Framing a stained glass circle


Grumbler in Training
Jul 18, 2004
Sticks of Northern California
Hi Folks -

I have a friend in the framing business that has been approached with this "opportunity".
Potential customer has a 12 inch circlular stained glass to be framed for window hanging.
Simple profile frame, two thickness most likely 1/8th, so we are thinking a 3/16th rabbet would work.
I've searched for similiar topics in the archives and have gained some ideas, but am interested in seeing if there are any new ones. --
I can carve her 2 two-sided frames, if nec., but am wondering if there is a better solution for her.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions/comments
From a woodworking point of view and making your own from scratch, I am visualizing a pair of shallow rabbeted circular frames the total of which would be enough to house the stained glass circle when assembled back to back. Now visualize a pair of cherry frames with black walnut bow tie wedges inlaid around the circumference of the frames to lock them together, or a more contrasted white birch/walnut or some such contrasty combination.

It would be permanent and non-reversible and you probably would have to destroy the frames to get the stained glass out again but who cares?? I don't ever recall a woodworker making a piece of furniture with the intention of tearing it apart again! It would surely be a challenge of your routing and woodworking skills to come up with a workable design for a project like this one.

Good luck with it.

(And prepare yourself for the "but black walnut is a carcinogen" crowd.) I guess all sawdust will kill ya one way or another.

Hey Framerguy,

Thanks for the quick response! I would have gotten back sooner, but was kinda waiting for the "but black walnut is a carcinogen" crowd to chime in.... Actually I have been prototyping the frame in MDF - so maybe they "knew" that I have only that sawdust to contend with thus far.

A question about those bowties you were imagining.... are their edges perpendicular to the seam of the two halves? Since you were mentioning contrasting colors, that's the vision I was receiving. (Tho' not the design look I am going for)

The frame design is coming along nicely. I'm playing with profiles now, may do some shallow relief carving on the faces. It will be, as you mentioned, permanent and non-reversible. However, I must mention that some woodworkers still use hide glue for their furniture contruction, so that repairs can be made by tearing it apart again - just like the old days.

Anyway, thanks again for your ideas... I'm willing to hear more!
No problem, although I AM glad I didn't hold my breath waiting for your response!!!

A question about those bowties you were imagining.... are their edges perpendicular to the seam of the two halves? Since you were mentioning contrasting colors, that's the vision I was receiving. (Tho' not the design look I am going for)

Yeah, sorta like most any inlay used to lock the 2 halves of the frame together. They wouldn't add that much strength to the joint but they sure look good when done tightly.

tee~hee! Too funny!

Perhaps when/if I get to use "real" wood, I'll use your bowtie idea... kinda silly to go to all that effort and then paint over it all!

Structurally, MDF is so-so....(But carves nicely) so thought I'd reinforce the area where the mounting hardware (I'm thinking of screw eyes) attachs with dowels for some real wood bite. ( Predrill the area, insert dowels with a touch of wood glue, and then screw in the screw eyes.) What do you think?
I have done little work with MDF because I don't like what it does to router bits. Maybe I am too picky but I just like working in real wood.

If you are concerned about the weight of the finished piece pulling the screweyes out (why screweyes and not mirror hangers, D-ring hangers??), I would use a dowelling jig and drill out a series of holes from the back of the frames once they are assembled. They will anchor the hanging devices and, if you stop short with the holes, they won't be seen from the front and you could use fluted dowels. If you wanted to use contrasting dowels like walnut or cherry on birch, you could drill completely through and use unfluted dowels for a different look from the front. Maybe drill some shallow holes through from the front and implant some contrasting dowel plugs just to give some contrast to the frame.

Just some ideas to start the ol' design juices flowing.


In Line Ovals should be able to produce this for you cheaper than having a local wood turner face turn.

The rabit depth should be slightly deeper than your class to accomidate thin cushion material.

3 registration pins are all you need to keep the XY axis lined up.

Use a 4-hole strap hanger with long enough screws to go deeply into the front frame. That should hold the whole package together, and make for easy access if need be.

Cut an paste the image and send to ILO, and they can figure it out... they may even be able to set the pins for you.
Wow... :eek: Thanks Guys!
-- The more I learn, the more I know I need to learn -- my new motto!

First thing I noticed was that both of you were placing the hanger hardware either on the front or the back of the piece. Myself, I was thinking of screwing it in the edge (middle). Now I'm thinking of incorportating all of our ideas.

What do you think of this?

Using the dowel idea, drilling the holes on the inner sides and before assembling add a D-ring hanger over two dowels. (Where the screw usually goes - dowel instead) I'd have to carve a relief for the hardware so that the frames would be flush to each other after assembly.

Gonna start working on the prototype tomorrow. Please let me know what you think, and I'll update my progress (if anyone's interested!
Whoa, Hoss, I don't think you understood the placement of the D-ring/strap hanger!! I think that Baer and, most definitely me, meant to mount the hanger on the BACKSIDE of the frame!! The dowels would be the screwing in points and the holes would be into the front frame from the rear.

This is if you use MDF. If you are using birch or some solid hardwood or medium hard soft wood you don't really need the dowels.

The dowels in the drawing are for aligning the 2 frames together, not for hooking the D-rings onto. They are called registration pins or simply alignment pins and fit into a corresponding hole in the other frame.

On a small item like this I would just line up both frames, clamp them together and run deck screws into both frames!! (JUST KIDDING!!!) ;)


Who was the idiot that said, "A picture is worth a thousand words???
Neigh.... what the hay?
I'm just trying to keep this frame two sided - with no real front or back...

I'll see what the day brings, maybe I will be able to post a sketch of what I'm thinking...

"There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them." Lawrence Welk
<font size=1>FGII, we tried. I think we both forgot to look at the "Sticks of NoCal" part.</font>

Knedert; how about just running a bead of silicone around the outside of the stainglass thingie and moosh a hanging wire into it. Than you cun make it all perty like with some fancy colored duct tape. :D

Suggestion.. you've now been at this for 14 days, if you told the customer "about 2 weeks", you have a very busy weekend ahead of you.

Unless you have a face lathe and woodworking shop in your back pocket... you probably have an apology ahead of you. And a sad, much needed lesson; "if you don't have a clue how you are going to do the job when the customer is standing there, don't take it."
you did NOT cut that on an Eclipes... :D

So now that you did a great job, cough up the details....

CCR? Overhead pin router? Does this mean we can start ordering MDF frames from CA?
The picture frame was carved entirely on our CNC machine. If CCR = computer controled router, then you are darn close. (spindle actually - much quieter ;) )

All frames thus far have been done in MDF. Not having to worry about short grain issues on the curves is, well, one less thing to worry about. :rolleyes:

We have a full woodshop "in our back pocket"
, and will be capable of glue-ups of real wood, should the need arise.

I'm currently working on a catalog of completed items that we will be soon marketing. Looking for anything in particular??