Mounting and Matting

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by CMoore, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I've standardized on a few mat sizes: 14x18 for prints made on 8x10 or panoramas on 11x14 paper,* 16x20 for prints from 11x14 paper, 22x28 for 16x20 paper and 32x40 for 20x24 paper. I order these pre-cut sizes from a supplier (e.g., Redimat or Lodima). I never have to cut a mount board. For window openings, I have made an arrangement with a local frame shop. If I mark dimensions on the board and bring in large batches (approx. 30-50 at a time), they'll cut windows for me with their computer-guided mat cutter for $3 a window. For me, that's a no-brainer; I never have to cut a board or a window. My waste in so doing would likely be as expensive as having the windows professionally cut and I never have to shell out for a mat cutter (or have room for one).

    *Note: every print I make is a slightly different size/aspect ratio; the images are all slightly smaller than the paper size used.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  2. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I fully agree, saving on blades is false economy;matboard is a lot more expensive tan fresh blades.
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I have always cut my own, up to 8-ply. And have cut a 1000 or two for others. And if one does a lot of it, and there is little 'waste' from mistakes...more likely to be math mistakes rather than cutting errors. A lot of double-checking. I kept it simple, a 40" straight edge and a Logan hand-held cutter. Kept it cheap by buying 25 32x40 sheets at a time and cutting them down -- using the holes for the next size down, etc. Very little unused board. But it does require space.

    PS -- when I was cutting mats for others, I scored a lot of great mat board from the holes. I'd offer them back to the artist, but usually they did not want them.
     
  4. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Vaughn, all my wholesale sources for matboard have shut down due to the land around here being worth vastly more than the business. Apparently, frame shops are getting supplies shipped from LA or maybe a branch warehouse in Tracy. I've got a backlog of about 200 prints to drymount, and only use Rising board. Somewhere down the line somebody should cook up a group order scheme for several hundred sheets at a time to get a realistic price. Wholesale is the only realistic route for me. Even the lowest volume on-line pricing is sky-high compared to what I normally pay.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    Two questions if i may.....
    1. You say you dry-mount.? I took a photo class in High School. Circa 1978. That is what the teacher had us do then. Not saying it is Bad/Wrong, but i thought dry-mount had, kind of, gone out. Replaced by other styles of matting.?
    2. A group buy seems like a good idea. But if it is more than a few people, or if they do not live close to each other, would it still be a good deal when shipping is added.? I guess if the Bulk Deal was good enough, it would make the shipping to each individual worth while. :smile:
    Thank You
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    CMoore yeah dry mounting is bad/wrong. Cut your mat board face down with a straight edge and a Dexter.

    I draw the outline on the back with dashed lines 5/16 inch outside the intended window... That's where the ruler goes. Get a drafting board with some cheap posterboard on it and pin the ruler down to it so it won't move. Pin the mat board to your drafting board with two pins well inside the frameline.

    Turn the Dexter blade in towards the middle as far as it will go. Extend the blade until it just scratches the board underneath the mat.

    Drop the blade onto a corner and push in diagonally, the cutter will just rest against the ruler.

    Cut to the next corner but don't overshoot. After all 4 cuts are made, take a thin blade (I dismantle a Gillette razor to get several very razor thin blades) and free the corners.
     
  7. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Only if one is a conservator. If one is a photographer who likes flat prints, it's good/correct. And, when done properly using high quality mat board, in the future it will probably show conservators to be wrong too, providing good protection for prints. :smile:
     
  8. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Get real. Find me one museum where the vast majority of 20th C silver prints are anything OTHER than drymounted, or any A-list photographer whose work has diminished even 1% by being properly drymounted. Quite the opposite. How do you expect them to handle and frame prints? Thumbtacks?
     
  9. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Of course, the only choice is between dry mounting and thumbtacks. There are no other possibilities. This is why your posts are always so amusing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I was being facetious. In my own framing facility I have not only a big drymount press, but gallons of archival wet-mount adhesive, a big roller press for acrylic adhesive cold-mounting, all kinds of specialty tapes for hinging etc. But for silver-gelatin prints, drymounting is by far the easiest and most reliable method of presentation. Conservators have to deal with a wide range of storage and after-the-fact remedial situations, not just displays. For three decades I supplied special equipment to the museum shop here, which has an enormous collection of historic photographs, and was even invited to work there after retirement. I obviously prefer to annoy you folks instead; but they routinely drymount silver-gelatin for resident or traveling shows, and often older media like albumen too (which requires a different kind of board, non-alkaline). Things like platinum prints on textured watercolor papers are generally hinged deckle-edged for esthetic reasons. But yeah, I've seen thumbacks too! - mostly in commercial galleries showing big inkjet prints which tend to truly deserve that kind of treatment.
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Drew- in your humble opinion could you describe the difference between a big inkjet vs a big C print? I have recently done both and I have chosen Inkjet as a superior product over C print, but would love to hear your thoughts.

    I have concluded that inkjet has a much wider colour palette than C print, the making of inkjets are much more predictable to that of a RA4 chemical line, as well there are a vastly greater range of papers and coatings than CPrint.

    Bob
     
  12. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    In my own framing facility, I have a drymount press too, but I only use it to flatten prints. I use archival corners and hinges to mount my prints. I find that easier and more reliable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  13. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Hi Bob. I'm allergic to RA4, so only do it a conservative amt in drums outdoors in suitable weather. That means one-shot chemistry fresh mixed each session, allowing better print to print consistency than big replenished roller processors. I like the more seamless look of transparent dyes versus opaque inks for my own work. I'm not a commercial lab and rarely print for other people. In other words, I shoot for the specific media I print in. In terms of input labor, you probably know better than me. I know inkjet practitioners who average an entire week per digital image in preparation, equivalent to the effort involved in high quality repro involving multiple film masks. Permanence is a more complicated issue. Inks are probably trending better at this point, but because such inks are actually varied blends of dyes, pigments, and lakes, not all the hues are created equal, so color shifts are inevitable. Esthetically, it's a Chinese versus Italian cuisine kind of debate. What tastes best depends on the specific skills of the chef. I prefer the hands-on approach of darkroom work. Some people, like yourself, do both.
     
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  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    In terms of gamut, Bob, I think modern neg films and RA4 papers are actually capable of more accurate hues. But that presupposes someone like me who has very carefully dialed in both ends of the process, shoot to print. Taking someone else's negs and chromes and trying to optimize them, like you do, is an entirely difficult ballgame, in which scanning and PS post-correction is undoubtedly the more efficient path. But there are inherent hue and sheen problems with inks which might not get ironed out for a long time. Things have kinda plateaued with respect to "good enough" with respect to the massive R&D expenditure behind inkjet. Piles of new patents will never see the light of day.
     
  16. OP
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    CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    Wow.....per usual, some fascinating info.:smile:
    How common is this method.? It uses "Varnish" instead of glass, the guy is a Professional Photographer.

     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    That video technique might be OK for casual work and temporary advertising and trade-show usage; but print varnishes yellow and craze over time. And the bigger the print gets, the more unrealistic it is to do without dedicated machinery. And even on the scale he is showing, I doubt he would be successful with a true high gloss print, where every anomaly becomes evident. There are outfits you can order adhesive pre-coated board from, eliminating the riskiest half of the equation. Art stores don't handle the same kind of quality. You can also use Repositionable 3M PMA for prints up to about 16" or maybe 20" wide. But any realistic cold mount adhesive will stick to fingers, brayers, etc, and get on the face of the print if you aren't very careful. Keep a bottle of film cleaner handy. This kind of method is best reserved for color prints which don't lend themselves to drymounting. It can be a real headache if you haven't been initiated or properly equipped.
     
  18. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I know a photographer who does very large inkjet prints who sprays his prints with varnish. I think it is to give a painterly look.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Inkjets need to fully outgas their PEG prior to any kind of surface treatment, for between a week to two months, depending on humidity, ventilation etc. Clear acrylics are inherently electrostatic and tend to attract dust. Traditional butyl acetate print lacquers are highly flammable and potentially very hazardous to your health without dedicated ventilation, which on a production basis requires explosion-proof motors in spray booths. True lacquers can be downright explosive, and I can remember my own workplace being shaken worse than during an earthquake whenever some dunce lit a cigarette a few blocks away around lacquer. Stick with water-based products, electrostatic or not.
     
  20. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    I remember in high school we had a big matte cutter-table thing and I became the matte-cutting guy. But I live 10 minutes from our sponsor (frame destination) so I just order mattes on line and pick them up, it would take me years to buy enough to justify a logan. And they're always perfect mattes and I don't have a pile of waste scraps to agonize over throwing out or not.

    I did find a dry mount press on CL and am happily dry-mounting my prints. If I piss off any museums, I'll let you know. The "dry mounting is all wrong" stuff is an incorrect statement these days. I'm thrilled with how my prints look and that I can go from shooting to framing myself.
     
  21. OP
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    CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    Well, for better or worse. I bought one of these.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/755371-REG/Logan_Graphics_4501_450_1_40_Artist_Elite.html

    I think i can "steal" a few scraps from school and practice with those.
    I believe there was a recent discussion about Cheap/Affordable places to buy bulk matting board.
    I will have to take a look at those postings.
    The reason for all this...??
    Besides being hounded for framed photos of my work from.....
    The Met
    MOMA
    Pompidou
    Tate
    and a few others

    I have a friend that owns a small restaurant, and she has expressed interest in allowing me to hang some of my abominations on Her Walls.
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Have fun. That should serve you well.
    It is very satisfying to put a print in a nicely cut mat that fits exactly the print that is custom cropped just the right way.
    Buy extra blades, and don't be reluctant to change them regularly.
    Until you have practiced a bit, you will encounter a few curved cuts, a few rough edges and a few over-cuts. Get some extra mat board and get the initial practice out of the way.
    It will also help if you have a small blade to help finish the corners and a straight blade to go along with the angled blade, for cutting sheets to the right size.
    A ruler with a centre line and marked dimensions to each side of that line is handy.
    A nicely printed 4"x5" print looks great in a custom 8"x10" mat, and makes a nice gift.
     
  23. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Never skimp on the quality of mat board. The longevity of good photographs should not be compromised by the weakest link in the processing and presenting, which too often is the mount and mat boards.
     
  24. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    It will serve you well. I practise by cutting a smaller hole within the window I need to cut.

    To get good corners, I start my cut early (about 1/2 inch), letting the blade go about half way in, then push it the rest of the way down at the start mark.
     
  25. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    There are entire small books and illustrated on-line articles devoted to matcutting technique. A good resource is a trade group PPFA - Professional Picture Framers of America. Good for mounting info too. There is a good mat book by Paul Fredericks if you want to explore high-end options.