In this case we had a section of wall about the stairs which we thought would suit a large picture.
As it happens we bought this house from the original owners, and they still had the blueprints which they very kindly left for us. It's a very nice artefact to have the original blueprints.
These two things led to an inevitable conclusion...We would hang the blueprint in the wall space we had. However, this was also an opportunity to customise things a little and make everything fit perfectly. We scanned the blueprints into a computer, which gave us the opportunity to clean them up a little in a photo editor. Then we had the cleaned up image printed to the size we wanted, just a little bigger than the original, but perfect for our space.
Then we just needed a frame....
- Hard wood - we got some meranti off cuts from a local wood yard (£5)
- hardboard - for the backing (£5)
- acrylic/glass - we went with a plastic front, its a large sheet and will be hanging over the stairs. (£25)
- hanging hardware - we went with d-rings (had some from previous project)
- Clear varnish (had some in the workshop already)
There are lots of ways to make a frame, possibly the simplest being to cut 45 degree mitres and glue them up. However that is not that much fun from a woodwork perspective. We decided we wanted to practice some mortice and tenon joins, and this also forms a nice strong joint. In truth making mortince and tenon joints this small (ours were about 6mm wide by 10mm long and 15mm deep) was a little fiddly. Much easier to make big chunky furniture. However, that makes for part of the challenge!
Our took a little longer than necessary because we were filming it, as you can check out our youtube channel. However it probably took about 2 hours to cut the frame, router the rebates and make all the mortice and tenons. Then a few scattered 5-10 minute sessions of glueing and clamping the frame, then varnishing a couple of coats, attaching the hanging hardware, and finally fitting the acrylic, picture & backboard.
Elapsed time of 2 days, but actual attention time <3 hours.
First we cut 2 horizontal lengths and 2 vertical lengths. Remember to allow length for the tenons on either end of the horizontal pieces!
With all our pieces cut to length we then routed the rebate for the glass/hardboard etc. We could have done this after assembling hte frame, but it seemed easier to do it now when you could easily clamp each piece. That said, we also messed up a couple of times... We forgot that for the vertical pieces the ends should not have a rebate, as this sections are where the mortices will go. After routing all the way along one of the vertical pieces we realised our mistake. Then when we cut a new piece and carefully avoided routing one end, we got carried away when routing the other end and partially went over it again. Oops. Never mind, we carried on regardless and fixed it later ;-)
We chiselled out all the mortices first, it is slightly easy to adjust and tweak the tenons to fit than it is to tweak the mortice slot. Then cut all the tenons. Before we started we have already decided which piece was going to be top/bottom/left and right on the frame. that way we always checked tenon against the specific mortice that it would mind up mating with. If you're perfectly consistent it shouldn't matter as they will all be the same. But we are not that consistent.
With everything cut and chiselled we checked he dry fit, then set about gluing each tenon and clamping the frame up.
Notice here that we also clamped a set square into opposite corners to pull the frame square whilst the glue dried.