how to prevent warping

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how to prevent warping

Postby jjct » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:48 pm


I'm a photographer and do a lot of outdoor art shows. I frame everything with matboard, 3/16" foam core and nonglare plexi. Sometimes the humidity causes the foam core to warp, especially on large pieces -24x36 and 28x60. I've tried x-bracing with steel wire, which helps a bit, but isn't 100%. Would Gatorboard or something similar help? Any other ideas?


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Re: how to prevent warping

Postby JFeig » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:17 pm

Hi John, I'll give it a stab.
I just looked at your website to see what you are doing.

    You are using lightweight metal frames for the large size photos you are welling. For the larger prints, this type of moulding does not have much torque rigidity.

    We do not know what thickness of plastic glazing you are using. The thicker the better regarding rigidity.

    If you are trying to promote conservation framing, do not use the products and terms that just say "acid-free". Just about all paper products produced today are buffered but are not necessarily "conservation" quality. If you want to sell conservation quality product, you have to but conservation quality materials.

    Backing made from foam-centered board has a natural curl right from the carton. It is just the nature of the product being faced with paper. Likewise, changes in humidity will warp the boards even more.

    If you want a truly flat image, you have to use a non-porous material such as HD display materials and Aluminum composite boards such as e-panel, etc.
Jerome Feig CPF®
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Re: how to prevent warping

Postby jjct » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:33 pm

Ok. Thanks.
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Re: how to prevent warping

Postby Not your average framer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:56 pm

I would also add that it is helpful to have a little bit of clearance inside the frame for expansion and contraction of the board materials inside the frame caused by seasonal variations in humidity. If the board materials absorb atmospheric humidity and as a result start to expand a little, but there is no space inside the frame to accommodate the expansion the board will still expand and will warp to accommodate that expansion.

Unfortunately, the available rebate width in aluminium frames is very often somewhat limited when compared with some wooden frames and as a result, there are often limits on how much clearance can be allowed within an aluminium frame. With smaller size frames, this may be less of a problem, but as the frame size increases, the available clearance is only what the alumimium frame will accommodate, as the size of the board batterials becomes larger with larger frames, then the larger board sizes will naturally lead to a greater scope for expansion and perhaps too much expansion for the available clearance within the frame.

Have you ever noticed how many customers want really narrow frames on artworks and mounts which are quite often a lot larger than ideal for the size of the alumium frame mouldings. Alumium frames are not particularly rigid at the corner joints and while the degree of rigidity may be adequate for smaller artworks, really massive artworks still get framed in frames which are only the narrowest possible aluminium mouldings. Sorry, but this is all to often asking for trouble.
Mark Lacey

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