A work opportunity brought me in contact with Phil Keaggy, and I snuck a couple of old LP's in for him to sign (apparently, this happens a lot.) When I was getting ready to give them to my father as a present, I noticed there were no good options for frames within my budget. So, here we are!
I used what I had available, which was actually just some scrap pine 2x4's. Any wood would work well for these, and really you can change the design based on how you want it to look--I just wanted some small frames.
Step 1: Plans & Supplies!
- Clear plastic (like this)
:: I used scrap pine, but any lumber that's bigger than 1" would work.
- Table saw
- Table saw blade that matches the width of your clear plastic
:: THIS IS IMPORTANT. This design does not glue or affix the plastic. I took a pair of calipers and measure the width of the kerf of all my blades, and found one that measured just slightly over the depth of my chosen clear plastic
- Any finish you want (I just used furniture wax, as the lightness of the pine worked well without stain)
Step 2: 1st Cuts: to a Square
As mentioned, I just used some pieces of 2x4 I had left over from a previous project. The only need is that they be longer than 13", or the length of one side (accounting for a 45-degree cut out.) If you're using 2x4's, rip off the milled (curved) edges first, then set the fence and rip them to the necessary dimensions. I did maybe three 4-foot long 2x4's and got quite a few 3/4" squares out of them.
Step 3: 2nd Cut: Groove for the Plastic
This cut is delicate, and requires a lot of attention to make sure you keep your fingertips (and not get blood all over the wood!) Make sure that this groove fits your plastic (though it might be tight with the protective film in place.) The depth here should be the same, regardless of how you change the design for your own ends.
Step 4: 3rd Cut: for the LP, Then Cuts for the Frame
This cut may just need to be eyeballed--obviously, you don't want to cut into the thin wood. You're cutting a bit off so that the LP has a shelf upon which to sit.
Once you have the weirdly-cut square, use a miter saw to cut 45-degree angles, with 13.5" on the long side. You could possibly fudge that up or down, if your LP is bigger or smaller than 12-inches square.
Step 5: Dry Fit, Finish, Cut Your Plastic
I cut my plastic with a straight-edge and a razor. If you've done it with power tools before, be my guest, but I think a few slices with the razor and some gentle pressure against a sharp corner are plenty to cut the plastic.
The essence of this design is that the plastic sits inside the groove, so at this point you want to make sure your plastic will fit before you glue everything together.
Also, now is when you want to apply any kind of finish to the wood. When you put it together, you'll have the plastic in place, and it will be very hard to finish without getting some on the plastic, too.
Step 6: Glue It, and Enjoy!
Remove the protective film from the plastic. Put a small amount of glue on each angled face. Carefully slide the plastic into the groove of a couple pieces, then put the other pieces together. Clamp with the four-way clamping system of your choice, then wait for it to dry.
Once everything's dry, put your LP inside. Hopefully, it's cut tight enough to stay in with pressure, but you might have to either use some small nails as pins to hold it in, or may have to cut it down just a bit to get it to fit without bowing.