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5' x 3' flag mount

bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
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Apr 24, 2015
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186
Howdy, y'all!

Is there a good way to mount a 5' x 3' American flag in a frame?

I have a 48-star flag that needs to be mounted. The material is slick - almost like satin.

They want it displayed horizontally (vertically would have been too easy). Is there some sort of sleeve available in that size? Or do I need to sew it down (REALLY don't want to do that!)?


TIA!!

Cody
 

Rick Granick

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We need more information. What is the material it is made of? Is it natural? Synthetic? What substrate do you intend to use? Are you glazing it with acrylic? If it is fragile or made of something like silk, you may have to take measures to to provide more physical support across its expanse (including friction) so that the attachment points don't carry all the weight. A Direct Contact Overlay might be the answer. Note that if it is silk, prolonged exposure to light will weaken it considerably.

:cool: Rick
 

neilframer

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We need more information. What is the material it is made of? Is it natural? Synthetic? What substrate do you intend to use? Are you glazing it with acrylic? If it is fragile or made of something like silk, you may have to take measures to to provide more physical support across its expanse (including friction) so that the attachment points don't carry all the weight. A Direct Contact Overlay might be the answer. Note that if it is silk, prolonged exposure to light will weaken it considerably.

:cool: Rick
I agree with the possible DCO.
This is an original 13 star flag over 200 years old that we framed a while back.
It is a very rare 6 point star flag that was put out at about the same time as the Betsy Ross flag.
It was designed by Francis Hopkinson... interesting story... https://www.usflag.org/history/francishopkinson.html

It was about 48" x 68" and had some very old repairs on it which we left alone.
We actually tried to advise the customer to not frame this as it was so fragile.
Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 8.57.50 PM.png


With other flags I usually sew them down but this one was so fragile that we floated it on a linen backing and put batting behind it and used Optium Museum Acrylic as the DCO.
This was not an inexpensive job.:cool:
 
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Joe B

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Attach EZ - I have mounted 20 plus flags, not only the US Flag. https://www.attach-ez.com/ Pat Kotnour 1-800-527-1521 E-mail: attachezoms@aol.com

There are some things to really keep in mind. The condition of the flag has to be taken consideration. DOC Direct Contact Overlay would also work but you must still attach the flag to the backing - Attach EZ makes it easy to attach to the backing.
 

neilframer

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Attach EZ - I have mounted 20 plus flags, not only the US Flag. https://www.attach-ez.com/ Pat Kotnour 1-800-527-1521 E-mail: attachezoms@aol.com

There are some things to really keep in mind. The condition of the flag has to be taken consideration. DOC Direct Contact Overlay would also work but you must still attach the flag to the backing - Attach EZ makes it easy to attach to the backing.
Just a little more info.

The 200+ year old flag that we framed with a DCO has no attachments to the backing.
That's kind of the purpose of a DCO and why we used it with cotton batting behind the flag using only the pressure of the Optium and the friction of the batting and linen to hold it in place in the frame using the direct contact with the flag to the Optium.
No holes in the flag.
This flag was so old and so fragile that it couldn't have any stitches or attach EZ tags put into it.
This is why we actually advised against framing it but the customer insisted.
 
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Joe B

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This flag was so old and so fragile that it couldn't have any stitches or attach EZ tags put into it.
This is why we actually advised against framing it but the customer insisted.
The flag you framed was from about 1777, or there about. Over 200 years old - I can understand you not wanting to frame it and I wouldn't want to put any additional holes in it either. The difference with the flag that bobtnailer has is a 48 star flag and is therefor between 61 to 108 years old and he said is a slick, satin like material. I figured, since the flag is not really valuable the Attach EZ would work nicely. If it were a 1777 flag I definitely would not stick a needle or an attach EZ tag in it either. Also, I did tell him that the condition of the flag has to be taken into consideration.
 

Lafontsee

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Sep 2, 2009
Messages
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One thing to look out for if you decide to use a DCO mount. Newer flags usually have brass grommets that can scratch the acrylic. Optium Museum acrylic is more scratch resistant, but at the cost, that's a hell of a risk.

James
 

Jim Miller

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One thing to look out for if you decide to use a DCO mount. Newer flags usually have brass grommets that can scratch the acrylic. Optium Museum acrylic is more scratch resistant...James
You make an important point. Most DCO framing could eventually cause abrasions to the acrylic in direct contact. Even when the item is a soft fabric, the constant expansion & contraction cycles could make a visible change to the inside surface of the acrylic - especially the soft surface of ordinary acrylic (and cheaper is not better). And of course - as you pointed out - any sort of hard object, such as brass grommets, would abrade more and sooner.

So, a couple of observations:
1. Keeping the frame in a climate-controlled environment, with minimal variations of temperature and humidity, would minimize the expansion/contraction cycles that cause movement and abrasion between the surfaces in contact, slowing down the harm.
2. It would be an easy unfit/refit job to replace the acrylic some day, if necessary - and that's probably a period of decades for most DCO projects. Anti-reflection Optium costs more but would, as you noted, better resist abrasion, so it probably would last longer.
 

bobtnailer

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Apr 24, 2015
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I'll try to answer all of the questions the best I can...

Substrate: Artcare acid-free foam.
Glazing: Reflection control UV filter acrylic.
Flag material: No clue. It's very thin and slick, and it has a little bit of a sheen to it. (Picture attached - hopefully it'll show enough detail).
Grommets: Negative. The pole side is a heavily reinforced sleeve (I'm sure there's a name for that, but I don't know what it is), so it has no metal to come into contact with the acrylic glazing.

I really like the idea of a friction fit / DCO mount with batting. The hems in the flag seem to be sturdy enough to tack it to the foam to give it a mechanical attachment, without sewing the whole perimeter. It could be stretched enough to look great, without going overboard on it. The more I think about this way of doing it, the more I like it!

The unfortunate thing is that this will be in a Masonic lodge room, which is not climate controlled most of the time. It'll go through lots of cold/hot swings over its lifetime. Is there something that I can do to mitigate the damage that the temperature/humidity changes will do?
 

cvm

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On a sheet of acrylic that size e you’ll get, like, a little over 1/16” movement for a 40° swing in temperature.
 
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Jim Miller

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Substrate: Artcare acid-free foam.
That's a problem. DCO-Acrylic framing requires the spring-tension of batting to create the pressure that holds the item in place. Larger size requires more pressure; a greater thickness of batting. So, in the size you mentioned, foam board would not be rigid enough to resist deflection under the pressure. My suggestion would be to use a substrate of 3 mm or 4 mm aluminum composite material (ACM) such as ePanel, alucobond - there are many brands available. This is a very rigid, lightweight, gas-impermeable, preservation-worthy material and it should be suitable for this project.

Layer the ACM substrate with several thicknesses (usually 1/2") of traditional needle-punched polyester (not cotton) batting, then cover it with a suitable fabric - preferably one with some gripping action on the flag's fabric; perhaps a coarse weave.

Glazing: Reflection control UV filter acrylic.
Normally I would discourage using reflection control glazing, but since it would be in direct contact with the flag, its fuzzy visual effect would be minimized, and its microscopically-bumpy surface would reduce the appearance of abrasion over time. Good call.

Flag material: No clue. It's very thin and slick, and it has a little bit of a sheen to it. (Picture attached - hopefully it'll show enough detail).
No picture on my screen, but that's OK. The fabric probably would not be an issue.

Grommets: Negative. The pole side is a heavily reinforced sleeve (I'm sure there's a name for that, but I don't know what it is), so it has no metal to come into contact with the acrylic glazing.
Good. The added thickness of the pole-sleeve should be OK, as it would be pressed into the batting. If you use a flexible/stretchy fabric, it might deflect around the extra thickness without wrinkling.

The hems in the flag seem to be sturdy enough to tack it to the foam to give it a mechanical attachment, without sewing the whole perimeter.
I suggest allowing the flag to "float" on the padded fabric background without stitching at any points on its perimeter. That way, the flag can move freely; point-stitches might cause puckers/wrinkles over time.

The unfortunate thing is that this will be in a Masonic lodge room, which is not climate controlled most of the time. It'll go through lots of cold/hot swings over its lifetime. Is there something that I can do to mitigate the damage that the temperature/humidity changes will do?
Nothing I can think of. If I were you, I would tell them about the issues of unstable ambient conditions, the effects of expansion & contraction, and let them know that eventually, the acrylic may need to be replaced. It should be years - especially since you're using Reflection Control (non-glare) acrylic.
 

Rick Granick

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Layer the ACM substrate with several thicknesses (usually 1/2") of traditional needle-punched polyester (not cotton) batting.....
How does needle-punched batting differ from other batting (beyond the punching), and why is it superior for DCO purposes?
:kaffeetrinker-2: Rick
 

David Hewitt

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Have you ever seen an old quilt that had places where the batting has bunch up?? That is what happens when back in the 30s, there wasn't any scrim in the batting. Batting fibers punched through a scrim, a net like stabilizer, creates a more stable batting allowing stitches to be further apart, 10" instead of 2" or 4."
Polyester has more of a tooth than cotton, which will aid in slippage. Hope this helps.
 

Jim Miller

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How does needle-punched batting differ from other batting (beyond the punching), and why is it superior for DCO purposes?
:kaffeetrinker-2: Rick
What David said. You can buy it almost anywhere, but the conservation material suppliers sell a denser grade, which I like a lot. Also, the polyester keeps its loft better than cotton and, since it's plastic instead of cellulose, it doesn't attract creepy-crawlies.
 
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bobtnailer

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Apr 24, 2015
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Howdy, y'all!

Here's a picture of the finished frame. I'm not in love with the way the flag sits, but there were a few pulls/tugs in the fabric that kept it from having straight lines...the stitching seems to be the biggest culprit.

My customer loved it, and that's all that really mattered!


Thanks again for your help!
 

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framah

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Mar 15, 2001
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As my Father used to say:

A blind man would be dam glad to see it! 👍 👍

He also said for me to get out from in front of the TV, but that doesn't work as well for this.
 

bobtnailer

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Apr 24, 2015
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Yeah, not my proudest moment. <blush>

I have to admit that I lied earlier when I said that the fact that my customer loved it was all that matters. It's not. I take a lot of pride in what I do, and that's reflected in my work. This is the exception to that rule, but I have to (somewhat) console myself with knowing that this was the best I could do with that flag.

I can get by with knowing that he loves it. Several lessons were learned in this one, and I can apply those lessons to future projects like this. For example, I learned a little about DCO...I had never done that before. :)
 

Rick Granick

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I don't think you should have any qualms about how it turned out. You did the best job possible within the limitations posed by the nature of the item being framed. Not everything in life is perfectly flat and square. It's the nature of the beast.
:cool: Rick
 
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