Creative use of staining techniques to imitate other wood types.

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Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Creative use of staining techniques to imitate other wood types.

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 25 Sep, 2021 2:35 pm

I do a little bit of this, but not to deceive any one, but given the fact that it is quite common to be able to buy different factory finished moulding in various different stained colours, it makes sense to me that with so many stained wood mouldings not looking like other natural wood colours, that un-natural looking mouldings to me look slightly strange and therfore less desireable to potential customers. Mainy particular wood type already have similar grain structures to other woods so why not stain them accordingly? It's not very often that potential customers have very much understanding of wood types, although most will recognise oak, when they see it. I sell plenty of real oak frames, but there's not much point in bothering with factory finished oak look alikes at all. Only real oak looks anything like oak and that's a fact. There are many wood types, which produce a nice high quality result when stained in black, but many of these just don't work well in other colours. Sure, I can probably sell these woods in other, less appropriate colours, but if they don't look right to me, why would I want to.

Staining Tulip wood is not really normal practice, Tulip wood grain often looks like Elm when stained to highlight the grain. I'm not look to produce an imitation of elm, but at least it looks like a natural wood finish and it can be presented in my shop window as stained Tulip wood. In such cases, I feel that I am being honest about what it is, but such fames definitely sell better that the characterless stained versions of Obeche, which to me are lacking that all important natural look and feel. Pine often has an exagerated looking grain when stain, but it is relatively easy to pre-stain and condition the wood to avoid this effect. I do this as a standard techniques and apply a wash to soften the effect of the grain as a first application before staining. Commercial wood stain, does not quite do it for me. Regardless of the stain colour, it will look different on different wood types and from a professonal pursective, some adjestment is necessary to avoid an un-natural look. Too many stained finishes will far too easily look like an applied plastic veneer and this puts many potential customers off from buying such items.

Most cheap ready made frames look a bit like this and this alone is a good reason, not to like this look for anything which I produce and wish to sell. I am very keen therefore to make every effort to avoid the "mass produced", or "run of the mill" look and appearance. Stuff like this does look in place in a shop which is aiming at a more niche market related sector in the market. Even my selling position for ready made frames is that they need to look somewhat special when compared to the usual ready made frame offerings available elsewhare. There have been other picture framing shops in this town, before me. None of them lasted long enough to get off the ground, but I've been here a couple of decades and survived a couple of recessions as well. I only survive by being distinctive and differennt, while also looking mainly to the niche end f the market. Sales volumes in this town can be somewhat limited in numerical terms, so it's only the better quality end of the market which makes things survivable at all.

So, what are the favorite wood types to stain, which really look the business? Discuss?

Mark.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Re: Creative use of staining techniques to imitate other wood types.

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 25 Sep, 2021 6:53 pm

I very much like really nice looking wood types for mouldings. Too many mouldings do not create an instant visual impact. For creating inpulse sales, creating the response which creates the decision to by needs to happen in the first few seconds. After that the opportunity has gone. In these times, inpulse sales are a really important source of sales and not to be lightly discounted. Passing tourists need to be encouraged to buy, while they are here, usually there is not a second chance.

Items that look really special at first glance truely are the name of the game. Items displayed in our shop windows are genuinely pointless if they don't create sales. Otherwise, what are our shop windows for? Even our ready made frames need to look special. Even if these are produced down to a price, they still need to look special and do not want to look like the usual "run of the mill" cheaply mass produced rubbish which is available almost everywhere else. We live in an age, where everything else all looks the same. Things which look different and distinctive are the items which always sell.

Creating that look really matters and we can all do it, if we really apply ourselves to making it happen. This is why I am thinking about wood types and how they can best be presented for the ultimate visual impact and sales appeal. Many forum members probably think that I'm being over the top about this, but I have been surviving in a pretty poor sales location and I need to know what works, to be able to stay a viable business in a not ideal location. Boring stuff which everyone else is selling, only makes you just like everybody else. Nice things have always generated more sales. That's how it is!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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