hinging on heavy arches


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Apr 24, 2002
Pittsfield, MA - The Berkshires
I am in the process of tiping a 25x25 piece of heavy arches paper onto a mat. I'm seeing some puckering where my hinges are and I did not go heavy with the Nori. Is there any way to avoid this?
The size object you describe may be a bit too heavy for microdot hinges. To avoid such cockling,
you can leave your paste out to air dry, for a bit
and then brush it on to your hinges, watching to
see that the shine has gone off of it, before sitting the hinge on the paper. Most importantly,
the hinges should be hand dried with blotter card
that has been desiccated in a microwave oven or
on a glass top stove. These cards, when dry, can
be stored in a clean cookie tin. Most importantly,
practice, extensively, before hinging anything
of value.

Going heavy with the Nori paste is not the problem. You must wait until most of the moisture has evaporated from the pasted hinge befor you apply it to your artwork. Watch the "how to" video on the frametek web page or read the instructions there to learn a clever trick on how long to let the paste dry. Foolproof except for the superior fool. When museums and conservators cook up their wheat starch paste - they have to wait for it to dry too. Nori is exactly the same product - distilled water and wheat starch cooked into paste. We then package it and sterilize it.
PS: In the FrameTek booth, I have a one pound weight hanging on one hinge that is about 3/4 inch wide with only 1/4 inch engagement on the back of the "Art" (a piece of 400# WC paper)
Nori paste is MUCH stronger than the hinge paper. Yet it is easily removeable with a damp Q-Tip, even years form now.
I don't know of a sure fire way of reversing the puckering but the only way to diminish the puckering is to keep the amount of moisture introduced to the paper to a minimum. That is the reason for letting the hinges set for awhile. As Greg mentioned, you need to get all the information you can on using any type of wet hinging and practice on a scrap piece or two before tackling your customer's projects.

This is one of the many procedures that are asked about constantly on the Grumble and it is what separates the professional framer from the also-ran's and the wanna-be's. There is a fine line sometimes between doing something and doing it correctly. It is the difference between getting overcuts on a mat and getting really good corners, having gaps in mitered joints and having a tight matched mitered joint.

All of us have a some level of knowledge of cutting mats and joining frames. But it takes alot of practice and experience to be able to do them well and consistently. It is a certain "feel" for your equipment and a pride in doing your work "best" instead of "good". I still screw up an occasional mat and there are always the squirrelly wood grains or the lack of attention while at the saws that will ruin the look of a frame. But the customer never knows about my mistakes if I catch them first. They hit the dumpster and I cut a new mat or check the accuracy of my saws, clean that little wood chip away from the fence that caused the bad cuts, etc., and have another go at it.

(And, many times, that is accompanied by a sound lecture to myself to get my head out of my butt and pay attention to what I am here to do!)

Most of the mistakes that we make are due to our level of expertise and the chances that we are willing to take when in a hurry to have the job come out correctly. Care and maintenance of equipment won't cure bad calibration nor will it help a lack of education of how to do a procedure or attentiveness to the job at hand.

And all of this is why I commend you on your question, Judy!

There are many framers that would consider themselves "above" asking a basic question. I still consider myself a student of framing after over 16 years of doing this work. The day that I think I know all there is to know about framing is the day that I sincerely hope that someone else takes all my "toys" away from me and sends me to my room!!

I have always believed in something that my dad told me many years ago: the only stupid question is that which is in your mind but never asked.

>For future knowledge, is there any way to reverse or diminish the puckering on the arches paper?

Go buy some plain arches paper of the same weight and quality.
Hinge with the same procedure you used before . If it puckers. ...remove the hinge with a damp Q-tip.

Now dampen slightly the area on your "practice piece of arches if ( uless it is aready very damp).
Lay the paper face down . Put mylar or something that will not absorb water "under" where the hinges were. ( When we hinge art we put the art face down on coroplast/ polyflute. )

Put heavy weight on the hinge areas with folded paper towel or blotters over the hinge area ( on the back of the paper where the hinge was ).
You want the moisture to "wick" from the back of the paper into the blotters.
Keep changing the blotter many many times as it "dries".

With enough weight and changing the blotters it should flatten out.

REMEMBER "practice " on the sample Arches to learn not the original.
Hinge removal and flattening of paper are extremely hazardous. Local dampening of paper
can produce tidelines in the paper. These are caused by wicking of oxidized portions of the paper to the edge of the damp area, where they accumulate. In the beginning, they will only show up under UV light, but they will turn brown as they age. For this reason, paper conservators will work on the whole sheet, when they are flattening a work on paper, but that requires a great deal of skill and should be done by a
paper conservator.