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Question For those who tape seal package

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by brad, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. brad

    brad Grumbler in Training

    I know some of us tape seal all around the glass, mats, backing, etc with various tapes, but I have a question for those who do. Do you tape the whole way around without any gaps? Back in the day when I was taught this method it was recommended to leave a gap somewhere to allow for moisture to move in/ out. I wonder if this actually makes any difference since the mats and foam backing are not impermeable.
    prospero likes this.
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  2. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Apply the tape with no gap. Leaving a gap would be unwise, because it would provide an entry point for insects and dust. Maybe this bad advice came from the equally-misguided myth about purposely making holes in the dustcover of a framed canvas. Nothing in a frame "breathes".

    A primary benefit of a tightly-closed frame package is that it slows the rate of change inside the package, minimizing expansion/contraction cycles and variations of temperature and humidity inside. This benefit is good for almost anything in a picture frame, and leaving a gap would reduce the benefit.

    A tightly-closed frame package will adapt to ambient changes, but slowly. The tighter you can make the frame package using standard methods and materials, the better. The transfer of moisture and air occurs around the edges of glazing and slowly permeates through the porous backing materials. The slower the transfer, the better.

    It is possible to completely seal a frame package; Hugh Phibbs teaches practical ways to do this. But completely sealing a frame requires careful selection of chemically-inert, non-reactive internal materials, and pre-conditioning the hygroscopic (porous) materials to a low moisture content. Also, since the seals would flex and deteriorate over time, periodic inspections would be recommended. However, even if the seals were to weaken and fail over time, the frame would probably still remain more tightly closed than a frame closed by typical fitting/finishing methods.
  3. Greg Fremstad

    Greg Fremstad MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I feel the most important aspect to tape sealing besides controlling moisture inside the frame is stopping dust (flumbs) from getting into the frame cavity. A lot of the dust comes from the sharp edge of the glass bouncing around with 1/8 allowance. As it moves back and forth, it shaves of bits of paint, leaf, and wood fibers. Then, as you press on either the glass or the backing, it turns the frame into a big diaphram pump sucking the dust in and out (mostly in) of the frame cavity. Just think of how many times the frame is impacted by shooting points or staples whilst fitting. That's why after fitting when you turn the frame over - you'll likely see those dust bits inside the frame.

    Check out the article on the FrameTek web page titled "Stop the dust pump". If you're not a tape sealer after reading it I would be shocked.
  4. brad

    brad Grumbler in Training

    Thanks fellas, that’s pretty much how I have been thinking now.
  5. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    As long as a the components within the frame are not actually damp to start with or have come directly
    from a humid area, the sealing up the edges should be OK.
    If you leave even a tiny gap then marauding creepy critters will find it. Around here they are very tenacious.
    I don't know what drives them to such lengths as they only expire at the end of their mission. But they can
    cause irreparable damage to artwork.
    Joe B likes this.
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