• Welcome! You will have to REGISTER a free account, before you can access the system. If you already registered, please LOG IN. (top right)
    If you can't remember your password, CLICK HERE to reset it. If you have questions, feel free to click the CONTACT US link at the bottom of this page.
Rian Fabrication Services  www.rianfabrication.com

Drying After Water-Damage

Shayla

WOW Framer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
31,648
Customer is bringing in a water-damaged photo in a couple of hours. Ceiling leaked a puddle on the mantle, where it was leaning, and water has soaked up to show 1" into the mat. It's a photo, with glass, backing, in a wood frame. I've had plenty of dry, water-damaged art come in, but almost never while still wet. I plan to take it all apart and dry as best I can. She said that, even with a tide line, her husband might want to keep this forty-year old mat that his dad gave him, rather than replace it. Hopefully, it will be replaced, as that's so much better, but if they do keep it, how best to dry it? If it's able to be removed from the backing, is it better to dry the mat slowly, (between towels?) and weights, or to pop it into a warm vacuum press for awhile? I'm imagining something like 100 degrees, but feel free to say what's best.

I told her it's possible that the mat could be so plastered to the backing, the only way to remove it is to cut it apart, but we'll see when she gets here. As for the photo, hopefully, it's dry. The leak is from today, and the moisture has only wicked up an inch, so hopefully, it's fine. Just in case, though, I want to make sure it's dry. Letting it lay flat seems like it could ripple as it dries. I could put it between foam core, with glassine and weight that. Is there a better way? What have you done?
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 15, 2001
Messages
8,923
I would put it into the heat press with scrap mat boards on both sides and stop, open and change out the materials and put dry boards in till it feels dry.

...or go buy alot of desiccant and cover it and let it sit over the weekend. :shutup:
 

Greg Fremstad

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Messages
927
Be very careful if the photo is stuck to the glass or mat. If it is an old photo I've had luck submersing in water until the emulsion softens. Might take a couple of days. When separated, air dry. Use dry mount press with release sheets on both sides to flatten. Low temp - long time.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Joined
May 19, 2000
Messages
18,075
... If it's able to be removed from the backing, is it better to dry the mat slowly, (between towels?) and weights, or to pop it into a warm vacuum press for awhile? I'm imagining something like 100 degrees, but feel free to say what's best.
Paper is made by cooking the fibers - that means water and heat. Since the mat is already wet, adding heat could make it delaminate or maybe disintegrate.

As far as I know, the best solution would be to place the wet item between blotters, under weight. Change the blotters every few hours at first, then once or twice a day until completely dry. Desiccating the blotters by heating them would help their ability to absorb.
 

Shayla

WOW Framer
Forum Donor
Thread starter
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
31,648
Paper is made by cooking the fibers - that means water and heat. Since the mat is already wet, adding heat could make it delaminate or maybe disintegrate.

As far as I know, the best solution would be to place the wet item between blotters, under weight. Change the blotters every few hours at first, then once or twice a day until completely dry. Desiccating the blotters by heating them would help their ability to absorb.
She brought it in, and this is one time I'm thankful for a poorly constructed mat. Instead of filling out around the inner mat to depth, to the edge of the mat, it was kept too small. That space of about 1 1/4" meant the water wicked into the top mat alone. Yay! And because the water was a drip that soaked under the front glass, the photo stayed dry. It's been spray mounted to illustration board for about forty years, but other than that, is fine.

Thank you for posting, (and thanks to Ralph and Greg, as well.) Do you use rag mat for the blotters, or buy great big blotter paper blotters*?

I've thought about buying a hydrophilic sheet, like some paper conservators use, but can't see where to get one. I can find a wee, hand-sized rectangle of the stuff, but not a whole sheet. Anyone know where they get them?


*Writing that didn't make me feel as good as saying, 'thrice-rinsed muslin' makes you feel, but it's close.
 
Vermont Hardwoods solid wood picture frame molding

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Joined
May 19, 2000
Messages
18,075
Any absorbent paper would be OK, so long as it would impart no texture, and has no colorants or chemistry that could bleed out. Most white matboards would work well, and 100% cotton matboard would work very well, but the cost would be higher than some alternatives, even though you could use it and then dry it (or, ahem, desiccate it :rolleyes: ) in your heated press repeatedly.

Most white, 2-ply matboards would be good. You know, the kind of matboard framers used as a "barrier mat" for what they thought was conservation framing once-upon-a-time. Actually, plain white wrapping paper (no coatings) would be OK, too. However, note that most papers, especially thin papers, would cockle terribly and could impart texture if not replaced often.
 

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
2,740
When I had a flood in my shop I lost my whole inventory of matt card. The water had only reached the bottom couple of inches so I wondered if I could cut the damaged bits off and use the rest. An email exchange with Bainbridge quickly convinced me to junk the lot. Seems the main problem is mould which will enter the boards within hours, spread very quickly and cannot be effectively removed.

As regards the photo - even if it is undamaged I would suggest the customer has it copied while it is unframed and saves a copy on her computer for insurance. Maybe if she is going to insist on using the damaged matt the copy could go into the "red zone" instead of the original?
 

Gilder

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
946

Shayla

WOW Framer
Forum Donor
Thread starter
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
31,648
Rian Fabrication Services  www.rianfabrication.com
Top