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Question A question re: DCO

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JFeig

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Oct 13, 1999
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I have my thoughts on the subject; but, want to ask my good friend Jim Miller a question regarding the DCO (direct contact overlay) method.

IS THE DCO METHOD AN APPROVED CONSERVATION METHOD FOR THE MOUNTING OF PRESCIOUS DOCUMENTS AND OTHER WORKS ON PAPER OR IS THIS METHOD MORE IN TUNE WITH DISPLAYING ITEMS THAT ARE REPLACEABLE?
 

Jim Miller

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Hi Jerome:
that's a fair question. I don't have a simple answer, but let's give it a shot.

My first exposure to this concept came from a textile conservator who called it a "pressure mount". She said she used it often, and recommended it for a tattered, deteriorated antique sampler a customer had brought in for framing. She was very helpful to me in getting that job done. The rest of the direct contact overlay concept was my idea, based on what I've learned about preservation framing, but I've discussed it with conservators on occasion. So, I would say that DCO mounting can be appropriate at least for some precious items, but not for all.

Chapter One of the new DCO book is titled "Caveats and Cautions", and I put it first because it's most important. Is DCO an approved conservation method? I've never seen any attachment method universally approved as a "conservation method". Rather, there are always limitations and exceptions. In my experience, the methods most often used are based on certain criteria according to applications. For example, here are some typical attributes of conservation mounting:
Minimally invasive
Chemically inert or long-term stable
Reversible with no invasive procedures
Non-adhesive


Of course, very few conservation mounting methods meet all criteria 100%, not even these four. For example, the finest hinging with Japanese paper and freshly cooked starch paste results in some permanent change to a document so hinged. In my opinion, it is most important to make informed choices.

I'm sure that conservators, like framers, have differing opinions on techniques. If you have a precious document or other possible candidate for DCO mounting, but you're not sure it would be appropriate, then I suggest you consult your favorite conservator, which is what I usually do.

Now that I've answered your question, please tell us what are the aforementioned thoughts you have on the subject?
 
Last edited:

JFeig

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Thank you Jim for your wisdom. This question is due to the increase of DCO responses I am seeing lately on the Grumble.

My thought is that like everything else a DCO has a time and place. My real comment is that some of the picture framers here are using it as a alternative to having a work of art or collectable really analyzed as to the "true condition" of the item that might some other TLC by a conservator or some other treatment.

The question is to make other picture framers "think" before they decide on any one method of display.
 

Jim Miller

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My thought is that like everything else a DCO has a time and place. My real comment is that some of the picture framers here are using it as a alternative to having a work of art or collectable really analyzed as to the "true condition" of the item that might some other TLC by a conservator or some other treatment.

The question is to make other picture framers "think" before they decide on any one method of display.
I agree that neither DCO mounting, nor any other mounting method, would be a suitable substitute for conservation work when that is the appropriate course of action. Like you, I have been concerned about framers choosing DCO framing inappropriately, or making DCO assemblies incorrectly.

And that's why I wrote the book. Looks like we're on the same page, my friend.
Or dancing to the same drummer, perhaps?
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appropriate
 

Shayla

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Thank you Jim for your wisdom. This question is due to the increase of DCO responses I am seeing lately on the Grumble.

My thought is that like everything else a DCO has a time and place. My real comment is that some of the picture framers here are using it as a alternative to having a work of art or collectable really analyzed as to the "true condition" of the item that might some other TLC by a conservator or some other treatment.

The question is to make other picture framers "think" before they decide on any one method of display.
This 'other framer' welcomes conversation on the subject. :)

When working with customers, I do sometimes suggest consulting/hiring a conservator. Your question about DCO's is welcome, and the more input the better.
I have similar reservations about mounting with magnets, but there does seem to be a place for it. Bought the big book on that this spring and am going to buy Jim's DCO book.
 
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Nikodeumus

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For someone like me who doesn't have easy access to a conservator, relying on sage advice here in the G is my primary source of knowledge.
Other online sources and book recommendations are always welcome.

I have always been more than willing to tell a customer if an item is beyond my abilities to deal with.
I won't try to learn a new technique on a customer's valuable or irreplaceable items.

It may mean losing a sale, but that's better than getting sued by ruining an item, in my opinion.
 

Shayla

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An interesting search on here is the word 'overlay'. It brings up most threads on the subject, including items for which the process was used/recommended. Not saying it was the best treatment choice in the whole wide world for every single item, but it's definitely a good read. :)
 

Jim Miller

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...I won't try to learn a new technique on a customer's valuable or irreplaceable items.

It may mean losing a sale, but that's better than getting sued by ruining an item, in my opinion.
One of the best things about DCO mounts is that they make no changes to the items, so they're among the least risky mounting choices, but there are still some limitations.

That said, you're right about not experimenting on valuable customer's property, even though DCOs are easily undone. When in doubt, call a conservator.
 
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