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Frames are like clothes: they dress our memories with an elegance that makes them even more beautiful. And just as with fashion, one must know what type of frame will bring out the beauty of your artwork or memorabilia.
The most commonly used frame type is wood. Wood brings elegance and sophistication with a hint of vintage feel to it. In order to appreciate the beauty of wood framing, you should know the different types of wood and what each type has to offer.
Here’s a quick guide to help you identify the different type of wood available to frame your cherished wall art or memorabilia.
Hardwoods Used in Framing
- Poplar: Poplar grows across most of the eastern U.S. and is the softest of the hardwoods. It is also the least expensive and easiest to work with. Because of its varying color and grain patterns, poplar is generally covered with wood veneers and other materials.
- Maple: This type of wood is very hard, heavy, and strong. It is resistant to abrasion, it sands beautifully, and stains well. There are 115 species of maple, but only 5 commercially important species grow in the U.S.
- Ash: Ash is a hard, heavy porous hardwood. It has a prominent grain that resembles oak and is colored between white and light brown. Ash is widely used for structural frames and can be steam bent, which is sometimes seen in furniture pieces. It is often less expensive than comparable hardwoods.
- Cherry: This wood is moderately hard and strong with a closed grain and light red-brown color. Cherry is durable and good for frames because it resists warping and checking. It is easy to carve and polish, and cherry veneers and solids are used in a variety of styles. Cherry has been called “New England mahogany,” and it is often used to craft 18th century, Colonial, and French Provincial designs.
- Mahogany: There are many different grades and species sold under this name, which vary widely in quality and price. Mahogany is thought to be one of the hardest, strongest, and best quality woods available. It is used extensively in the crafting of Georgian, Empire, and Federal reproduction furniture, so Mahogany frames will match well if you already have pieces in those styles.
- Oak: Oak is a heavy, strong, light colored hardwood and is the most widely used. This type of hardwood is the most popular wood for crafting American and English country designs. It is also used for Gothic and William & Mary reproductions, as well as many transitional and contemporary pieces.
- Beech: Beech is a hard, strong, heavy wood with tiny pores and large conspicuous rays, sometimes similar in appearance to maple. This relatively inexpensive wood has reddish brown heartwood and light sapwood. Quarter sawn and half round cut beech veneers are commonly used.
Now that you know a bit more about each of these types of wood, talk to your local FastFrame design expert to decide which one is best for dressing your cherished memories.