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Thread: contact frames

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    contact frames

    Who makes the best contact printing frames.

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: contact frames

    One excellent maker of frames (or perhaps they market a line made for specifically for them) is Bostick and Sullivan. I have two 12x15 frames (for contact printing 8x10 negatives in both platinum and carbon processes. Actually they sell them as 11x14 frames, but they are actually fit paper that is 12x15.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Orange County, Ca

    Re: contact frames

    I also have the B&S 11x14 Contact frame for 8x10 prints. It is a very well made frame! Not cheap, but I am sure it will last a lifetime!

    Scott Squires

  4. #4
    matthew blais's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Riverside, CA

    Re: contact frames

    Freestyle carries a very nice frame, which I have one of. I made another first and realized it was more cost/time effective to purchase the next one..

    I had a formulary one but didn't like the clamping sytem so returned it.
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover"
    August Rodin

    My Now old Photo Site

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Homewood, IL

    Re: contact frames

    Alan Brubaker ( makes very nice contact printing frames.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    Re: contact frames

    For a 16x20, I would purchase a frame made by Doug Kennedy. Specifically, I would avoid the frames made by Photographers' Formulary. I've used one. They might be OK for 8x10, but not for 16x20.

    You can see a photograph of Doug Kennedy's print frame here on the right:

    There's a good Apug discussion of different frames available here:

    You can see his prices and reach Doug Kennedy here:

  7. #7
    Cooke, Heliar, Petzval...yeah
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: contact frames

    Best frame is a sheet of glass 1/2 inch thick with low iron (it is so heavy). I used frames before and I'm not satisfied with them. I contact print mostly 8x20 and I have 1/4 inch regular glass on the bottom, black paper, photo paper negative and 1/2 inch low iron glass 12x24 inch.

    Crisp sharp image. The most important is to sanwich it as much as possible. Springs on 16x20 won't do. The pressure accros entire glass will no be sufficient. Frames are OK up to 8x10, after that you won't get enough pressure to properly sandwich it.
    The result is a soft image.
    Peter Hruby

  8. #8
    Scott Davis
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Washington DC

    Re: contact frames

    Actually, I've been getting quite satisfactory results with contact frames up to 12x20. For modern frames, I have a Bostick & Sullivan 11x14 frame. Just about the best frame out there you can buy. I would avoid the Formulary frames- their snap-clamps (aka fingerbreakers) don't provide adequate pressure, especially across the middle. They're also noisy as hell and even if you've used one for a decade, you'll scare yourself every time you open or close one. I've got a bunch of antique frames that I got in my best ever Ebay deal - including a 14x17 and a 12x20 frame. The 12x20 is a three-part back, which I rebuilt recently because the original hinges were shot, and the felt was just nasty-looking. It seems to work just fine when I do my triple 5x7s on 12x20 paper, and I don't have loss of sharpness on any of the three frames. I could see, however, how you might not get adequate pressure across the entire frame with a larger spring-back style contact frame- I'd be reluctant to try it with 16x20 or bigger frames, but I did see one on Ebay once, an antique, that had a spine down the back of the back, and used two leaf-spring sets, one on each side of the spine, to give even pressure.

  9. #9
    Darkcloth Fumbler
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    ventura, ca

    Re: contact frames

    two sheets of double-thickness glass (i.e. not all that thick...3/8"?), with a layer of felt below the paper. office-supply binder clips on the edges. the key is to rest all of this on a pedestal of sorts, so the center is supported but the edges are not. keeps the center from separating and getting fuzzy.

    works up to 11x17 on kallitype printing, no fancy contact printing frames necessary.

    downside: if you're doing printing-out processes, you can't fold back part of the frame to check the actual print. never been an issue for me.
    - matt haines


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ottawa, ON, Canada

    Re: contact frames

    Doug Kennedy also gets my vote. He made me a 11X14" frame. Beautiful carpentry, split back with even pressure from 3 very sturdy springs, built to last. If I ever needed another one, I'd give him by business again.

    Check him out ... John

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