Framing two halves of a picture

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Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Rainbow » Mon May 06, 2019 9:15 am

This is my Art Deco job mentioned in another thread.

It's an architectural drawing, done in two halves, which need to be joined up in order to show a tall building. The drawing has been done on tracing paper. It's over 30 years old but is in pretty good condition for its age, apart from the fact that the background has turned orange due to it being laid on top of an orange-coloured mountboard :shock:

It was previously hung with tape, and the two halves were joined with tape at the edges. The tape had dried out and both halves had dropped separately to the bottom of the frame.

Is there a tape I can use which won't dry out, particularly to join the two halves? And I assume there's no way I can join the two halves across the middle to support them, rather than just at the edges... or is there?

I feel sure there must be a good way of doing this, but I don't know what it is. Advice would be much appreciated.


PS. I can't use acrylic against the tracing paper to keep it in place. I don't know what the artist has used to fill in some of the solids, but even after 30+ years, it's still tacky so it would stick to the acrylic.
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Re: Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Not your average framer » Mon May 06, 2019 11:24 am

This may look like tracing paper, but many draftsmen and drawing offices had already changed over to acetate drawing film long before 30 years ago. As I'm sure you will understand, when you are framing an drawing like this it may well be helpful to know exactly what material you are dealing with to be able to use the most appropriate techniques and to understand how best to handle this item.

I working in a drawing office for six months at the start of my engineering apprenticeship in late 1967 to early 1968 and they were already using the acetate drawing film for drawings long before I had started my apprenticeship, but they were still using tracing paper for parts lists. The two materials are quite different in many ways. In particularly with regard to exposure to humidity and heat.

Tracing paper is not dimensionally stable with regard to humidity, or heat and tracing paper easily develops problems retaining it's original flatness if not stored under the right conditions, on the other hand acetate drawing film is generally much more stable regarding flatness as long as a certain temperature is not exceeded. Exceed that temperature and the drawing tends to get all scrunched up and won't return to being flat no matter how you try. Humidity is not generally too much of a problem with acetate drawing film. Tracing paper was probably used for part lists, because it was cheap and dimensional stability did not matter.

When changes were made to these drawings and parts lists pencil drawing had any items needing to be erased with electrically power rotary rubber and if ink had been used it was scraped off with a scalpel, sometimes the matte surface of the drawing film got rubbed away leaving a gloss surface, which would not take ink, or pencil. When this happened the gloss area was covered with 3M's scotch magic tape which solved the problem and the ink was then protected with a further layer of magic tape. Magic tape was fully reliable repair which lasted and was regarded as permanent.

So I can tell you with confidence that 3M's magic tape will stay stuck, but it is relatively easy to tear magic tape, so be care when handling after you have joined the two portions of the drawing. We also used to repair areas where the parts lists tracing paper had worn through by successive parts list changes with magic tape as well and this proved to be equally successful. I would mention at this point that the adhesive on magic tape is completely non yellowing and looks good permanently.

In a drawing office where two portions of a drawing are joined together, the edges are butted together and the magic tape is applied to both sides of the paper at the join, to ensure that the original drawing would run smoothly when passing through the diazo machine to produce paper copies. You will have to determine whether you want to do this to both the front and rear of you your drawing, as the magic tape on the front of the drawing may be more noticeable, but the other consideration is that taping both front and rear surfaces will help to keep the join flat and prevent any contamination getting into the gap at the join and sticking to the adhesive through any slight gap at the join.

It is not impossible that the two portions of this drawing may not have remain dimension stable and the registration between the two portions may not in all places line up. Finally I would strongly suggest that you do not consider dry mounting, or heat sealing this drawing. because there will be different rates of expansion with temperature between the different materials involved.
Mark Lacey

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Re: Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Rainbow » Mon May 06, 2019 1:03 pm

Thank you so much for that reply, Mark. Very informative, and your experience is invaluable.

I'm not an expert on materials, but I think this is tracing paper because it's like greaseproof paper, only thinner, and you could tear it quite easily. My understanding of acetate is that you have to cut it, not tear it (but I could be wrong).

Re the Magic Tape, that sound brilliant. Is there no acid in it?

I've looked at the Scotch web site and it doesn't actually say that it's non-yellowing so I hope they haven't compromised the specification since you worked in the drawing office.
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Re: Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Not your average framer » Mon May 06, 2019 1:51 pm

If you say that you can easily tear it, then it sounds like tissue paper, but be warned that you can tear acetate drawing film although you usually have start it off with a small cut at the edge first. If you lay the two portions of the drawing on a flat surface together, do they lay together nice and flat and do the details on the drawing line up nicely between the two portions? If they do, it will make the job much easier for you, than if otherwise.

Personally I would try to avoid mounting the drawing in direct contact with the glass. It's clearly an original and almost certainly not replaceable. Hopefully it can be spaced away from the glass with a mount, or just a slip, or spacer. Older tracing paper has the potential to become brittle with time, so I'm not particularly keen about the thought of hinging directly to the tracing paper, either with self adhesive, or water based adhesive.

As a result, I would be much more inclined to use narrow spacers instead and let the overall size of the drawing be accommodated in the rebate size of the frame and seal the rebate of the frame to prevent acid migration from the wood of the frame into the tracing paper. If you have to show the orange mountboard beyond the edges of the drawing then you will need to think about how you are going to do this without the hinging method being visible.

This is only my personal thinking about this, but there still are other options, if this does not fit the customers requirements. One such possibility would be a Mylar direct contact overlay and a mount, unfortunately the Mylar will of course be glossy and reflect the light, which I would prefer to avoid.
Mark Lacey

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― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Not your average framer » Mon May 06, 2019 10:00 pm

This is of course an ideal job for mounting using a platform mount, at least that is if the customer does not mind the edges of the drawing being hidden behind the edges of the window mount. Platform mounts show in a Jim Millars drawings can give the unwarranted impression that they are more difficult than they really are, but once you have done your first platform mount you will see that they are an effective and very simple way to mount many difficult items without using any adhesive fixings on the item to be framed whatsoever.

https://theframersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=16984&p=130020&hilit=platform+mount#p130020
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Rainbow » Tue May 07, 2019 10:07 am

Many thanks for your further input, Mark. I really do appreciate it.
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Re: Framing two halves of a picture

Postby Not your average framer » Tue May 07, 2019 4:48 pm

Once you have done this, you'll be an expert next time. :yes:
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
Not your average framer
 
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Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:40 pm
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Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day


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