Mounting Print To Gator

Shayla

WOW Framer
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Customer wants to mount a pigment-based digital print to gator board. They know that gator is not archival. The print is medium-sized. The few times I've cut gator on our 3300, the edges haven't been pretty. For those of you who do mount to gator, how do you manage to get nice edges? Most of the poster dry mounting we do has been in a vacuum press, to a larger piece of foam core. Then, I've trim down to size.

I also usually mount digital prints at 150 or less, to Kool Tack or Mount Cor. If we mount this to Gator, the mounting tissue would require higher heat, so wouldn't that risk fading the ink?
 
Before I discovered Mountcor, I used to drymount with Techperm film that required 180-190 temp in a heat press.
It didn't affect the colour quality of the Epson archival pigment inks we print wtih on Epson PLPP 260 paper.
I have several of these that were done when I first started here (13 years) that still look great.

I am also interested in Gator board, but have been put off by discussions of how it can be difficult to cut with a smooth finished edge without the "right" equipment.
 
I use a sheetrock sander to sand the edges of the gatorboard.
Screen Shot 2024-06-06 at 12.28.13 PM.png
 
Ideally a panel saw with a no-melt blade.

Short of that I have has best results with a utility knife and a relatively shallow angle of cutting. Most fixed blade wall cutters have too deep an angle on the blade and it ends up tearing a bit. This is easy if you have an assortment of manual mat cutters to chose from, and can extend the square cut blade (usually a utility blade) out a bit to change the angle.

Try using a mat board slip sheet under the Gator on the vertical cutter so the back side doesn't fray. Move it between cuts.

I'm assuming that 3300 was a typo, or you are beta testers for Fletcher.
 
I have recently acquired a bunch of woodworking machines.
I got to wondering if a table saw with an appropriate blade would do the trick?
Go for it!!!!!
Buy a good plastic cutting blade. I use a top of the line Tenryu Pro Series for plastics https://tenryusawblades.com/home.php?cat=377 Tenryu Saw Blades :: Saw Blade Series :: Pro Series :: Pro Series for Plastic which is because the users will see the exposed edges of the acrylic. I have a dedicated table saw and panel saw for it . Also a 4x8 out-feed table. You can find less expensive blades for about half the money. So buy a blade and try it out on theGator. On the plus side you can use it for acrylic as well.

Here is my setup.

shop11.jpg
 
Yep, you could probably use a decent crosscut blade and get away with it.
A lot of it depends on the accuracy and size of the saw itself, and the size of the panel you intend to cut.
In your instance, keeping your hair away from any rotating tool is a survival concern, besides the normal warnings about loose clothing or jewelry.

Larry has an enviable amount of space.
 
Ideally a panel saw with a no-melt blade.

Short of that I have has best results with a utility knife and a relatively shallow angle of cutting. Most fixed blade wall cutters have too deep an angle on the blade and it ends up tearing a bit. This is easy if you have an assortment of manual mat cutters to chose from, and can extend the square cut blade (usually a utility blade) out a bit to change the angle.

Try using a mat board slip sheet under the Gator on the vertical cutter so the back side doesn't fray. Move it between cuts.

I'm assuming that 3300 was a typo, or you are beta testers for Fletcher.
Thanks for a chuckle, and it's the former. I was home and writing from memory.
Now, I'm at work, and see that it's a 3100.
 
Before mounting anything on gatorboard, I always wipe it with a de-greaser. There seems to be film on the board that makes mounting difficult. Since I've done this I haven't had any problems.
 
I've cut Gator Board on a table saw many times using various different blades. Virtually any blade will work but those with a high number of teeth will generate the smoothest cut. Depends on what you want the outcome to look like. As mentioned in earlier posts, plastic blades work well but that is because they have a high number of teeth. Most other blades with a similar configuration would work just as well. If this is a one off project I wouldn't invest in a special blade. Use the best blade you have and if it's not quite smooth enough, sand it.
 
I've cut Gator Board on a table saw many times using various different blades. Virtually any blade will work but those with a high number of teeth will generate the smoothest cut. Depends on what you want the outcome to look like. As mentioned in earlier posts, plastic blades work well but that is because they have a high number of teeth. Most other blades with a similar configuration would work just as well. If this is a one off project I wouldn't invest in a special blade. Use the best blade you have and if it's not quite smooth enough, sand it.
When you've done this, what was the gator used for, afterward?
Was it for mounting fabric to, or something else? Thanks.
 
When you've done this, what was the gator used for, afterward?
Was it for mounting fabric to, or something else? Thanks.
We mounted various different types of fabric as well as veltex. If the fabric needs to wrapped around the edge onto the back because the edge will be visible, you would need to fill the foam edges with a sandable filler so the glue will adhere the fabric smoothly to that edge. We moved away from gator board to Ultralight MDF for back boards because it was easier to deal with the edges when wrapping the fabric. If archival properties are not an issue, UL MDF is a great product for backers because it is over 30% less dense than standard MDF and therefore 30% less in weight. But, it is still heavier than gator board.
 
We mounted various different types of fabric as well as veltex. If the fabric needs to wrapped around the edge onto the back because the edge will be visible, you would need to fill the foam edges with a sandable filler so the glue will adhere the fabric smoothly to that edge. We moved away from gator board to Ultralight MDF for back boards because it was easier to deal with the edges when wrapping the fabric. If archival properties are not an issue, UL MDF is a great product for backers because it is over 30% less dense than standard MDF and therefore 30% less in weight. But, it is still heavier than gator board.
Thanks, for all this. I have another gator-related question. A customer bought an oversized canvas print online and is planning to have it mounted elsewhere.
Then, they plan to frame with acrylic and spacers. The fabric is fairly light canvas, and they're considering mounting it to gator. If it off-gases, is that only at the beginning,
or is there a chance that something could come through the fabric into the air space and cause the white print to yellow, over time?
 
Thanks, for all this. I have another gator-related question. A customer bought an oversized canvas print online and is planning to have it mounted elsewhere.
Then, they plan to frame with acrylic and spacers. The fabric is fairly light canvas, and they're considering mounting it to gator. If it off-gases, is that only at the beginning,
or is there a chance that something could come through the fabric into the air space and cause the white print to yellow, over time?
We are a fabrication shop that creates products based on the demands of our customers. If they specified gator board I would assume they have done the research to determine if it is the correct product for their needs. We are not conservationists or framers so our knowledge of archival practices are based on articles that are widely available in the industry. That old saying "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" applies here. I would never make a recommendation regarding those practices due to the limited knowledge we have on the subject. I defer to the experts on this subject. I would say that I would be hesitant to subject myself to any liability if a product, in this case the mounted print, is fabricated elsewhere and then introduced into my frame package. If it does discolor the print who is liable? The people who mounted it, possibly using an improper substrate or adhesive or your framing work?
 
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