Beginning with a finish...

Posted at 3:13:02 PM in Blog (35)

Foster Planing Mill


Please read our September 2012 Newsletter to read about Foster Planing Mill’s new “Finishing Kits For Beginners”. Who is thinking about one, who has bought one, and was it helpful with a current project? Which product in the kit is your favorite and why?

Written by Carrie on Thursday, September 13, 2012 | Comments (5)

Foster Planing Mill turns 90!

Posted at 12:19:40 PM in Blog (35)

  Foster Planing Mill

Please read our January 2012 Newsletter to see how Foster Planing Mill plans to celebrate turning 90 this year. Now that you know how old we are, it would be great to hear how long you've been with us, and if you feel our age matches up with our expertise. 

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Comments (6)

WCAF - Must Attend Workshops

Posted at 11:31:50 AM in Blog (35)

 Foster Planing Mill

Are you planning to attend WCAF 2012 and will you be taking any of the listed workshops?  What is your motivation for going?  

Please view our December 2011 Newsletter for further details regarding the West Coast Art & Frame show coming up in January 2012..

Written by Carrie on Monday, December 12, 2011 | Comments (3)

Benefits of providing custom finishes

Posted at 9:09:27 AM in Blog (35)

 Foster Planing Mill

Read the November 2011 Newsletter  to better understand the benefits of providing custom finishes for your customers. We'd love to hear about additional benefits we may have missed, along with stories, comments, and/or discussion questions relating to the topic. 

Written by Carrie on Thursday, November 17, 2011 | Comments (3)

The big picture when ordering chops

Posted at 1:25:40 PM in Blog (35)

 Foster Planing Mill

Were you aware there are actually four different ways to order chops, and that three out of the four ways could be considered "EXACT"?

1) Rabbet Size (with allowance)

2) Rabbet Size (EXACT - without allowance)

3) Outside Dimensions (EXACT)

4) Sight Size (EXACT)

 Please view our September Newsletter for further details

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | Comments (3)

Fabric Wrapped Liners

Posted at 10:15:46 AM in Blog (35)

Foster Planing Mill


Fabric wrapped liners are a sure-fire way to add some extra depth, texture, style, culture, charater, etc. to your framing projects.  What are your favorite types of fabrics to use and what adhesives do you feel work best - we suggested Fabrimount.  

Please view our June Newsletter for further details.     


Foster Planing Mill   Foster Planing Mill

Thomas Houston sent these pictures over displaying the beauty of pairing a 3" wide liner with a printed fabric for a combination that would "wow" any onlooker

Written by Carrie on Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Comments (3)

Glorious Knots - revealing a rare source for artsy images...

Posted at 11:33:40 AM in Blog (35)

Our May newsletter takes a closer look at the imperfections we spend a great deal of time cutting out here -  knots.  We decided to share our perspective of the beauty of imperfections, and to share our findings of playful images that have caught our eyes over the years.  Are they simply defects, or should they be appreciated as art?  Do you have any images you would like to post that fall under this discussion?  


The Lioness


Written by Carrie on Thursday, May 05, 2011 | Comments (4)

How is this antique look achieved?

Posted at 3:19:05 PM in Blog (35)

 Foster Planing Mill


It would be great if you could share your expertise of how this antique style look is achieved when creating frame finishes from unfinished moulding.  This artwork and frame were a gift to Foster Planing Mill and date back to the 1940's/1950's -  the frame is a scoop- style and has a gray & cream color, looks worn with scuffs, and has pretty, gold undertones shing through.  

Written by Carrie on Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Comments (4)

C'mon over! - Tour the Foster Planing Mill facility

Posted at 3:11:53 PM in Blog (35)

Foster Planing Mill

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" area, which you may only shop in person (and you won't be sorry due to the wide selection and 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.

Written by Carrie on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 | Comments (0)

In Love With Purpleheart

Posted at 9:33:04 AM in Blog (35)


Foster Planing Mill

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 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.

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | Comments (0)

Attending WCAF 2011 in Las Vegas

Posted at 3:13:31 PM in Blog (35)


Foster Planing Mill

The WCAF Show (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 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 floor include: 1) getting to see/meet 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) viewing new products and technology - there may be some new products that could enhance your business and/or cut down your production time, 3) 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) 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 workshops/classes are yet another big part of the show and offer unique opportunities to: 1) play and satisfy a 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 new skills/sharpen 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 side of running a frame shop (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. 

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Comments (1)

Foster Planing Mill at WCAF 2011

Posted at 3:10:54 PM in Blog (35)

 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:

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Comments (0)

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

Posted at 3:10:28 PM in Blog (35)

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 (no specifics were recommended), 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)

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Comments (0)

Ordering Foster Canvas Stretcher Bars

Posted at 3:09:46 PM in Blog (35)

Our keyed-out stretchers come in three different sizes:  
2" Regular Bar:  3/4" x 1-11/16"
3" Large 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! 

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Comments (0)

The Importance Of Keyed-Out Stretcher Sets

Posted at 3:08:08 PM in Blog (35)

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. Keyed-out stretchers 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.   

Foster Planing Mill

Written by Carrie on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Comments (0)

Spotlight custom "Couse" profile in basswood

Posted at 11:28:32 AM in Blog (35)


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.

Written by Carrie on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Comments (1)

How to order custom milling with Foster Planing Mill:

Posted at 11:24:42 AM in Blog (35)

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

Written by Carrie on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Comments (0)

Getting creative with custom milling....

Posted at 11:23:38 AM in Blog (35)

 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 really 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? Ask yourself what the ultimate design for any particular project would look like and dare to sketch something out and send it over to us for an evaluation. Were you aware this opportunity existed? 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?   

Written by Carrie on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Comments (0)

Request for new catalog ideas

Posted at 10:11:11 AM in Blog (35)

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!

Written by Carrie on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Comments (1)

Profile spotlight #530 in sapele w/ some "Random" finishing tips

Posted at 10:09:50 AM in Blog (35)

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, so here goes: 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. 


Foster Planing Mill

Written by Carrie on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Comments (0)