Flat Fiber

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Ruby, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I'm starting to get a few fiber prints stacking up, and I just thought of a good question about framing etc. of fiber prints. So far, I dry them on screens and then the next day put them under a heavy stack of books for a few days.

    My question is...what to do next.

    When I was doing RC prints, I could put them in a frame behind a matt etc. pretty easy. All of the stuff I'm reading talks a lot about dry mounting. Is dry mounting absolutely necessary with fiber prints?

    With my prints, even after they come out of the "press" of books, they still want to curt slightly. The edge curl is gone, but due to the paper weight etc. they are pretty stiff with that curl. I guess what I'm wondering is, if you put them behind a matt, if the curl will not allow the print to sit perfectly flat (especially with larger prints) unless it is dry mounted.

    What do you other fiber printers do with prints you frame?
     
  2. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    Try to find a dry-mount press that you can use/buy. They are awesome, my prints are totally flat usually, and they take about 2 minutes or so.
    -Grant
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2004
  3. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Dry mounting is not necessary for fiber prints, but a dry mount press helps a bunch. Just heat the thing up to about 200 Farenheit, put two pieces of mat board with your fiber print in the middle and press it for about a minute or two. This will get the print VERY flat. After that, stack a few books on top of the print until it cools down.
    This will get the print flat enough to mat and frame.

    Dry mounting will get the print perfectly flat, but it's not a reversible thing.

    If it helps any, I worked in custom framing for about a year (although I am no expert)...
     
  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    If you dry mount to a 3" thick slab of granite (or, 1/2" steel), you're pretty much guaranteed to keep the fiber-base prints flat. Mat board, however, isn't a sure-fire solution, unless it's quite heavy (e.g. 8-ply). Depending on the environment, and framing method, mounted prints can actually warp the mat board, too.

    Trends within the market to which one is attempting to appeal is also an issue for consideration. Currently, for example, many collectors seem to prefer that prints not be dry-mounted, but rather hinge-mounted and left to "hang free" within a "mat sandwich". If pressure is maintained on the "sandwich" when framed, and the print is isolated from the humidity of the environment behind glass, it will usually stay acceptably flat without dry-mounting.
     
  5. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    I read in an earlier thread here on APUG that someone here (sorry don't recall the name) uses a flat polished granite (some kind of stone anyway) slab and heats it in the oven, then uses that as his(her?) dry press.
    A search should turn it up.
     
  6. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Interesting, but wouldn't that be counterproductive? So many people take our efforts for granite, anyway. :wink:
     
  7. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    "Interesting, but wouldn't that be counterproductive? So many people take our efforts for granite, anyway."

    Ba-dum-bump! Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Barker will be performing in The Lounge later this evening under the Joke Thread. Be sure to catch his act!

    (too funny!!!!!)...roflmao

    S
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I flatten them in a press and then hinge mount, and try to leave enough of a border around my prints so they'll stay reasonably flat with a mat to hold them down. One advantage of this approach is that you don't need to have such a large (heavy, space consuming, expensive) mount press if you're just using it to flatten unmounted prints.

    Perfect flatness is overrated, in my opinion.
     
  9. hortense

    hortense Member

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    See www.lightimpressiondirect.com item no. 2741 (heavyweight, white enamel finished flat plate, 14-gage steel, 21"x17" with raised corners for ease of use) - or go to a local welding shop and have them cut to size and nickle plate.
     
  10. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I guess I'm not all that concerned about total flatness, I was just curious. I can get my prints pretty flat under the books, but they tend to want to curl back up. For those of you who do the hot press method, do you do this just prior to mounting? I guess what I'm getting at is if the prints will end up getting the curl back. My local darkroom has a dry mount press, and I'm guessing that is why I've seen various people gathered around it on occasion, probably using it for free to flatten prints.

    I just got a print dryer off Ebay, not year arrived, which I'll probably try. I'm assuming you could use it to dry/heat up the prints and then put it into the book press while it dries so they stay flat.

    Partly, I was just looking for reasssurance that what I'm seeing isn't unique. So far, I've only printed with Ilford MGIV out of a 25 pack, which I was wondering if it might have more curl than a 100 sheet box for example. I should be getting my 100 sheet box today though, so I'll be able to see for myself!
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I do it just before mounting, and if the prints are in an environment where there is humidity that can get into the frame, they will curl again eventually.
     
  12. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Yes, that's how I use mine mostly - flattening just before hinge mounting. Even after flattening, the prints will regain some curl after just a few hours (sometimes, minutes!), depending on humidity.
     
  13. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I have dry mounted for years. It is certainly nice, but not necessary and now I believe that storing all that matt board is a problem. It is also done that you just flatten the best you can under a book or whatever and then mount to matt board with corners and then over matt, hinging the two matts together. When you do this, it is nice to have a big boarder on your print. I've seen this done up to 16x20 prints.
     
  14. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I have some hinged-under-the-matt prints framed on my wall and it always annoys me to see how the slightest bit of glare shows that tiny bit of waviness in the loose print. I've always loved the look of a dry mounted print and since the trendy galleries aren't likely to come beating down my door anyway, well... screw 'em.

    Just a matter of personal taste.
     
  15. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    David,
    Try these two things.
    1 Dry your prints in pairs, back to back, hanging on a mini "cloths line". Put clothes pegs every two inches round the edges. They will dry flatter like this than if just left flat.
    2 You will notice that most of the curl in a dry print is near the edges. If you print with at least a half inch border then trim about a quarter of an inch off all edges of your print, you will have cut most of the curl off, and it will be quite flat enough for mounting.

    I actually like to see a bit of unevenness in a mounted, framed print. It makes it look like a hand made rather than a mass-produced object.

    Alan Clark
     
  16. Gary Grenell

    Gary Grenell Member

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    I would just echo that sentiment. I recently sold my dry mount press. I think that the trend is away from dry mounting for exhibition work, and hinge mounting with a matte board overly and glass on top of that and the springs in the Neilsen frame assembly keep the entire thing nicely flat. Furthermore, I do not feel terribly comfortable putting my lovely air-dried fiber prints in a dry mounting press. It's unnatural. Like curling your hair with a hot curling iron.
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I sympathize entirely. Prints should receive TLC.
    I use a blotter stack made up of non-woven hydrophobic
    separator sheets and ventilation class corrugatd board.
    The stack does dry and flatten.

    Do you think there is a size limit for hinge mounting? Have
    you considered corner mounting? Dan
     
  18. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I've never done it, but I'm more inclined to hinge mount rather than dry mount myself. Something about the flexibility of having the print not really attached to something. In my case, most of my stuff is for my own home, so I'd like to be able to possibly swap photos out of frames eventually. Who knows.

    I'll give the hanging to dry method another try. I did it once, after reading about it on Heylloyd.com, but I only pinned two corners and it didn't work too well. I've also been experimenting a bit with how I squeeqy: both sides, only one side, once only, as thouroughly as possibly etc. to see how it might affect that edge curling. No huge breakthroughs yet though!

    I'm currently on the lookout on Ebay for a four bladed easel so I can print with larger borders etc. I'm guessing that it might be nice to print 8x10ish images on 11x14 paper, and smaller prints on the 8x10 paper so you have that flexibility.
    David
     
  19. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    You might also try letting your prints dry until the print surface is dry, but the back is ever-so-slightly damp, then sandwiching the print between archival matboard and pressing with a book until dry. The prints will dry flat. I've never had a problem corner mounting them with an overmat.
     
  20. ldh

    ldh Member

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    Another method

    This a method I use often for flattening fiber prints...it was taught to me by a master printer here in Prague...it is however rather labour intensive and finicky...and perhaps not all that practical

    Step1. Take (wet) final print and place on flat clean surface face up.
    Step2. Using a blotter remove excess water from print surface...turn print over and do the same to the backside.
    Step3.allow print to air dry on a mesh screen just to the point when the print has a tacky feel to it.
    Step4. Place Print flat onto a piece of plate glass ensuring that the print is absolutely flat on the glasss.
    Step5. Using 3cm wide brown acid free paper tape, (they call it framers tape here...dont know what it is in other parts of the world) create a paper frame on the print with 1cm covering the each side of the print and 2cm overlapped onto the glass sheet...how you devise to make the tape straight is up to you.
    Step6. let the print "Cure" on the glass sheet for at 24 hours but as long as 48 hours.
    Step7. After the "curing time" cut free the print with an box cutter and trim the print inside the tape.

    The print will be flatter than you have ever experienced before and will remain that way, unless exposed to high humidity for extended periods.

    The print will, however, loose some of its gloss if it is a glossy surface...it will become more of a luster...matte surface will be unchanged.

    I have made a rack with room for 10 sheets of 16x20 glass, so I can cure up to 10 prints per 24 hour period...I even exhibited a set of prints with the brown framers tape still on the print...kind of gave it an organic feel.

    Its definately not for someon who needs to crank out prints, it does work very well, apart from the change of paper surface with glossy papers...I dont like high gloss anyway so its perfect for me.
     
  21. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I drymount my prints because they look so much better that way. I can't stand to see the wave in a framed print. My prints don't feel finished until they are mounted. I only drymount the prints that I'm going to show to someone, & keep the rest in a box. Looking at a stack of wavy prints is distracting. Drymounting is archival if you are careful.