Old pictures: Drymount or not??

Paul N

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 10, 2005
CT, not far from the LI Sound
I have a few black & white pictures taken in around 1940-1950, to frame for a customer.

My first instinct is to hinge them on AF foamcore. But they are not really flat, some have a wrinkle or two, and some are warped. Hinging alone made them look not that freat.

I may have no choice but to dry mount them, but I am hesitating because I am not sure if dry mounting might damage them.

I can't tell what processing / developing method was used (on the back it says something cryptic like: S. L 3-0771).

Any ideas??
How about using ArtCare Restore foam board. 130 degrees for about 20-30 seconds depending on whether you use release paper or release board.

I recently mounted some photos from around that time frame and used SpeedMount for 3 min. at 180 degrees. I haven't experienced any problems with standard drymounting of older photos.

Am I wrong in assuming that there shouldn't be any problems?

Dave Makielski

"We are the generation our parents warned us about."

I personally would not drymount the originals. If they were copies, I would have no problem with it.

Our general rule is to never drymount anything that cannot be replaced.

Celebrate the wrinkles as part of the history. Sometimes you just have to be a little more creative with the mounting.

I have a photo of my father and his basketball team after they won the city championship game in Philadelphia in the 1920's. I found it after his death, folded in four places. I framed it 'as-is'.

I also redid it in photoshop and removed the wrinkles and gave my sister a framed copy of the touched up one. Guess which one she likes best.
Are the photos in otherwise good condition? And are they glossy? If they are flaking or cracked at all, drymounting may be a problem. If they are glossy, drymounting may make them go matte. Otherwise, an old b&w in good condition should drymount fine. Just make sure you check the backs carefully for any dirt they might have picked up over the years! :eek:
I agree with not framing one-of-a-kind original. That's why I was going for A/F hinging.

I will call the customer though and if she wants them super-flat, then ArtCare Restore might be the way to go.


The photos are not glossy and in good condition (except for the warping).

Thanks all for your feedback!
Sound like fiber based photos. We put these in the press sandwiched between 2 sheets of foamboard and let them dwell at 165 for about 5 minutes (Seal 4463). Cool under glass and most of the curl will come out of them. You would then be able to hinge or corner mount sucessfully.
I just had a project in last week similar. The photos were old but in good shape except for the fact that they had been mounted to a tissue backing sheet with some form of drymount tissue and the residue from this was still on the backs of the photos, as the mounting had long since "failed".

Handled with care and no new mounting.