photo mounting


Grumbler in Training
Apr 7, 2005
SE Pennsylvania
I am a newbie who is planning on framing some 16x20 and 20x30 photos. I assume that these are sufficiently big that mounting is necessary/desirable, but don't know much about it. My art store has promoted the Hunt Corporation's Permanent Self-Adhesive Foam Board, which is easy to use. But how good is this product? Is this conservative enough that it is worth using museum-grade matboard with it? Will I regret using it?

Also, I was given a Logan 301-S matboard cutter, but have realized that the maximum size you can put in this 32" cutter is only 29.5", making it problematic for cutting standard 32"x40" matboard sheets. Is this as profoundly stupid on Logan's part as it seems (couldn't they sell a 34.5" cutter that cuts 32" sheets?) or is some higher purpose being served?

Thanks for any help/information.

(I hope I am not posting twice, but it is not obvious how to submit the post after previewing it - I see no submit button.)
Assuming you are going to be mounting standard C prints, the major concern is fading vs. acidity as with fiber prints. C prints fade in both visible and UV light, and are somewhat susceptable to the effects of household pollution.
No comment on the cutter itself. Free is free...they do make larger sizes.
Welcome to the Grumble.

Welcome to The Grumble.

Sorry, insufficient data to process reliable response. Please choose all that apply. Are these photos:

  • Valuable</font>
  • Decorative</font>
  • Disposable/Replaceable (at a cost that won't bankrupt you)</font>
  • Fiber-base</font>
  • Resin-coated</font>
  • Ink-jet</font>
  • Dye-transfer</font>
  • Thermal</font>
  • Dye-sub</font>
  • Gicee' (gasp!)</font>
  • Cibrachrome/Ifochrome</font>
  • Other or unknown</font>
  • High gloss</font>
  • Semi-gloss</font>
  • Matte</font>
  • Flat</font>
  • Rolled</font>
  • Wrinkled</font>
If you are unsure, don't put them in the heat press. Some photos won't even tolerate cold-mounting with pressure sensitive materials.

Welcome to the Grumble.

If adhesive used in the Hunt board is similar to the standard 3M Positionable Mounting Adhesive, it is not acid-free.

You have a Sears Good, Better, Best situation.

Best: theoretically, if the photo is especially valuable, you should encapsulate it in Mylar to avoid using any adhesives whatsoever, but at the sizes you are talking about, they will not stay flat.

In a practical situation, if the photos are modern, they are most likely printed on resin coated papers, a plastic, to my mind, fairly impervious to chemical/acid leaching.

Better: If you really need to mount these photos, using Seal Archival Mount on 100% cotton rag foam board gives you pretty good peace of mind. Both dry mount tissue and substrate are chemically neutral.

Good: in most situations, because of this plastic coating, I generally use Colormount dry mount tissue on standard 3/16” foam board. It’s good enough for instances.

Cibachrome (Ilfochrome) is a whole ‘nother ball of worms. In that case don’t use heat.

I may get hammered for this, but I believe that the dyes in the photo will begin to fade way before any stains will be evident due to less than perfect materials.

RE: the Logan mat cutter … you get what you pay for.
Thanks to all. For Ron, these photographs are replaceable - Shutterfly prints from jpg files that are for personal use now - will retire in a few years and contemplate selling some of my better stuff. From the replies, I take it that using adhesive foam board isn't the dumbest thing going under these circumstances.

While the Logan cutter was a Christmas gift from someone who didn't know anything about framing, I still think that selling a mat cutter that is 2 1/2" shorter than a standard mat dimension doesn't make any sense and causes needless aggravation. I hope that their more expensive 40" cutter doesn't take only matboard that is only 37.5" wide. This site is for grumbling, isn't it?