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In over 50 years of custom framing one of the most asked questions is why does custom framing cost so much?
We have a quote in our design area –
“Quality custom framing will outlast the carpeting and furniture in your home as well as all the cars, clothing, electronics, televisions and kitchen appliances you’ll ever purchase. It can pass from generation to generation and still look as good as the day it was purchased.”
And when you decide to frame an item you like and is important to you the cost is much less than almost anything listed. Quality framing using acid free mats, conservation UV protective glass, real wood frames, combined with extensive knowledge from people dedicated to the fine art of custom framing ensures your item will last for generations.
To provide a little insight as to cost the framing industry has people who watch and help steer interior design and color. They decide on moulding styles, colors, and finishes.
Every wood frame starts with someone planting a tree, cutting it, milling it, treating and inspecting the wood. Milling it again to the desired shape, of which there are about 40 recognized shapes of moulding. One or more finishes are applied, sometimes by hand. The 8 to 12 foot lengths are then inspected again, boxed, shipped, unboxed, stored, cut to size, re-boxed and shipped. The framer then re-measures, sands and joins the frame. Each step includes everything involved in running a business, from utilities to payroll. There is a tremendous amount of work from tree to your wall.
You might be thinking that if it looks like a wood frame it must be made out of wood. Not true. Just because the surface looks similar you need to look deeper to be assured of a quality product. One of the easiest clues that it is plastic instead of real wood is the cost. Molded plastic will always be less expensive than a real wood frame. Some plastic frames contain dangerous chemicals. They are easily damaged, difficult to hang because you can’t add a wire, and cannot be repaired. Plastic frames are very good at ending up in landfills.
Next up from plastic is what they call Bonanza Wood frames. These may look a little more like wood but they are made from glue and sawdust. They are mildly stronger than plastic frames.
*IMPORTANT NOTE when purchasing framed items be sure to follow the hanging instructions on the back. The manufacturer has determined the best way to hang an item. Most plastic and bonanza wood frames come with two hangers and no wire. There are usually instructions to hang by the two hangers and NOT to add a wire. This is because a wire will place different stress on the hangers and they are likely to pull out of the frame if a wire is added. We have had many people ask us to add a wire. And many who have added it themselves only to have the frame fall off the wall. Plastic and bonanza wood frames cannot be repaired. Whatever money you may have saved initially could end up actually costing you in damage to other furniture, flooring or even you!
The Framemakers only carry 100% wood frames. Some are solid walnut, ash or oak. Others have beautiful hand rubbed finishes. With over 3,000 frame styles to choose from you are sure to find the perfect frame for your style and needs. By the way 3,000 frame styles are about 10 times what you find in the “big box” discount framing sections at large craft stores.
If the environment is important to you then please invest in a real wood frame. More and more of our suppliers are getting woods from sustainable forests. Many of our suppliers are invested in reforestation projects. A wood frame can be repaired. It can be cut down, rejoined and repurposed. The Framemakers are one of the few frame shops that have the capabilities of all aspects of frame repair. We can cut down and rejoin a frame, tighten loose corners, cast molds and replace broken pieces, touch up nicks. In other words The Framemakers can do just about anything with your frame – as long as it is wood. Wood frames are an excellent investment for you and the future.
A paragraph ago we mentioned that The Framemakers have over 3,000 frame styles to choose from. Frame finishes run the gamut of not only color but styles and shapes. The simplest of the finishes are solid wood frames with a clear finish or stained. Oak, maple, ash or walnut account for most of the solid wood frames currently manufactured. Other wood frames have a gesso layer applied and then the finish. These frames come in a variety of finishes from black matte to lacquer, gold, silver and many other colors.
Gold and silver frames can be a simple shape or have dimensional gesso added to create an ornate, carved looking design. These frames can also be gold leafed which is a 10 step hand applied process. There are actual gold and silver leaf frames and there are less expensive metal leaf frames that are just as beautiful. All leafing processes will have seam of overlap marks where the leaf papers need to overlap each other.
Some wood frames have a veneer applied over a less expensive wood. This is done to either reduce the cost of the frame or because the veneer would not work well as an entire frame. This would be applicable if the wood that is the veneer is not as strong or dense as the wood it is being glued to. Veneers, like leafed framed, are also characterized by their seam marks. Many of the gorgeous burl frames we carry are veneer finishes.
The Framemakers of course carries all of the frames discussed in this blog. And of course many that we haven’t mentioned. Some of our more unusual finishes are real leather frames, also frames with just a leather panel, pearl and sparkle finishes. We are sure that whatever your style, whatever your décor, whatever your budget, The Framemakers will have the perfect frame for you.
Contact The Framemakers in Westmont, IL for all of your custom framing projects and questions. Call (630) 795-1020, fill out a website form below or visit our storefront 10 N Cass Ave, Westmont, IL 60559!