tree trunk slice picture frame

nimajneb78May 26, 2009

I have never used a forum nor have I done any woodworking to date. I have a 3'X4" round tree trunk slice that I want to make an ornate picture frame from. All I can find online are forums about trunk slice tabletops and branch picture frames. I have read the postings concerning PEG shrink prevention and curing the wood with minimal cracks. I don't want to make a table so cracking isn't that big of a deal. I intend to hollow out the back of the piece but not all the way through. Leave about 1/4" of thickness to the front. I could fit the "hole" with a round piece of glass. In the front of the piece, I would cut "windows" of various shapes n sizes (for pictures). Glass in back, pictures next, and maybe cardboard behind pictures. Since I have no woodworking experience, any help would be appreciated. Should I do the cutting early on? Perhaps that will prevent cracking. What are the best methods and tools for sanding? Is a router the best tool for hollowing the back? Again, any info would be helpful. Thanks.


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Cracking is due to differential shrinkage -- most species of woods shrink twice as much tangentially (around the rings) as they do radially (from the center out). Since circumference is proportional to radius (c = 2*pi*r), "something has to give." This is why cracks are usually looking like someone took a slice of pie (not pi) out.

Thus, removing the center will reduce this tendency. Though if I understand what you want to do is a number of swiss-cheese windows in a three foot wide section, it may not eliminate it. And yes, do it as soon as possible, while the wood is still wet. Removing the waste could be done with a coping saw, scroll saw, jig saw, hole saw(in a drill) or router. To get the rabbet on the back, the best tool would be a router with a bearing-guided rabbet bit. Any other method would be quite tedious.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sample rabbet bit

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 8:45PM
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