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A bag of gilders’ chalk from Bologna.

On this page:
  • FAQ
  • Glossary - An explanation of the technical terms used
  • Links to more info on frames, gilding and fabrication

FAQ:

Question
“How much does it cost to have something framed?”
Short Answer
We have something hand-made for every budget.
Long Answer
Simpler frames are priced comparably to what you will find at your local custom frame shop. We also make some incredibly labor-intensive frames that cost a small fortune. Don’t let that scare you away.

Our minimum price for framing a  smaller-sized work in a hardwood frame is Dkr. 800*. For this price you get a hand-made hardwood frame with closed corners and hand-rubbed finish and the best archival materials and fitting throughout. Picked up and delivered personally. We think that’s a really good deal. (* < 36 x 51 cm sight size).

Question
“Your shop is on the Island Moen but I live in Copenhagen. How can I get my artwork framed with you?”
Answer
We pick up, consult and deliver at no extra cost. Call or write us and we can guide you through the process and tell when we will be in your area.

Question
“Does my artwork have to travel to your shop?”
Answer
Not usually. Most of the time, we can measure your work at your place, go home and make the frame, then deliver and “fit” your work. The artwork stays with you. You just need to have a well-lighted, clean worktable that we can use to do the fitting. We bring the rest (and leave no trace).

Question
“This entire website is in English. Do you speak Danish?”
Answer
Yes. We speak Danish fluently. 

Question
“How long does it take?” 
Answer
Our production time for modern frames is 1-2 weeks.
For replica frames it varies but we will always agree on a delivery time frame at the time of order. Generally 4 weeks.
Rush orders are accomodated where possible at a +25% surcharge.
Free pick-up and delivery is once per week in the greater Copenhagen area, once per month for the rest of Denmark and by appointment for the rest of EU. Shipping is always an option, too.

Question
“Payment, how do we do that?”
Answer 
We charge a %50 deposit on all orders at the time of pick-up/confirmation and the rest upon delivery/approval. All major credit cards and MobilePay accepted.

Question
“What if we aren’t happy with our order upon delivery.”
Answer
We give you a 100% refund and your unframed artwork as received.

Question
“How can you pick up and deliver and make hand-made frames and still be competetively priced?”
Answer
1. We have a robot that does our heavy work.
2. Our rent down here is a fraction of what it would be in the city.
3. No customers dropping in randomly and interfering our work-flow.
4. We can walk to the beach after work and go for a swim.
It all adds up. That’s the beauty of it.


GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS

This list is by no means meant to be comprehensive or definitive but just  a help to anyone reading our website who stumbles across a term they don’t recognize.

Agate
A gilders’ agate is a polished semi-precious stone used to burnish a gilded surface, making it shiny.

Bole
A special clay which, mixed with organic glue and applied to gesso, forms the traditional ground for gilding.

Burnish
To rub hard and make shiny like a mirror. In gilding, burnishing is done by applying pressure to the ground with an agate burnisher.  

Compo
Cast ornament on frames, often mistaken as plaster, are most often made of compo which is a mixture of chalk, glue, resin and oil. It is a dough-like substance that gets steamed and pressed into reverse moulds before application on the frame. It can be gilded like gesso with a mitigating layer of bole.

Distemper
Paint made of pigment and organic glue such as hide glue. Differentiated from tempera, which is a paint made of pigment and egg.

Dowell
A cylindrical rod made of wood.

Fitting
Is the process of putting a picture into a frame.

French polish
A traditional method of building up a very high gloss finish on wood using only schellac, oil and wax.

Gesso
A mixture of chalk and glue that is the traditional ground for gilding and tempera finishes.

Gilding
Here, to cover in gold leaf. We almost exclusively use the water gilding method which is the most beautiful and labor intensive. For architectural work and exterior work, we use the oil gilding method.

Glazing
To cover a picture with glass or similar transparent protective material.

Gold leaf
Gold which is beaten into sheets of 10 - 20 microns or .01 - .02 mm in thickness. 

Half-lap miter
If you cut two pieces of wood at a 45 degree angle and glue them together, then you have a miter joint. A miter joint is a very weak joint as it has only end-grain against end-grain and end-grain doesn’t glue well.
A half lap miter joint solves this problem by sawing 45 degrees through the depth of the visible profile, then allowing the rest of the profile to be joined with a lap-joint which is considerably stronger because there is no end-grain glued together.

Matting
Also known as passepartout - covering an artwork with a sheet of very fine quality cardboard with a hole/window cut in it so you can see the part of the artwork exposed.
A mat, or passepartout, solves two problems, one is aesthetic and one is functional.
Functionally, it provides a distance between the glazing material and the artwork. 
Aesthetically, is covers any parts of a work on paper not meant to be seen.

Miter
A 45 degree cut.

Moulding
Is the wood that goes around the picture, usually refered to in cross section as a profile.

Patina
Various artistic methods to make a frame look older than it is. Imagine a room filled with old paintings in their original frames. Amongst the batch is one painting that doesn’t have a frame. When making a frame for that painting you would, of course, start by choosing a frame that matches the painting’s age and origin. Then, a frame is made using the same techniques that a frame of that period and origin would be made with.
By the end of this process, you have a historically-accurate frame that looks very new and not like it’s neighbors on the wall of the museum. Patina is that last process of toning a finish down to look somewhat older than it is. 

Pastiglia
Low relief ornament in gesso. Usually refers to a technique of drawing patterns with fluid gesso but can also refer to an early technique of pressing cold gesso into a mould and applying it as cast ornament.

Profile
The cross section of a rail of the frame.

Punchwork
Also known as “granito”. Ornament is punched into the gesso of the frame with metal stamps.

Passepartout
see “matting”, above

Sgraffito
A gilded & burnished surface is covered with tempera paint. When almost dried patterns are scratched through the paint showing the gilding underneath.

Silver leaf
As “gold leaf” above but the metal is silver.

Sliding dovetail key
An older method of reinforcing a miter joint. A slot is cut across the miter to accomodate a matching trapezoidal piece of wood or “key”.

Splines
A modern method of reinforcing a miter joint. Notches are cut through the outside edge of each corner at matching shims of wood are glued into the notches. 

Stain
Paint or dye applied transparently to wood to enhance or change it’s color.

Strainer
A backing frame. Used for support on narrow modern frames. Milled with a contra-profile, they can also be used for hanging instead of wire.

Tempera
Paint made of pigment and egg.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ON FRAME-MAKING & GILDING

A fantastic online resource by Lynn Roberts on the history of picture frames: https://theframeblog.com

A very nice video by the V & A showing the water gilding process:
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/videos/w/video-water-gilding/

A good explanation of the techniques of sgraffito and granito:
https://www.theartleague.org/blog/2015/10/22/what-is-sgraffito/

The Society of Gilders:
https://www.societyofgilders.org/

A very informative series of videos about fitting and framing in general by the Fine Art Trade Guild in the UK:https://www.fineart.co.uk/framing-videos-cpd.aspx