Performed professionally by a skilled artisan experienced in artifacts/collectibles/memorabilia, framing is the best means to showcase, appreciate - AND PROTECT - the item(s) in question.
To insure the safety of your enclosed item(s), the following must be factored in when selecting the desired finished product.
*The wrong option(s) can cause irreparable damage, to both the item(s) showcased within, as well as its/their value. Materials used during framing should meet International Organization of Standardization (ISO) standards. The ISO 18902 is the key quality standard with respect to having the ability to preserve and protect enclosed elements for extended periods. Insure that the framing or matting package and product information for the statement “Meets Imaging materials - Processed imaging materials - Albums, framing and storage materials." This will tell you that the materials meet necessary ISO requirements for proper preservation.
Even though adhesives are predominantly unavoidable when framing, choosing the proper option for your project is critical - Rubber-based adhesives (eg; household pressure-sensitive tapes, office tape, masking tape, duct tape, etc) can become yellow, brittle, oily and/or sticky as they age, damaging your item(s). Acrylic adhesives are much more stable over time, and do not significantly discolor.
Request a water-activated adhesive consisting of carbohydrate and protein, which features a neutral pH (rating of 7. pH) or acid-free (rating higher than 7. pH), as these are therefore deemed safe for longterm usage.
One of the oldest types of adhesives (used by ancient Egyptians to bind papyrus) are rice or wheat starch-based pastes. Starch adhesives are recommended for conservation framing. The benefits of using starch adhesives are that they are reversible (meaning the item(s) can be removed from the mount or mat board) and considered safe to use in preservation framing.
* In conservation-style framing, non-adhesive techniques could also be an option. These methods involve photo corners and strips, where the adhesives never come in contact with the item(s) enclosed.
Paper based matting (mat, matte or mount) within your frame is not only an embellishment to the finished presentation, it is an essential tool to ensure the safety of your item(s) showcased within by separating the art from the glass or acrylic.
Should framed item(s) be in direct contact with the glazing (glass or acrylic topping), moisture can accumulate, removing finishes (lacquers, inks, paints, etc.), therefore causing discoloration - And/or, can cause adherence to the glazing as the moisture dries, resulting in ripping and/or peeling when removed.
Another potential threat is chemical burning caused by wood pulp (paper-based matting) which is essentially sulfur, combines with water in the atmosphere, you get sulfurous acid. All non-acid-free paper exudes a microscopic fuming of sulfurous acid, which causes elements in contact to become dry, brittle and brown.
As with adhesives, matting options chosen must be of neutral pH (rating of 7. pH) or acid-free (rating higher than 7. pH) to prevent any/all of the resulting damage listed above.
*The main source of paper-based matting-discoloring acid is lignin (a chemical compound found in the pulp of paper that produces acid as it deteriorates) It occurs naturally in trees and other plants, and binds wood fiber together.
While most paper-based matting is made from wood pulp, true acid-free matting is made from cloth. This removes the threat of lignin. Completely acid-free matting is known as rag board or museum rag board. Other paper materials used in art and framing are called wood-pulp paper or pulp paperboard. Paper can be acid-free and still contain lignin, however. Most quality acid-free papers are manufactured to have a minimal amount of lignin and neutralized by buffering (Alkaline or base substances are added to neutralize acids in the pulp when paper is made to prevent fading and yellowing.) In this manner, wood pulp based materials can be made essentially acid-free.
*To ensure the utmost quality and superior preservation, request a museum conservation quality mat board
The purpose of glazing (glass of acrylic topping) is to cover and protect the contents within the frame. Forgoing it, risks deterioration due to exposure to temperature changes, humidity levels, UV radiation, environmental debris and impacts.
What must be considered when selecting your glazing option;
- Standard Picture Frame Glass is most commonly used and often has a greenish hue (die to a higher iron content), which can affect quality when viewing the framed image.
- Glass glazing comes in several upgraded forms which effectively block up to 99% of UV rays (the highest in the industry); Conservation Clear glass, matte-like finish Conservation Reflection Control, Anti-reflection Museum/Water white glass (Perfectly clear - Reduces reflection by over 85%, the lowest possible reflection rating available with UV protection) * These options can more than double the weight and cost of standard glass.
- Acrylic glazing comes in several forms, standard (no coatings, tint, or matte finish), UV filter acrylic (blocks up to 98% of Ultraviolet radiation, which helps reduce picture fading), and non-glare (a matte finish that reduces reflection and glare, making images more easily visible in poor light). *Reduced ultra-violet glazing has a component that blocks UV rays from reaching the internal elements, thus prolonging their safekeeping.
- For larger works, acrylic glazing is preferable as opposed to glass which substantially heavier.* The frame assembly, intended wall and appropriate hanging hardware assembly must all be suitable to accommodate the weight of the glazing selected.
- In the event of breakage, Acrylic is preferable to glass, which when shattered can cause irreparable damage to you item(s). *This may be a consideration for galleries and/or museums for reduced liability issues - As well as heavy traffic areas, and children’s rooms.
- Anti-glare glazing optimizes viewing of pieces under brightly lit conditions.
- Acrylic is flexible, which means it is less likely to break than glass, but this also means it may bow or bend within a frame over time.
- Drawbacks of acrylic glazing is higher cost, susceptibility to scratching (The wood pulp in paper towels is enough to scratch the surface of acrylic glazing, and should therefore be cleaned with the use microfiber cloths)
In conclusion, as long as the internal components are at a minimum of neutral pH., standard glass is suitable for frames measuring up to 32x40 inches that are to be exposed in a controlled environment (cool, dry and away from a direct light source) * WITHOUT direct contact to your enclosed item(s).
Once a framing specialist is selected - Review your insurance policy in regards to travelling with your item(s)
MORE ON THIS SUBJECT (link it to our insurance paragraph)
As well as properly document your item(s) beforehand to have the original condition recorded, and avoid possible issues in case of theft, loss and/or damage.
MORE ON THIS SUBJECT (link it to our why ARCHIVE paragraph)
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