Category Archives: Newsletter

Category Archives: Newsletter

Moulding Newsletter July 2010

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Welcome to our monthly newsletter that is designed to feature mouldings, finishing tips, wood types, events, and new happenings here at Foster Planing Mill (FPM), as well as attribute interesting work our customers are involved with. We are committed to creating the highest quality wood moulding on the market, as well as providing top-notch, personalized customer service. Thank you for taking interest in our products, as we continue thriving in our 88th year of operation.

The versatility of basswood

Our staple wood, basswood, is a soft, light-colored, relatively light-weight hardwood, which comes from the American Linden tree. It grows abundantly in an area stretching from the Appalachian Mountains, west into the Great Lakes area, and north into Canada. There is no shortage of basswood timber and it is the premier choice of many framers for a number of reasons. Aside from being extremely economical, basswood paints and stains well – it has a relatively uniform light color, which helps to maintain consistent finishes from one piece of wood to the next. Also, basswood is considered ideal for carving, as the wood is soft and does not force the knife to follow the grain. Gilding, goldleafing, and an array of other creative finishes are also commonly performed on basswood mouldings. It seems to encompass a variety of workability characteristics that are well received by all who choose to employ this wood species

Profile Spotlight:#618 (a quick & easy finish using Gilder’s Paste)

With dimensions 1-13/16 x 5, this basswood profile is one of our more popular patterns and can be found on page 12 of our catalog. For those of you who are not producing finishes, a basic way to get your feet wet is by using gilder’s paste: use a makeup sponge or paint brush, along with a small amount of paint thinner and apply. Let moulding sit for approx 10 minutes, then buff using a dry cotton cloth.

Join Us On Facebook

We have recently joined Facebook and would like to invite you to be our friend. Stay updated daily with what’s going on in the world of moulding and particularly with FPM. Get tips on finishes, meet new contacts, and stay in the loop with which profiles and woods are trending. If you’re not a member of Facebook, just follow the link below and be sure to add us as a friend as soon as you finish signing up.
Our mailing address is:

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

Moulding Newsletter August 2010

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The Comeback Of Walnut

Throughout the years, wood trends have developed, creating cycles moving in and out between light and dark colors. Due to trends back to darker style woods in the household, over the last several years, there has been an ongoing increase in demand for walnut wood. Furniture and cabinetry designers, across the board, have shown a rise in demand for walnut, which in turn has a direct impact on the world of moulding (both architectural and picture frame). Walnut is rich in color, and exceptionally stable, which makes for well-crafted home interior products – according to popular statistics, these products seem to “really be moving”. Black walnut (Juglans nigra) primarily grows in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. The trees reach heights up to 100′ with diameters of 3′ to 4′. The sapwood is nearly white, while the heartwood is brown to chocolate brown.

With dimensions 1-1/2 x 1/2, this widely used profile is found on page 18 of our catalog. According to Catherine at Don Francis Conservation Framing, a quality finish involves sanding and patience…also allowing time for things to dry inbetween coats is key. This particular frame shop located in Venice, CA has recently switched to a number of water-based finishes to be more environmentally friendly. We wanted to pass on some of their suggestions for types of finishes to use with walnut that will accentuate the beauty of the grain, while going “green”: generally speaking, water-based paints are available everywhere you look, and Minwax products are easy to use and fast-drying. Minwax water-based wood stains are offered in a wide variety of different wood tones and decorative colors. Sometimes Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish (also water-based), a crystal clear, protective top coat is all a walnut frame needs – let the natural color speak for itself!

Order Online & Save Time… Most of our customers call in to place their orders, and have more than likely had the experience of having to call back repeatedly, while our phone line seems to bark back with a never-ending busy signal. Yes, there is rarely a dull moment here at the Foster Mill, and one advantage of building our website was to have a user-friendly online order form. Some of you have caught on and used it (and it appears you will never go back to calling in your orders), while others still don’t know it exists or are hesitant to give it a try. We would like to encourage everyone to use the online order form at least once, so you know where to find it and how it works (just in case our famous busy signal doesn’t seem to resonate well with you one day), and you will now have an alternative way to place your order. Simply go to click on the menu tab on the left that says Order Form, fill it in, hit “Submit” at the bottom, and voila! We will call to collect payment if you don’t have an open account or a credit card on file with us. If you would like to continue calling and faxing, and don’t care for online ordering, that’s just fine with us too
Our mailing address is:

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

Moulding Newsletter September 2010

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Manufacturing Moulding – The Overall Process

We thought it would be a good idea to utilize this issue and share with our readers the general process of how moulding is manufactured at our facility.

Sure, you order and use the stuff all the time, but how does it come to be? We are sure you will find and agree that this certainly is an intricate and dedicated process.

Basically, lumber arrives at the mill in boards of various thicknesses (ie: 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 8/4, etc.), which are then ripped down with a ripsaw to be just a little bigger than what is needed for the actual dimensions of the pattern scheduled for milling. Note: an extra 1/8″ on each of the 4 sides is needed so a nice, smooth finish will be the end result.

Large, cylindrical cutter heads are positioned in the moulding machine and hold pieces of steel with the specified pattern shape cut into it (knives). The moulder has the capability to have pattern knives set at the top, bottom, and each of the sides (6 knives per pattern to be exact – 2 on the top, 2 on the bottom, and one on each side).

The prepped lumber is then run through the moulder, which is then converted into a piece of moulding within one pass through the machine. As the piece of wood is fed into the moulder, each of the knives cuts the shape in sequence to produce the finalized shape.

The following are the elements involved for creating successful patterns:

1) quality lumber

2) carefully designed knives

3) precise positioning of the cutter heads holding the knives – at Foster we measure and maintain tolerance of 5000ths of an inch (equivalent of 1-2 sheets of copy paper!). The reason for maintaining such high tolerance is to ensure the profiles consistently match up from one run to the next,

4) very stable and controlled hold on the lumber as it passes through the moulder – if the “hold-down” is too loose, the wood will bounce around creating defects, and if held too tightly, the lumber will bind up in the machine as it cannot proceed & pass through with ease (there is a very fine balance between too little and too much pressure),

5) a professionally trained eye – as moulding comes out of the machine, we look at every piece to make sure it is usable, as wood does unpredictable things after it is machined (ie: straight pieces can become crooked, defects under the surface become exposed, the grain may tear out, etc.).

Sigh…and there you have it. As mentioned, this is a general overview of what goes into every lineal foot of moulding you order and use. With that said, each step can be broken down further into much greater detail – we can make plans to explore these particular steps in following newsletter issues.

In closing, we hope you enjoyed learning a little something about our overall daily process here at Foster Planing Mill.

Profile With dimensions 1-3/4 x 2-3/4, this rounded profile has a grand, traditional style and can be found on p. 28 of our catalog.

For those who are a bit rough around the edges when it comes to sanding (by the way this step can make or break the end quality of the moulding product), we called in a professional to share some valuable pointers.

Pete from Absolute Framemakers in Los Angeles, CA shared that there are different sanding techniques for different finishes.

Klingspor brand sandpaper is his weapon of choice, and he uses a palm sander to achieve the look and feel he is after. He suggests starting with a 100 grit and sanding to about 220 for most frames, and we thank him kindly for sharing the following specifics:

– if working with a clear wax, then take the grit up to 320 – this gives it a nice quality finish, which also looks glossy and feels ultra smooth. Pre-stained conditioners, along with water-based stains and paints will more than likely raise the grain, so once the grain is raised, then sand using 400 grit, then apply the stain

spotlight: #812 & professional sanding tips

When using laquer or wax, do not sand inbetween stains or between the stain and top coat. Example: use 220 grit, apply pre-stained conditioner, then use 400 grit, stain, then apply top coat.

– When using a palm sander on picture frame moulding, be careful on the lip of the frame, as the slightest wrong move or too much pressure can cause curvature.

Would you like your invoices & statements emailed?

Options are nice, and we continue striving towards opportunities that will give our customers just that.

Our order system now provides the option for our customers to receive their invoices and statements via email.

So, if this option sounds like it is right up your alley, then jump on-board and let us know the date you would like to begin receiving your e-invoices and e-statements. Just email us at with your company name and the date you would like the new online cycle to begin.

Please note that e-invoices have a slightly different look than the forms mailed out, while e-statements look exactly the same.

Our mailing address is:

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Moulding Newsletter October 2010

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Sapele wood – the popular alternative to mahogany & why Foster made the switch

Genuine mahogany was once the premier imported wood species. Its primary growing region is in South America and, to a lesser degree, in Central America and small portions of Mexico.

In November 2003, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) imposed stricter regulations on the trade of genuine mahogany, stating that when shipping this wood species, it must be accompanied by a CITES Appendix II permit. After the regulations were in effect, shipments from some areas, such as Brazil, halted, while supplies from Peru and Bolivia scarcely trickled in (supplies still being brought in from Guatemala and Mexico were available, but considered to be of lesser quality).

Due to a lowered supply, the price of genuine mahogany doubled and what now was available had a reduced quality. High prices paired with low quality made most people back off from buying genuine mahogany at this stage, and in turn, the overall demand greatly declined. Alternatives to genuine mahogany were quickly being sought out, and one popular candidate was a wood species called sapele (pronounced: suh-pee-lee).

Sapele, also called sapele mahogany or scented mahogany, grows in large sections of western and central Africa, from Sierra Leone to Uganda, and south to Angola (this is one of the large canopy trees in the equatorial West African forest).

Sapele is a bit harder than genuine mahogany, a little more crystalline in appearance, the sapwood is a white to pale yellow, and the reddish-brown heartwood resembles African mahogany. When freshly cut, sapele has a spicy smell, which some compare to a “cedar-like” aroma. It also has characteristics that make it easy to work with, and is said to stain and polish with ease.

Foster was one of the many establishments which had to adjust to the situation taking place with genuine mahogany several years back, and thereby searched for an equivalent substitute that we could stand by and be proud of. Ever since we made the switch to sapele and incorporated this wood species into our catalog, we have heard nothing but positive responses.

We look forward to sapele exercising an even greater increase in popularity, as its awareness continues to grow.

Profile spotlight #530 in sapele w/ some “Random” finishing tips
Small and basic, this universal profile has the following dimensions: 5/8″ x 1″ and can be found on page 8 of our catalog.

After speaking with Douglas from Random Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, it was apparent there are some classic, yet clever ways to work with our sapele wood, and its unique color. He said we could share his information with our audience…

Rockler-Sam Maloof’s Poly Oil Finish is a forgiving product that leaves the wood looking beautiful. Simply rub on, let set for 24 hours and apply beeswax.

The next suggestions are based on classic chemical treatments, wherein safety equipment is a must (goggles, mask, gloves).

Ferrous sulfate comes in a dry powder and when mixed with water and applied to the wood with either a sponge or brush, it reacts and brings out a striking grayish color.

Similarly, potassium dichromate reacts and brings out an eye-catching deep red.
Although chemical treatment reactions are initially quick, allow 24 hours for the color to set in and dry, then use 1500 grit sandpaper and beeswax for the grand finale.

Request for new catalog ideas With the new year quickly approaching, we thought it would be nice to release a brand new catalog for 2011. We would like to include all of you in our search for new profile ideas.

Many of you have given us suggestions over the last couple of years, but now is the time to shout out and get our attention.

Please send us your ideas via fax or email with the subject heading: “New Catalog Idea” fax: (323) 758-4071, email: We look forward to hearing from you!
Our mailing address is:

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

Getting creative with custom milling….

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There are various reasons which may lead one to take the plunge and design their own custom moulding profiles. Perhaps there is a project which involves restoring a particular part of a home (interior moulding), or one side of an outdated or historical picture frame needs to be matched.

Could it be no one seems to carry exactly what you’re looking for – the profiles you are seeking out are similar to what you are finding…but not quite close enough? Or maybe you just want to be completely original with everything you do, and nothing short of a unique and ingenious design will suffice.

Regardless of the reason for embarking on this creative adventure, we at Foster Planing Mill support your initiatives and are very proud to offer custom milling as a service to the public. After being in operation for 88 years, believe us when we say this company has seen its fair share of the rare and the wild when it comes to moulding designs. It is always an interesting challenge to plan out the execution of each design, and ultimately watch it come to life.

We would like to encourage having an open mind and some fun while entertaining any new ideas that enter your head from here on out. People continue to demand and enjoy original work, and what better way to compliment a part of the home or a work of art than with something completely unique and/or off the wall (excuse the pun).

What an inventive way to market your abilities and shop by offering exclusive moulding profiles that cannot be found anywhere else in the world! Some exercises to spark inspiration include thinking about the overall theme of the room the interior moulding is going to enhance, along with the look and feel of the artwork about to be framed.

Think of the moulding as an extension of the room or the artwork:
What types of lines and movement will engage onlookers when they enter the room and/or admire the artwork?
– What shapes and styles are most effective to really make this project stand out and grab attention?

– Have you ever explored the possibility of designing a moulding profile with multiple adjoining parts?

As you now realize you have the mental tools and ability to cross over into higher levels of detail and extravagance – hmmm… this really makes you begin to think, doesn’t it?

Spotlight custom “Couse” profile in basswood

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:

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,
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.

Our mailing address is:
Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

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Moulding Newsletter December 2010

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The Importance Of Keyed-Out Stretcher Sets

When working in an art-related business, sooner or later a request will come up as to whether or not you are able to stretch a canvas. Some simply use strainer bars to accomplish this task, however, strainers are not considered acceptable for stretching fine art because of their inability to expand.

A more professional and functional instrument to use (especially when dealing with larger sized paintings) would be stretcher bars with keyed-out corners (and keyed-out sides if including cross bars). Keyed-out stretcher sets have been used for centuries, and for those who truly understand the characteristics and properties of how canvas behaves, it is clear that ordering these types of bar sets are, without a doubt, the only way to go.

Let’s talk for a brief moment about canvas, while considering temperature and moisture changes in the air. Canvas is constantly moving as a result of increases and decreases in temperature, as well as humidity and dryness fluctuations – increased humidity alters the canvas by loosening the tension and the canvas becomes slack



allow one to adjust and stretch the framework, ultimately helping to keep the canvas looking top-notch and taut.

Keep in mind there are certain factors to consider regarding stretching canvas and using stretcher keys, as well as when and how to make necessary adjustments. Needless to say, education on proper use and guidelines for alterations are advised to ensure each individual canvas is being handled properly.

Foster is very passionate about quality and tradition, so it is very natural how we came to craft and offer these types of stretchers to the public, along with our stock and specialized moulding. If you have not yet tried our custom keyed-out bar sets, it may just be time, as we know you will be impressed.

Ordering Foster Canvas Stretcher Bars

Our keyed-out stretchers come in three different sizes

2″ Regular Stretcher Bar: 3/4″ x

3″ Large Stretcher 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!

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

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, 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).

An outside look at how stretcher

keys fit inside the created slots

Example of a 17th Century European keyed-out stretcher (crossbar side)
Our mailing address is:

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

Moulding Newsletter January 2011

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Attending WCAF 2011 in Las Vegas

West Coast Art & Framing) is just around the corner, and we thought we would take a moment to remind everyone of all the advantages of attending this annual framing show held at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, January 24th – 26th (Note: workshops/classes begin on Sunday, January 23rd).

If you don’t have a booth, you should still come to explore the show floor, as there are many benefits to simply being there and being seen. Remember, the more you educate yourself about who is out there and what they are offering, the more prepared you will be for your customer’s questions, requests, and for potential changes in the industry. Ultimately, as your awareness, knowledge, and contacts increase, the more effective you will become with your future business maneuvers.

Some benefits to simply wandering the framing show floor:

1. Opportunity to Meet Framing and Art Suppliers – there are probably people you have been working with for years that you have never personally met. Note: this is a great opportunity to either meet those you are working with, or encounter new suppliers that you might enjoy working with in the future.

2. View New Framing Products and Technology – there may be some new products that could enhance your business and/or cut down your production time.


General Networking – seeing and being seen have already been discussed, along with meeting suppliers, but how about talking with everyone you possibly can? You never know what types of information, opportunities, and/or formed relationships can arise from simply striking up a conversation with someone next to you at the show.

4. Framing and Art Trend Observation – are you keeping up with what is going on in the world of framing? Is there a possibility you could lose business if you are not keeping up with certain styles & techniques that are currently trending?

Taking framing workshops/classes are yet another big part of the show and offer unique opportunities to:

1. Play and Satisfy Curiosity – maybe you don’t currently offer hand-crafted carving through your shop, but decide it may be fun to take a wood carving workshop just to give it a try (you may surprise yourself and find you are a natural at something you never imagined).

2. Learn and Develop New Art Skills – if we don’t use it, we tend to lose it, and it also may be time to pick up a skill that has become a necessity due to increased demand.

3. Explore the Business of Running a Frame Shop – including eveything from framing pricing, marketing, web site development, etc.

This is a great opportunity to learn around like-minded people who may also need help in these areas, and to discover how other framers are doing their job more effectively.

Lastly, the show is in Las Vegas, so among all the listed reasons for going, it’s generally hard not to have a good time during your “off” time.

Foster Planing Mill at WCAF 2011 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:

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 February 2011

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In Love With Purpleheart…

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

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