Floating a panel

Conservation Issues

Floating a panel

Postby framemaker » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:49 pm

I have a small painting (11" x 9") on 6mm thick MDF which has to be float mounted. Just wondering what is the best way to do this, or to as higher spec as possible. The whole back surface is primed with acrylic gesso ground.

The panel is to have about 15mm float away the backing mountboard. For this I thought of using a wooden or aluminium frame fixed through the backing board, to support the panel and give the floating effect.

Any ideas on how to fix the panel to the support frame? I thought about using velcro, it could be glued and/or stapled to the support frame, then the opposite velcro could be glued to the back of the panel with a reversible adhesive.
Another idea was that a strong Japanese paper could be used to hinge the support frame to the back of the panel, again with a reversible adhesive, 3 to 5 hinges per side. Lastly I thought about gluing the panel directly to the support frame, although this would be harder to reverse than the other methods.

When I say reversible adhesive I am thinking BEVA 371 or Lascaux 360 which are used in relining canvases and oil paintings, but I really have no idea if they are suitable for this application. Another possible adhesive is Paraloid B72

Is there a way of doing this that is considered to be a top preservation method?

Any and all ideas welcome!


Re: Floating a panel

Postby prospero » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:38 pm

There isn't really a way to do this that doesn't involve gluing or poking something into the board. For true conservation framing none of these options is acceptable. The only solution I can think of is to make a frame for it using the thinnest moulding you can find (3/8" black cushion or even a very thin ally frame in matt black) and fix this to the backboard. This will at least give the floating effect even if the edges are covered.
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Re: Floating a panel

Postby Roboframer » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:20 pm

Nielsen have just brought out some tiny aluminium mouldings - about 3mm wide.

Would an adaption of this method work? viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5438 - guessing it's an oil/acrylic though, so maybe not as it could stick to it.

Out of all the ideas listed to fix to a frame, I like the velcro one best.

Another idea is to use the frame purely for depth and stick & staple a board to that - it maybe wouldn't matter what quality board as the painting is on MDF - but if it was good quality mount board it could be peeled away, ply by ply; that board, (which, like the frame, could be a good deal smaller than the artwork), could be adhered to the MDF with starch paste applied with a mini roller.

If and when the time comes to reverse any adhesive method used, it's going to have to be paid for, in addition to any re-framing/fitting charges, so any method that can be reversed, even if only by a conservator, is a go-er. Otherwise it will have to be held with something visible and maybe a couple of mm off the edges with a tiny frame in a colour to suit ... or even contrast, may be a smaller price to pay.

Pros and cons again - do something to it that you can't see or do nothing to it but see how you did it!

Re: Floating a panel

Postby framemaker » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:51 pm

Sorry, should have said this first, the panel is painted on the sides. OK its only 6mm deep but this is integral to it, and can't be covered, so that rules out anything that covers the sides.

I also like the velcro idea, you would not need a large area, its easy to remove from the support frames, and any reversing agent (solvent) can easily soak through the velcro quickly and be removed in no time. So that is looking best option so far, need to take some advise on the best adhesive to use.

I don't think the film mount will work in this case, I think the fact that this covers the entire image would not be acceptable to the artist.

But why can't it be done somehow to a preservation standard using some other method?! I wonder if it would be OK if I gave the panel back to the artist with a tube of Araldite 2015 or 3M DP810 and four battens and got him to stick them on, and in the future get him to even do this before painting on the panel. We could even go a step further and apply a reversible barrier adhesive to the back of the panel before the super sticky stuff, the battens could be removed in the future by applying a solvent.

There must be an acceptable solution, they do after all use many different adhesives on items like glass, pottery, and in relining priceless paintings to new canvas.

Re: Floating a panel

Postby Roboframer » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:09 am

A very quick Grumble search turned this up http://www.thegrumble.com/showthread.ph ... loat-frame - check out post #4.

A more detailed search may turn more up but it seems a respected guy there concurs with your favourite idea so far.

Re: Floating a panel

Postby Graysalchemy » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:26 am

framemaker wrote: I wonder if it would be OK if I gave the panel back to the artist with a tube of Araldite 2015 or 3M DP810 and four battens and got him to stick them on, and in the future get him to even do this before painting on the panel.

I was going to say it is the bane of a framers life, why don't artists have a little foresight before they embark on something. After all it is painted on MDF and he want's it framing to a conservation standard. If he was to attach something to it to begin with himself then it wouldn't be a problem to the framer.

If it wasn't a conservation job Silicon sealant would glue it to a back panel quite happily and it would easily be removed with no damage to the panel, however silicon I know gives off nasty chemicals etc, but theoretically it would hold it and would be removable, just a pity it gives off nasties.

Re: Floating a panel

Postby stcstc » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:54 am

the 3m dp810 is the dog what nots, will stick anything to anything

but you will never get it off

i use it to stick split battens to diabond or acrylic panels, split battens are either foamex or aluminium

its very neat to use too

why not suggest as grays says, that the artist glues the stuff to the back, then its part of the piece rather than you having to figure out how to reverse it

Re: Floating a panel

Postby prospero » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:09 am

There are two issues here re conservation/preservation. Gluing extra bits to the back is unlikely to cause any harm to the piece whatsoever. It's just the fact of permanently altering it that may or may not affect the value in later years. Ideally this should be undertaken with the consent of the artist. In my experience most artists don't give a monkey's what you do to the work. I've even sawn bits off panel paintings to fit frames. :? One artist even paints multiple pics on MDF and asks me to saw them out. But I would refuse point blank to do anything like this without the artists permission/instruction.
As for gluing, using a couple of strips of double-sided foam tape would fix it very securely. The tape is about 4mm thick so it would lift the board slightly from the backing. This stuff lasts a long time and because it is flexible the glue join never gets strained by expansion of the wood. If the frame had glass in, it would not come to harm if the adhesive did fail. The gap allows (fairly) easy removal as you can slip a knife blade in and cut the foam.
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