Picture Framing Tools
On this site you’ll find the tools you need to create beautiful custom picture frames. Most picture framing tools are carefully crafted and calibrated to the most exacting standards, because the frame corners must fit perfectly. For this reason, some of the picture framing tools described on this site cannot be purchased at your local hardware store or big box store — but they can all be found online.
After your frame is cut and assembled, you’ll also need a mat board cutter, a point driver and a glass cutter tool to put your artwork in the frame. And, of course, you’ll need plenty of patience and attention to detail.
Power Miter Saw
If you decide to use a power saw, this will be the most expensive tool in your framing studio. Accuracy and durability may be the most important aspects of a good power miter saw. Some of the higher-end saws include a laser marker for increased accuracy.
Lower end models are considered “basic miter saws,” and may not have the versatility or accuracy required when making picture frames, although they are an inexpensive way to get started.
Compound miter saws can be adjusted for both miter and bevel cuts at the same time, and this is the type of saw that is often used by framers. This type of saw is particularly effective with narrower stock, like picture frame moulding.
An 80-tooth saw blade is often used with power miter saws for picture frames.
Hand Miter Saw
A hand miter saw is an economical choice for the framer on a budget, or where the noise of a power saw would be bothersome. A fine hand saw can cut precise miters, bevels and compound miters, and may include depth regulators, built-in measuring scales, adjustable length stops and handy clamps.
The least expensive option is a miter box with back saw. The cuts are much less accurate with this set-up, so a plastic miter box is not usually recommended for cutting picture frame moulding.
Picture Frame Clamp/Miter Clamps
These clamps hold the corners of a picture frame together so you can glue and nail them together. There are several types of clamps for this purpose. Some woodworkers replace the miter clamps with a home-made jig.
Logan is the brand most often associated with mat cutters. A mat cutter may be a simple blade holder and a straight edge, but for true precision bevel cuts, most people opt for a cutter that includes a parallel mat guide for setting border widths. Special mat cutting blades will need to be replaced often to keep the cuts smooth and accurate.
Other picture framing tools may be needed, as well, such as a precision sander for those cut beveled corners on your picture frame molding, a fence extension for your power miter saw, mounting adhesives and special picture frame hangers. You’ll also need accurate measuring tools to do the job right.