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Adjustable picture frame jig

Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but it shouldn't take a thousand tries to assemble a frame. One of our readers shares a quick tip for putting them together in a cinch.

If you've ever assembled a picture frame, you know the difficulties of creating seamless miters and a flat glue-up. Sometimes numerous clamps and an extra set of hands don't seem to be enough. WOOD magazine reader Dennis Parrot of Greenfield, Massachusetts, solved that problem with this adjustable frame jig.

Cut the base, braces, and corner clamps, as dimensioned at right. Our jig measures 27x32", but you can increase your dimensions for larger frames. The three braces across the bottom keep the base flat when applying clamping pressure later.

Glue and clamp the corner clamp parts together. The overhanging hardboard captures the clamp banding when using the jig later. After marking diagonals on the base to locate the slot centerlines, we drilled a 5/16" hole at the end of each slot, connected the outer edges of the holes with straight lines, and cut the slots to shape with a jigsaw. Sand all the parts smooth and apply a clear finish. Later, secure a corner clamp to each slot with bolts, washers, and wing nuts, allowing just enough slack so the clamps can slide on the base.

To use the jig, place a corner clamp at each corner of the frame being clamped. Waxed paper beneath the frame corners prevents the glued joints from adhering to the base. Wrap a 1"-wide band clamp around the corner clamps and tighten, as shown in the photo at right.


Comments (6)
fergy1939 wrote:

to GordonC.. This could be a very versatile jig by making it say 50" long, cut one set of slots at one end and one at 32". Then match the 32" slots at 36", 40", 44", & 48". That way you can clamp from square to narrow & long as suggested in the article.

2/14/2013 08:57:05 PM Report Abuse
tommandkay wrote:

It seems to me that without a lot of adjustment, this jig could be used not only for picture frames but for other glue-up or nail up jobs requiring four corner clamping, just about anything with picture frame type corners.

2/14/2013 05:30:14 PM Report Abuse
GordonC wrote:

I'm confused. It seems this should work only for frames with the same relative dimensions as the jig. How would you make this work with a square frame? How about a long and narrow frame?

2/14/2013 03:43:24 PM Report Abuse
apoor1150547 wrote:

Would it be helpful to angle the face of the corner clamps slightly, to put downward pressure on the frame and keep it from riding up when clamped?

2/14/2013 10:09:18 AM Report Abuse
crawdad1555 wrote:

been looking for a helping hand like this

3/21/2011 08:19:36 PM Report Abuse
ripberger.john79 wrote:

Useful jig, thanks

4/15/2010 04:21:55 PM Report Abuse

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