Old Seal Press

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Annie, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Annie

    Annie Member

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    I am considering purchasing an old Seal 150 Jumbo drymount press. The seller has listed a few problems with the equipment....

    1. It is missing the bottom rubber mat, replacements seem to be available... are these easy to install?

    2. The platen is not shiny clean.... There is apparently some kind of 'newspaperlike printed material' permanently adhered to the platen surface. The seller says this is not a problem because release papers or mat boards are used between the platen and the artwork.... is this so or is this a circumstance where billowing smoke, shooting flames or other unexpected disasters are a possibility?

    I have never seen or used a drymount press and I am wondering if the above mentioned deficiencies are such that it should be avoided no matter how low the seller will go with the price? Is it even worth going to have a look and make an offer?

    Thanks for your kind assistance.

    Annie
     
  2. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Annie, I have one of the Jumbo 150 and it is nice. Yes you can get a replacement pad (I think Calumet carries them) and they also sell a platen cleaner. I have read of others using oven cleaner to clean the surface, but can not say one way or the other. Mine needs a good cleaning and a new pad would not hurt either. I have done some mount work with mine and had very good success with it, just using the mat board sandwich, and release paper to keep it from sticking to the board.

    Depends on how 'good' a deal the seller wants to make you, these show up pretty often at e**y, do a search from the main page, they are used for many different purpose, so they show up in many places.

    Good luck.

    Sorry, mine is a 160 the later version, the lastest is the 160m...the pad should just lift out and you place the new one in.
     
  3. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    I have the 150 and i like it a lot. I don't have the bottom mat either, so I just use a stack of mat board and it works fine. If the price is reasonable then I'd go for it.
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Annie,

    Dropping in a new mat should be about a three-second operation. There's ordinarily nothing but gravity to hold it in place. I believe that replacements are available from Seal or perhaps from Light Impressions, Calumet, or Dick Blick. You could probably also fashion a substitute from any material similar in density and thickness. Something a little thinner than the original would work fine if it's backed up with some plywood or Masonite.

    I doubt that the material stuck to the platen would be a hazard, but you should plan to get rid of it anyway; the platen should be as smooth as possible, even when used with release paper and/or mounting boards between it and the target of the operation. Almost any imperfection has a way of transferring its impression to the face of mounted prints.

    A couple of years ago, I was given (yes, given!) a Seal 210 press. It had a considerable amount of mounting adhesive at various places on the platen because the previous user(s) had neglected to use release paper or been careless in doing so. I spent seemingly endless hours cleaning the platen, using nothing but steel wool and isopropyl alcohol. It is a messy process; the old adhesive will come off, but a lot of elbow grease is required. Still, with a press as small as the one you're considering, the time and effort would be a lot less than with my 210. Seal makes a special platen cleaner; Calumet lists it at $31.99 for a 2 oz. jar! Perhaps it's more effective than alcohol, but isopropyl alcohol/steel wool seems like a better thing to try first.

    You don't mention anything else, but I would check that the press is OK electrically (nothing frayed or obviously damaged), that it heats up OK and across the whole platen, and that the thermostat holds the temperature steady as selected. I would not pay big dollars for a press with the deficiencies you have noted.

    I've used Seal presses for almost forty years; please feel free to send me a PM if you have other questions.

    Konical
     
  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The lower mat on my 210M has a felt upper layer that is bonded to a very dense rubber foam. The foam is helpful since it's compression resistance is a part of the equation (heat and pressure).

    I would ask if the thermostat maintained temp. I use Seal Colormount and it requires 190 degrees. Too much temp. will cause as much problem as too little. Cleaning the platen is a pain in the rear. I spent hours with 600 grit sand paper. Release paper is important and also a clean mat board above the print when mounting. The smallest foreign matter will dent the surface of a print.
     
  6. Ka

    Ka Member

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    You wrote, "...Cleaning the platen is a pain in the rear. I spent hours with 600 grit sand paper. Release paper is important and also a clean mat board above the print when mounting. The smallest foreign matter will dent the surface of a print."

    What IS the best way to clean the platen. I have spoiled several prints with dents, which one can't remove afterwards, right?

    Thanks. ka
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The best way to clean the platen is to not allow it to come in contact with dry mount tissue. In other words prevention is the best course of action. However, should cleaning be required then the platen cleaner that others have mentioned is good. Dents if very small can sometimes be corrected by using a drop of distilled water applied with a spotting brush. This will swell the gelatin and allow it to even out. If the emulsion is broken then no corrective action will correct it. Good luck.
     
  8. Ka

    Ka Member

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    Not in possession of my own dry mount press, I utilize the one at my local museum/art school. Unfortunately, art students use the press extensively for mounting their art work, which results in mayhem and up-mucking of the platen.

    So until I can afford my own, I shall need to continue cleaning this one.... hence the WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN THE PLATEN question.

    I shall try the distilled water spot solution.

    Thank you.
     
  9. Annie

    Annie Member

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    Well, considering the nature of the replies it appears that the deficiencies are minor and can be remedied. The chances of finding another one close to home are doubtful so I think I shall go and see 'Jumbo' in person!

    Peculiar.... I bought my house last year around the same time I started making photographs. I had very few possessions when I moved in, basically just a few cases of camera equipment. Now the cameras have acquired more 'stuff' than I have and my photographic endeavors take up more space than I do!! One of these days I must start living like a 'real adult' and get some furniture!
     
  10. lee

    lee Member

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    ka,
    I would carry my own 4 ply mat board to use with the the drymount press. That way I could spend more time mounting photos and less (much less) time cleaning the platen. I put one board below the print and one above the print and then close the whole thing.

    lee\c
     
  11. Ka

    Ka Member

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    That is a good idea, and I have actually tried 2-ply in that endevour.... it took so long without bonding properly, I gave up and began cleaning the platen again....

    So how long should I keep it in the sandwich, without damaging my print? Does the temperature increase or remain the same?

    Annie, good luck with your press. I do hope it works out.
     
  12. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    I have a Seal 150 as well. You're going to love having a dry mount press! IMHO, nothing looks better than a dry mounted fiber print. FWIW, I've found that Seal MT5 tissue is far and away the best. I've tried cheaper off-brand tissue and it was a disaster.

    My press' thermostat must be off, but I've found that a meat thermometer works just fine for setting the temp.
     
  13. lee

    lee Member

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    ka,
    I use 200f or so. I pre heat the print and the mat board I am going to use first. I usually leave the print in the press for a minute or so. I have never harmed a print with this method. If I need to reheat I do so without worrying that I will damage the print in the press.

    lee\c
     
  14. Ka

    Ka Member

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    Super. Thanks. I also preheat. And I use Seal MT5.

    ka
     
  15. happysnapper

    happysnapper Member

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    Annie...

    If you hold out for the Seal 6080, you can actually fold it out and it becomes a real sized hide-a-bed! It is good you have your priorities straight because you can always get furniture later...

    There are a number of things to look for with the press. Make sure that it has a grounded (3 prong) plug and has no fraying or burned areas on the wire. The pad has been addressed here already and is very easily replaced, I would suggest using the actual pads from Seal though, instead of composing your own. There are also test strips available from Seal that can be used to show actual melting points for the thermostat setting (a big fault of the Seal press is the unreliable wiring, but even that can be repaired with a bit of effort and patience). Be very careful that you do not use a press that is too hot, it will melt the tissue past a point of adhesion and there not an easy road of return for that print...
    ALWAYS USE: clean, smooth mat boards as top and bottom covers, and whenever possible, use the Seal Release paper on top of your print as well.
    SEAL MT5 is the best stuff around for mounting fiber prints (IMHO why bother drymounting RC prints?...). As for cleaning the platen, do not use abrasive anything on it as those scratches will create havoc for you at some point. Elbow grease and Denatured Alcohol will generally remove any remnant of dry mount tissue that has found its way to the surface.
    Good luck and happy mounting (so to speak)!
     
  16. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Hello, Happysnapper,

    Two minor items regarding your post--

    First, your point about the Seal Indicator Strips is well-taken; however, they're really used just for the Colormount tissue. (With MT5, exact temperature is not a critical issue; as long as it's hot enough to activate the tissue, a few degrees too much doesn't seem to cause any damage.) With Colormount, once you know where to set the temperature dial, it's probably unnecessary to use the test strip each time, assuming that your press doesn't get jarred or moved around between uses. I've found that the temperature of the press isn't always congruent with the setting of the control knob, but, once a setting is established, it tends to remain steady and consistent indefinitely.

    No test strip? Just mount sections of a waste RC print onto small scraps of mounting board. Put the first one in the press for a minute or so at a low temperature, say 170 degrees. Move the temperature control knob up in about five-degree steps (allowing time for the press to stabilize between steps) and repeat the process with a new sample at each temperature until one comes out with obvious damage (melting). That should happen at 200 degrees or something a little beyond. Then back off five to ten degrees and in the future use that setting for Colormount . It won't take long to find the correct setting between the activation point of the tissue and the point where the RC paper suffers damage. Use release paper each time, of course, to avoid melting anything onto the platen.

    Be careful also about the setting on the tacking iron. I've never ruined an RC print in the press, but I've had a too-hot tacking iron cause damage.

    Why mount RC prints? I suppose there could be various reasons. In my case, I return regularly to the school I retired from to do presentations on photography. I find it handy to take black and white, 11 x 14 RC prints as illustrations. I mount them, with Colormount, back to back on fixed and washed outdated RC paper. The sandwich is sturdy enough to be handled easily and without much chance of damage, while being less thick and bulky than a mounted print. The slight opposing curl action of the two RC sheets makes for a very flat package. Don't forget that most paper for color prints is RC, and color prints are often mounted.

    Konical
     
  17. happysnapper

    happysnapper Member

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    Great idea about the back to back mounting!
    I have used the test strip material over the years to get an idea about actual temp of the press vs. the indicated temp on either the dial or the thermometer. They allowed me to quickly get an pretty accurate read on the thing. I always found MT5 worked best for me about 180... I always used the ColorMount at lower temps and let the cooling plate do the actual bonding. That saved heat damage to color prints and kept the prints from that embarrassing trip to the floor from your mount during presentations...
    Great heads up about the dreaded tacking iron too!!!
     
  18. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Just a couple of other thoughts in connection with the postings above--

    It's not just outdated paper which can be used for back-to-back mounting. The enlargement which turns out to be less than a masterpiece still works great as mounting material. I don't discard the rejects, the full-sheet exposure test strips, etc. but keep them handy after processing for just that purpose.

    When I do the standard mounting and matting, with either RC or fiber-based material, I use a reject or blank processed sheet on the back of the mount. The curl tendencies on each side of the board counteract each other and virtually guarantee flatness. The only drawback is the cost of another sheet of mounting material and a little extra time.

    I've never had occasion to do back-to-back with fiber-based paper, but it should be just as practical as with RC.

    Konical
     
  19. Annie

    Annie Member

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    This has certainly turned into a very informative thread..... Thanks everyone!!