Question about staining picture frames


I'm constructing some frames for some large pictures. It'll be a fairly standard frame, mitered edged joined together with a slotted cut at the corners.
My question has to do with the order of construction, staining and laquering. Do I first construct the frame and then stain it? Or should I stain the pieces first and then put them together?
The reason I ask is ... it seems that staining the frame after I put it together runs the risk of producing dark lines at the mitered edges where the wood pieces meet. What "seems" to make the most sense is to have everything ready to construct (ie, pieces all cut to fit), then stain the pieces, then construct the frame, and finally to laquer it.
This way, the laquer helps to "fill" the minute crack where the mitered edges meet.
BUT ... I might have this all wrong. Is there some standard approach to doing this?
Jack
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mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net wrote:

Depends on your materials, your accuracy and your stain.
If everything is perfect, then stain, join, lacquer is fine.
If there's any inaccuracy, then join, stain, lacquer. This allows better control of the stain over any bare wood splinters / filler.
If your stain blotches into end grain, then you might go back to stain, join, lacquer -- but then you really need to watch the accuracy or it will unavoidably look crude.
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Jack,
Take the time to ensure that everything is setup correctly with some scrap. Just because a chop saw has a mark for 45 degress (or what ever angle you will be using) doesn't mean it is. Also make sure that you can sand that cut at exactly the same angle as well. Then you can just bust out your frames pretty quickly in the cut, stain, join, laquer method.
Also watch for glue runout of the joints when assembling. This will ruin the stain and your laquer finish as quick as anything.
Rob
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