alternatives to dry mount press?
Today I decided to give dry mounting a try but the kicker is a dry mount press is out of my budget. I heard about some people using a household iron as a substitute so I decided to give it a try. The results were pretty bad. I set the iron on high heat (no steam) and tacked the corners to the dry-mount adhesive. Then I laid the print + adhesive down on the board and proceeded to press it out. These were 11x14 prints so I found that as I pressed out one side and moved up the print, the side I had just done cooled off and the print started to detach from the adhesive. I then placed weights on the whole thing and found that some areas remained attached while other areas of the print were not properly secured and peeled off right away. Any tips from those of you who dry-mount your prints without a dry-mount press?
Dry mounting seems to falling from favor these days, due perhaps to the inability to remove the print from the mount if the need arose. Using 'hinging' tape is a much more reversable method, requires no ultra-heavy press, and take only moments. Most mounting shops carry this tape, as well as the online art/photo supply shops. As for dry mounting without the press, I can offer no suggestions, sorry!
I tried to dry mount using an ordinary flat iron - and the experience almost caused me to get out of photography altogether. I know there are people who claim that it works, but it was a total disaster for me. Fortunately for me, just before I did something totally rash I found someone who wanted so sell a used press.
Randy notes that dry mounting has "fallen out of favor". Actually, I suspect that there are a couple of factors that are driving that change. The first is that some archivists are discouraging dry mounting because it's not truly reversable. Good point - although not one that is persuasive for me. I am more concerned about how my images look now than I am about whether they can be remounted a hundred years in the future.
If the print is smaller (say 11x14 or less), and if it has wide borders, hinge mounting behind a matt produces a fairly flat and attractive image. That said, I was in a gallery in Vermont this morning where many of the prints were printed out to the edge of the paper, and then dry mounted, with the edge of the print and a small amount of the mounting board exposed through the cutout in the overmatt. The edges were tight - which means that those prints were dry mounted.
The other factor is that increasing popularity of non-chemical processes that result in prints that are inherently flatter than traditional wet-process silver prints. Those images tend to have a lot less curl and can be attractively hinge mounted.
Saw a set of prints in a ~$23/plate restaurant here and was suprised to see they weren't drymounted. Of course, the easy way to tell was that the ones nearest the kitchen weren't flat anymore.
No idea how anyone keeps fiber flat w/o dry-mounting.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
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That looks like a great demonstration Neal but unfortunately I can't access the video from his website for some reason.
What are you drawing on to make this assertion? If one mounts to archival mount board, as most do, then I don't understand a need to remove the photograph from the mount. All of the photographers that I know are dry mounting.
Originally Posted by reellis67
Good Evening, Daniel,
I agree with Donald's comment above.
As to acquiring a press: keep your eyes open. I was given mine (a Seal 210 M) several years ago when my former school acquired a roll-type laminator and the principal, in his blessed ignorance, decided that the old press no longer had any value. (He was planning to dump it in the trash!) The only price I paid was the work of lugging it to the car by myself and the elbow grease expended in cleaning the platen. Sometimes presses appear on E-Bay, and they can go for rather low prices. Obviously, locating one you can pick up in person is best; otherwise, shipping might be more than the selling price.
Interesting. All of them!
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
Alan Ross, Ansel Adams last assistant, uses corner mounts for his smaller prints to hold them to the mount board, and for larger prints, he dry mounts the prints to 2-ply board and then corner mounts that onto the mount board.
Kirk - www.keyesphoto.com
I agree to keep an eye open for a press, but if all else fails...
I used to dry mount all the time with a household iron and I tried it again last year just for fun. It does work, but requires a technique wich must be learned through practice and observation.
The three most important issues are:
A really good, flat, hard surface to work on. Andything that flexes won't work...
The right temperature on the iron.
The right pressure and speed.
As I remember, 'high' would be way too hot and you have a good chance of buring the print. Try medium. Move slow with quite a bit of pressure, and keep the pressure consistent. Keep moving. Don't let the iron sit in one spot. Move from the center area out towards the edges. this help eliminate bubbles. Never move from an edge towards the center. This will cause a bubble and possible crease the print.
If the print lifts off the mat, there's two probable reasons. Not enough heat/time/pressure. Or too much heat and the adhesive stayed hot too long after you moved the iron away. A surface that flexes will also cause the print to lift because of the curving that make the print and mat different sizes when pressed down.
The only problems I ever had with the iron technique was getting the very edges flat. It really helps to start with a very flat print.
All it takes is practice and paying attention to what the print/adhesive does while you're working it. To learn, it also helps to work on a junk print and even not trim the adhesive sheet. With a tiny bit sticking out of the sides of the print, you can judge how well it's melting with your iron passes...
Good luck with it...