Routing with Tom O'Donnell

 Rectangular Picture Frame.

Routing the frame from solid timber will require two templates. One of the templates will also act as the jig material, and the internal cutting of the frame can be completed with greater Safety Awareness when the router is used in the plunge mode with the aid of the template guides.

Producing the templates have always been a stopping block for a number of people and therefore they do not make the effort to continue. I admit some are more complex than others. In the photo above the template shown is also the jig to hold the material secure

00016 Rectangular Picture frame.pdf 00016 Rectangular Picture frame.pdf
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 For a number of years the most popular method of construction the picture frame has been with the router in the below bench position, or cutting the internal shape with the jigsaw and routing the internal moulding with the rounding over cutter fitted with a bearing. The external edge is usually completed on the router table with the use of a bearing cutter.

Routing in the plunge mode;

You will require to produce some method of holding the material secure during the process. The method I have been using for years is to construct a simple box which I refer to as my Jig Holder and as the name implies it holds the jig in position. This Jig holder is 400 x 300 x 40mm and the jig is 400 x 300 x 12mm MDF  

The jig will support the material in the centre of the Jig.

There are alternative methods of securing the material

Producing the Template. The size of the cut-out will depend on a number of features, starting with the size of the photgraph to be inserted  what template guide and cutter combination to be used.

Determine the size of the template guide and cutter to produce the rebate to take the photograph should be considered first as this will determine the size of the cut-out 

Template Guide 30mm Cutter 10mm

Section through the frame to show the various processes required. The additional rebate has been chosen to take the backing material  

To start the procedure to produce the opening and add the moulding a Template guide 40mm with a fine point beading cutter is used as the first stage of construction. 

Preparing the template cut-out

In this instance the size of the cut-out was calculated by determining the size of the picture to be inserted and adding the difference between the template guide and the cutter that will be used 

Picture size 180 x 130mm

Difference between template guide and cutter 20mm

The template cut-out is 200 x 150mm 

How to produce a neat cut-out?

Simply cut 4 pieces of material from 12mm MDF, and glue them together. Then laminate them to produce that extra strength required. Laminate an off-cut of the same material. This will be used as a Router Support during the process 

From the original template produce a second template exactly the same size. This template will also be used as the jig to hold the material secure  

In this instance 'Shelf Supports' were used to secure the material.

Small wooden blocks can also be used.


The material can also be screwed from the underside of the Jig.

It is important to ensure that the material  is located 'dead centre'

Note; Supports are located at each corner to prevent the template from 'Tipping'

The enclosed video will show the final stages of construction

Producing the Elliptical Frame can be completed by using the same procedure used to complete the Rectangular Frame simply by producing Elliptical shaped templates.

There have been  some other techniques added to produce the frame with the raised moulding from one piece of material

Introducing other templates and the design can be changed .

Frame has been produced from one piece of material with raised moulding with a change to the internal shape 

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