Framing 101, Part 1: Frame Mouldings

To begin with, all of our frames, with the exception of the metal styles, are hardwood. We do not use pressboard or plastic for our frames; solid wood frames simply hold together better over time. The moulding comes in many styles, colors, sizes, from simple and modern to gilded and ornate. We order 12 foot sticks of the most popular styles and cut it to length here in the workshop of the store. Specialty moulding is ordered in specified lengths for each piece. Those lengths of frame moulding are then joined with glue and specialized nails to form the traditional frame that hangs on a wall. At no time do we ever take a pre-made frame and try to "stuff" your art or picture into it. Each frame is made to the customer's specifications. As you can imagine, it takes more than a bit of skill to measure correctly, cut miter joints, get corners lined up, join the pieces, and then add finishing touches to make a frame look like more than "sticks of wood nailed together". And this is just step #1!

Part 1A: But why are some of the wood mouldings expensive by themselves? 

Each stick of moulding has to be cut from trees, shaped by skilled experts to get the desired profile, and then stained or painted. For more ornate and detailed mouldings, a "gesso" layer is added to achieve particular shapes. All of this adds to the cost per linear foot of moulding.