Moulding Newsletter March 2011

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

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” clearance mouldings area, which you may only shop in person. You’ll find a wide selection of stock mouldings at 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.

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037
Tel: (323) 759-9156 Fax: (323) 758-4071
Mon – Fri 8:00am – 3:30pm

Moulding Newsletter April 2011

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An unexpected piece of Foster history…

This month we would like to share a story with you. A charitable woman recently found and contacted us via email letting us know she had something in her possession we may have an interest in. While rummaging through items in her home, she had come across a framed piece of art and decided to give it away then she turned the piece of art over and noticed something interesting about the backside of the frame. The art itself is an oil painting of an iris, created by a local artist from Whittier, CA (a friend of the woman’s family who is now deceased). The frame – an attractive scoop-styled profile, with an antique type finish to it (gray & cream colored, looking worn with scuffs, along with pretty, gold undertones shining through). What was on the backside, which made this moment for her so interesting? Well, when turned over, the frame was stamped on the back reading: EW Foster Planing Mill Co, Inc. 1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 37.Yes, this is definitely a dated frame, as it was clearly stamped with a two-digit zip code (before five-digit zip codes for this area even existed!). Note: EW stands for Elwood Walker, who was the owner of Foster Planing Mill at the time. This curious woman decided to take a chance and see if there was still a company named Foster Planing Mill in existence. Sure enough, here we are, still around and in the exact same location (seriously, what are the chances?). Her request was simple would we like to have this framed art as a gift? You betcha!

As styles have changed, this particular frame profile is not offered through our current catalog(although we may still have the knives which shaped it hiding around here somewhere). It was either offered as a stock pattern during it’s time, or custom-made to go with this particular piece of art. The pieces (both art & frame) date back to the 1940’s or 1950’s, and as mentioned, the finish on the frame has an antique look to it – so how is this look achieved? As you know, we are masters of shaping wood but not masters of finishing it, therefore we would like to invite you to share your finishing expertise with us, along with the other readers. If anyone has comments or suggestions about this work of art or the techniques used to achieve the look of this finished frame, please post a comment on the FPM Blog under the section relating to this article: This historic contribution has found its new home, and is hanging in our office amongst a variety of eclectic framed photographs and art, which came to find their way here through their own unique story, just like the iris

Moulding Newsletter May 2011

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Glorious Knots – revealing a rare source for artsy images…

When it comes to ordering moulding, does the following request sound familiar: “One-hundred feet of clean, straight sticks…no knots”? We understand, as our customers are hard at work making picture frames, furniture, or are adding our moulding to the interior or exterior of their home – knots would simply distract from the overall clean flow of the design in mind. For 89 years, Foster Planing Mill has taken great pride in our wood product’s quality, along with our commitment to cut out all imperfections (knots included), so that our customers can use every single foot supplied in their order. From what we hear, this seems to be a rarity these days & we enjoy being a one-of-a-kind company dedicated to offering this type of quality and service to our customers.

We certainly see our fair share of wood here at FPM, and as mentioned in a previous newsletter, a professionally trained eye is part of our moulding process. We look at every piece of wood as it comes through the moulding machine – sometimes during the milling process, imperfections under the wood’s surface become exposed, such as knots. So what happens to these nasty knots that nobody seems to want?

Let us sidetrack for a moment to discuss imperfections – when something isn’t perfect, this gives us an opportunity, with our creative minds, to look at an item a little differently. After all, aren’t imperfections where character lies and intrigue unfolds? Sometimes imperfections can be a blessing in disguise, especially when they occur naturally – just as some of the world’s most acclaimed works of art have occurred… simply by accident. What may have been identified as faults or defects, actually turn out to entail the characteristics which make a particular item unique, and therefore recognizable to the viewer’s eye.

Flash back to knots – well, the typical outcome for these cut-out imperfections is a date with the waste bin, however, once in awhile there is something more that is noticed by our trained eyes hard at work. An image can seem to appear and capture our attention so intensely that it’s impossible to simply toss the cut-out wood piece aside. Art… unplanned art, from a natural imperfection (so to speak), was just created through the milling process! Imagine the variety of images which may have been exposed if the lumber had been cut at different widths or angles….hmmm.

No, we’re not suggesting that you place your future orders with demands to keep the knots in, however, if by chance a knot happens to go unnoticed and slips through inspection, perhaps you can now look at it differently and discover a natural work of art within the so-called defect, just as we have. After stumbling across countless numbers of these playful impressions over time, we decided to use this month’s issue to share with you some of the artsy images that have captured our attention (which are now part of a rare collection here at FPM). As the month of May is dedicated to honoring mothers, we would like pay homage to Mother Nature for finding yet another inventive way to create natural art for us to enjoy!

The Lioness

Diving Whale

Friendly Bear

If you have some artistic knot images of your own to share, we would love to see them – please post them on the Foster Planing Mill Blog under the section titled “Glorious Knots”.

Moulding Newsletter june 2011

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Wrap It Up

Amongst the vast possibilities for what to do with unfinished moulding, has using fabric as an enhancement ever crossed your mind? Fabric wrapped liners are undeniably a unique solution for making framed art more alluring, and can add that unique hint of custom panache that will make your framing efforts stand high above the rest. Fabrics can add depth, texture, style, culture, character, etc. when used in conjunction with art if you have not yet tried incorporating fabric wrapping into your practices, let Foster Planing Mill be the first to help you discover this exquisite and in-demand side of custom framing.

A common, safe, & conservative fabric to use is linen, however, why limit yourself? We opt to go for it and encourage our readers to consider and explore some different types of fabrics (ie: you won’t regret playing around with suede)

A product named “Fabrimount” has been recommended by one of the professionals we spoke with, so our suggestion would be to use anything that would work with this type of adhesive

We have also seen this product in action with our liners, and it really does work well.
when using Fabrimount, avoid fabrics so thin, whereas this particular adhesive will bleed through. If you decide to opt for a thinner or sheer fabric, then a spray type of adhesive would be your best bet. Please share any other suggestions you may have on the Foster Blog so were all up to speed with what works best.

Once you have your selected unfinished liner moulding, fabric, Fabrimount, small foam paint roller, paint tray, razor blade, scissors, & cutting mat, the next decision is if you want to wrap the four sides individually to show a seam in each of the mitered corners, or did you want a seamless look? Here’s the difference: when a liner is end-wrapped to display seams, the moulding is first chopped to size, then each of the 4 sides (including the mitered ends) are individually wrapped with fabric. Next, the 4 individually wrapped sides are joined together, creating an assembled liner with seams. When desiring the seamless look, the moulding is chopped to size and joined while still unfinished. A single piece of fabric is then placed over the top face of the assembled liner and wrapped, just like a wrapped mat.

When fabric wrapping liners, there is no need to cover the sides of the liners, as this area will be enclosed by the frame. Stick with putting the adhesive and fabric on the top of the moulding, around the stem, and to the under-side across the rabbet width. After applying the adhesive and securing the fabric, use the razor blade to trim the excess fabric from each of the liner sides, the under-side of the rabbet width, and to cut into the center fabric corners if performing the seamless look. Use the scissors to cut out the large center area of fabric if creating the seamless look, and to also cut around the mitered, wrapped corners if end-wrapping (these corners usually have some shape to them and require a little more finesse than a straight razor cut).

Moulding Monthly Newsletter September 2011

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When building picture frames, many customers call in and place orders for us to cut their moulding with mitered corners (aka chops). This means that all sides of the destined frame are cut at a 45 degree angle. When the sides are joined, 90 degree angles are formed to create four perfectly-squared corners for a picture frame. This information is nothing new with most of our readers, however, the following information could be something fresh to consider – were you aware there are actually four different ways to order chops, and that three out of the four ways could be considered “EXACT”?

Rabbet Size (with allowance)

Using the rabbet depth line as a destination point (plus a little allowance), this is where the artwork should hit with a little extra room. Allowing 1/8″ allowance is the standard, but you may want to clarify if you would like more or less of an allowance at the time of placing the order. We’ve heard of 1/16″ up to 1/4″ allowance – this all depends on each individual’s project.

Rabbet Size(EXACT – without allowance)

Using the rabbet depth line as a destination point, this is where the artwork should hit exactly – no allowance.

Outside Dimensions (EXACT)

Pretend the frame has already been put together, and the work of art has been placed inside the finished frame. This measurement takes into account the size of the artwork, plus the selected frame width. The requested measurements represent the size of the overall finished project – needless to say, using the projected outside perimeter of the frame as a guideline. Reasons may vary for ordering chops using outside dimensions (ie: this may be the inside portion of a frame combination or perhaps the designer is working backwards using measurements from a particular-sized space).

Sight Size (EXACT)

When using sight size measurements, the size requested is the size of the artwork image to be seen by the viewer, after the framing has been completed. This measurement uses the lip of the picture frame moulding as a guideline. The lip is not labeled on the diagram below, however it looks like the nose of the moulding (locate the line resembling the tip of the nose – right above the rabbet depth line, running vertically).

To order chops, simply call, fax, or
Click Here for our O

nline Order Form

. If you would like to share your thoughts regarding ordering chops, feel free to post your questions or comments on the
Foster Planing Mill Blog under the section relating to this particular newsletter.

Moulding Newsletter December 2011

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Must-Attend Workshops

The infamous West Coast Art & Framing Show (WCAF 2012) is just around the corner… this time at the Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. If you have never been to this event, then contemplate going if you are planning to be or are already involved in the art and framing industry. Last year, we outlined various benefits for attending the show we don’t want to repeat ourselves, so to recap the information from last year’s write-up, please visit our newsletters archive, located on our website under the Monthly Newsletters tab (Click Here for a shortcut, then scroll down to the January 2011 edition).

Aside from all the listed fundamental benefits, we would like to draw attention to the workshops offered at the show collectively, these workshops are referred to as the National Conference and give rise to many essential key elements for achieving and maintaining success within the art and framing industry. This is a valuable opportunity to meet and learn from the go to people in the business, and there is a wealth of information to take away from these workshops; now is the time to enroll. Foster Planing Mill will be sponsoring several workshops this year, which all pertain to using unfinished moulding:
H618 Contemporary Gilding

Creating Custom Finishes on Wood
M298 The Twenty Greatest Frames of All Time
The Fine Art of Toning Gilded Frames

Visit the WCAF 2012 website
for a full list of available classes, along with course descriptions and prices (HInt: these workshops fill up quickly, so book them while you have a chance). The tradeshow dates are from January 30, 2012 thru February 1, 2012, and the National Conference dates are from January 29, 2012 thru February 1, 2012. The Mirage Resort & Casino, where both the tradeshow and conference will be held, offers a room discount for those planning to stay at the hotel and attend the show (visit the Hotel and Travel page on the WCAF website for further details).

For those who feel that the winter is their slow time of the season, this is the perfect occasion to use that down time in a constructive way. For those who feel that business never slows down, while you make the rest of us feel jealous, don’t forget to carve some time out to make some new contacts and gain a fresh perspective on developed techniques it could take your business from good-to-great, and remember that most (if not all) practices could use a little polishing. Please stop by and visit us in booth #529, so we can meet you in person. We’re currently trying to get Bob, our President, to dress as an Elvis impersonator for the show, but have only talked him into wearing the sideburns so far – thank you, thank you very much!

Please visit us on the Foster Blog to discuss WCAF 2012 details, including plans to attend the tradeshow, workshops, etc., and we’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037
Tel: (323) 759-9156 Fax: (323) 758-4071
Mon – Fri 8:00am – 3:30pm

Foster Planing Mill turns 90!

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Foster Planing Mill turns 90!

Gosh, do we really look that old? Hopefully not, but we have certainly come a long way while happily serving the public nationwide, since 1922. Maintaining our superior quality standards over the years has been a constant effort, along with keeping our products affordable for everyone ranging from the occasional hobbyist to the mass producer. Furthermore, we are both delighted and honored to be connected with you, as the main source for your unfinished wood moulding and stretcher bar needs; we can only hope that our customer relationships grow even stronger as time progresses. With all this said, we plan to kickoff our 90 year celebration at the upcoming West Coast Art & Frame Show (WCAF 2012), at the Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. This major event will take place from Monday, January 30th thru Wednesday, February 1st, and those who attend and stop by to say hello will see we have a few surprises up our sleeve to commemorate our 90 year anniversary.

As a reminder, it is not too late to register and make plans to come and be a part of this valuable opportunity designed for networking, information sharing, idea generation, hands-on experience, etc. Our December newsletter recapped the importance of going to this annual tradeshow put on by Picture Framing Magazine, and had also mentioned a number of essential workshops (referred to as the National Conference) that will be offered to attendees. The National Conference workshops were created by the masters of their trade to help others realize and learn new techniques, to brush up on and/or further develop existing practices, and for professionals, as well as newbies, to obtain and share information. The good news is there is still time to enroll in a number of the offfered workshops, however, space is limited, so needless to say that time is of the essence. We have had a tremendous amount of feedback since last months newsletter went out, so we expect and are excited to see a large number of you there.

Foster Planing Mill will be in booth #529, ready to: talk about our moulding, stretcher bars, and custom milling, answer questions, and take orders, as well as sample requests. We will have a raffle drawing each day to win a custom set of standard-size 2 stretcher bars, along with the unveiling of our new catalogue (which will include 6 new profiles we know you will be ecstatic about). The launching of our new moulding finishing kits for beginners will also take place, and with the commotion of the show as our backdrop, we will also be in the midst of creating a Happy 90th Anniversary video, so that those who stop by can personally extend warm wishes and share feelings and experiences about the Foster Planing Mill Company (that is, if they wish to participate).

As a well-established, seasoned organization, at this point in time, we would like to note that we: have never felt stronger as a company, still embrace the ability to handhold our customers and personalize orders, enjoy our work, and would like to thank you for allowing us to serve you for last 90 years. It is an ongoing pleasure to do business and build relationships with our customers, and here is looking to the future for another 90+ years ahead – cheers!

Feel free to visit the Foster blog to post a Happy 90th Anniversary message, and to share any personal experience(s) you’ve enjoyed with Foster Planing Mill throughout the years

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037
Tel: (323) 759-9156 Fax: (323) 758-4071
Mon – Fri 8:00am – 3:30pm