Following are our standard woods. Were able,
in fact, to offer most frames in any domestic or sustained-yield
tropical hardwood available to us. Inquiries about other species
are always welcome. See the Yoshida frame
tropical hardwoods we particularly recommend for that frame design. Also,
please note that some designs are limited as to woods they can be made
in. See below for more about woods.
Please note that mahogany and cherry start out rather
light and darken with age. See below regarding stains.
Following are our standard stains for quartersawn white oak organized
by temperature spectrum and listed by shade, from lightest to
darkest. Walnut, cherry, maple and mahogany too are available stained
or ebonized. Please call to discuss options. Standard stains are
shown below, but when youre ready to place an order especially for custom framing
we urge you to request stain samples, since online color reproduction
may not be accurate. Custom stains are available at no extra charge.
below, left to right: HONEY OAK our lightest
stain, a cool golden hue; GUILD BROWN very classic
medium brown oak; VAN DYKE a walnut hue; OXFORD
OAK warm dark brown; DARK MAHOGANY red
brown; CHESTNUT very dark warm brown; NUT
BROWN a greenish brown hue similar to to the color achieved
Shown below, left to right: SILVER
GREY our coolest stain; great for black and white photos and
prints; WEATHERED OAK warmer than silver grey,
but still very cool; MEDIEVAL OAK dark brown;
our first choice for sepia-tone photographs; BLACK-BROWN black
with brown highlights; SATURATED MEDIEVAL OAK warm
black; BLACK; GUSTAV GREEN* a
mossy hue popular in the period, though extremely rare today.
*If youre considering this for custom framing, you
should absolutely request a sample!
More About Woods and How We Finish Them
For interest, beauty, and the effect of home comfort
and welcome, we depend upon the liberal use of wood finished in such
a way that all its friendliness is revealed... Gustav Stickley
Our work begins with an appreciation for the natural beauty
of the woods we use. I personally spend many hours each year at our various
hardwood suppliers selecting individual boards for every frame we make,
choosing for clarity, color and, most of all, beautiful grain. Every wood
species indeed, every tree and even board has its own personality
and qualities for framing.
Quartersawn White Oak
For its aesthetic effect and deep, historic associations
and for the most authentic Craftsman or mission oak look we frequently
recommend quartersawn white oak. This wood was a favorite of Gustav Stickley
and his followers for its strength and stability and especially for the
lively and dramatic flame figure revealed in the grain by
the quartersawn method of milling. We offer a wide choice of stains as
well as a clear finish.
The other domestic hardwoods we offer walnut, cherry, and
maple were less common choices for original Arts and Crafts
furniture and frames, but are beautiful woods, familiar and popular in
todays interiors, and are very effective for framing many pieces.
The coloring and character of walnut make it especially effective in framing.
We are prepared, in fact, to offer frames in any wood available to us.
Inquiries about other woods are always welcome. Call about staining options.
Ebonized frames are normally made in cherry or walnut.
Because we share the widening concern about the devastation of the worlds
tropical rainforests, the Honduran mahogany we offer is purchased
from a source certified by the Rainforest Alliances Smartwoods
program. We emphasize that it is authentic Honduran mahogany selectively
and sustainably harvested in Central America. This species has long been
prized by fine furnituremakers including Gustav Stickley
for its lovely red-brown color, intriguing grain, and superb working characteristics.
(Particularly when accented with square ebony plugs, it evokes the work
of the brilliant early twentieth century California architects and designers,
Henry Mather Greene and Charles Sumner Greene.)
You will find that mahogany
especially becomes more beautiful and rich with age. While the wonderful
depth of mahogany is shown to its best advantage with a clear finish,
when used in framing art or for matching existing cabinetry or furniture
it often needs staining. Call for options.
Please be advised that all woods change over time. In particular,
cherry and mahogany start out light and darken with age. Walnut will actually
lighten a bit. Maple turns more golden over time.
Artists put great effort into the quality of the finish in their
work, respecting the natural characteristics of their media.
The finish of a frame needs to be executed accordingly, with the same
deliberate integrity and respect for the native beauty of materials.
The most difficult characteristic of our frames to project online or
in print, our finishes win frequent compliments when seen in person.
Finishing starts with careful sanding to clean up the joints,
remove all signs of milling, and to achieve an appropriate degree
of smoothness (the coarseness of oak makes too much sanding needless;
on other woods, sanding to a very fine degree results in a glossy finish
that’s not always suitable to the art). If the frame is to be stained,
we apply aniline water dyes, which are the best solution for staining.
The additional steps, required by water dyes, of raising the grain
with clear water and a final step of sanding to knock down the raised
fibers are worth the effort. Next we rub on by hand 2-3 coats of varnish
long on oil so that it penetrates the wood, leaving the natural texture
of the wood visible and accessible to the touch. (Most commercial finishes
are a plastic surface coating that create a barrier to the touch and
an unnatural look.)
Our concern for the quality and suitable character of the
materials of our craft from choosing lumber at our suppliers
yard to selecting the particular pieces to go into each frame is
rewarded when the frame is finished and the pictures installed in
a setting of that unique and enduring, restrained beauty characteristic
of carefully finished wood.
See the article A Natural Finish (PDF), by Timothy Holton, Picture Framing Magazine, April 2008