the bare bones

In the last post I mentioned that there were several ways to create a frame for this project. When deciding how I was going to do this I had three objectives. I wanted the frame to be:

1) light

2) strong

3) unobtrusive

In order to accomplish this we’re going to build three boxes, much like drawers but without the bottoms. These boxes will be attached inside the shutter to the frame with glue and screws and will create the carcase of the piece. Here’s what I mean:


But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First you need to measure the actual distance between the front and rear rails of the 20150604_200711shutter. For me that ended up being almost exactly twelve inches. (just a hair over the width of the baskets I had chosen)

I like symmetry, so it was an easy choice to make the frame pieces 12″ x 12″ but you can just work with whatever you’ve got and trust your eye as you go.

At this point prepare your stock to be approximately 12″ x 2 1/2″ (or whatever your measurements work out to be) and group them together as you would drawers. Take care to make sure that everything is square and true at this point and you’ll save yourself a world of trouble later. Make sure to shoot the ends evenly so that you’ve got accurate stock to work with.20150607_205656


Lay them out and mark the corners that will meet each other.

The next decision you have to make is about construction. This is a “rustic” piece, but we still want strength, so dovetail, dovetail, dovetail.

Two tails, marked out with my Sterling Toolworks saddle-tail left me with nice solid joints all around. You won’t actually see the tails in the finished construction, but they IMG_20150622_073126will make a rock- solid frame, so they’re worth doing and worth doing well.

You’ll want to make sure the pins are nice and straight and clean because that’s the part you actually will see.


After you’ve got the three squares constructed, double check to make sure they’re out of wind and adjust accordingly. Finally, trim everything up and use a well set block plane to break the edges and chamfer the corners.


When you’re finished with that, take a break and go grab something cold to drink. We’ll put it all together when the shop cools down.


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