Being a bit of a perfectionist I quickly learned that simply using a miter saw to cut square stock into frames was not going to cut it. The corners need to be exactly 45˚ or the result is not good. I learned that not even the best miter saw with a high quality blade will be exactly 45˚ and more importantly, consistent.
Researching the subject of Framing I found that professional framers use miter trimmers, hand planes and guillotines to create these perfect 45˚ miter cuts, and then often shaving tiny amounts off to get that perfect fit. I went with the hand plane route and a jig to achieve this and after the rough cut I am able to fine-tune the cuts to be exact.
Surprisingly the profiles or fancy grooves and edges were easy to accomplish with a router and proper bits. After trying it by hand I quickly learned I would require a router table but after building this and a simple fence the actual routing of the profile on the face and groove on the back for matting and glazing was fairly easy.
Mission accomplished? Hardly. Properly connecting the four pieces together is another challenge. With proper clamps, V nails and glue this has taken patience and some frustration to do correctly.
Finishing is another completely different skill. Choosing the proper finish is more than just brushing on a layer of Shellac and calling it a day.
Each wood is different and the results can be awful if you use the wrong finish, I learned this the hard way when I turned a beautiful piece of red oak into something quite ugly.
So as I hone my woodworking skills it seems I have created a new hobby for myself, not something I was planning on doing but the savings I will see will be tremendous. Considering I have nearly 100 matted prints in need of frames, something that would have cost me at least $10,000 at a frame shop. The other positive thing is that my final product is created 100% by myself; from the actual picture taking to the printing and matting and now I can add the frame to that list.
Having said all this I can see why framers charge so much!