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.
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.
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.
Super. Thanks. I also preheat. And I use Seal MT5.
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)!
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.
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!!!
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.
This has certainly turned into a very informative thread..... Thanks everyone!!