I am back and have a question!!!

Candy

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Posts
1,543
Location
Holland, MI
I have been offline for awhile. I had to get a new computer and I couldn't get logged on. I finally registered under a new name (I am the former MatFramer).

Anyway, I have never had any problem with framing parchments. However, I just had one come in that is about 70 years old. It is approx. 17x21. This thing has been rolled up so tight that is is less that 1 inch in the rolled state. Any suggestions on how to get this to lay flat. I know that I cannot use heat. What about putting it in the press cold and for several minutes? I am not sure that would do anything, just a thought.

I need some good suggestions!!!

Candy
 
I'd start out by sandwiching it between some rag board and put under weight overnight.
In the morning you will probably have something to work with
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<font size=5>CANDY!! YOU'RE BACK!!</font>

You know you can't use heat. Who said? Heat is relative.

When I think about Holland, MI, and "put in the press COLD" my parchments begin to shrivel up.

So how about this: during the day, slowly unroll the parchment, and weight it out in the warmth of the room.... maybe even give it a little blowing from a hair dryer held about 2-3 feet away, just to let it warm.... you should see or feel it relax.

WARM air is nice. Hot press in BAD. After you have let it relax through the day.... then stick it under a flat weight overnight.. (rag board with a glass on top). By the time you get that chop in, it might be pretty flat.
 
Baer,

Thanks, that sounds like something I can handle. However, right now, the "warmeth of the room" sounds a bit like an oxymoran. :D

I will give the hair dryer a nice shot, I have also thought about the press at a very low heat setting. Would putting it between two rag boards,weighting it, and setting it in the press on a heat setting of 120 work?

Candy
 
If your client would pay for it, this would be a good job to hand over to a conservator. I called a local conservator recently for a similar job, and it would be about $200-400 to flatten it. A paper conservator has special equipment that we don't have and should have lots of experience in parchment.

Susan
Whispering Woods Gallery
HOLLAND, Pa
 
Gee Candy, seeing how your both in "Holland", you might try that conservator . . .

so, susang, did the customer go for the "flattening" job? I've got some nice customers... but that sounds a bit much....

In Oregon they call that "spendy".
 
Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
------(rag board with a glass on top). -----
What do you put in the glass?
I'd be worried about water rings soaking through the matboard coaster!



In all honesty this has worked for me with modest success as well. Gets it flat long enough to get the frame together. A case of 1824 or 2024 should be big enough, be manueverable and provide adequate weight for the job.
 
Usually Glenfiddish or Bushmills, depending on which side o' me mind I'm payin attention to.
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And don't ya know, you only get water rings if you aduturate the natural distillants..... :D
 
It has been a loooong time since I've had to do this, and I can't even remember where the advice came from. I received a sheepskin that looked like an accordian. I was told to use a solution of alcohol and water 50-50 and carefully dampen (not soak) the reverse side of the sheepskin. It immediately started to flatten. I sandwiched it between two peices of rag board and let it dry. I have used this method more than once, and it has always worked. I am sure that if I am wrong about any of this someone will let us know, but I am fairly certain this is what I did.
 
I'm not sure about the parchment but I had a rolled up drawing about like that which I put between two rag mats under weights and check it from time to time. It took several months but it did finally flatten on its own.

I think consulting with a conservator would be a good idea. It may be spendy but much safer.
 
<< Usually Glenfiddish or Bushmills, depending on which side o' me mind I'm payin attention to. >>

Ooo Baer.....now yer talkin' -- have ye tried the Tullamore Dew? :D

Honestly, I have not tried this on parchment...but I have had good results on "rolled-up-tight-since-the-dawn-of-time-paper" by placing it in a homemade humidity chamber. I'll try and describe this technique, so "baer" with me. First I make a tray out of cardboard, line it with plastic, and put some water in the bottom. Then I place two strips of foamboard across the tray, and place the rolled up paper across the strips. I put the whole thing in a plastic bag (usually a bag that my local distributor delivers my matboard in). Then I place a long, folded in half strip of foamboard in the tray so that it creates a "teepee" of sorts, and seal the bag with a rubber band. The "teepee" shape is to prevent the condensation that may form inside to slide down the sides of the plastic bag and not collect and drip down on the paper. Usually 24 hours infuses enough humidity into the paper to then sandwich it between 2 sheets of ragboard and weight it down to dry out. As I said, I haven't tried this with parchment, but it doesn't seem to me like there would be any harm done.
 
The humidification technique Tim described works well when slight moisture is the answer. It also works to un-mount a poster that's been wet-mounted under vacuum...don't ask me how I know that. :rolleyes:

If the old skin's surface is soiled, tidelines could develop with very little moisture. Also, the inks might bleed. The moisture must be very carefully controlled -- maybe more carefully than possible with the water-tent technique.

For an item of significant value, I would go to a conservator. Even if the customer claims it has no value now, you can bet it will become priceless if it's ruined in a framer's effort to fix it.

My rule is: If it can't be replaced, take no chances with it.

Baer, you said "...did the customer go for the "flattening" job? I've got some nice customers... but that sounds a bit much....In Oregon they call that "spendy".

Compared to what? A framer's experimental attempt to fix it in-house would certainly be cheaper, if it works. But if it doesn't, then a professional conservator's treatment might turn out to be a very good deal.
 
Tim’s humidity chamber is a bit too much work for me.

I have in the past used a wallpaper trough. You can get them, of all places, at a wallpaper/paint store.

It is a plastic “bucket” about 36 inches long, 4 inches wide and 4 inches deep (I am guessing about the actual dimensions since I brought mine home). In the bottom of the trough, I have placed several sponges saturated with water, two or more 4 inch long rails of Nielsen moulding to prop up the document (keeping it away from direct contact with the sponges), and covered the top with a sheet of glass.

Every several hours, I re-soak the sponges. After a few days, the rolled up document is relaxed enough to work with.

I’ve only done this with paper, though. I haven’t tried it with sheepskin.
 
Hi Baer,

I gave the infomation about flattening to the customer when she picked up the diploma. The piece had been rolled for at least fifty years and is one of three degrees that I framed (fifty some years after graduation.)The two looked great and the rolled parchment was eh....rippled. I told her that I did all that I could do, and if she wanted it to be flat, a conservator could do the job for $200-400. I can't assume that they wouldn't do it, so I at least called the conservator to get a price for them. I just want my framing to look the best that it should, and this wasn't quite up to my standards. When it was picked up, the client was thrilled, even without flattening by a conservator. Go figure!

Susan
Whispering Woods Gallery
Holland Pa
 
Thanks for all your suggestions. I know that the conservator would be the way to go, however....as you noted, this is "Holland" and there is a very real meaning to the term "dutch". For the time being that sheepskin is between two pieces of rag board. I did mist ever so slightly the rag board and put several lites of glass on it. I also used a bit of heat from a hair dryer and it does appear that I may have gotten it to flatten enough for framing.

I will, however, suggest a conservator when they pick it up. They are giving this piece to someone else so the framing was even more than they wanted to pay for this.

Thanks again!!!
 
Originally posted by Jim Miller:
Baer, you said "...did the customer go for the "flattening" job? I've got some nice customers... but that sounds a bit much....In Oregon they call that "spendy".

Compared to what? A framer's experimental attempt to fix it in-house would certainly be cheaper, if it works. But if it doesn't, then a professional conservator's treatment might turn out to be a very good deal.
Jim, you're entirely right. For your pocket book and customers.

As Candy and Susan can tell you, there are those, like my Doctor and Lawyer husband and wife, who balk at spending more than $400 to frame all 7 of their degrees. (Even if their combined income exceeds our shops annual gross sales...)

There will always be the customer who will bring framers that tight rolled document and expect wonders at our hands for free.

And I was just relaying that there are some amazing results at our disposal that cost us nothing to try, and do no harm. Weight, time, and a warm room are three of them.

It is easy, if not pious, to sit in judgement and direct framers who are asking for some street level help, to "go to museum" or "send them to a concervator".

That simple statement takes none of your time, yet emparts none of your experience and does not speak to your stature as a teacher or mentor.
Unless you only do it for money.

I remember working with framers who would take a job up to a point where they were about to do something that they knew I didn't know how to do; but wanted to learn. Then they would put it aside and do it while I was out to lunch or they would come back at night and do it.

I swore that I would never be that kind of framer. Whether I am being paid to teach a class or not. Which would explain the 26 hours of free fabric wrapping instruction at the Las Vegas show.
(Which, I might add, there were two classes available if you wanted to pay $95 each)

I'm off my soup can now.
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Baer I think you're being a bit harsh to Jim here. I didn't read his statement as being pious, just cautionary.

There are many different types of parchment, they can be in many different conditions, and there are many different reactions that they can have to treatments, even something as seemingly benign as pressure. Sometimes parchment can't be flattened by pressure because it is distorted and pressure will put ripples or creases into it.

Also, there is quite a spectrum of experience and competence on the Grumble. One may think one is being kind and helpful by describing a process to correct a problem, but without knowing the full particulars (both of the problem and of the person attempting to solve the problem)there can be many unanticipated SNAFUs. So the attempted kindness can backfire.

I think Jim was gently trying to point this out.

The numbers the conservator gave were, I am sure, just a ballpark range given without seeing the piece. Flattening parchment can be easy, or it can be horribly difficult, depending on the piece. So it's not really fair to say it is "spendy" as we don't know the specifics.

No one can know everything about everything, and it is not doing a disservice to one's client to admit that.

Rebecca
 
Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
...It is easy, if not pious, to sit in judgement and direct framers who are asking for some street level help, to "go to museum" or "send them to a concervator"...That simple statement takes none of your time, yet emparts none of your experience and does not speak to your stature as a teacher or mentor. Unless you only do it for money.
Yup, that's me. Pious money-grubber. :rolleyes:

"Street level" procedures are OK when nothing significant is at stake; when they "cost us nothing to try, and do no harm".

But that's not the case in moisturizing an old animal-skin document. It is irreplaceable. One mistake, and it's over. That advice does impart my experience. Whether it's right or wrong could only be determined by risking the animal skin.

What happens if the inks run or soil-tidelines appear? What happens if the skin, instead of relaxing its curl, comes out of the humidifier like a ruffled potato chip? And when it goes under weight, instead of flattening, the ruffles become sharp creases?

If trying to save an innocent framer from that nightmare is pious, I would rather be pious than reckless, which is how I would feel if my advice resulted in harm to the item & caused trouble for the framer.
 
Gosh, Baer, are you pointing that gun at the messenger? I have taken some of Jim's classes and I can personally vouch for his integrity and knowledge of what he teaches. I am quite sure that he would not try to impart thoughtless advice on others as some framers attempt to do here either to impress the readers with their so called wealth of knowledge or simply to post something&nbsp in answer to a question be it right or wrong or somewhere in between.

I really don't think that it is fair of you to disparage other's remarks/advice without backing up your contentions with fact. That is simply being bullheaded and I'm not convinced that was your intention.

Everyone has their methods of doing some of the procedures asked about on the Grumble and there are few of us who can sit in judgement as to whether their methods are right or wrong, but maybe different than what we are accustomed to doing. I would hope that you consider rethinking your statements/possible accusations and come up with some facts to support your feelings about Jim's opinions or offer some ideas that are tried, proven to be consistent, and are utilized by many of the conservators that handle items like the one mentioned.

I don't do enough "sheepskins" to be able to offer any sound advice but I would never consider throwing out an idea for someone else to try on a customer piece without having ironclad proof that it works in every case. Otherwise the entire project could be ruined to the point of irrepairability and cause the framer to have to pay for something that could have been restored by someone qualified to do the work.

Just my personal feelings on this thread.

(That and a buck will NOT buy a good cup of coffee in many parts of this country!!)
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Framerguy
 
Jim, you have my deepest apology. My intent was not to disperge you or your reputation.

I should have just shut up and gone to bed.

Rebecca, you're entirely right. It's not spendy until the customer says it is.

Framerguy, not once would I ever thing that Jim would impart thoughtless advice. It is not in his nature.

Now, if you all will excuse me, I will go plug up the knife holes and stop bleeding on my wifes carpet.
 
Thank you Baer.


And in the same spirit of concilliation, I will say that at first glance I too thought it was a bit spendy, but not having seen the piece, it could have been a real bargain.

It would be nice if we could organize hands on workshops to train framers to do basic conservation treatments, which could cover the whys, wherefores and potential pitfalls.

Rebecca
 
I was just remembering the time a colleague put a parchment diploma in the press to flatten it, and all the lettering came off on the release paper.

As the fellow said on Nova, "Parchment wants to get back on the animal."
 
Well........Now that the dust has settled :D

I have finished the project. The flattening as I described did work. However, I was not going for completely flat. I was only going for the unrolled situation. I will say that if the customer wants completely flat, I am in no way prepared to even think about that. It is what it is. There are plenty of ripples in that baby and those ripples are just going to stay there. However, under the glass for a week, it was sufficiently unrolled that I went ahead and framed it.

Thanks for all your suggestions!!!
 
Originally posted by Rebecca:
[It would be nice if we could organize hands on workshops to train framers to do basic conservation treatments, which could cover the whys, wherefores and potential pitfalls.

Rebecca [/QB]
Rebecca, if you are ever thinking of putting one on please let me know, as we are in the same area code as each other. Thanks
James
 
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