Introduction: Cedar Picture Frame

   Looking for a small item that will make your house pop with both color and a conversation piece? The Cedar Picture Frame is your answer! Built from a hardy Cedar Tree, this frame will last for centuries to come. This piece will add an old time rustic western appeal to your home, while showing off your priceless family photos as well. This frame is based on a 4" x 6" photo, but depending on the size diameter of the cedar trunk, determines what size photo you can put on the frame. All in all, excluding dry time, you can make approximately 10 of these Cedar Picture Frames in under 2 hours!

Tools Required:
     Chain Saw
     Pressure Washer
     Finishing Sander
     60 Grit Sanding Paper
     1/8" Drill Bit 
     90 Degree Grinder with Sanding Disc
     Lineman's Pliers
     Needle Nose Pliers
     Paint Brush
     Flat Head Screwdriver
     Safety Glasses

Materials Required:
     (1) Cedar Tree
     (1) Roll of Rusty Barbed Wire
     (8) Finishing Nails
     (1) Roll of 1/4" Leather ( or similar size )
     (1) Roll of Fencing Wire
     (1) Quart of Polyurethane Clear Gloss Varnish
     (1) Can of Gloss Protective Enamel Spray Paint

I cannot be held liable or responsible for any accidents involved in making the described Cedar Picture Frame. All persons assume the risk of injury or death when working with power tools, especially when using the chain saw to cut down a cedar tree. When using any type of tool, it is recommended to wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from potential harm. Also, never directly or indirectly inhale the vapor fumes from either the spray paint or varnish for extended periods of time.

Step 1: Locate and Peel

1) The first step you need to take to make a Cedar Picture Frame is to locate a cedar tree to start with. You can go out to your backyard and chop a cedar down, go to the cedar lumberyard, or you can obtain written permission from another land owner to go on their land to cut down a cedar tree. A few days before I had the idea of making a photo frame, I chopped down a tree for a Cedar Tree Coat Rack. I went back for the remainder of the trunk I left previously and cut it close to the ground with my chain saw. Remember to always wear proper safety equipment when working with any kind of power tool ( safety glasses, gloves ).

2) After you have acquired your cedar log, you need to check for any remaining branches. If there are any branches left on the log, you will need to cut them flush to the cedar with your chainsaw.

3) For this step you will need a pressure washer. Using the pressure washer, try and strip off the bark from the cedar log. I like to use a 0 degree nozzle when doing this, so it penetrates the bark faster then, say, a 40 degree nozzle would. It is easier to start on one end of the log, slowly working your way up to the other end. Once you see the golden brown color of the cedar you know that is the end of the bark. Stop work, until the cedar is pretty dry; this took around two hours in full Texas sun, when I was making this project.

Step 2: Wafers, Sanding, and Wire Install

4) Once the cedar log is dry, you now need to cut about 1/2" wafers off of the log using your chain saw. Be sure to cut as straight as possible, so the frame will be straight when hung on the wall. 

5) After you make all the wafer cuts you want, you need to decide which side you're going to put the picture on. Once you have made a decision for each individual wafer, it is time to sand. I used a 90 degree angle grinder with sanding disc to take the majority of the chainsaw teeth marks out. After that, use a finishing sander for a smoother feel and to sand any remaining splinters. ( Picture 5 above, the far right wafer is before sanding. The lines you see, were made from the chainsaws kerf. The left wafer is after sanding. ) Be sure to also round the edges off for a nicer effect as well.

6) Now you need to cut a piece of rusty barbed wire to your desired size for a wall hanger with fence pliers. Once you have your length, bend each end of barbed wire to equal 90 degrees on each side. Place the barbed wire up on the picture frame, and position where you want it to stay. Take a drill with a 1/8" drill bit, and drill a hole on both sides of each strand of barbed wire. ( see picture 6 above ) If you need to sand and splinters made from drilling, use your finishing sander around the drilled holes.

7) Place your barbed wire on your frame once again. Now cut a few inches off of your roll of fencing wire with your fence pliers. Stick one end of the wire in one hole, then over your barbed wire, and place the remaining end in the opposite hole on the frame. Use needle nose pliers if your fence pliers are to big to handle the fence wire. Pull the wire tight through the backside of the frame. Then twist both wires together snugly with either pliers, but be sure to not break off the fence wire when twisting. Complete the other strand of barbed wire in the same manner. ( picture 7 above )

Step 3:

8) It is now time to apply a Polyurethane Clear Gloss Varnish to the Cedar Picture Frames. Be sure to get at least one coat on the backside and on the sides to seal the cedar frame. Apply at least 2 coats to the top, visible portion of the frame. Stop work until completely dry.

9) Once dry, take you can of gloss protective enamel spray paint, and apply a coat to the barbed wire. Let dry. While you let the enamel dry, you can start working on getting your leather and finishing nails ready. You will need to cut you 1/4" or similar sized leather into 1" long pieces. ( you will need 4 pieces ) Now since the finishing nails are longer then the 1/2" wafers you cut, you will need to cut them at least half in size using your fence pliers. 

10) After the enamel is dry, and you have your preparations done for the leather and finishing nails, you need to size up your photo size. Place an old photo down on the top, visible part of your cedar frame. Be sure to center the photo with your barbed wire for when it is hung. Take each piece of leather and set on each corner of the photo, barely covering every corner of the photo. Do not cover to much or little, either or will have bad consequences either making it hard to put in or easy to pop out. Once you have the leather lined where you want it, take your needle nosed pliers and place them below a finishing nail's head. Place it gently on the leather positioned where you want to drive it, then take a hammer and drive it in. Repeat until each leather piece has 2 finishing nails placed in them. After each hit, be sure to realign and check the positions of the leather and photo.

   After you are satisfied with the leather placement, the Cedar Picture Frame is now ready to be hung in your home! Bring the outdoors in, and share your memories all at the same time. The beautiful golden brown, and red cedar will accent your home with a rustic western feel. This piece will definitely be a conversation starter, and you will love to brag about it, especially since you yourself built it with satisfaction. Thanks for reading, I have enjoyed making this project, and hope you will to!

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