Photo mounted on warped board

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Jag62
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Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Jag62 » Wed 09 Jun, 2021 12:45 pm

Hi all,

I have a couple of 1930's wedding photos in the shop this week which have been permanently mounted to fairly stiff card backing boards, both of which have warped. I don't really want to mount the board to another board especially as there is an old photographers brand stamp on the rear. What is the best option here to straighten. I'm not sure if it's okay just to hold them firmly within a standard mount package & rely on glass & backing to clamp them flat ? My concern is that the existing old backing board could cause indentations on the top mount.

Alternative is to try & flatten the old backing boards but I would guess they would need to be slightly dampened to facilitate this which in turn could affect the photos.

Any advice greatly received.

Cheers,

Neil

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David McCormack
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by David McCormack » Wed 09 Jun, 2021 1:58 pm

Be careful here as you are entering into restoration work which should only be carried out by a qualified conservationist. Customers think framers can do all sorts of stuff, particularly if they are a conservation framer. Conservation framing should really be called 'preservation framing' as that is what we are supposed to do, preserve art and stuff for future generations.

Restoration of paper and board is a skilled operation, get an expert to deal with the warped problem first and then hand to you for expert framing.
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by pramsay13 » Wed 09 Jun, 2021 3:27 pm

You could try flattening them under weights for a few days and see if it makes a difference.
Or you could scan and reprint and keep the originals somewhere safe.

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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Not your average framer » Wed 09 Jun, 2021 3:58 pm

Before flattening under weights, I would want to look at how much it is bowed. Old photos can be quite fragile. There may be consequences, if you are trying to flatten a photo where the emulsion side of the photo is producing the stress that is bowing the photo. A good Photo processing lab could probably produce a copy of the photo suitable for framing and the new copy can be framed instead without involving any unknown risks. Taking any risks whatsoever with unreplacable photographs is probably not a geat idea.
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Tudor Rose
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Tudor Rose » Wed 09 Jun, 2021 6:23 pm

It is an interesting dilemma and one where what the customer wants and is prepared to pay for will determine what to do. As others have said, getting a digital copy and framing that is one solution. But some customers just don't want the hassle or cost of doing that.

So if they insist on having it framed as it is, then I would be using a sink mount to fully support it all round. This has the advantage also that you are not adding any adhesive to the board and they can remove it to see the photographers mark in future if needed. The board is likely to be brittle because of its age and you don't want it creasing or tearing at any point. You've mentioned flattening it potentially with tape, which implies that there is a bit of movement with it - but do be careful to not bend it beyond a point it is happy to go. Judge the depth of your sink mount to that. The sink mount allows you to support the warped board without putting pressure on it on the edges. You can then put the new mount over the top and I would then package the glass and mount with tape before putting it into the frame. We tend to use P90 for that, but others use various different tapes.

We have done quite a few like this over the years - the most interesting one was completely concave - but using this method it looked fine.

Don't forget that with some photographs it is better to use an unbuffered cotton board (Level 1) as the photograph surface can sometimes be affected by the alkalinity of the calcium carbonate (chalk) used to buffer boards. Not all Level 1 boards are unbuffered so make sure to check the specs and it is boards in contact with the photograph surface that this applies to.
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prospero
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by prospero » Wed 09 Jun, 2021 7:53 pm

The card it's mounted on is likely to have deteriorated to the point where it has the consistency of Weetabix.
You are wise to avoid trying to stick it down. It might just sit a bit flatter in a mount/frame. :roll:

The best course of action would be to scan/reprint. Frame the reprints and make a nice little acid-free box to store the originals in.
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Jag62 » Thu 10 Jun, 2021 3:54 pm

Thanks all for the input.

Jo very succinctly described the thoughts & preferred approach that I had in my head (but was unable to convey). The old board does have some flex and isn't turning into Weetabix just yet so I think the sink mount is a good solution. I wasn't aware the there was a risk of the calcium carbonate in some boards affecting photographs and having checked the contents of the LJ cons board I was planning to use this does contain CC. I also checked contents of their museum cotton board & that also contains CC so not sure what to use tbh although there's probably more risk to the photo from the dodgy old board & glue already attached to it and from UV (I plan to use museum 99% glass to give it some reasonable protection).

Thanks all,

Neil

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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by David McCormack » Thu 10 Jun, 2021 5:08 pm

Wessex sell Crescent RagMat Museum Solids Unbuffered boards:

https://www.wessexpictures.com/Crescent_Unbuffered.html
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 10 Jun, 2021 5:47 pm

Anyone ever heard of Silver safe photo papers? These were produced as being chemically safe for contact with earlier photographic prints. Although these earier types of photo were considered reasonably stable, once they had been sepia toned to prevent the chemistry used in the photographic process from being reversible, as things aged the chemistry of these earlier photographic prints did not fully retain their images. Many of the earlier photographic processes were based up on the use of silver nitrate and after developing the image, that image would be fixed using a fixative known as Hypo. Hypo was short for Hypochloric acid which left a small acidic residue to prevent the developing process getting reversed. Lots of these photographic images were given greater protection be toning the prints with sepia and the original sepia prints of the era are the ones which in later years began to become silvery and fade as the hypochlorics acid became less effective in later years.

This is why unbuffered cotton mountboard are of such importance when mounting these earlier photos, as alkaline buffered mountboards can diminish the protective acidity within these photographs and the protographic images start to fade due to unfixed silver nitrate ions becoming mobile within the image. There are chemical processes to recover lost images, so such images can be easily restored, but modern day photo lab rarely offer this service, as there is so little demand for this fromcustomers that it is no longer economic to do so. I hope that this explains why unbuffered mountboard is important for mounting many older photographs. So what all this about Silver Safe photo papers. Quite simply this is a brand of paper produced for safe storage of photographs which need to be stored in safe archival conditions. These papers are made from 100% pure cotton with absolutely no alkaline buffering what so ever.
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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Tudor Rose » Thu 10 Jun, 2021 7:00 pm

Jag62 wrote:
Thu 10 Jun, 2021 3:54 pm
I wasn't aware the there was a risk of the calcium carbonate in some boards affecting photographs and having checked the contents of the LJ cons board I was planning to use this does contain CC. I also checked contents of their museum cotton board & that also contains CC so not sure what to use tbh although there's probably more risk to the photo from the dodgy old board & glue already attached to it and from UV (I plan to use museum 99% glass to give it some reasonable protection).
Larson Juhl TG Off White (C3303 and other variations) is unbuffered, they used to do dull white unbuffered as well but that has been discontinued. If you look at their specifier, the unbuffered boards are marked with an Asterix. We use a lot of TG Off White, its one of those "yes, that works" kind of board colours that comes in very handy.

Nielsen also do an unbuffered board in white and Wessex stock that.

The UV glass is a very good idea.
Jo Palmer GCF(APF) Adv (Textile & Conservation)

Proud to be serving as current Chair & Master of
The Fine Art Trade Guild http://www.fineart.co.uk
Member of the Guild and the PPFA

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Re: Photo mounted on warped board

Post by Not your average framer » Thu 10 Jun, 2021 7:45 pm

This has been a really useful thread with a lot of very good information as well.
Mark Lacey

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― Geoffrey Chaucer

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