DNA of frames article


Feb 20, 2003
A recent ArtAffairs article talks briefly about the "DNA of frames" -- where the material comes from, and how the final look is achieved. What are the best ways to learn MORE about a frame moulding's history (from tree... to completed length). I am especially interested in today's frames; I imagine the information could be broad.By the way, local reps for the couple of companies that I have contacted have been marginal with detailed information. Do manufacturers have some kind of written "history" of the products they currently sell?
Many thanks for your input!
{brat mode}Are you suggesting that the people I buy plastic molding from should know what factory it is from, and the details of its operation?{/brat mode}

I would like to know why Williamson's previously lovely moldings are no longer sanded correctly. Every stick of oak molding from them for the past two years has been striped with drum marks. When I called to complain, all I got was a "huh? What's drum marks?"

Williamson built a brand spankin' new manufacturing plant (125,000 sq. ft.) a few years ago and were putting out excellant moulding from that plant. For whatever reason, they closed that plant and farmed out all of their moulding production elsewhere. And the quality has gone down hill since then.


I had one of the most informative tours shortly after their plant opened. I was invited to come down and see their new facility and was shown the various steps that a moulding goes through from a rough billet of sawmill lumber stacked on a pallet to the finished moulding. I still remember the moulding #, it was 51-6598-4441 which has been since discontinued.

There were a total of 28 steps in the process of taking a board from that pallet of wood and turning it into a piece of finished moulding! If you added the gold foil trim that the 51-6598-4471 had on it, that added another 5 or 6 steps. It was incredible how much work goes into manufacturing even a fairly simple moulding as I described here!

Terry Schaubert had what he called a "story stick" which was a series of 1" pieces of wood that visibly depicted each step in the manufacturing process of this moulding.

(I tried to get one from him but he was bigger than I was and he won the arm wrestling contest!!)

If any of you live close to a manufacturing facility I would heartily recommend arranging a tour to see just what is involved in making moulding. You will be surprised at how much work is required to make some of the profiles that you have displayed on your walls!

It really is interesting to see what goes into a stick of moulding. I've been to the Southwinds plant and also seen a good part of the TI plant. What was most interesting was the gilder (?) that Larson Juhl brought to the Atlanta Decor show last year to show how Senelar molding is finished.

It's a great selling tool (esp. high end mouldings) when you can knowledgeably discuss what went in to making that "purty stick o' wood". I'll have to look for the article.