Framing tortoise shell and laquer ornamental hair combs


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 1, 1999
Holland, PA, USA
Has anyone framed an ornamental hair comb? I believe that these are from Japan and from around the turn of the century. I thought of thin strips of Melinex/Mylar going around a few of the teeth, but if turned upside down, would they be secure? Would thread be a better choice? If I used the Mylar is there a limit to how thin that I could make the strip? Of course, any glue is out of the question. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

Whispering Woods Gallery
Holland, PA
Mylar is the way I would approach it. The ends that get pulled through to the back need to be securely attached and will keep the comb from coming out if turned upside down. The one I did was fairly flat so there was no stress put on the item. However, if the comb has a curvature to it, mounting it tightly to the backing may put stress on it. If it is curved, you can only use the outer most points to attach. It is possible that it still may hold well enough.

Let us know how it turns out.
Thicker Mylar/Melinex, such as 5mil can be folded
and it will hold that shape. This means that you
might take a piece that has a tab on one side and
you can fold the tab up. If the body of the
piece of Mylar is secured the comb, the tab can keep the comb from sliding up the securing straps you plan to use, if the frame is turned up side down. This would not provide enough strength to hold it up, but it should work to secure it occasionally.

I am lucky--these combs lie perfectly flat. I still don't want to put too much stress on the teeth. Each comb does have one tooth missing, but they are so lovely that it does not take away from beauty of the pieces. The detail is so incredible that my customer chose Museum Glass. I hate to have a noticible type of support for the object.