WOOD – THE SOUL OF NATURE
OUT OF THE WOODS, ONTO YOUR WALLS
Wood has been a classic frame building material for centuries. Its naturalness and soft edges make it look warm and smooth. The uniqueness of every picture is emphasized by the individuality of a matching frame. Nature shots or pictures with natural colours have a greater effect in a wooden frame.
HALBE Wooden Frames
Halbe wooden pictures frames look back on a long tradition, with our first frames being manufactured as early as 1946. However, with the invention of the magnetic frame our focus shifted to aluminum frames. This changed again in 1995 – since then our popular magnetic frames have also been available as solid wood frames.
For the 25th anniversary of our wooden frames, we would like to put this amazing building material in the spotlight to celebrate the beginning of Halbe wooden frames. Discover our solid ash wood edition!
Wood: One of the oldest building materials of all time
Wood is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, building material of all time, yet popular as ever. With climate change, wood and the CO2 storage capacity of forests are of particular importance. Let us show you how wood makes its way from the forest to your walls at home, and present the trees behind this sustainable material.
Forests, and spruces in particular, have been under attack lately: The dry summers of 2018 and 2019 promoted severe bark beetle infestations. Nearly every second spruce is affected and entire slopes have been devastated.
WOOD FOR PICTURE FRAMES
OUT OF THE WOODS, ONTO YOUR WALLS
In the beginning, there is the seedling
... growing and thriving over decades and centuries...
... until it is felled...
... made into strips...
There are about 400 to 600 different species of this deciduous tree, of which only the sessile and common oak are native to our latitudes. Generally, oaks like it warm and sunny; they grow quickly at first, very slowly in their later years, and reach heights of 20 to 40 metres. Under perfect conditions, an oak can become over 600 years old, some even over 1,000 years old. Generally, they are felled after 200 years, which makes their hard and heavy wood very valuable. In Germany, oaks account for about 10% of the overall forest area, which is why it is the second most common deciduous tree in Germany. In ancient religions, myths and legends the oak was considered a holy tree. In the bible, it is referred to as a “tree of life” for its durable wood and longevity. An oak twig was imprinted on a pfennig coin – now on the cent coin – as a sign of hope and strength.
It’s mainly used for furniture, stairs, floors, outer doors, windows, half-timbered houses, and barrels, and as a foundation for Venice.
The yellow-brown wood has a brownish even and distinctive grain. At Halbe, it is available as Natural Oak and lacquered matt black.
Natural Oak frames are ideal for nature shots or pictures in vibrant natural tones or even to reflect the beauty of wooden furniture.
Black oak is one of the most classic picture frame colours. It is suitable for strong pictures with lots of character. It appears warmer and more natural than black aluminium.
There are many types of maple trees but the ones that are commercially used are the European maple (europäische Berg-Ahorn) and the American sugar maple. The lobed leaves of this deciduous tree are unmistakable and take on the most intense colours in autumn. Children like to play with its propeller-shaped seeds because they not only fly, they are also great to stick onto your nose. A maple tree is demanding. It prefers sunny and rainy mountain locations, and reach heights of 25 to 35 metres. Although it can become up to 600 years old, it is usually felled after 120 to 140 years. Maple trees only account for 1.7% of German forest areas.
Due to its tough, medium-heavy and hard wood, maple is ideal for processing and lacquering, which makes it a valuable fine hardwood used mainly for furniture, stairs, parquet floors or typical tavern tables. Traditionally, it is also used to make stringed instruments or craft.
Maple has bright whitish to pale reddish wood with a fine, restrained grain. At Halbe, we offer maple as natural or white glazed options.
Maple frames are best for nature shots or pictures in soft natural colours on warm-toned paper.
The lightly tinted strip has a relatively subtle grain. Natural maple is best suited for light picture frames. It comes close to a slightly yellowish raw wood character.
Lacquered in a broken white tone, the noble grain of the wood is deliberately visible through the white surface. The material does not have an opaque lacquer finish in order to keep the natural character of the wood.
This light-demanding deciduous tree is very common in the northern hemisphere. Usually, alder trees become 100 to 120 years old, but are mostly felled after 60 to 80 years. German forests consist of only 2% alder trees, the black alder being the most common species. The mid-sized (up to 25 metres), straight and fast-growing deciduous tree prefers marshy soils such as streams, lakesides or floodplains.
Alders are mythical trees: When they are felled, the cut surface turns red and looks as if they are „bleeding“. They grow in swampy, eerie looking places. In Antiquity, Ulysses sang songs about the alder tree.
The medium-heavy wood has an even and fine structure. It hardly twists and is therefore easy to process, glue and paint. Under water, it is almost as durable as oak. Large sections of Amsterdam and Venice are said to have been built on alder piles. It is used for paper production, toys, charcoal, wooden clogs and plucked instruments. However, its most common field of application is as panel wood in the furniture industry.
The light reddish brown wood has a fine grain and smooth surface. At Halbe, it is available as dark alder (coloured in a reddish brown) and as brown alder (lacquered dark brown). Glued alder panels are also the invisible core of our wooden strips.
Dark alder is suitable for pictures with red-brown natural colours on warm-toned paper.
Brown alder is ideal for e.g. old black-and-white photographs, which would look pale in a black frame. The dark, but not black colour makes the black in the photographs look dark and intense.
The term nut tree is used for various types of wood, but most commonly for the walnut tree. This deciduous tree grows up to 30 metres tall and becomes 150 to 160 years old. After 60 to 80 years it is “harvested”. The European walnut is not felled, but carefully dug out to get to the valuable wood of the burl.
The characteristic dark walnut wood has been one of the finest furniture woods for centuries. It is hard, tough, durable, solid and easy to process. In furniture making, fine walnut wood is mostly used as veneer because it is so rare and valuable. Solid walnut is reserved for specially precious and exclusive furniture as well as parquet flooring, crafts or in gun stocks.
Striking frames for light and intense motifs such as black and white photography.
The strong brown wood with a grey to red tinge has a striking texture. We offer it as natural walnut.
... sawed up...
The mighty ash tree can become up to 300 years old and 35 to 40 metres tall. It is the tallest tree in German forests. It is typically felled after 100 to 140 years. It accounts for only 2% of forest areas in Germany. Like oaks, it prefers warm and sunny, yet moist locations. It naturally occurs in ravine forests. Ash trees grow fast, narrow and tall during the first years. Only later they become more bulky.
Ash wood is a hard wood with high tensile and flexural strength. It is easy to process and glue. It is primarily used for furniture, parquet floors and floorboards. Because of its great strength and toughness it is a preferred choice for making hammer, axe or shovel handles but also sports equipment and wooden wheels.
The white-yellow to yellowish wood has a characteristic grain. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of our wooden frames, we offer our ash edition as a solid strip in natural, black and white.
Natural ash is lighter than oak and more intense than maple. It is ideal for nature shots, sketches with bold colours or on painted walls.
Black ash is a strong and bold colour. It is suitable for distinctive and strong pictures. It appears warmer and more natural than black aluminium.
White ash is lacquered in an opaque white with a visible grain. It is whiter than white maple.
Wooden frames are expected to be of excellent quality, i.e. with a regular grain without knotholes and even colours. Unfortunately, knot-free logs – perfect for picture frame mouldings – are rare and highly valuable. Therefore, we use real wood veneer as a top layer on alder strips to be able to offer this high quality in an ecologically responsible manner. “Veneer” means thin sheets of wood. That way, a tree can be used many times more metres than a solid strip. Plus it’s free of distortion and dimensionally accurate. Only the most valuable types of wood are used for face veneer. In order to produce good-quality veneer wood, particularly straight and strong young trees of 20 years of age are carefully de-limbed to a height of 5.5 metres. The result is flawless and even wood. One cubic metre of wood is used to produce up to 10,000 metres of veneer strips. As a comparison, it would merely be enough for a few hundred metres solid wood strips.
Even though wood is a natural ecological raw material, sustainable forest management is important, which is why we only obtain our wood from sustainable cultivation. This has a long tradition especially here in the Westerwald and Siegerland. With the development of iron smelting the demand for charcoal increased, and almost the entire Siegerland region was stripped bare as a result. But there would be no charcoal without forests, and people realized that they had destroyed their livelihood by cutting down the trees. So they came up with the principle of sustainability – only take as much from nature as grows back in the same time. Early on, the Hauberg was developed in the Siegerland region as a sustainable form of cultivation, established in the 16th century by sovereign regulations issued by the Counts of Nassau and Sayn. It is a cooperative forest management of oak-birch low forest. Every 16 to 20 years the trees are cut back so they can start to sprout again. Therefore we feel obliged to this tradition.
... and formed into frames.