The type of wood a picture frame is constructed with effects how strong it is, the frames durability and resistance to scratching and denting. The wood type you select for your photos to be showcased in should be considered before you buy a frame.
Think about how you intend to use the frame or your traditional habits with the frames you already have. Do you rearrange your frames a few times per year, or have you already settled on a display you love and just want to freshen the look of your rooms with an updated frame moulding?
True hardwoods are more resilient than softwoods. Hardwoods are the likes of walnut, oak and teak. Softwoods are your pinewood frames, oak and basswood, the latter being among the budget-friendly options for wood photo frames.
The Types of Wood for Frame Mouldings and the Finishes Used
Hardwoods are among the toughest woods you’ll get for wood photo frames. They’re long-lasting, resistant to easily scratching them and more difficult to dent than softwoods, so if you’re in the habit of handling your photo frames by frequently changing their hanging position, hardwoods will be more appropriate than softwood due to the durability of them.
Textures and grains tend to be more refined and noticeable on hardwoods, making them look more attractive. If you have a photo that you really want to showcase, consider using a hardwood frame to compliment the photo, or the artwork if that’s what you’re framing.
A few of the hardiest of woods are oak, maple and teak. These tend to be more expensive types of wood frames because they’re tougher to work with. Softwoods tend to be on the cheaper side because, being soft, they’re easier to manipulate, cut at different angles, get the corner joints cut with precision with no major struggles. A lot more goes into creating frame mouldings from hardwoods than softwoods, which is what’s reflected in the price.
If budget is of concern, there is a trick you can use to find a frame that looks like a hardwood but is made of a softwood. That’s to pay attention to the “finish” description.
All frame mouldings suppliers will tell you what type of finish the frame has, but it doesn’t always reflect the actual type of wood. An example would be a basswood frame with a walnut finish. What this means is the frame is made from basswood, and the finish is the veneer you apply to the basswood to get the walnut finish. It’d be better described as a walnut replica, rather than a walnut frame.
A finish to the wood is the veneer that’s applied as a finishing coating to varnish/stain the wood. All frames have finishes applied for protection, but more so in softwoods, because the level of details doesn’t stand out as much. They need to be applied artificially. A hardwood finish only gives the look of a hardwood. It doesn’t give you the strength, durability and longevity you get with true hardwoods. Varnishes and stains only affect the visuals of a frame.
The real strength of a wood photo frame comes from the type of material used to create the frame mouldings, then how each part is pieced together with carefully cut joints and suitable parts to support the entire strength of the frame construction.