The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Conservation Issues

The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Jonny2morsos » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:44 pm

Why use MDF? Plenty of alternatives available e.g. Art Bak, Corri Cor etc. Easier to cut, no dust, waste goes to recycling and no health worries.
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Nigel Nobody » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:01 pm

Jonny2morsos wrote:Why use MDF? Plenty of alternatives available e.g. Art Bak, Corri Cor etc. Easier to cut, no dust, waste goes to recycling and no health worries.

I wondered how long it would take for someone to make this suggestion! Good answer, Johnny!
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby prospero » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:27 pm

Thought it was a while since we've had an MDF-bashing session. :D


Easier to cut - that's because it is weaker and more flimsy than MDF.

no dust - No dust with MDF that I've noticed. Unless you saw it.

waste goes to recycling - MDF is made of sawdust. It is recycled to start with, 10 bonus greenie points.

no health worries - Name one person who has caught something from MDF.
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Roboframer » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:10 pm

prospero wrote:no health worries - Name one person who has caught something from MDF.


Keith Day

OK - not totally conclusive but can you better that with foam board :D
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Dermot » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:14 pm

WHY BE CONCERNED ABOUT MDF?

In all fibreboards, formaldehyde resins are used to bond together the
constituent parts. This is usually urea formaldehyde, but some fibreboard
including exterior or marine quality board will use stronger glues such as
phenol formaldehyde.

Even at a low level, exposure to formaldehyde though inhalation can cause
irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and mucous membrane. Formaldehyde can
also affect the skin, leading to dermatitis, and the respiratory system
causing asthma and rhinitis. The International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation, quoted evidence that
even short term exposure to formaldehyde, at far below the legal limit
allowable in Britain, could cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.

The IARC's findings also stated that wood dust is a carcinogen' (cancer
causing) and that 'formaldehyde is probably carcinogenic to humans'. IARC
was also concerned about the reproductive hazards of formaldehyde'.

Formaldehyde is classified in the UK and throughout Europe as a Category 3
Carcinogen. This means it is a substance which "causes concern for humans
owing to possible carcinogenic effects but, in respect of which, available
information is not adequate for making a satisfactory assessment." This
puts formaldehyde on the GPMU list of potential carcinogens, meaning it
should be replaced where possible, and if not, subject to rigorous controls
that reduce exposure to the lowest possible level.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking/woodnig/woodn16.pdf

http://www.childrensfurniture.co.uk/mdf.html
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Roboframer » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:28 pm

Sometimes Dermotitus can be a good thing :D
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Dermot » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:35 pm

Roboframer wrote:Sometimes Dermotitus can be a good thing :D


:clap:
:giggle:

I have it on my face and it is nearly impossible to get rid of, one of the suspected causes is the MDF I used when I was framing years ago. :shrug:
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Jonny2morsos » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:21 pm

prospero wrote:no health worries - Name one person who has caught something from MDF.
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Jonny2morsos » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:33 pm

prospero wrote:no health worries - Name one person who has caught something from MDF.


Sorry, hit the submit button instead of preview :head:

Trouble with these things is they take time. Asbestos was thought to be safe at one time and it is only in the recent past that the effects are coming to light. I used to work in healthcare as a radiographer and scanned many people who had experienced asbestos exposure resulting in a mesothelioma many years after exposure and it is a horrible condition.

Recently I had the builders in knocking through some bricked up doorways. Actually they were filled in with lightweight blocks the trade name of which escapes me at the moment but every time I go into the area and disturb some of the dust I get a coughing fit. Maybe we should all take more precautions when exposed to any form of particulate.
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Re: Cutting MDF Backing Board

Postby Nigel Nobody » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:34 pm

prospero wrote:no health worries - Name one person who has caught something from MDF.

Mark Fitzallen - Almost died from the effects of the formaldehyde and other chemicals in it about 15 years ago!
There are many more but I can't name them for you!
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby SquareFrames » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:38 pm

Hi,

I have used MDF for many, many years without any health problems, Cutting MDF with a wall mounted material cutter does not cause dust to fly everywhere. Sure there is always some residue left at the bottom of the machine, but I certainly am not going to kneel down and inhale it, as there is always some glass residue, and some mountboard residue, and it doesnt cause any health problems as we simply dont breate it in. I use MDF, Corri-Cor and Arqadia's Conservation corrugated boards in my workshop, I use D&J Simons Back10 board for drymounting / heatsealing, etc. Its the best board I have seen for a long time for use with the Hotpress.
I will give an example of MDF stability and longevity. Recently I had to take some time of work, and had plenty of time on my hands, so I decided to clear out my 2 sheds. (One shed was old and had half of next door neighbours tree growing on and stuck to the roof) I found 2 pieces of work I completed years ago, 1 in 1998 which I had submitted for my GCF exam. Neither the MDF, mountboard, moulding showed any signs of damp, expansion or contraction, no mould had grown anywhere on or within the frame. So MDF did its job. The second frame was a cheap frame I made when I first started framing, only thing wrong with it, was I broke the glass hitting it off a shed door. MDF was fine, mounts were fine and moulding was fine.

I feel that if framers continue to use MDF as a backing board, or in fact any other backing board on the market, that's fine as long as a barrier board / undermount is used to protect the artwork from the back, thats common sense.
One thing I have found using corrugated boards, that they dont suit the larger frames, too much curvature and dont sit correctly, MDF is the best board for large items and its lies faltter and is more stable. (my opinion)I have heard from other framers saying that any framer using MDF doesnt deserve to be a framer, well that's absolute rubbish, any framer that does use MDF or any other types of backing boards should continue as normal, but begin to use a barrier board and then everything is fine. And for goodness sake dont suck / sniff the residue, go outside your premises and have a Richmond Superking instead.


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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby John » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:53 pm

Welcome back Steven.

I see that you have started the ball rolling again with a nice, non-contentious topic. :)
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Roboframer » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:15 pm

If artwork is worth protecting, why add anything to the framing package that the artwork needs protecting from?
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Nigel Nobody » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:16 pm

Roboframer wrote:If artwork is worth protecting, why add anything to the framing package that the artwork needs protecting from?
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Roboframer » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:30 pm

It's like deja vu all over again!
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Nigel Nobody » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:49 pm

SquareFrames wrote:Hi,
I found 2 pieces of work I completed years ago, 1 in 1998 which I had submitted for my GCF exam. Neither the MDF, mountboard, moulding showed any signs of damp, expansion or contraction, no mould had grown anywhere on or within the frame. So MDF did its job.
Steven

What does that say about the GCF qualification?
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby SquareFrames » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:23 pm

Hi, I didnt mean for the topic to be contensious, I was only supporting the use of MDF, (for those who still use it) nothing else. It also says that what materials, tapes, techniques, etc. used to complete one of my 3 pieces for my GCF examination (12 years ago, and the only piece I wanted to keep), ALL had performed as required, nothing more, nothing less.....still after 12 years, and after been kept in a cold, damp shed during house renovations (and then not rehung) it was still in the exact same condition as it was when it was first stored in the shed. It is now rehung in my den, still in great condition.

Someone else said "If artwork is worth protecting, why add anything to the framing package that the artwork needs protecting from?", its simple, every piece of artwork I frame is always protected from whatever backing board I use, I always use a barrier board / undermount (whatever you wish to call it), I would never put a piece of artwork next to a backing board, its my way of knowing I have done everything in my power to protect the artwork. Its simple! I very rarley dry mount, heatseal or laminate, most of my work is always hinged, undermounted and backed, (always revesible) and somehow I dont think thats a bad idea? And I teach all my students exactly the same.

Steven
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Roboframer » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:53 pm

Well what works for you works for you, but you are still stating that MDF can cause damage.

SquareFrames wrote: every piece of artwork I frame is always protected from whatever backing board I use


I moved on from MDF over 10 years ago; artcare foamboard is my default and I still use an undermount as well, as you indeed should, you shouldn't mount artwork to a backing even if it is conservation quality.

Artcare foamboard costs a whole lot more than MDF but it's multi-purpose, spacers between mounts, glass spacers, making mount fillips flush, making deep wrapped bevels (wrapped with artcare surface paper) inserts for sports shirts, and all bar the shirt inserts are from skinny offcuts that would be thrown out if MDF.

I've got a large amount of MDF strutbacks in my cold, damp shed and they've been there for donkeys - no mould there either and they're on a chipboard shelf with no mould on and the wooden shed itself has no mould on either. Doesn't prove a thing bar the conditions were not right for mould growth, which I've seen on (all types of) frame backs from peoples' living rooms when, for example, hung on an exterior wall.
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Roboframer » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:07 am

There's also ease of cutting, if you don't have a Keencut Excalibur or equivalent, you have to score, several times and snap MDF; if you do have one of those machines, well, in the case of the excalibur you have to unscrew the twin wheel head, move the counterbalance to it and cut, and then park it up the top again and put the counterbalance back on the multi-head.

With the normal blade extended you can cut mount, undermount and foam core in one hit and without an excalibur etc you can cut foamboard or stuff like corricor on a mountcutter.

The FATG - last time I looked, were fine with MDF as a backing in both conservation and museum level, so here's how it goes, front to back....

1. 99% UV filtering glass
2. Cotton mountboard window mount
3. Ditto for the undermount
4. Bees Knees hinges
5. Acid laden carp you can get from B&Q but we don't wanna bad mouth it 'cause the hands that feed us sell the shit out of it.

Nice!
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Re: The merits of MDF Backing Board?

Postby Nigel Nobody » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:21 am

Roboframer wrote:5. Acid laden carp you can get from B&Q but we don't wanna bad mouth it 'cause the hands that feed us sell the shit out of it.

Nice!

I've come to the conclusion that the use of the aforementioned product must be as addictive as substances like tobacco, mary jane wanna, heroin and speed, but there is hope. Once the habit is finally kicked, you don't miss it. In fact you find that other products are much nicer and easier to deal with and less unhealthy.
My comments originate from my own experiences!

Do try it!
Nigel Nobody
 

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