Eva, who attended to my introductory workshop on joinery, asked for another one on making picture frames. I liked very much the idea and put myself to task. Here is the example I have made to show my students.
It actually is a great exercise, moderately challenging for a beginner but quite complete: we see mitered corners reinforced with splines, ploughing the glass rebates, the use of a hand plane to shoot end grain and finishing with shellac and carnauba wax. The basic structure can be completed by a student within one day, although cutting the back board and the glass to size and finishing could take some more.
It can be a good opportunity to introduce some machines such as a power router and miter saw, without forgetting some good accurate handwork.
An example in american white oak.
With the shooting board you can creep up to a perfect 45º miter and dimension the pieces to identical sizes.
Frame components ready for glue up.
A nice crisp joint with no glue line.
Cutting the grooves for the reinforcement splines.
The splines are pieces of veneer that provide some long-grain gluing surface and in the case above, the dovetail disposition gives some extra mechanical resistance.
I like the simplicity of these little back holders.
Last step: finishing with shellac and carnauba wax.
A perfect smooth surface, pleasant to touch and to look at.