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Robert Kalman
27-Oct-2016, 05:56
I'm preparing to mount a show for December and I could use a small bit of framing advice.

I have two 20x30 prints that I'm going to flush mount to the edges of metal frames. No mat. I'll be using spacers to keep the print off the plexiglas. Generally, when I mount prints for framing, I use a piece of either foam core or gator board as backing material.

The question is this: Given the size of the print, is it advisable to have the print physically bonded to the gator board or can I rely on the pressure of the backing spring clips to hold the print properly in place? There's a significant cost difference: To have my custom lab mount it to the board will cost $40 per print. Simply using foam core backing without bonding will cost $4.50 per print.

Opinions?

Many thanks!

vinny
27-Oct-2016, 06:10
In my experience, foam core doesn't stay flat over time. I wouldn't rely on clips holding a print that size (or any size for me).
My lab charges $24 to mount a 20x30 on gator board (3/16) including materials.

Robert Kalman
27-Oct-2016, 06:27
In my experience, foam core doesn't stay flat over time. I wouldn't rely on clips holding a print that size (or any size for me).
My lab charges $24 to mount a 20x30 on gator board (3/16) including materials.

Sigh...I was hoping for a different answer ;-).

Thanks for the sound advice, Vinny.

Greg Davis
27-Oct-2016, 07:34
If you are looking to spend that kind of money, look into dibond as a backing board. It doesn't warp

Richard Wasserman
27-Oct-2016, 08:07
+1 for Dibond

Mrportr8
27-Oct-2016, 12:21
Dibond is heavy and more expensive than gatorfoam. If you are asking if an umounted print can be supported just by a backer the short answer is no. You can mount it directly to gator or mat board backed with gator. At that size you're at about the limit for 3/16" gator to remain flat is a frame. Any bigger and I'd recommend 1/2" gator. Another consideration is mounting the print "second surface" directly to the acrylic. This eliminates the need for spacers, backer board etc. If you want archival, then mount the print to rag/museum board and back it with archival foam board for additional support. A side note, you can also use matte acryilic but put the matte non glare side facing the print. The matte surface will not stick to your print if that is what you are concerned with. Then you can forgo spacers and mounting all together.

Drew Wiley
27-Oct-2016, 12:42
Dibond is awfully expensive for just a backer material. But a $40 mounting charge ain't bad at all if it's competently done. You don't say what you're print is.
If it's true high-gloss polyester material, then you need specialized mounting. For paper prints, any "orangepeel" is unlikely to show. Gator is generally fine either
way. One precaution per the preceding post, and putting the print directly into contact with acrylic: don't do it in a high-humidity environment, or for a display on
a poorly insulated perimeter wall, because you won't have a airspace between your print and the glazing. You risk condensation and mildew. Acrylic also bows outward slightly toward heat and light.

Mark Sampson
27-Oct-2016, 12:57
Gatorfoam board is non-archival... don't expect anything you mount on it to last. In a past life I used large amounts of it, but didn't expect the final pieces to last.

bob carnie
27-Oct-2016, 13:04
Gatorfoam board is non-archival... don't expect anything you mount on it to last. In a past life I used large amounts of it, but didn't expect the final pieces to last.

I was about to say that I am not aware of any frame shop worth its salt using gatorboard. It is really nasty stuff.

Drew Wiley
27-Oct-2016, 13:38
Gator is highly used in this area with an excellent track record. It's inert because all the "nasties" are bound in the resin so don't interact with the print medium at
all. There are tech sheets which spell all this out. As far bonding with hi-tack acrylic foil goes, you simply sand the Gator a bit. Dustless sanding is a piece of cake.
Of course, good cake cost more than a greasy doughnut. But if you have worries about Gator and want an extremely smooth all-plastic archival mounting substrate at significantly less cost than Dibond, I'd recommend UltraBoard.

Drew Wiley
27-Oct-2016, 14:00
Here's another bend in the road: Gator was frequently used for high-gloss prints like Ciba, where the high mil-thickness of the polyester base material was itself
a superb barrier between any hypothetical acidity and the emulsion itself. Some categories of acrylic adhesive foils still exist which contain solvents that are bad - you gotta be careful about those (sound familiar, Bob) - they were engineered for relatively short-term outdoor advertising use, not fine artwork. Otherwise, like I just noted, read the specs, not the rumors. None of these hard substrates are necessary for fiber-based prints anyway. This is a complex subject. Some kinds of prints don't get along with buffered alkaline substrates, so don't just assume an "archival" designation is automatically safe.

bob carnie
27-Oct-2016, 14:01
Gator stinks, I will go on record , only used up here for low end commercial purposes, In the 80's gator was king, now its Diabond and Aluminum.

Drew Wiley
27-Oct-2016, 15:34
Aluminum is a horrible insulator. Unless you have a secondary backing, or it has a sufficiently thick cell core itself, it can promote condensation in the framing sandwich. Dry forced air heating is not routine around here. We have more of what could be called mild damp winter than a cold one. Then Spring arrives and
the soil gets steamed with the rising temps. Mildew heaven. Dibond is also unrealistically expensive for routine framing, especially when a quantity of prints are
kept on hand for potential sale, and not just mounted for a known installation. And I certainly wouldn't want a stack of Dibond-mounted prints in a big flat file,
where the risk of mildew increases all the more. UltraBoard is a good alternative.

Jim Jones
27-Oct-2016, 16:42
. . . I wouldn't rely on clips holding a print that size (or any size for me). . . .

I agree. It's better to pad out the space between the mount board and the back of metal frames with foam core and perhaps a bit of mat board to make a snug fit.

Robert Kalman
27-Oct-2016, 18:36
Thank you all for your contributions to my education regarding print mounting and backing techniques. Invaluable!

Drew Wiley
28-Oct-2016, 09:37
Clips work just fine on huge prints if you have the correct moulding profile. For example, pro frame shops have access to a significantly larger selection of Nielsen moulding than do-it-yourselfers. I have often made my own hardwood mouldings adapted for clips, though now have an even better way of retaining the print sandwich which also allows easy frame re-use. I don't make frames much bigger than four feet across, though I have equipment clients who make custom frames over twenty feet across - and I'm talking gallery-style framing, not advertising applications. If someone has the bucks, it can be done. For example, the inner frame might be welded steel, then have a custom thick veneer of hardwood precisely wrapped around that, so everything stays perfectly straight and well supported. These kinds of projects are a lot of fun to be involved with, but way over my personal needs or budget. I really don't like printing my own 8x10 negs
bigger than 4X enlargement anyway.