscuits strong enough to hold all this together or do I need something else?
Thanks Mark
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I would consider pocket screws in addition to the biscuits. Having a mechanical means of keeping the joint together would be a good thing, considering the circumstances.
-Nathan
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I was thinking the same thing, but the frame will be visible on both side so screws are not really acceptable. Perhaps a couple dowels though the joint would look ok.
Thanks Mark
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Depending on the species, you can get or make pocket hole plugs out of a dowel rod of the same wood, and it should match up close enough that it should be acceptable. Rockler carries cherry and walnut, and I'm sure you could find some of the more exotic species... though the $$$ will probably add up pretty quickly.
-Nathan
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You can cover up pocket holes even more easily with pre-made wood plugs:
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?pageW56
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Do they have to be mitered corners? A rail-and-stile construction would be stronger, especially if the tenons were deep and an inch up from the bottom. Maybe you could pin the tenons with some ebony pins and bevel (flattened pyramids) the heads, leaving them slightly raised. That kinda stuff looks very Greene & Greene.
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My preference would be to do a lap joint (that is how I did all my face frames on my kitchen cabinets - it is a very strong joint), but they want miters. I'm thinking I can get 2 biscuits in each joint. I have not actually seen the wood yet - I think it is pine, but I will not know until I get it tomorrow. They have burned some lettering into it already, so I kind of have to get it right the first time.
Thanks Mark
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I agree that 2 biscuits, properly glued and clamped would make a very tough joint.
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DejaVoodoo wrote:

My choice would be a joint whose name I can't conjure up (and I can't seem to find any pictures of it) but it's a mortise and tenon joint that's completely hidden and looks like a regular miter on the outside. A blind mortise and tenon miter? The tenons (on the rails) take the shape of a 90-degree right triangle and stop 1/4" shy of the end of the board, and the stiles obviously have a triangular shaped mortise recessed into a regular miter to receive them. I can find a picture of it later on (when I get home from work)...
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Steve Turner wrote:

Here is the joint I was talking about:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbqboyee/3239848003 /
Much stronger than a biscuit, and from the outside it appears just like a regular butt miter with no external evidence of what's inside.
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I saw a frame made with those joints, with the addition is tapered pegs through the mortise and tenon. Cool part, is it had NO glue. You could pop the pegs out and take it apart.
--

-MIKE-

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On Fri, 30 Jan 2009 23:03:39 -0600, Steve Turner

Steve is right on. I really like this mortised miter idea for the OP. It is strong, traditional, classic, and low cost. Easy to make a table saw (or router table) jig using from the wood scrap bins.
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How bout a half-lap miter? I drew one up:
http://www.areddy.net/misc/halflapmiter.gif
Looks like a miter, but extra strength, lots of gluing surface.
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NICE!!!! I just need to figure out how to cut it!
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com:

Not difficult. The bottom piece is a simple half lap, then cut the miter.
The top piece could be cut with a dado and the piece on a 45* miter. I'd probably cut this piece first, then the other to fit.
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My preference would be to do a lap joint (that is how I did all my face frames on my kitchen cabinets - it is a very strong joint), but they want miters. I'm thinking I can get 2 biscuits in each joint. I have not actually seen the wood yet - I think it is pine, but I will not know until I get it tomorrow. They have burned some lettering into it already, so I kind of have to get it right the first time.
What about spline joints? Lots of strength and they wouldn't be visible.
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DejaVoodoo wrote:

You could also use flat metal "L" brackets on the back.
I used to make my own frames (various sizes up to 40"x60"), always glued the miters with cyanoacrylate glue, no brackets, no nails. Never had one come apart but they were only holding canvas on stretchers. The joint needs to be smooth though and if it is a chopped joint it won't be; the trick with those is to rub over the surfaces with a piece of chalk...the chalk fills in the low spots, the glue soaks into the chalk and binds it to both the wood and the mating surface.
--

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DejaVoodoo wrote:

There are plugs available for pocket screws that can virtually render the pocket invisible.
Dave
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DejaVoodoo wrote:

Some have been bigger than yours, some smaller. She paints on canvas and uses 1" X 2' pine or fir for the stretchers. I have never made one for a stained glass of that size.
One factor that will effect the strength is the width of the frame. Mine are about 2" wide. The wider frames could receive 2 biscuits.
Once assembled, the only stress on the mitered joints will be the downward pull in the plane of the frame. There will be no twisting, nor stretching in the plane of the frame that would increase the angle of the sides. I don't believe you will have a problem.
If on evaluation you are still concerned you could use biscuits for the miter joints, and add a thin plywood gusset in each of the bottom corners to increase the joint strength when it is in the hanging position
Do you know who was the first people to use "biscuits"
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What is a gusset? And I thought Norm invented biscuits as well as brads...;)
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