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  1. #1
    nsurit's Avatar
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    Mounting a large print on masonite

    Any words of wisdom on mounting a larger print on masonite. Large being 30 X 40 or perhaps larger. Plan to build a box out of 1X4 and mount the masonite on it before applying the print. Thanks in advance, Bill BArber

  2. #2
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    I'd put a 1x4 "X" from corner to corner in the box to prevent the masonite from sagging. You have to do some cutting at the centre of the X of course.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
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  3. #3

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    Excellent advice. Masonite is a very good material to use for art ideas. The cut edges are not archival, so I would also recommend giving everything a good coat of gesso before mounting the print. You're going to end up w/ something quite heavy though. You could achieve the same result by mounting the print to a properly stretched and gessoed canvas or foam board if that's a concern. I've done a lot of painting on masonite and it works well, but again, I always gesso everything to seal the surface w/ an archival material first. If you use foam board all you need to do is mount the print directly to that, as it's normally sandwiched w/ acid free paper.
    Last edited by momus; 10-08-2013 at 02:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    That material is made out of random wood, pulped and held together with natural lignin. How can this possibly be archival? It is also sensitive to both temperature and humidity, constantly changing size and form - most likely at a different rate to your print.

    I'd suggest finding some 10mm foamboard or laminating up a couple of pieces of 5mm (which would also allow arranging the joins from smaller, and cheaper, sheets in a non-overlapping way). Foamboard is more rigid, more archival and lighter in weight. This structure can then be laid down flat (on a perfectly clean and flat surface) and the backing frame you mentioned stuck on the back, ideally with an extra piece of framing crossways, halfway along the long direction, for some extra centre support.

    Making the bond between the foamboard and the frame can be done with a suitable white-glue. Putting the print on to the foamboard is another question. I have used 3M Photo Mount with large prints (a panorama of five 20x16, trimmed down somewhat for joining up), but am wondering how long it will last before peeling (three and a half years so far). A better solution for a single print would be to go to a mounting shop and have the print stuck down with one of the double-sided adhesive films using the appropriate laminating/mounting system.

    Edit: I forgot to mention, foamboard is also available with one self-adhesive surface, but whether that is practical depends on what you have available locally. A mounting roller will make this material (and the other options) much less fraught.
    Last edited by MartinP; 10-08-2013 at 03:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
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    Masonite is steam-pressed wood, which means the lignin will acidify your print and degrade it in the long term. I don't know how long that takes but it's at least a couple of decades as I've seen 30-year-old prints mounted like that with no issues.

    If you do some googling for wet mounting of fibre prints, there are a few people who recommend coating masonite with a thin (2x diluted) layer of PVA glue, letting that dry then slapping a dripping-wet fibre print onto the masonite. The water reactivates the PVA layer (which will wick into the FB) and the print will dry/shrink onto the board for a perfectly flat finish without needing a drymount press. I suspect it's great for exhibiting on the cheap but probably not archival. If I were going to mount a 30x40" print, that is absolutely what I would do, at least for my first try I'd also like to experiment with putting a bit of sodium bicarbonate into the PVA to help neutralise things, but I don't really have the time nor the facilities to determine whether that would make things worse.

    If you're not doing drymount but want archival results, do not use contact adhesives, especially the spray ones. Quite apart from the respiratory hazard, they're very not-archival. Having said that, I use contact adhesive myself when I have a smaller print I want to put on the wall for a few years and don't really care that it will prevent the print outlasting me (50-60 more years at most). In my case, prints are either for-the-wall (exposed to house fumes and not expected to be particularly archival), or they're for-posterity, unmounted in a box and treated comparatively very well.

    Edit: I suspect that a layering of masonite, cotton rag and then FB print would be archival. The lignin isn't going to make it through a buffered wood-free mount board, and the masonite (with reinforcing as suggested above) will provide rigidity. You could assemble it all with PVA, which *is* archival, especially if you get the bookbinding version with antimicrobial agents. Plants will eat your PVA otherwise.

  6. #6

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    The flattest form of masonite is called Duolux. It popular for half-assed photo mounting. Archival it ain't. If you simply use it as a backing material you can overlay it with Saran Wrap or some other barrier plastic. But that doesn't make much sense either, since fomeboard is cheaper and lighter. High quality synthetic boards which are pH neutral also need to be carefully chosen. Gatorbaord must be sanded. Ultraboard is extremely smooth. But applying a suitable acrylic adhesive foil to this kinds of substrates, then the print to that, is a tricky unforgiving application requiring special skills and equipment - best left to a pro shop. Suitable water-based glues are available from Seal and Daige, but likewise need both a high skill level and a suitable substrate/fiber-based print combination which will mutually absorb the water in the glue. Doing any of this requires homework and practice. Save up some scrap prints to test.

  7. #7

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    A more practical hint: You can acquire very smooth board already coated with an adhesive layer from certain outfits like Oregon Lamination.
    But after you peel off the masking sheet, putting down a large print is still going to be relatively tricky without an appropriate roller-feed machine. It's analogous to laying down Formica. No need a big slip sheet of silicone release paper, but a good pressure roller. Practice, practice,
    practice... and then, right at the brink of insanity, you'll purchase a machine.

  8. #8
    ROL
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    I presume you've already read AA's advice on large print special mounts in The Print, in which he suggests finishing by lacquering the surface of the print . Masonite being the backing, I also assume that archival considerations are simply not relevant in your case. Nothing wrong with that, for special applications.

    FWIW, I dry mount GSPs that large in a normal size press, presented in a beveled window mat, 36"x48". Since I have not mounted on masonite, I can offer no experiential wisdom. I do have an idea (not to be confused with wisdom) about this though, which might even be considered archival. Here is how I might handle a loose print on any kind of flat non archival substrate. Cut the masonite, plywood or what have you to the size of the print, with or without borders (flush). Go to the home store and buy sufficient length of aluminum C-channel (available in many depths) for each of the four sides, mitered to length, deep enough to accommodate the panel, some kind of archival mounting board or tissue, the print, a window, and acrylic glazing, narrow enough to hold the components tightly (makeup depth as needed). Sandwich them together, apply the C-channel all around with glue on the substrate's back, and hang. The print, only in contact with inert or buffered surfaces, can be removed at any time, by simply pulling the C-channel from the substrate. Then there's the option of incorporating the substrate itself into the presentation by cutting larger than the print, for an aesthetic reveal, not that I would consider masonite all that aesthetic.
    Last edited by ROL; 10-08-2013 at 01:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    It's not just acid migration you gotta be worried about when using these kinds of sheet goods as a backing, but potentially also formaldehyde
    in the glue, or other outgassing nasties. Leave masonite for lining doghouse floors.

  10. #10
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    A couple other rigid materials used regularly for mounting large prints are Sintra, a PVC based board, and Dibond, an expanded foam board with thin layers of aluminum on each surface. Both are archival and substantially lighter weight than Masonite, but more expensive.
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