View Full Version : framing and matting

19-Jun-2001, 05:09
Hello all,

It looks like the last step of photography is framing. Is there some web site wh ere i can find more informations or instructions.


Christopher Campbell
19-Jun-2001, 08:20
The framing of works on paper is a complicated subject, but here are a few suggestions. For a through background, here is a good PDF file you might want to download and print: http://www.pictureframingmagazine.com/pdfs/pressupp/framco mpres.pdf

For many years, I've used a firm in Minneapolis, Metropolitan Picture Framing, to frame drawings and works on paper, and they have an extremely fine web site: http://www.metroframe.com/framing_advice.php

The Metropolitan site is quite good at showing internal relationships of the framing such as the way that the depth of the frame, and specifically the rabbet, is dependant upon the materials and presentation you choose. For materials, I'm quite fond of their lacquered maple frames, and they make matching spacers which are thin slats of identically finished wood which hold the matboard and work to the back of the frame, and force the glazing material away from the surface of the work. Under "purchasing options" you see the "spline joining" technique which locks the mitered corners together mechanically (it's much stronger than a simple glued/nailed corner), and which can also be quite handsome.

One of the most complicated choices is what material to use for glazing. The routine choice for a large piece is clear acrylic (plexiglas), which has the advantages of optical clarity, unbreakability, and low cost, but is inherently soft and therefore scratches easily when cleaned. Plexi can also be had in an ultraviolet filtering grade, which is tinted very slightly yellow to protect the work from the bleaching effects of short wavelengths of light. Both standard glass and plexi have the problem of being highly reflective, a problem that is only exacerbated, in my opinion, by applying cheap "anti-glare" coatings. On glass, this means acid etching the surface to roughen it, and thereby making it impossible to see anything beneath it clearly; something comparable is sometimes done to plexi. The best solution, by far, is of course also the most expensive one, which is to use the new German glasses that have a vacuum-deposited series of layers laid down in precisely the same way as the coated optics for photography. These glasses are low-iron, which makes them clear "white" (not green when seen in cross-section), have low UV transmission, are nearly invisible because they reflect nothing but specular light sources (this can be almost eerie as you think you can touch the work, but then find that there is something there!), and some are now even laminated for strength. See the brief discussion of types at: http://www.artcafe.net/artcenter/studio/feat5e.htm

One of the best brands of this museum grade glass is considered to be: http://www.schott.com/desag/english/products/amiran/amiran.ht ml

Good luck!

Kevin Crisp
20-Jun-2001, 13:05
Martin: For supplies order the Light Impressions catalog (free, available on line, I think it is lightimpressions.com) Their prices for Nielson frames are terrific. For a basic course in mounting prints and cutting mats and framing, try "The Print" (book 3) from the Ansel Adams photo book series. There are as many ways to do this as there are photographers, but you can make a professionsal matted print yourself with some archival board, dry mounting tissue, a press, a tacking iron, a handheld mat cutter, a straight edge, a clamp, a decent paper cutter, a sheet of glass and a Nielson frame with a sheet of glass. If you measure carefully and use the mat cutter carefully with a heavy straight edge clamped at one end the results don't look amaturish. And change the blades often on the mat cutter if you don't want trouble, they dull quickly.