Scott’s Puzzled Snail Frame

Viewer Project - By Scott McClaury from Simi Valley, CA
Added on June 4, 2013

For her birthday, my step daughter Jenny wanted a print from her tattoo artist (Nick Lawrence: ). We got her the print, and I decided to make a frame for it. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the frame was not ready by her September birthday, but instead made it for Christmas by a few days. (That may become a running theme…)

In the design of the frame, I wanted to bring in some elements from the print itself. The puzzle motif was a given, although how I was going to pull it off took a lot of thought and test boards. The rails and stiles are joined with half-laps. I cut the stiles first, and then used the router-based inlay techniques to make the recesses for the puzzle pieces.

I cut a MDF template to get the curves consistent, and used a pattern bit to clean-up my jig-saw cuts. I like the soft look that the G&G style cloud lifts and rounded edges give the frame, connecting with the natural subject of the snail in the leafy plants (even though the surreal clock face and puzzle pieces might want something a bit more modern).

The choice of maple was guided by the snail’s body and shell. I wanted something with an interesting grain pattern which could also get close to the amber hue. I’m surprised just how close the maple and shellac got; although I was going more for the wild grain pattern than the stripped figure. Standard maple might have been the better choice to achieve the goal, but I’m not sure it would have looked as good with the finish applied. I’m very happy with the chatoyance and glow that the finished curly maple gives off.

I considered popping the grain with dye, but when I tried it on a test board, the figure actually stood out too much and overwhelmed the rest of the piece. There are already a lot of design elements going on, so I decided to let that be.

My thanks to the forum community who helped answer some questions on the joinery, and to Marc and the community for the fine education and support that made this possible. I think just about everything I did came from one WW Video or another.