“Working Girls” exhibit on view at Ricco/Maresca was an honor to frame

During the last couple of months, we have had the unique opportunity to frame dozens of 19th Century photographs by photographer William Goldman (1856-1922), for the show, Working Girls, currently on view at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, in Manhattan. Goldman, who lived and worked as a commercial photographer in Reading, Pennsylvania, was also apparently a regular…

Huge Art Framing – Boston Area

It took 10 expert framers to build a frame for a 12’x5’ photograph of a whale from California-based artist Bryant Austin. The completed frame with photograph weighs 200 pounds and is heading to an Australian art gallery. A lot goes into framing a piece this large. It’s always a good feeling knowing our frames travel…

Making Your Wood Frame: Part III Finishing

Sample Chips

Sample chips for a variety of finishes


The final step in building a wooden picture frame is applying the finish. With over a hundred finishing options and endless custom colors, finishing is a particular art that we have fine tuned over the years. Many of A Street Frames finishes are stains with a tinted lacquer, but we also use oils or waxes, hand painting with Japan paint or milk paint, gilding, and opaque lacquers. Because of the variety of finishes we offer, the steps vary slightly for each process.

The first step for any finish is to inspect the frame and make sure there are no sanding marks or unfilled imperfections. Often another set of eyes can spot something the sanders missed and it can be sent back for a little extra work.

Building Wooden Frames – Joining and Sanding

Welcome to part 2 of A Street Frames‘ custom frame creation process. Last time we walked you through the milling stage, and now we’re on to joining and sanding. Hope you enjoy!


Choosing the Wood

After the milling is done the wood is wrapped up and placed in the proper bin for the cutter. His job is to cut the frame to the proper size specified by the frame designer. He needs to identify the profile, the species of wood and the finish to choose the perfect lengths to cut from.  He must be familiar with the properties of each type of  wood and the different finishes to guide his selection. Certain finishes are more forgiving, and a few random imperfections may be fine where natural finishes and light stains are not forgiving. He also needs to understand wood and the particular characteristics of the different species. For example, maple wood often has dark spots from growth in the tree. If this was used for a light finish such as our Amber, it would come through glaringly and would not pass our standards. However, if the finish were a solid lacquer color, that would completely cover the maple wood and that imperfection would be acceptable as it does not affect the integrity of the frame.

When choosing lengths for figured woods, such as tiger maple or bird’s eye maple, the cutter must be even more scrupulous. He needs to select stock which is consistent in color and figure while being mindful of how the individual legs of the frame match at the miters. We have to establish what is acceptable, when there are enough eyes in the bird’s eye and when there aren’t enough.

Wood for ChoppingWood stock milled and ready for chopping.

Every frame is one-of-a-kind and we have a very high standard, but sometimes people don’t understand the uniqueness of each length of wood. We often hear that they want their frame to match the sample they have exactly; when that customer is in California with a sample we made 3 years ago, it can be very tricky. When we make samples for our frame shop customers, I always stress not using stock with exceptionally high figure. Scott, who heads up our Empty Frame Division, gets to know our customers very well and usually knows when it may be best to send a call tag for their sample so we can match it as best as possible.

Framing an Antique Game Board

So much of what we do here at A Street Frames is more complicated than just framing.  We recently completed a project that required us to devise a way to frame an antique game board for one of our best New York clients. The challenge was to display the piece in a floater frame without using any screws, glue, or glazing, and to do it in such a way that it was completely archival (and therefore reversible).  Follow along with us through the careful process of designing and building a frame to display this cherished object.


1: We are given an antique wooden game board.  The customer would like it mounted in a floater frame without any screws or glue so it will be completely reversible.

2: The backing board is prepared for the artwork by marking the placement of the mounts.

Gameboard 2


3: Brass rod is first prepared by threading one end.

Gameboard 3

4: Tools for measuring the contour of the artwork and bending the rod ensure perfectly shaped mounts.

Gameboard 4

5: Specialized hand tools help fine tune the work.

Gameboard 5

6: One done, several more to go.

Gameboard 6

7: Protective skin is applied to the brass with polypropylene tubing and a heat gun.

Gameboard 7