sheepskins

Le

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Happy Day. I Have the first sheepskin I have framed since just after the dawn of time. How do you mount these suckers? I remember the first one I did. You had to use a magnifing glass to read it after it shrank.
 

JRB

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Look in the archives, this subject has been gone over several times. I'm not sure the archives will go back that far, but give it a try. FYI, back in the days when sheepskins were the common type of diploma, they were not hinged, they were mounted. I have mounted quite a few of them over the years. You do have to know how to do it, so don't be sticking them in your heat press or using spray glue. It's a process that has to be followed closely.

John
 

CharlesL

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I did a search for sheepskin, and came up with 12 topics, all of which seemed to be helpful. The oldest one even had input from Orton!!

Good luck!
 

Rogatory

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Sheepskin diploma's are not extinct. Rice University still hands them out. :mad:

-David-
 

Ron Eggers

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Rice University still hands them out.
In fact, the only real sheepskin diploma that's ever come into my shop was from Rice - and it wasn't mine. They were surprised to find a Rice grad picture framer in Appleton, Wisconsin. I honestly don't remember how I mounted it.

In 1973, they were handing out 6x8 diplomas that were definitely NOT sheepskin. Somebody must have complained.
 

JFeig

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I think HARVARD still uses real sheepskins.

Anyhow, I mounted 2 McGill Univ. diplomas about 10 days ago. They were from the mid 60's and had been water damaged a long time ago. I did nothing to remove stains along the sides. I wet mounted them on 4 ply rag with paste. That is the old fashioned method I think John referred to.
 

preservator

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Animal skins were used as in books that had strong
wooden covers that were kept tightly closed with
metal clasps. That is the only way that they can
be kept flat.If they can not be safely mounted
to a support, they should have their edges covered
with the edges of a window mat and have hinges
that pull their edges out in all four directions.

Hugh
 

Matoaka

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Albuquerque, NM
I think I read somewhere that parchment and vellum are also made from animal skin. Is this right?

And the newer paper imitations of thin skins are sooooo good that I can't tell the difference by feeling.

Is there are way to test for animal product without damaging the piece?

Thanks,
Susan
 

HannaFate

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Parchment is sheepskin, vellum is goat skin. (ideally made from an unborn kid) Vellum is a little more forgiving, being softer and stretchier.

To tell skin from textured paper, hold the piece up to the light. You should be able to see the pores, and a sort of "grain" in skin. Paper will have regular, machine made markings. You can also take a needle, and pick lightly at the cut edge. Paper will pick easily into fibers. Skin is tougher.

I remember a parchment page from a hymn book I had to frame once. There was writing on both sides, so I couldn't wet mount it in the traditional way. (besides, even though the colors were probably egg tempera, they might be water soluble) The customer wanted it float mounted, but they also wanted it flat.
 

JRB

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Jerome, you were close. You have to "relax" the parchments in a damp environment. Use four pieces of white blotter paper cut a little larger than your parchment.

Lay a few sheets of glass on a table you will not have to use for a while. lay one sheet of dry blotter paper on the glass. Spray a second sheet of blotter paper with distilled water. Lay the diploma on top of this dampened sheet of blotter paper.

lay another sheet of dampened blotter paper on top of the diploma, then your last dry sheet of blotter paper.

Cover this pile with enough pieces of glass to insure that all parts of the diploma will be weighted into the dampened blotter papers.

Let this package set, undisturbed for several days. Before you open this "sandwich", roll an even coat of a good quality, non curling vegetable glue, such as Yes Paste to a piece of four ply rag mounting board, that is larger than the diploma.

Now is the touchy part, remove the layers of glass and blotter paper until you get to the diploma, make sure you have someone to help nearby in case you need it. DO NOT LET THE DIPLOMA ROLE UP, it will want to. Pick it up and lay it into the Yes Paste starting on one side. With the edge of your hand, carefully smooth it down.

Cover the diploma with several sheets of dry blotter paper, then get as much weight on top of it as you need to insure that is is evenly flattened into the Yes paste. Let this dry for at least three days.

Note, the dampened blotter paper must be evenly dampened, not soaking dripping wet, just damp and limp.

This process will not make the signatures run or bleed, even though it seems like it would.

Do not "Check " on the diploma until you are ready to put it into the glue. The worst thing would be for it to start drying out prematurely, leave it alone for at least a few days. When you open the package, it should be to lay it into the glue.

I was hoping I would not have to go into all this again, oh well.

John
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by JRB:
...Lay the diploma on top of this dampened sheet of blotter paper...roll an even coat of a good quality, non curling vegetable glue, such as Yes Paste to a piece of four ply rag mounting board...Now is the touchy part...DO NOT LET THE DIPLOMA ROLE UP, it will want to. Pick it up and lay it into the Yes Paste starting on one side...carefully smooth it down...This process will not make the signatures run or bleed, even though it seems like it would.
John
Call me a coward, but there's no way I'd glue down an animal skin. I've seen too many ruined by mounts gone bad. I'll do it Mr. Phibbs' way. And if the skin needs help, it goes to a conservator.
 

JRB

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Jim, although it does take some courage to do this, it mainly takes experience. I would suggest you take the time to go through some thrift shops until you find some old parchments to practice on. Any mount will go bad if it is not done properly.

This is one of those disappearing skills that used to be so common in our industry. Now there is so little call for them, they become forgotten. I used to do French mats the old way with water colors and ruling pens, now it's too cost prohibitive for my area, hardly ever even get asked for them anymore.

John
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by JRB:
...I would suggest you take the time to go through some thrift shops until you find some old parchments to practice on... Any mount will go bad if it is not done properly.
As a calligrapher, I have several pieces of several kinds of animal skins. I am accustomed to the work of preparing them for inking, and I am familiar with their properties.

Skins have variable density, and are very reactive with their environment. A "perfect" permanent mount can go bad if, for example, the framed skin is exposed to extraordinarily high humidity, or hight heat -- such as when there's a fire in the next room.

A skin mounted in a non-invasive way can usually be saved, but a permenently mounted skin may be permanently ruined.
 

JRB

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Jim, that is why I use vegetable paste, it can be removed with water.

I did not invent this method of mounting animal skins, it is the way they were mounted for many years by just about every good custom framing business.

This method goes back to when animal skins were first being issued to scholars for their academic accomplishments. Probably more than 200 years.

It really was a common procedure when I started in this business in 1964

Granted, it probably does not meet todays archival standards, maybe it does, I don't know. Most diplomas only have to last the lifetime of the recipient, shooting for several hundred years of preservation is, in most cases, not necessary.

John
 

Le

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This is a Diploma from Rice. I have to mount it. Hinging here is a joke. It can be 80 degrees in the middle of the day and 10 degrees in the middle of the night. If the cold front is accompanied by moisture it can go from 15 percent R/H to 45 percent at the same time. We used to use Record Mounting Paste. Yes paste will do nicely. I was wondering about Laminall?
 

JFeig

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DO NOT USE LAMINALL! It is a PVA.

It is not a vegatable starch paste and will not easily reversable.

Jim, or anyone else

If you are up in Detroit, I can give you a lesson in mounting these parchments. (bring your own diplomas from a thrift store or your own)
 
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