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    Inlay Picture Frames with Decorative Banding

    Last week I wrapped up a two-part series on building shopmade banding. Now I'll show you how I adorned some picture frame stock with an eye-catching inlay.

    For information on how to use this frame stock to construct a finished picture frame, be sure to check out our posts on how to Build a Simple Tablesaw Sled for Perfect Picture Frames, and how to Build the Ultimate Picture Framing Jig


    Cut the Groove
    I used a rip blade with a Flat Top Grind for groove walls that are perfectly square to one another. I made one cut, then repositioned my rip fence and made another cut to widen the groove enough for the banding.
    Test Fit the Banding
    After making the initial pass for the groove, you'll need to move the fence over a bit and make another cut (to get the full width of the groove). There's a bit of trial and error involved here, until you dial in the perfect groove width.
    Apply Glue
    Apply glue to the groove and NOT to the banding. If you apply glue to the banding, the thin wood will immediately begin to swell, making it nearly impossible to fit it into your carefully cut groove.
    Press Banding into Place
    You'll have to work quickly, yet gently. Start at one end of your stock and work your way down, bit-by-bit. Just remember, with the glue applied, the clock is ticking!
    A Caul Helps Seat Banding
    To ensure I bottomed the banding out in the groove, I applied a bit more force using a maple caul--just a scrap piece I could use to apply direct, downard pressure.
    Trim Banding Flush
    Use a block plane to carefully plane the banding until it's flush with the wood around it.
    Smoother Pass
    For a perfect finish, try making a final pass with a smoothing plane.
    Light Sanding
    I finished things off with a light sanding. I used 400-grit paper wrapped around a sanding block. You can use compressed air or a tack rag to clean the sanding dust out of the pores of the wood.