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I finally have a question, how do I mount lead horses?


PFG, Picture Framing God
OK, I have a shadowbox project coming up in the next few days. It is a collection of toy soldiers mounted on horses. The horses do not have a base, the only thing touching the ground are their little bitty lead feet's.

This is a very old collection of the British army in India. The horses are to be displayed in a column of twos. That means the horses are going to be free standing, I can't use the background as an anchor point. The only anchor point I will have is the feet.

I'm thinking of using a tiny glob of Tacky Glue, since it is water soluble and could be removed at a later date. This, however, is not a necessary criteria. The customer does not care if they can be removed or not.

My question is, do any of you have any ideas? These horses are small, just a couple of inches long and high. They have little lead soldiers mounted on their backs.

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PFG, Picture Framing God
John not haveing them to see makes giving sugesstions hard . However if their tiny little hoves can be placed in perforaated holes you may be able to them under the mat useing a piece of latex from a surgical glove or ballon that has been stretched taught with the hooves through it and then tape the latex to the bottom of the mat.You know ,sort of like that contraption the dentist uses when their working on one tooth and want to sheild the rest of your mouth from the dust and fragments.
Well that's the best I can do without seeing them .and I've never tried it ,but maybe it'll work.LOL

[ 12-05-2003, 10:54 PM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]


PFG, Picture Framing God
Once more we return to The Kistler Axiom;

We are picture framers; we are not magicians.

That said, I would try very narrow strips of Mylar over the horse bodies, running down parallel to the legs, only to disappear into the matboard, where they could be safely taped in place. Disregard what the customer says about not caring if they can be removeable or not. His descendants (who may discover that these are valuable) may not feel that way....

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I like Vivian and I've learned a lot from her books and, especially, her classes and workshops.

But, ****** , I think we ARE magicians.

(Also, I don't think the customer is always right.)

John, I framed a whole slew (?) of tin soldiers about a year ago, but they were in their original display boxes and I strapped 'em down with Mylar strips.

The only thing I can visualize without securing them to the backing is something akin to Mighty Mounts.

That would be very awkward.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sorry John,
But the only answer I could come up with is.....

to put your foot in the tiny lead stirup and swing your other leg over.

I've done these before in a case for the table but never on the wall. Can you build out a small shelf and have them standing on the shelf instead of being looked straight down on? This IS a toughy!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Very interesting link! Thanks Dermot. John, you should show that info to your customer.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I was thinking along the same lines as Jerry..as the mother of a horsewoman, I was thinking maybe you shouldn't be riding the lead horse if you didn't even know how to mount...and if you were inexperienced, why wouldn't they show you how to mount. I was reading it as lead(with a long E), not lead (as in led).

Back to the question, can you do a sink mat, therefore giving them a place to rest their little feet and then taking a stitch around the front leg and back leg to fasten them to the backer or use mylar strips. No matter what the customer says now, I would not use glue because when they find out what they're worth you could be held liable for ruining them.

[ 12-06-2003, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: Maryann ]


PFG, Picture Framing God
This collection belongs to one of the wealthiest families in San Diego. Believe me, these people would not care if they were worth a thousand dollars each. All they care about is the appearance of the end result. Myself, I do not want to do anything that is not reversible, that's why I was thinking of Tacky Glue. I will play with the Mylar idea as well. I like the sink hole idea as well. Any other thoughts will be appreciated.

Thanks you guys,


Lance E

Is there any chance of making a little "lasso" to loop over the feet on these and then tape/glue into place under the base they are standing on?

Jim A

In Corner
Lance makes sense. Get some DMC floss that matches the lead shade and go into the base, I assuming you are lining it. Tie off the feet at two or three points and tape on the bottomside to hold it in place. The floss shouldn't cut thtu the lead.

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
That's an interesting project, John. Don't we just love a challenge?

Good ideas to try out so far. Here's one more: Piano wire should be of similar color to the lead toys. Maybe one or two legs of each horse could be held by a piece of 1/64" diameter (or smaller) piano wire, which is anchored on the back of the mount board. Bend a small loop at the top of the wire, to hold the leg firmly.

Or, if there's such a thing as clear shrink tubing, that would greatly simplify the mount -- just run the wire parallel to the leg and shrink-tube them together. I haven't seen that product, though.

Please let us know how it comes out. And if you get pictures, I'd really be interested in seeing them.

Susan May

JRB, my husband works with the tiny lead figures all the time. (War gaming) He normally uses Elmers glue to hold the little feet down on their bases. Elmers is a nice brittle glue, that if given enough pressure will let go. I agree with you that Tacky Glue would be better. Tacky tends to dry flexible, and therefore is stronger. I can also tell you, from experiance, Tacky will hold nice and strong to the lead... if you give it time to dry properly.

Good Luck.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Lead is as chemically reactive as copper or silver and is more physically vulnerable. One
solution that could protect the value of the
figures is the creation of a frame that is
a shadowbox with a hinged front. It could be
secured to the wall and then the soldiers could
be set up in it, using a base that has cavities
cut to take the feet of the horses. If they insist on your doing the mounting, you could loop
strands of stainless wire around the ankles of
the horses and pull them through pre-set and
properly positioned holes in the bottom of the
frame so that these strands could be secured
to the underside of the frame. If there is an
unbroken paint layer, the stainless and the lead
would not come into contact, if not, coating the
wire would be wise.

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Thinking a little outside the framing business, I have used the coated wire used for electric motor windings to avoid the galvanic effects of non-compatible metals.

Pat :D


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
The electornics field is one in which corrosion
can be fatal and Pat's suggestion of looking
there for coated wire is a very good one.



PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, the job is done and delivered. I do not know how to post photos on The Grumble, or any were else for that matter, so, you guessed it, no photo.

I tried silver wire, and although I could wrap it just above the hoof, it was way to time consuming and it was next to impossible to cinch them down tight on the base. I ended up using Tacky Glue. The glue worked great and was just about completely invisible in the finished product.

What went wrong? I used the wrong glue to attach the fabric to the base. I used Yes Paste, I should have used white glue or Tacky Glue. When I tilted the finished shadow box on it's side, the weight of the lead horses started to pull the fabric from the base board. Not much, but if I had left it on its side for any length of time, I would have had a real mess. I explained this to my customer and told her to bring it back after Christmas and I would re-do the job. She said that would not be necessary and she would be bringing a bunch more in to be done. The Tacky Glue was fantastic. All I could get was a little tiny bit on the bottom of three hoofs. I was able to pick up the entire collection with one horse.

Preservator, My shadow box was wood. I mounted 100% linen, glued to 4 ply rag board. This formed the back and the sides. Underneath I used 1/8" acid free foam board and one more layer of 4 ply rag board. I hope this will protect the lead soldiers and horses. I was completely unaware that wood would cause corrosion in lead. I feel that everything will be fine since I have more than a 1/4" of acid free barriers between the wood and the collection. Next time I will add metallic barrier tape to the wood as well.

Thanks for all the help from all of you.


John Gornall

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
This may be a little late but I haven't been Grumbling lately.

I developed a technique for mounting odd shaped small items which may be usefull in a case such as this.

I have framed thousands of fishing flies over the years and some are very difficult to mount as they have feathers and hairs which result in the need to mount them well above the mounting board. I turned to the fly tiers themselves for help - at first I pushed toothpicks through the mount board from the back, removed them, put glue in the hole, and then pushed the toothpick back in, let the glue set and then cut the toothpick off at the height I needed. I would then get a fly tier to tie the fly to the post using the same threads used to tie the fly. The fly tier would put glue on the post and wrap the post with thread as if tying a fly and after the glue on the post dried a few wraps to hold the fly in place. An invisible mount with no glue on the fly and completely reversible.

From wood toothpicks I moved on to more inert materials such as plexi and stainless steel wire.

I then realized this technique could be used for many other items. I would glue a suitable mount post or block to the backing board, put some glue on this and then attach thread to the block in a suitable manner such as wrapping around the block or post. The item being framed would then be tied in place. Often 2 or 3 blocks and ties would be needed to hold the item in place and not move.

The final design technique was to build posts, blocks, and/or shelves onto the backing boards, glue threads onto these and then cover the whole thing in carefully placed fabrics after bringing the threads through the fabrics with a needle. Now you have a mount board with suitable mounting bumps and shelves with threads to tie everything in place artfully covered in fabric.

I think the lead soldiers could have been done using a technique such as this.
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