Huge 1892 county map


Hi, I had someone bring in a huge ((5' x 7')) old county topographical map, dated 1892. It is perhaps canvas, and has been rolled up in plastic on a wooden dowel for at least 35 years. Since money is, as usual, a problem, what suggestions do you have for its preservation. It is not in mint condition, but it has survived primarily intact. What is my starting point?
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SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Frame it with a wood frame 2" wide, acrylic glazing with a spacer of 3/8" to 1/2" and back it with either coroplast or foamcore. The price is the price. Do not give it away, make a proper profit.

Coroplast should be available 5' wide and stronger than foamcore what will have to be spliced in the back. A strainer might not be a bad idea either.


PFG, Picture Framing God
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Starting to get the picture?

Some jobs just can not be done on a tight budget. Think about what is involved with you doing this job. Do you even have a work table that you can lay it on? How much time are you going to spend preparing your shop to even handle this project? Perhaps you are already set up to handle large projects such as this, even so, you are not going to be able to do it on a budget. I think if you were set up for doing these projects, the question would not have been asked.

Figure your shop preparation time, materials, time spent actually doing the job. How much work could you have produced in the time you are going to spend on this project? Make sure you are not losing money by taking on this project.

There may be other reasons for taking this on, perhaps your customer is a regular who spends a lot of money with you. That is not a reason to work at a loss. What is the point of having a "good" customer if you have to work for free?

Figure everything out as best you can, then give your customer a proper quote.



Forum Support Team Angry_Badger
Team member
Adding to what John has said, be sure to prepare for the unexpected.
Is it better to prefabricate the project and assemble on site?
I can tell you from experience that the materials are going to be more difficult to locate, more costly to transport, and because of the scale, more difficult to handle.
Specific questions...
Is the dowel attached to one end of the map and are you planning on including it in the framing (one real big shadowbox)? Will the dowel, if included be used in helping to support the map? If not, how do you plan on mounting the map?

I hope we don't come off as a bunch of old grumps, but John, in his inimitable way, is right. The client should not expect the level of expertise and craftsmanship capable of pulling this task off for a pittance. Figure all you costs, cover your overhead, pay yourself, and figure a profit then take all that and factor by Murphy's Rules and give the client a reasonable cost for what they expect.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I did two pieces about the same size earlier this year. I took an approach similar to what Jerome suggested. However, I put rag mat between the coroplast and the canvas. I used a hot glue available from Small Corp. to fasten the mat to the coroplast. Not all adhesives will bond well with coroplast. I also mounted (glued) the art/mat/coroplast combo to a frame similar to what would be constructed for stretching canvas. I used biscuits to construct this subframe. The edges of the acrylic/spacers/art/mat/coroplast/subframe package were taped together with clear framer's tape. This package was fairly strong and rigid, which was important for my project because the frame selected for one of the pieces was too narrow to use alone.

I made out okay on my project, even after buying the biscuit joiner, hot melt glue and a nice glue gun. Don't underestimate the time you will spend getting it done. You will need a second person to help and plenty of space. Also, make sure your client has a way to cart the completed work away from your shop. I added a nice fee for delivery and hanging!


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Wally (who, along with Hugh, gave me great guidance on my project) made an important point I forgot to mention. Check your sources for the acrylic and coroplast. The 5 foot wide sheets of acrylic are available, but might have to be a special order for you, which means added cost and time while waiting for delivery. It's pretty expensive stuff so your client should be prepared to make a considerable investment.