How to Avoid a Creating a Visible Saw Kerf When Making a Picture Frame

What You'll Need
Table saw
Wood plug
Wood putty

Making your own picture frames is very satisfying, but you have to be very careful not to leave a kerf on the wood, when you are cutting your frame pieces. A kerf is an incision left on a wooden piece. As with all things, practice makes perfect, so if you are a beginner, try practicing on a sample picture frame first, before working on the real thing. By following these basic steps, you should easily produce a perfectly put-together picture frame.

Step 1 – Using the Table Saw

We will assume that the picture frames will be 15 by 15 inches, and the plywood is ¾-inch thick. Use a table saw to cut the squares out of the plywood. Change the location of the fence, so that the saw will cut down the wood to the width that you want. Use a table saw to cut the outer sides of the frames. Always turn off the saw and turn the frame at a right angle, before making the next cut.

Step 2 – Using the Router

After cutting the squares with the table saw, use a router to cut the inner sides. Use the ¼-inch router bit. Remember that you need to feed the wood to the router from left to right, so the bit’s sharp edge will meet the wood first. Finish the corners of the picture frames with a chisel to avoid a visible kerf.

Step 3 – Making a Template

If you intend to cut multiple picture frames, it is a good idea to make a template. You can utilize the table saw and the router to cut the template, but make sure that you are satisfied with the result before moving on with the job.

Use the table saw to cut the other frames roughly and leave about 1/8-inch or 1/16-inch of extra wood, you will use the router to trim it later on. Trim the wood with a pattern bit or a flush-trim bit, and make sure that the bit you use has a diameter of at least 1/2-inch.

Step 4 – Using Wood Putty

You can avoid leaving a visible saw kerf on your picture frame by using wood putty to hide any minor mistakes on it. Insert the wood putty into the kerf,  let it dry, and smooth it down with a piece of sandpaper. Neither the kerf nor the putty will be visible, after you have applied stain to the picture frame.

Step 5 – Repeating the Saw Cut

If you notice that you have left a visible kerf on your wood, you can take other wooden pieces and cut it again.  Keep in mind that repeating the cut on a fresh piece of wood, and cutting it properly, will be more aesthetically pleasing than a wooden picture frame with an unattractive saw kerf on it. However, you must be careful, because if you are cutting an exotic type of wood, it may cost you more money to repeat the cut.