Traditionally fine custom framed paintings and prints were part of the interior decoration of the most distinguished homes and offices.  And most picture frames were made of woods, sometimes very rare and expensive woods,  so that the framed would easily complement the other furnishings.

Today, many of the frames seen at cheap prices especially in big box stores are made from plastics, pressed cardboard and MFB which is molded sawdust held together with glue.  Many are covered with foil treatments. Most of these frames lack the enduring quality of real wood. In fact not a week goes by that we do not get an inquiry for fixing frames that fall off the wall. Almost always it is due to the frame deteriorating for a variety of reasons related to quality of the frame material.

At Best Frame Shops, we actively look for real wood, quality frames which can be sold at a discount from usual prices saving up to 70%.  These are the frame moulding often seen in upscale homes and offices. These can be discontinued mouldings which were very expensive to produce and too pricey for most budgets, closeouts when styles change, inventory overstocks and sometimes factory seconds where we cut around the defects in the full sticks to providet a perfectly good final frame.   



Mat bevels were originally cut by skilled craftsmen using a knife sometimes with a rough template (which limited size options) and were cut at an angle so the mat or passepartout did not over run the image resulting in a angled cut or bevel..  Most of these cuts were at a pretty steep angle.  With the advent of mechanical devices in the early 20th century bevels were set to an even 45 degrees which, as so often is the case where convention is defined by technical necessity, as such machines are easier to manufacture and operate with the cutting jig.   

Today most mat bevels seen on matted works are 45 degree  bevels.  However we prefer the more subtle and less intrusive steeper angle of 52 degrees and this is our default.  We find there is less of a jarring clash with the carefully chosen colors of the main mat(s) so that the designer's intention is more fully appreciated. 

Of course we can provide an option of the 45 degree bevel if you prefer, or even a straight bevel and there is also the reverse bevel which shows nothing except the colors of the chosen mats.  Just send us an email with your preference and we will incorporate it in your design.


Stretcher Strips:

The stretcher strips we mount canvases on are specially designed to avoid warping, sagging and the unsightly lines from the pressure being tightly stretched over standard wood strips (furring strips) sometimes seen on inexpensive stretched canvases usually from the big box stores or on cheap ready to hang artwork.  And sometimes in the cases of the third world produced art, the only stretchers affordable by the artist.

Our stretcher strips are also custom sized to fit any canvas as the artist intended, either in metric or English size, domestic or foreign produced. On bigger sizes we brace as well.

Our stretcher strips are also fabricated with finger joined wood sections of wood to inhibit warping.  Stretcher strips made from a single length of wood allow moisture to travel up the length of the wood just as would happen when the tree was growing. This can lead to twisting of the stretcher strip. With our stretcher strips the wood changes every few inches or so and the moisture does not have residual "tubular" openings to travel up the strip internally. And each piece acts as a counter pressure to twisting of the adjacent pieces keeping the stretcher strip straight and true.

Additionally our strips actually only contact the canvas at the very edge with a specially shaped soft lip. Stretched canvas that touches the full width of the stretcher strip will eventually show the shape of the stretcher strip underneath in the canvas face with  unsightly pressure mark and line.

Sometimes clients want the image to stretch around the stretcher bar in what is known as a gallery wrap.  This is most often seen on a canvas that is meant to be hung without an additional frame.  Choices in thickness are available for gallery wraps so as to present different options for standing out from the wall.

Next time you are looking at paintings on canvas or just thinking about buying stretched canvas to paint on, turn them over and see if the stretcher strips are made from cheap scrap wood which will cause problems down the road.

So when you want canvas stretched for that professional look, work with the professionals who know how to properly preserve, protect and showcase your art.


If you already have a canvas on cheap stretcher strips, a strong regular frame will usually keep the painting or canvas work from warping but not necessarily from warping or showing pressure lines over time.