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Thread: Print-flattening board?

  1. #1

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    Print-flattening board?

    Time to get a bit more elegant than heavy books on prints coming out of the dry mount press. My largest prints are 11x14.

    My first thought is a sturdy, very flat steel sheet of adequate weight, perhaps 15x18 or so, which I could spray with Rustoleum or similar paint. I think Zone VI used to sell such an item. I have no idea where to source such steel or any specific kind I should or should not acquire. Or, maybe a piece of 3/4-inch plywood would be heavy enough, well-sanded and similarly painted. I would worry a bit about using a felt cover, since the residual moisture in the hot print might allow little fibers to be pressed in.

    What works for you?
    Thanks.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #2
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    I'm lucky to have a custom steel fabricator nearby. I asked him if he could make me a pair 1/2", FLAT sheets of 30"X40" (anticipating using my 8x10 enlarger) and he asked how it would be pressured. I answered that I would back a rear tire of my monster GMC 4X4 over the plates overnight. "That should work" he said.

  3. #3

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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    Thick plate glass.
    Last edited by faberryman; 2-Mar-2018 at 19:02.

  4. #4

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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    prints between 4 ply rag mat board and under sealed 3/4 inch mdf and a glass building block for weight (mine is about 8x8x3, pretty heavy)

  5. #5

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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    Last week I taped together four sets of three sheets of plate glass that I found in my basement (14x20 approx.) which work perfectly for my 8x10 contact prints.
    Works perfectly and easy to store away after the prints are cool & flat.

  6. #6

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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    If you have nearby a place that makes custom kitchen and bath countertops in marble (etc.) they probably have some sink cut-outs of various sizes available that they will give you for FREE, so long as you take them away. Perfectly flat on both sides, heavy and inert - perfect for your purposes. I picked up two labs of polished marble at The Granite Shop in Sedgewick, ME, last fall; and they were glad to "recycle" it to a good use, rather than dispose. Those slabs are irregularly shaped around the edges, but there is plenty of polished area to cover 8x10 and 11x14in prints.
    Last edited by JMO; 3-Mar-2018 at 11:53.
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

    "If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ...Michelangelo

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    Just use a sheet of thick edged plate glass. Just about the worst thing you could do is spray paint metal. It will outgas for months with hydrocarbons bad for photos.

  8. #8
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    There are dedicated weights made for this purpose, eg. https://www.usi-laminate.com/store/w...?idProduct=913

    I'm pretty sure you could make something similar for less money. The handles are a nice touch.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Camano Island, Washington
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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    I had one made at a local welding shop out of 3/16" plate with two handles welded on. It was cheap. The one I had made is 24 x 30 inches

  10. #10
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: Print-flattening board?

    Quote Originally Posted by adelorenzo View Post
    There are dedicated weights made for this purpose, eg. https://www.usi-laminate.com/store/w...?idProduct=913

    I'm pretty sure you could make something similar for less money. The handles are a nice touch.
    Thanks, I was looking for that link.

    I was taught 20 years ago to immediately cool the hot pressed mounted print. To ensure complete adhesion. None of my prints from that time have lifted an iota.

    Per the linked website,

    "Bienfang Metal Weight
    Heavy-duty 7-lb. metal weight with handles keep processed materials completely flat while cooling. Mounted prints present professional results -- no curling.

    The one I used was very flat and polished.

    Most 1/4" plate I have cut and used, which is a lot. was never perfect. Close, but not. I have used a large shear that could slice 4X8 ft sheets of 1/4" steel into anything. Coolest metal working device I ever used. Ker-thunk! No longer have access...

    Maybe a big piece of glass with handles. We have to remember the cool down time for the platen. It will heat up and need a rest. Steel may work better than glass?

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