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Acid-free mat similar to C3359

bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Howdy, y'all!

We've been using a "regular" Crescent mat (3359 Sundown Shadow) for a ready-made package that we ship all over the US. We laser cut and engrave the mat before putting it into a frame. Since this isn't an acid-free mat, over time it causes some discoloration on the certificates that the recipients put into the frame.

Although we've never gotten a complaint about it (we've made hundreds of them), I hate the thought of my product causing damage to someone else's stuff.

My dear friend John Burton suggested switching to Crescent Select to remedy the problem. I bought one sheet of the C9846 Crescent Select Dark Shale, which was the closest color they had to the Sundown Shadow (it's nearly black). When I tested it today, I ran across a few new issues:

1) Color - The 3359 is nearly black, while the 9846 is a dark gray. It's not horrible, but it's just not quite dark enough.
2) Density/thickness of top layer - The 9846 has a really THICK top layer (the colored part). We're engraving some pretty detailed stuff, and the tougher/thicker top layer makes it much more difficult to get that detail in the finished product.
3) Smell - Oh, dear LORD, the smell! When the 3359 is in the laser, it smells like you'd expect wood/paper to smell as it burns. The 9846, on the other hand, smells like a rotting corpse. That's probably okay for Halloween, but I fear that the mat would stink up the recipient's home to the extent that they'd have to burn the house down.

I buy nearly all of my mat from Larson-Juhl, simply because they have free delivery to me every week. We're just over an hour outside of Dallas, so picking up a box of mat is more than a little inconvenient. You all know how expensive shipping this stuff can be...

Do you know of another black (or nearly black) acid-free mat that has a white core? I'm open to trying another supplier, if LJ doesn't have what I need.

I have talked with Crescent at length, and the 9846 is the closest thing they have...

Thanks in advance!
 
888

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Larson Juhl carries Crescent, Bainbridge and Artique.
Price wise (according to Frame Ready) from least top most.
Bainbridge Basics, Artique, Crescent Select, Bainbridge Alphamat, Crescent Rag.
There should be multiple Blacks and near Blacks in each line.
Based on my past experience (but no laser cutter experience), I would assume that a different Crescent Select mat would not have the same problems as the one that you tested.

What type of laser cutter do you use?
I've considered getting one.

Best of luck.
 

bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Howdy, Alacrity! (I love the name, by the way...that's one of my favorite words!)

We have two Epilog lasers, both 75W. The small one on the left is 12 years old, and it does the majority of our work (plastics, wood, coated metals, etc.). The bigger one on the right is only 2 years old, and it does all of our stainless steel engraving, as well as most of the cylindrical items (like Yeti mugs). Most items on the awards side of our business are laser engraved/cut. We also use mechanical engravers, a sandblast cabinet, sublimation, and UV printing equipment for things that aren't lasered.

The two keys to the usefulness of any particular mat are the color (both the top paper and the engraving) and the acid-free stuff. The Crescent Select that we tried was said to be the closest they had to the 3359. I haven't tried any of the others, but rather that reinvent the proverbial wheel, I wanted to reach out to y'all before spending a lot of time/money on experimenting.

Even if/when we find a good substitute, I will have to make sure that the act of lasering the mat doesn't create more problems for the certificates that will be mounted in these frames.
 

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bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Have you tried Larson's Artique board?
:cool: Rick
Not yet! As I mentioned to Alacrity, I was hoping to gather some wisdom from the Grumblers before potentially reinventing the wheel. I realize that what I'm doing (laser engraving) is a departure from the norm, but I thought someone might have already been down this road. :)
 
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