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Glorious Knots – revealing a rare source for artsy images…

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Our May newsletter takes a closer look at the imperfections we spend a great deal of time cutting out here – knots. We decided to share our perspective of the beauty of imperfections, and to share our findings of playful images that have caught our eyes over the years. Are they simply defects, or should they be appreciated as art? Do you have any images you would like to post that fall under this discussion?

 

The Lioness

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C’mon over! – Tour the Foster Planing Mill facility

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Foster Planing Mill was founded in 1922 by Henry Butzer, and at the time was called “Butzer Planing Mill”. Throughout its 89 years of operation, the company has operated under only 4 owners and is currently run by Bob Stanley, who took over from his father around 25 years ago. Foster’s famous blue sawdust collector towers high in sight, as you drive along Slauson (in-between Budlong and Normandie), and looking pretty much the same as it did when it was first built, this facility has ultimately become a historical landmark for many people in this raw and edgy part of the south Los Angeles area. South Central, as it was once called, had been long known for having a high crime rate, and in fact, seemed to reach its all time peak in the 80’s – let’s just say that during this period there was a suspected drug house across the street, which seemed to do more business than Foster while it lasted. Since then, the neighborhood has been taking a positive turn, and we can now safely encourage everyone to stop in for an anything-but-ordinary visit, as you never know what to expect when you arrive. For example, the neighborhood rooster may pop over for a visit to say hello, while the local ice cream truck whizzes by playing off-the-wall songs in “ice cream truck tunes”. This area is also known for having a great deal of graffiti, so it will also be an opportunity to take in some of the unique, local street art, which is a trademark for this neck of the woods. Our facility has been called “funky”, “wild”, “a step back in time”, etc.. but we feel each should have their own experience when they stop by. Regardless of what you may witness in the neighborhood at any given moment’s notice, what you can expect to experience at our facility includes: free, safe parking, a tour of the storage room, the grinding room, the stretcher bar room, the rip saw area, the lumber yard, shipping area, the office shack, and while you’re here you may also shop the “seconds” area, which you may only shop in person (and you won’t be sorry due to the wide selection and rock bottom prices). We also have and use what may be considered “antique machinery”, which still produces some of the highest quality moulding on the market today, along with old-fashioned wheel carts, and of course, greetings from our friendly shop guys, while you watch them hard at work – heck, we may even let you press the famous Foster Mill buzzer if you ask nicely! Additionally, it will be a great opportunity to meet the people you’ve been speaking with on the phone for all this time, and to see where your moulding and stretcher bars come from (who knows, you may even learn a little something while you’re here). So how does all that sound? If you’re intrigued, then make a definite plan to come by at your soonest convenience. Please call ahead if you would like to request a tour – there is no charge for our tour and it is our pleasure to have you stop by and to show you around.

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In Love With Purpleheart

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While the trend for darker woods continues, along with celebrating the month of love, we thought we would spotlight a very prominent, exotic wood type called “purpleheart”. This worldwide favorite wood may come from about 20 species of Peltogyne (trees of the Leguminosae Family), and is found throughout Central and South America. The wood from each species is so similar in appearance to one another that the lumber industry accepts them all to be allocated and distributed as one. Tall and large trees grow abundantly, sometimes reaching a diameter of five feet with clear, knot free lengths – it’s a great tree that yields a lot of high-quality lumber! Purpleheart has a creamy, white/gray sapwood, and when freshly cut, the heartwood is a dullish gray, purplish, brown (darkening into a deeper purple or brown with sun exposure & age). There is a high degree of variability in cutting characteristics, depending on the piece of wood or possibly the exact species of Peltogyne. Some wood seems to be relatively soft and easy to cut while other wood is incredibly hard. The grain is typically straight but some material may exhibit a particularly interesting curly grain pattern on quarter sawn surfaces. The wood is hard, heavy and can be pretty rough on tools. On the upside, Purpleheart glues easily, polishes well, and brings a nice “wow” factor to the finished project. Foster Planing Mill offers two of their stocked profiles in this gorgeous wood – profile #530 can be found on p. 8 of our catalogue, along with profile #700 on p. 18. You may also request to have another profile of choice custom milled with this wood type (minimum of 200′ required).

Helpful hints for finishing purpleheart:
Before applying the finish, put your project in the sun for a few hours, as this will make the color more intense. Over time, with exposure to ultraviolet light, purpleheart will inevitably darken to a brownish color – this process can be slowed (although not completely stopped). To prolong the length of time that the wood remains a lustrous purple, it’s recommended to periodically apply a UV-resistant finish to the completed piece. Also, if your project calls for screws in the joinery, take precaution by pre-drilling the holes.

Foster Planing Mill at WCAF 2011

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Yes, we will be there with bells on in booth #1200 (our regular location). We are sponsoring select workshops this year, such as “Creating Custom Finishes on Wood”, which is offered on Monday, January 24th from 2-5pm. We also plan to have various painting & staining demonstrations at our booth throughout the duration of the show, so please stop by, say hello, sign up for our raffle to win a free workshop, talk with us about the variety of profiles we offer, as well as woods on display, and be sure to enjoy this amazing and informative event! For more information, visit the WCAF website: www.wcafshow.com

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Profile spotlight 3″ keyed stretcher bar set & a visit with a local restoration specialist

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With dimensions 1-1/16″ x 2-3/8″, this highly demanded stretcher bar size can be found on the backside of our price list.

A recent visit to Aleksei Tivetsky’s Art Restoration and Conservation studio in Los Angeles, CA was very enlightening, as being a restorer & senior conservator for museums (amongst many other titles), Aleksei is accustomed to working with canvas and stretchers from various time periods (he has even worked with archeological pieces dating back to 4th Century BC). Aleksei explained that stretchers with keyed-out sides and corners are the only choice – this style has been used as a standard in Europe for centuries, up until present day. He offered the tip that when working with period stretchers, he stains the bar set with either an oil or water-based product (no specifics were recommended), as this makes the bar set look older, helping to match the period the artwork stemmed from. When working with modern pieces, he leaves the wood on the bar set plain (unstained).

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An outside look at how stretcher
keys fit inside the created slots

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Example of a 17th Century European keyed-out stretcher (crossbar side)

Ordering Foster Canvas Stretcher Bars

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Our keyed-out stretchers come in three different sizes:
2″ Regular Bar: 3/4″ x 1-11/16″
3″ Large Bar: 1-1/16″ x 2-3/8″
3″ Bar with 1-3/4″ Cap: 1-3/4″ x 2-7/8″ (gallery wrap style)
Simply call with the dimensions of the artwork you are planning to stretch, along with the stretcher bar size you would like to use. Tongue and groove corners will be created for easy joining, along with appropriate sized keys. Stretcher bar sets will arrive disassembled for easy shipping. (Barstock is also available by the lineal foot for those who want to create their own stretcher sets. Note: when ordering barstock, tongue and groove corners, as well as keys, will not be included). We encourage and wish you luck with your projects!

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Spotlight custom “Couse” profile in basswood

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Couse Bird parts A & B (shown in above photo) was designed by Marty at Goldleaf Framemakers of Santa Fe, located in Santa Fe, NM. This shop focuses on hand-carved, gold-leaf, period picture frames. Marty and his team members strive to find the perfect marriage between the frame and the artwork with every given project – their mindset is that the period of the artwork should perfectly match the period of the frame which surrounds it. These frames are finished with exquisite goldleafing, which is Marty’s long life passion, as well as his special trademark.

How to order custom milling with Foster Planing Mill:

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1) Open your mind & unleash the possibilities
2) Draw/map out profile (include dimensions)
3) Specify which wood type you would like your profile to be milled in
4) State the quantity you are looking to order (min 200 feet)
5) Estimate the date of when you will be needing the order (allow 10 days – 2 weeks)
6) Have a name ready for your custom profile so that we can safely file it away
7) Email or fax your drawing to: (323) 758-4071, info@fosterplaningmill.com
8) We will create a price quote and contact you shortly
9) Smile, as you are in the process of creating something exciting and unique