top of page
hard wood frames

Wood Guide

A Guide to the Types of Wood We Use

Our most commonly used wood is called Obeche or Ayous, which is a sustainable African hardwood mostly used in the framing industry. It is relatively soft for a hardwood, meaning it is easy to work with, and has a tight close grain meaning it takes stain and paint well and isn’t as prone to warping as other wider grain woods. It’s used as the base for most of our pre-finished frames. 


We offer a range of frame profiles in other hardwoods, all sourced from FSC certified suppliers. Hardwoods offer an attractive finish for frame design, each wood with distinctive characteristics, colour tones and grains, left natural or paired with wax and stains to enhance the wood's properties and finish. 





A framing standard and more affordable wood, fairly soft, but stable timber with a fine and even grain which is often interlocked. The timber is creamy-white to pale yellow in colour with little or no distinction between the sapwood and heartwood, making this an excellent base for staining, painting and waxing. 



Another popular wood, normally straight grained but this can vary, as can the colouring. The heartwood ranges from yellow-brown to deep brown, whilst the sapwood is lighter in colour. Oak takes stains and waxes well, enhancing the grain. A white lime wax looks particularly great on oak. 



A lovely high end wood that can have some beautiful grain details. The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish-brown and will darken on exposure to light. In contrast, the sapwood is creamy and lighter. Cherry looks great with a neutral polished wax to enhance the natural grain and colouring. 



The wood has a close fine texture and is generally straight grained, but it can also occur as ‘curly’, ‘fiddleback’, and ‘birds-eye’ figure, making for nice frame details.  Maple is strong, heavy and hardwearing, with heartwood that is a very light reddish-brown with deeper-coloured late-wood bands. The sapwood is white in colour. Maple also takes stains well. 


Black walnut

A framers' favourite, black walnut has a beautiful deep colour and grain. The heartwood is light brown to dark chocolate brown, occasionally with a purplish cast and darker streaks. The wood is generally straight grained, but sometimes has a wavy or curly grain. It looks great with just a simple neutral wax to enhance this wood's high-end classic appearance. 



A versatile pale coloured wood with a slightly darker heartwood. It has a lovely subtle wide decorative grain that can be enhanced with a coloured wax or stain. It is also slightly softer making it great for a really smooth tactile finish and is also a good base for painting. 



Very similar to oak, and another popular wood. The sapwood is light-colored to almost white and the heartwood varies from greyish brown to light brown, to pale yellow streaked with brown. Like oak, stains and coloured waxes work well with ash. 


Steamed Beech 

European beech is strong, straight-grained and with a plain appearance. Steamed European beech has a very light reddish-brown colour due to the steaming treatment. It is typically straight-grained, with a fine, even texture. It's nice for a simple light wood finish and is a good base for staining and painting. 



An attractive strong wood with an even texture and attractive grain. The wood is straight-grained with nice details, fine-textured and fairly soft. The sapwood is light, with occasional pinkish tones, the heartwood is variable in colour, ranging from olive green to yellow or brown. Tulip works well as a natural wood but looks great with subtle stain and wax finishes. 

bottom of page