The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Framing old Fairbury Fair Posters

I was able to save 2 old Fairbury Fair posters that were printed in the 1976 Blade.  You can see this project here.

I want to frame them, and donate some copies to our Fairbury Echoes Museum, and some to a local charity auction.   I had JMC in Bloomington make my prints for me.

The next question is what type of frame to build for them.  I just received a recent copy of a woodworking magazine that shows 7 alternate ways to wood frame without using miters.  I decided to use one of these 7 methods, the one with 2 sides thicker than the other sides as shown in the illustration below.

I went to Menards in Bloomington to get some more red oak.  When I got to the red oak section, I was surprised they sold 1 inch thick red oak.  I thought I could use 1 inch thick red oak for the thicker size of frame, then use standard 3/4" thick oak for the skinnier 2 sides.   If I used standard 3/4" thick for the thicker pieces, I would have to use maybe 5/8" thick for the thinner one.....and a 3/8" deep groove for the glass and photo would leave 2/8 or 1/4".  This might be ok.  But let's see how the 1 inch stock works.

Sketchup Design


Lap joints are always trial & error to get just the perfect fit. I don't know of a way to make the process better.

The other issue will trying to get the 2 horizontals to just stick out enough to be flush with the verticals.  I may try making them a little long, then using a router flush trim bit to make them exactly flush.

I will use my smallest 1/8" round-over router bit to round the edges.

Actual Process

I decided to make the pieces an extra 1/4" long on each end...........for a total of 1/2" long.............then rout it later with flush bit.  I used my old radial arm saw to make multiple passes.  After working on the pieces, I realized the joints in the back do not have to be perfectly flush, because they don't show on the back side.

I lap sawed the 2 thick pieces to a measured depth.

Then I trial and error sawed the 2 skinny pieces until the lap on the back was pretty good. As stated above, it does not have to be perfect since those joints are on the back and don't show.

I used the 1/8" roundover bit on the 2 vertical pieces, on both front edges.  On the horizontals, I rounded over the inside of each board.

I used a straight router bit to make the 3/8" deep 1/2" wide groove for the glass. I did it in about 3 passes.  On the horizontal pieces, you have to do a "stopped" router bit cut, to the mark.  Then I scroll sawed the rounded corners to 90 degree corners.

I removed all the excess Titebond II glue with a damp rag.

Gluing and Clamping

2nd Frame

Everything went fine, except when I was doing the "stopped" routing of the glass groove on a horizontal piece.   When I got near the end of the 1st pass, a piece split off the end of the board.  I had to glue and clamp it back on, since the vertical piece sets against it during clamping.

Table sawing excess joint material

I used the table saw to remove most of the excess 1/4" of material at the ends. I have learned you want to minimize the amount of stock the router flush trim bit avoid excessive tear-out.

Router flush trim excess stock on ends

I had to use 2 different types of flush trim bits, because the joints are different.  It worked only took some to change collets and bits.  Once I got that done, I did a 1/8" round-over on the back 4 edges, just to make it smoother for handling.  After that I removed all pencil marks with an eraser.........then 220 grit sanded on the drill press drum sander.

1st Major Oops

I glued up and clamped the 2nd frame, and let it sit 2 hours, plus 10 minutes in the oven at 120F.

I then trimmed the excess from the ends using the table saw and router.  I sanded it.

When I took it to the sink to wipe off the dust with a damp dishrag before staining, 2 of the 4 lap joints fell apart!!!!!!   The glue was not dry in those joints, I could see undried glue.

This is surprising to me, on most joints with yellow Titebond II glue, after 2 hours clamping, I can work the glued up piece fine.

Not sure what happened here.  My radial arm crosscut laps are not the smoothest surfaces to glue up.  Maybe on future frames, I should belt sand these lap joints to remove all the saw cuts?

2nd Ooops

I put on the 1st coat of polyurethane, put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.  When I check it..........I had bubbles on top and bottom !       Darn..........I should have done in 5 minute cycles to avoid bubbles!   I scraped bubbles off with a sharp 3/4" wide plane, then drum sanded the frame..........and stained it again.  I should have known better, because this has happened before on projects.

Stain Selection

I chose Golden Oak. These are going to a charity auction and a museum..........and everyone likes the natural color of oak.

After staining, I did 2 rounds of polyurethane and 220 grit sanding to finish them.

1st Frame Finished

I had Ace hardware cut my glass for the frames.  I cleaned the glass on both sides with glass cleaner.

I used cardboard on top of the photo.

I got out my glazing points and my hand-squeeze tool to install them.  The glazing points would not work at all in hard red oak!!!!!!  They work fine in pine or soft woods, but not in red oak!  I ended up drilling small pilot holes, then installing 1 inch long brads to retain the cardboard and photo in the frame.

Closing Thoughts on this Project

The first poster framed turned out so nice that I wanted to keep it for myself.............but it will be donated to a charity auction.

I like this lapped frame style. It makes a nice looking and study frame.

The 1 inch thick vertical rails gives enough contrast to the 3/4" thick horizontal rails.

The 3/8" deep groove for the glass is about right also.

Post Project Update

I went back to Ace, and found an alternative glazing point...........a basic triangle.

Using pliers to squeeze this in did not work I hammered on a straight piece of scrap steel........and this worked fine !

So these will work on hard woods like red oak :)

Last 2 frames

My original intent was for the photo lab to leave about 1 inch of white border around the image..............I would use up 1/2" hidden inside my frame...........which would leave a 1/2" of white boarder around the Fair image.  The photo lab only left 3/8 to 1/2" of white border around the image.

I worked with this smaller border on the 1st of the 2 frame projects.  The resulting image is ok.............but the borders are not as perfect as they could be.

So, I stopped at Hobby Lobby and bought some white construction paper.  On these last 2 frames, I will add 1 inch to the outside of the print image..........which should give me 1/2" hidden in the 1/2" of white "matting", then 3/8 to a 1/2" of white from the print.  We will see how that works :)

Wider white matting

The white paper has a shiny side and a dull side.  My wife said the dull side towards the front was the best.   I put a dab of white Elmer's glue in each of the 4 keep the photo in the right position on the white paper.  I used blue masking tape and a tape measure to center the photo on the white paper.........then removed the masking tape after the glue dried.

Ace hardware glass cost

The cost for #3 and #4 pieces of glass was $16 total.............or $8 per frame.  I should ask how much the glass is by itself without cutting...........since I can cut it on my stained glass Morton system.

Finished #3 and #4 Posters with 1/2" White border

Closing Thoughts after #3 and #4 posters

I really like this frame design, and it is relatively easy to build.  The 1 inch thick verticals give a nice contrast to the 3/4" thick  horizontal stiles.

The 1/2" border worked better with these images that are not perfectly square.

The pointed glazier points, using a piece of scrap steel and hammer to ok in hard red oak.