How does one produce BIG masked prints?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Tom Stanworth, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    One does not need to have an easel to produce prints and my big ones so far have been limited to 20x24 made on a 20x16 easel with the blades removed. I modify the frame so it hold the paper flat, but the masking cannot be varied and is not 'clean'. This does not bother me as so far I either dry mount or mask off the image using the mount during framing thus hiding imperfect edges.

    BUT, I saw in a gallery a traditional fibre print of at least 30" with perfectly crisp masked off edges. I have never seen a whopper easel! How can one produce perectly accurately masked giant prints so that you can allow a border of paper base between the bevel mount and the image edge?

    I have heard of big vaccum easels but they dont mask do they?

    This has me stumped!

    Tom
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    probably used magnetic strips to mask the paper. It can be bought in rolls and cut to any size needed.
     
  3. mark

    mark Member

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    My first photo prof. did this. He had a big metal sheet for the easel and used magnetic strips to hold the paper flat and make the border. He had marks ticked off for the different sizes he used so he just lined the long magnetic strip up with the marks. it was a nifty set up and worked well.
     
  4. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    A sheet of steel (painted yellow or black-use sacrificial paper to focus) glued to particle board with two aluminim shelf brackets (the verticle part that goes on the wall, check home depot) mounted at EXACT right angles for the easle and flexable magnetic srtips for the mask.

    #1 Project the image on the easle and one sheet of paper, frame and focus.
    #2 Place strips along outer edge of paper opposite the shelf brackets.
    #3 Remove focus paper and replace with good paper.
    #4 Place magnetic strips on paper using strips from #2 and brackets as guides
    #5 Expose
    #6 Remove strips from #4
    #7 Remove paper and develop

    A good sign shop that makes signs for car doors will have sheets of the magnetic material and can cut it clean and straight. Different width's will give different boarders. A sheet metal shop can also cut strips of heavy gage steel to use as a mask instead of magnets. just clean up the edges with a file

    Hope this is not to confusing. This is how I do 24X36 prints.

    John
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A very simple and cheap way is to cut a window mount the size required, as the edges need to be 90 degrees this is easy. Cut from Black mount board, the inner edges are then blackened with an indeilble black marker, suitable pieces of metal, in my case aluminum are used to hold the inner edges flat.

    If the window mount is hinged apprporiately to a back piece of card the paper can fit in exactly when printing.

    This has worked extremely well for me for about 30+ years.

    Ian
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Commercial labs have available, if the wish to acquire them, vacuum easels that can bery large indeed. They can be custom made for the largest sized photo paper.
     
  7. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    The lab I worked in had a vertical steel wall which was 18' high by 22' long.

    The biggest single print was approximately 18 to 19' long by 6' wide. This was the largest colour negative roll paper made by Kodak. All paper on this wall was held in place by magnets, lots of them and all placed in position in total darkness.

    In the centre of this wall was a special clip-on section where we could attach a square 6' steel vacuum easel. This was used, mainly in B&W printing, for adding specialised borders to prints. The vacuum held the paper in place and the borders were held in place by magnets. The borders were just strips of thin metal.

    I can tell you that the vacuum system was good news and bad news. The good news, the suck was so strong that paper didn't move a millimetre. The bad news, ever tried to carefully (without making kinks) remove paper the instant you kill the vacuum?

    Mick.
     
  8. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Brilliant. Thanks to you all. Once my new house is built....and I finally get to move in....and the darkroom done (nothing posh) I will set about this. I have made a great DIY drying rack that cost virtually nothing and will dry these big prints I am going to do. This all sounds very 'do-able' for a big masking frame.

    THANKS!
     
  9. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Does this stuff have a straight edge rather than have the tendency to curve?
     
  10. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    OK, so returning this thread once again out of sheer desperation to make some really big prints....

    The widest magnetic sheet I can find is 24" wide x however long. I would of course prefer to cut two 'L's from the sheet but that limits me in print size. Have any of you cut four strips and adjoined them into 'L's or do you just manually align the four strips on the sheet of paper using marked reference points?

    Rgds
     
  12. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    3M manufacture a ruby red transparent tape (type 616) for the graphic arts industry. It works perfectly for masking negatives but takes a little practice to apply straight. You could also cut a mask from Rubylith, cutting out the transparent carrier film as well so you don't have 2 more surfaces to dust. Far easier than trying to mask the edges of the print paper before exposure.