More than just “custom”! Alder wood meets steel for one of a kind frames.

This is where what we do is.... More than just "custom"! Alder wood meets steel for one of a kind frames.

We put the “custom” in picture framing… Check out these gorgeous alder and stainless steel frames we’re making for abstract originals. The elements combine to create something greater than its parts. This is where the picture framing we do at The Frame & I is much more than just “custom”! When we introduced Alder wood to steel, they hit it off so well they decided to get married!  😉  Picture framing for us is so much, much more than just nailing four sticks together. It’s about making the art the feature presentation. What we do is…

More than just “custom”! Alder wood meets steel for one of a kind frames.

This is where what we do is.... More than just "custom"! Alder wood meets steel for one of a kind frames.

How did we make this frame? read our blog to find out!

Sometimes we get to live the dream. A client comes to us and says, “Be as creative as possible!” and then lets us do what we do best. Oh joy, oh rapture! Oh frames!

So what do we do for a client like this?  Well… our client David Syre is a prolific abstract acrylic artist who made a name for himself first in the timber industry.  Our thinking was that it would be really really cool to use northwest alder wood from his own company, Cascade Hardwoods. (Lumber junkies follow this link.)  We had him send us a pallet of beautifully milled alder boards. You should have seen our faces when it arrived!  OH WOW!!!

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Lots ‘o lumber! The alder was delivered in a huge stack of true 2″ x 4″ boards, sanded to 150 and beautifully milled with a sharp edge.

 

This alder was lonely though. It needed a partner. So we selected a simple and clean stainless steel frame from Larson-Juhl for the inner picture frame… here’s a stack of steel clad picture frames in progress in the workroom.

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Francine milled all of the lumber to have the appropriate rabbet (that’s the little stairstep part) to hold the steel frames in. She built the frames to fit perfectly together, then Ida sanded them and clear coated them. The photo below shows a frame ready for color and the final finish.

hand finishing wood

This is our base frame. It’s been sanded to 220 grit and coated with a clear poly so the color washes added later don’t overpower the wood grain.

Once the sanding and clear coat was finished, it’s time for the really fun part! Adding color!  The best looks come from multiple layers of color. So sometimes these frames are in real ‘ugly duckling’ stages… but never fear… It’s not “hulking out”!

hand finishing wood layers colors picture frame

The first coat of acrylic color goes on very thin and bright… we chose a permanent green mixed with thalo green. Even though this is fun and vivid, it’s not going to stay this way for long! We want to add some complexity and depth.

Starting to layer the colors. The second coat was a sheer, very bright red. Between each coat of paint fine steel wool is used to allow the grain to show back through.

alder picture frame prescott az

The second and third coats of paint are added after the first layer is mostly dry. They’re added on very thin and sheer to keep the quality of the wood visible.

Each layer is rubbed back down with steel wool to reveal the wood grain again and allow all of the colors to peek through. You can really see it in the next photo…

Greater than custom! Alder wood blended with steel meets acrylic.

Paint, steel wool, paint, rag, paint, more steel wool… now we’re ready to wax it and stack the art and interior frame on.

Voila! The finished frame is coated with a lustrous carnuba based wax that hardens up once it’s set. We slipped the steel frames in to give your eye a break between the colors of the frame and the colors in the art.  Did we mention we’re over the moon for this artist?  No two of these frames are exactly the same. We choose the colors based on the art going into the frames. Check out these three!

Greater than custom! Alder wood blended with steel meets acrylic.

Violet and gold look like cooling lava on this cerebral painting! This frame is toned in complimentary colors to give it an inner glow. The art really pops out!

Greater than custom! Alder wood blended with steel meets acrylic.

This frame is cool blues and rich rusts, designed to make the blue in the painting look really deep. If you look closely you can see the grain in the wood giving an overall flowing feeling.

Greater than custom! Alder wood blended with steel meets acrylic.

This vivid painting called for a more neutral frame, but there is still some green and red peeking through. The hard carnuba wax has a soft sheen that plays well with the brushed stainless steel stacked inside.

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