When purchasing custom frames, it helps to familiarize yourself with some picture frame terminology. Here are a few common picture frame terms with diagrams to get you started.
Summary of Practice
- The chop or frame supplier shall measure to the inside of the rabbet unless otherwise designated.
- Mouldings with double rabbets shall be measured to the inside of the front rabbet
- A standard allowance of 1/8″ shall be added to all ordered sizes. Any other instructions shall use a designated term (see “How to Order” section below).
How to Order
- Frame Size Orders shall be cut to the innermost rabbet with the standard 1/8″ allowance added. If the back rabbet size is most important the order shall state “Frame Size to Back Rabbet.” The cut shall have standard 1/8″ allowance. (see diagram 1)
- Exact Size No allowance shall be added
- Sight Size Cut to the inside moulding lip; no allowance shall be added (see diagram 1 and diagram 2)
- Fit Outside Fit around liners or inner frames, which should be ordered the size of the artwork/glazing package (see diagram 4 and diagram 5)
- Outside Size Cut to the outermost dimension; no allowance shall be added (see diagram 1 and diagram 2)
Common Picture Frame Terminology
*Diagrams below for your reference.
Shall – A provision is mandatory
Should – A provision is not mandatory, but recommended as good practice
May – A provision is optional
Allowance – Difference between the size of the objects being framed and the inside dimension of the frame
Designations – Terms that shall be used when orders for chops or frames differ from the 1/8″ standard allowance
Frame Size – Measurement across the back of the frame rabbet (see diagram 1)
Rabbet – Cut-out portion of the back of a frame that supports the art package (see diagram 2)
Back Rabbet – Rear–most rabbet in a moulding with a double rabbet (see diagram 3)
Double Rabbet – Moulding with a typical rabbet near the front and an additional rabbet near the back that supports the art or decorative backing
Inner Frame / Liner – Secondary frame inside of another frame
Stacked Frame – Frame assembly made of more than one frame
Exact Size – Ordered size − no allowance
Outside Size – Overall outside frame size (see diagram 1 or diagram 2)
Sight Size – Measurement (exact, with no allowance) across the innermost opening of a frame (see diagram 1 or diagram 2)
Fit Outside – Fit around a liner or frame (see diagram 4 or diagram 5)