What wood is used for framing personal art?
What wood is best for framing personal art?
In the framing industry, it’s a well-known fact that we have been trying to provide customers with long sought-after value in terms of quality moldings. To reach this end, wood from a number of trees has been searched for and gathered under two separate varieties: softwood frames and hardwood frames. The two headings seemingly simplify things but as you’ll find out it’s still more difficult than that.
Softwood and hardwood frames. At first glance, one can figure out what the two types of frames are. Hardwood frames are seemingly made of a wood that is more difficult to work with and harder than the other. While softwood is made of a wood that is, yes you guessed it, is softer and more yielding than hardwood. Well, while this may seem correct at first, it’s not. In all actuality the type has not much to do with how hard or dense a wood is all the time. Take, for example, balsa wood. It is a hardwood as is basswood and it is one of the most common in making picture frames.
One of the main things that hardwood frames have in common is that the seeds of the tree they’re made from has a covering in the same way a walnut, acorn or apple would. Softwood trees on the other hand, have cover-less seeds, pine seeds for example. Hardwood trees are also usually deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves during the winter. Softwoods, on the other hand, are usually evergreen.
While not all hardwood trees are dense and hard, it is safe to say that some of the densest and hardest woods are in all actuality hardwoods. I know it’s confusing but it’s okay. When it comes to picture framing rather than referring to the strict designation, the term is used to refer to the workability of the wood in question. This is why basswood frames are usually referred to as softwood and oak and maple are not; these are two woods that are usually referred to as hardwood due to their stability and density.
Most (or many) commercial frame moldings are made of Ramin or basswood - two soft hardwoods - but have a veneer that is meant to mimic harder woods such as walnut, maple, or cherry. This is why, when you purchase a picture frame you want to pay attention to words that refer to the finish.
Hardwood frames are usually made of hard-wearing, tough woods that are resistant to scratches and dents. A good way to tell the difference between a softwood and hardwood molding is to simply try to scratch it with your fingernail. If it’s difficult to scratch it it’s probably hardwood.
Wood when it comes to framing your own work
It has been thought that hardwoods are more attractive than softwoods because of their well-defined grain patterns. But you must know that hardwoods such as hickory, teak, maple, and oak can be a real pain to nail, saw, and sand. On the other hand, softwoods are way easier to work but are a bit more prone to warping and can sometimes ooze sap.
In more recent years, picture frames have begun to be made using softer hardwoods made in Southeast Asia.
Also, recently the picture framing industry has started to look at hybrid poplar grown in North America because of its sustainability.
The most common soft hardwoods used for picture framing are ash, oak, walnut, cherry.