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Question My mats are wavy.

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Mer, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. Mer

    Mer Grumbler

    I'm frustrated. I framed a signed/numbered print for my boss with a hawk feather. I used tape hinges for the art. I sewed down the feather with fishing line in 2 places. The 2 bottom (rust and gray) mats are set back, the top (tan) mat is raised to the glass with a single layer of foam and ATG. The mats are together by ATG.

    The mats are wavy in the center top. Also, the bottom 2 mats at the bottom by the feather. It's been in our office building since I framed it 3-4 months ago, stored on it's side. What happened? What can I do?

    (Sorry for the super crappy pics o_O)

    20170810_124315.jpg 20170810_124325.jpg 20170810_124351.jpg
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  2. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    ATG is not adequate to hold mats together long-term. Use ATG + dots of PVA glue (like CornerWeld) and weight until the glue is set. Also, check that the overall size of the matboards is not too tight in the frame. If expansion occurs, it can cause that type of warping if the boards are right up against the inside of the frame.
    :cool: Rick
    CB Art & Framing and Mer like this.
  3. Mer

    Mer Grumbler

    Do you think the mats are salvageable or should I start from scratch?
  4. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If you can separate them and remove the ATG already applied, you might be able to flatten them in the dry mount press. However, the value of the time and effort required to do so may exceed the cost of new matboard.
    :cool: Rick
  5. Mer

    Mer Grumbler

    :confused: Grrr. So frustrating. Thanks for your help. ;)
  6. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    You should do a forensic job on this one: measure the mats and the frame opening to see if the mats are 1/8th smaller. Check to see how well the ATG has held, consider looking at where the piece was stored, to see if humidity was a factor. See if the subject is wavy as well. You want to know why it happened, so it won't happen again.
    IFGL and Mer like this.
  7. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What Ted and Rick said.

    How thick is the shaft on the feather? The thought occurs that if it is thicker than the top layer of matboard
    then the feather would be pressing against the glazing and preventing the board from doing the same. Matboard
    doesn't like being 'free floating' and really needs to be snugged up against something solid or it will tend to do
    it's own thing. Having said that it appears to have gone wappy at the top as well as the bottom edge.
    I think the main cause is moisture content. The board was maybe stored in a nice dry place as has normalised
    to the local environmental conditions. It it were tight in the frame then you get just the result that resulted.
    Mer, CB Art & Framing and tedh like this.
  8. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That design is high risk for warping since there is nothing to hold the mat flat. If the art is valuable, you don't have the option to glue the mat down. I would do the whole thing over with a fillet to allow the space for a pocket for the feather.
    IFGL likes this.
  9. Mer

    Mer Grumbler

    Good idea. I'll look into it as a take it apart.

    I made sure the feather wasn't thicker than the mat was raised. The wisps of the feathers may be touching the glazing, but not the shaft. Maybe I'll pick up a humidity gauge to see if it's different in other places of the building. I frame in an office building and none of my other framing has done this.

    The problem in the beginning is my boss loved the original frame the artwork was in. The original design had the feather "smashed" against the glass. I was trying to avoid doing that as It looked really bad. Could you explain what/where the fillet may be? I'm slightly confused by that.
  10. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I said new design, art then fillet then mat(s). The spacer used in fillet package would give you the depth for a pocket supported against the glass on all 4 sides. If you need more depth the fillet would give you the warp proof structure to space the package further away from the art even if it's just to add a mat underneath for the feather background.
    Mer likes this.
  11. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    In general, hard-setting adhesives are better than pressure-sensitive adhesives, but ATG is among the most costly and least dependable adhesives used in frame shops. For all pressure-sensitive adhesives, "pressure" is the operative term, so ATG probably will fail if it is not thoroughly burnished, and it can flow over time in any case. Ordinary frame glue is OK for general purpose framing, but for preservation framing, I suggest using an acid-free PVA or EVA glue. Dabs of inexpensive acrylic gel medium also are suitable for joining mats in levels of all framing, but may take longer to dry.

    Yes, expansion/contraction cycles are quite normal in controlled environments, but they increase with radical changes of moisture content and temperature inside the frame. That is why completely closing the frame with glazing and a tight-fitting dustcover is important, in order to slow down the rate of change inside the frame. As tedh noted, 1/8 is the usual allowance for normal expansion and contraction cycles, and very large frames might require more.

    Also, be careful not to fit the frame too tightly front-to-back. That is, do not push down when installing the fitting points, because the front-to-back pressure of too-tight fitting also can prevent normal expansion/contraction cycles. For example, in sectional metal frames fitted with spring clips, have you ever noticed the mat' edges ruffling under the clips? That is due to the pressure of the clips preventing expansion/contraction.

    After fitting, the typical framing package should be loose enough that it shifts a little if you shake the frame side-to-side. That will normally (and properly) make the glass rattle, and in my shop, if you can't rattle the glass after fitting, then it's too tight. [Exception: Acrylic DCO framing]
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    Grey Owl, Joe B and tedh like this.
  12. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I use a discontinued mat corner between the backing and the point driver when installing points. That gives me adequate room for expansion and contraction. Like Jim Miller says, if the framing package doesn't shift a little in the frame it is installed way to tight.
    tedh and Jim Miller like this.
  13. Mer

    Mer Grumbler

    Thank you all for your help! I am learning a lot more about framing (which is good). I've been doing this from 6+ years, so my experience isn't exactly limited (I was trained by a 35 year veteran). I appreciate all the help! I'm going to be tearing this thing apart at the end of the week.
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