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Mounting on wood or masonite

Siobhan Arnold , Mar 07, 2005; 07:03 p.m.

I would like to mount my photographs flush on a wood frame (similar to how Uta Barth mounts her images). I have previously mounted on gatorfoam which I like but I would prefer to see wood on the sides of the frame rather than black or white tape. I'm planning on making the images at least 16x20. Does anyone have any recommendations for what kind of wood and what type of adhesive to use? I know there are many of you that will tell me that mounting is not archival, etc.! But perhaps there's a way to minimize the potential damage over time.


Lex Jenkins , Mar 08, 2005; 02:54 a.m.

Wood can be coated to help minimize the risk of damage to your prints. I would try a polyurethane varnish that dries free of oil or other residue. That eliminates most marine varnishes.

Scuff up the surface with a very fine abrasive to give it some "tooth". I would avoid steel wool because it tends to be oily and even the finest leaves behind steel wool dust. Scotch makes abrasive sponges but I haven't seen one fine enough for this purpose. I'd use an ultra fine aluminum oxide paper on a flat block to ensure even results.

I'm not sure whether varnish would hold up to the temperatures needed for traditional dry mounting. It might be better to use an archival grade adhesive. Artists suppliers carry various adhesives suitable for mounting photos. Some folks have reported good results using a spray adhesive. There are also archival glue sticks but these are difficult to roll on evenly without bumps being visible on the surface of the photo.

Siobhan Arnold , Mar 08, 2005; 11:04 a.m.

Thanks, Lex. I was thinking of using an adhesive called Rollataq which is acid free. I will try your suggestion to varnish the surface and scuff it before mounting the print.

J Robinson , Mar 09, 2005; 11:58 a.m.

Using an acid free mounting method on a material that outgasses so much is a waste of money. Your photos will have problems due to the wood or masonite no matter what you do.

Steve Swinehart , Mar 10, 2005; 10:22 a.m.

If you want to fully seal the wood use Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealant (CPES) available from Smith & Company. You can read about it here: http://www.star-distributing.com/smith/cpeswhy.html

It is water thin, will penetrate the wood and totally seal it. I'd put on two coats 24 hours apart. No need to sand between coats. Wet sand the second coat with 600 grit wet/dry emery paper to totally smooth the surface. Far better than trying to varnish the wood as it penetrates and totally encapsulates the wood fibers.

Much easier to use than a varnish, and it should give you the results you want.

Graham Morriss , Mar 11, 2005; 08:55 p.m.

Hi Siobhan my partner and I own a hotel and I've decorated the bar with 12 16x20 prints mounted on blocks of MDF cut to size using PVA as an adhesive, I'm sure they are not archival but they do look good! Graham

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