Mounting an unknown animal skin diploma

Miche Engelman

Grumbler in Training
Jun 25, 2001
Houston, Texas, USA
Hi and hello. My first post here, been a lurker, Love the Grumble. Down to business...I have been looking through my mounting and framing books (mounting Methods vol 5, Framers workbook,conservation framing vol 4.etc)and am having trouble with how in the heck to mount a very large skin diploma, and the kicker...the customer insists having it framed to the edge, so this would mean I would need to stretch it, and shim it. ok...but how do I do this? I asked another friend who is a framer and he said wet it with water on the reverse and squeegie it. I say I am not comfortable with this. I personally like techniques that don't involve automobile accessories. Am I to lace it like a needlepoint? That goes against my motto of "ye art is sacred, do no harm" or do I treat it like a drum skin and involve metals? I am hoping I don't offend anyone with my newbieness to this issue. Been a framer 6 years, and have reframed lots of these, but never mounted. It's in fair shape, some brown blooms, that don't look like active mold, caustomer has had it in a drawer for years. (like we are shocked at this confession...)anyway Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom.
hoping not to lose
my fearless framer status....

Welcome to the Grumble. You will get an answer to your question here in many ways. I wanted to show you what the consequences (extreme, I must admit) of wetting an animal skin document.

This was the original charter for a local organization and was doused with water during a localized fire in the building in which it was housed.


I would be VERY careful about putting water on any animal skin document.

Encapsulation could be used unless there is a danger of moisture being in the document already. If there is a "bloom" on the document I would seek other methods of mounting it such as hinging to an undercut backing board and float mounting that package.

Thanks FramerGuy, I have been on the FACTS site, PPFA archives, Decor, and I have made some callss Even in posts by Chris P she says hinge mount, but client wants it stretched as per the University. I am understanding the document needs to breathe, not be glued down and if I do tab it, what will stick? linen hinges? The skin is naturally oily, so would this not be permanent? I am cranky with the stress. Everyone says BE CAREFUL!!! I wish I had one to expirement on....heavy sigh
If I was confronted with this thing, I would get in touch with a local leather worker, or taxidermist, or both. If it can be flattened, and squared up, it probably doesn't need to be stretched. But let the leatherworker have a look at it, and see what she thinks. I would NOT wet it, or try any kind of heat process.
I once saw the results of trying to drymount a parchment diploma. It actually flattened quite nicely, but all the lettering transfered to the relase paper, and the flattened skin was about a quarter inch smaller than it started out. EEK!