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Wood VS Aluminum frames for your screens - which do you prefer?

23236 Views 30 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  kirkmansigns
Just wanted to hear everyones thoughts on aluminum vs wood screens.
My personal opinion is wood sucks! They warp, the ink is almost impossible to get off the sides once it gets on there it just soaks in. An they seem to pop more.

What do you prefer?
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No-one prefers wood, they just prefer spending less money on screens.

It's not worth it though. Aluminium is easier to clean, lighter, and won't warp. The fact that it won't warp also means it's cheaper in the long-run, since you can keep re-meshing your screens.
Aluminum, i liked the wood one when i has the old ryonet magnet press
Out of the two, Aluminum... but I'd rather spend the extra money on Newman or Shurloc frames.
Wood really isn't that much cheaper. Where I get mine from it's 20 for wood 24 for aluminum. And yes remeshing them makes it worth every extra penny. It would be hard to mess up or warp an aluminum screen and it seems every wood I have ever cleaned has warped after first cleaning.
I won't buy another wood frame. I agree it's cheaper in the long run to buy aluminum.
Aluminun is the way to go. You get more life out of the frame and they dont cost much more. May be 4 bucks more. They are more ridged and durable than a wooden frame. They dont warp or the joints never come apart. They have lots of advantages. I think i would go with aluminun.
neither... NEWMANS. 110% better than either.. saves money, time, and you get better prints.
i love the aluminum they just last longer i just got some newman rollers and love being able to adjust the tension especially for doing white on black
What would you consider a good price for 20 X 24 and 23 X 31 aluminum frames?
For a 20x23 I pay $21 for a 155 mesh
i pay 20 for my newmans used all the time.. and I retension them. its a no brainer. more control, better print.. saves money and time in the long run..
Wood really isn't that much cheaper. Where I get mine from it's 20 for wood 24 for aluminum. And yes remeshing them makes it worth every extra penny. It would be hard to mess up or warp an aluminum screen and it seems every wood I have ever cleaned has warped after first cleaning.
If wood cost 20 and aluminum 24 then there is no more argument for wood. I use aluminum frames for more detailed images and wood for simpler images. However I also use a line table press where the frame is laid on top of the platen where we can get away with minor warpage. In contrast, frames on rotary presses are rigidly clamped on one end making slight warpage a much bigger issue. But to share some experiences.

Here, most of us DIY our own wood frames with regular S4S KD softwood where a 20x24 cost USD2.50-2.70 to DIY. "Branded" KD wood costs about USD2.85-3.00. Water resistant wood costs about USD 3-3.40. The mesh are not included. The price range merely says I forgot the actual cost. For reference, a static aluminum frame of the same size cost about USD24.00.

For us, the 7-8 fold price difference is enough reason to go wood and many professional printers use only regular KD wood frames even with photographic images. This brings us to the next argument.

Warping after a single wash seems to indicate that the wood has not been kiln dried. If they are, then they did a rather lousy job. Of my first 10 wood frames made from regular hardware lumber(coated with oil stains), after several months, about half have warpages where you can insert 2-4 coins underneath one of the corners. About half of these warped frames are still usable as explained, because we use a line table system. This makes 75% of my wood frames still usable after 8 months(but more like 4 months of regular use).

I expect less warpages(and/or a longer more useful life) on my "branded" and water resistant wood frames. Others apply varnish to resist water.

As we DIY our own frames, I can still convert these warped frames into smaller frames. I also expect less warpage on smaller wood frames such as the 18x20" wood frames or thereabouts which is also popular among printers. I also have smaller 10x12" wood frames where I expect minor problems from warpage.

And from experience, the wood we use here are actually lighter than aluminum frames of the same size. This lighter wood is more ideal for the line table printing system where the frame is held by hand and transferred from one platen to another.

Overall, there is no question that aluminum is better. Retensionables are best but this is not absolute. As one of our colleague here(a better professional printer) calculated to be more cost effective and productive, he remeshed all his frames instead of reclaiming them making retensionable frames of no advantage to him.

The choice of wood frame is therefore a function of cost differences and printing method. Many of us recognize this but the wide price difference is a little difficult to ignore.
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I was going to make the switch to retension frames then I found a local business that sells aluminuim frames for pretty cheap. I was able to buy 23X31 frames for about $18 a per frame (230 mesh), shipping included. I got them delivered today and they seem pretty good, but we'll see how good the mesh is. Can't wait to print with them.
aluminum and roller frames over wood anytime you will save money in the long run
aluminum is the only way to go
Never say never. Never say only. Aluminum is not as stiff as most may think. It is the current affordable solution though.
Now that Panel Frames are using Sefar mesh that should be everyones standard. Not as good as the Newmans or EZ frames, but at least you can remesh the screens yourself for a fraction of the cost and your tension levels will be equal or greater then static frames.
I'm a Newman girl. That's what I started with & I'm glad I did. We have one 25mesh aluminum frame for glitter and after the first washing the mesh started coming off the frame. I wasn't impressed.
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