Miter Joints – Close the Gap

Miter Joints – Close the Gap

Perfect miter joints are the most challenging part of making picture frames.
Even though it’s the most challenging, if you follow these steps and take your time you’ll be able to produce perfect miter joints every time!
Making thousands of miter joints over the years, I have refined my process over and over until I got to the point of making perfect miters joints every time.

Below you’ll find the Golden Rules according to me – haha – of course there may be a difference of opinion out there some where.

It works for me and will work for you!
Miter Joints - Close the Gap
Golden Rule #1 Your miter saw or the miter gauge on your table saw must be set to EXACTLY 45°
Golden Rule #2. The opposing rails must be IDENTICAL in length
Golden Rule #3. You must use the EXACT same process when cutting miter joints on the rails; don’t change the stop blocks, don’t change the angle of the miter gauge, don’t turn your miter saw to “the other side” to cut the opposing miter.
Don’t let the rails move at all during the cutting process.
When I say exact same process I mean exact same process!
Break any of these Golde Rules and you, along with anyone else who sees your picture frame, will know you took the easy way out!!
If you follow these rules you will turn into a Miter Master!
Using a carpenter square will ensure that you have a 45° angle.

Lay it up against the teeth of the blade and the fence. It should be flush on both sides.

If there’s a gap –  you’re not at 45°.

Adjust the saw again and make sure it is exact.

Effort now, will save you later!

We know from the previous process of milling our wood, that the rails are the same thickness and currently the same length.
Before we set the stop blocks and cut the rails to final length, our first move will be cutting a miter on each end of both of the 36 inch rails.
Clamp your rails in place before making the cuts, this ensures there is absolutely no movement as the rail is being cut.
Make your first cut with the face side of the rail up (the inside of the rail, where your cove is, should always be facing the blade when making your miter cuts).
Make the second cut by simply flipping the rail end over end and cutting the opposite miter.
Repeat these steps on the second rail.
Do not change the process at all.

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