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Silica Gel for Paper Art in a Frame Package

Airpag Corner, packing solution for frame shipping

scurran

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We are framing a vintage french ad poster and will be installing it at a beach house (high humidity). We wanted to enclose silica gel in the frame package somehow but aren't sure if this is something we should be doing for a residential installation since the silica would probably need to be reconditioned periodically. Does anybody out there use silica gel in framing packages for residential jobs? If so, what form have you been happiest with and how do you install it?
 

preservator

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Please remember that silica gel is just a sponge. It can take up water or give it off, but it is useful for even out changes in climate in highly sealed enclosures, but if it is in a continually damp place, it will only increase the capacity of the frame to hold moisture. Making a frame that can protect a sheet of paper in a contiunally damp setting will require sealing a vapor-barrier film to a sheet of glass. The congtents of the package must be properly conditioned, before the package is sealed. Descriptions of this can
be found at pictureframingmagazine.com, in the articles index, among the preservation supplements.

Hugh
 

wpfay

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When learning about sealed frame packages the silica desiccant was discussed. It's been a while, but I seem to remember that desiccant panels were available (probably from Talas) that can be used in frame packages. They resemble 4-ply rag board.
You're right about the silica needing to be reconditioned periodically in an unsealed frame. Check into providing a sealed frame for the poster. That way the atmosphere inside the frame package will remain fairly constant. A desiccant panel and oxygen scavenger can be included.

I deal with this issue on a daily basis, and it's not easy convincing people with valuable art to take these precautions.

Edit: what Hugh said...I gotta learn to type faster
 

Jim Miller

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Scurran,

Just in case you didn't already know it, Hugh Phibbs may be our industry's most knowedgeable authority on framing for environmental protection. So regarding your question, you probably just got the best advice on the planet -- in less than two hours.

Having attended most of his classes, including one on Sealed Frame Packages, let me be among the many to suggest taking his excellent advice.
 

scurran

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the grumble has changed our life, Jim

It's like having a living, breathing text book on any topic you need at your disposal. I'm always telling the girls at the shop...do you know who just answered your post???!!!! Thank you for the responses. I have not created a sealed frame package yet and was thinking I would seal the back of the frame with Tyvek but had not thought of sealing the glass...seems obvious now. I will review available articles on treating the art and sealing a frame package but I think that given the fact that this piece will be placed in a vacation home the use of silica in the package doesn't make sense.
 
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JFeig

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This thread was written so long ago. I must have placed it in the back of my mind when I started my initial research for my project of hermetically sealed enclosures. With a passive system as I designed with a life cycle of up to 20 years before it needs recharging, it does work.

My sachets are a blend of 3 preservation absorbers for oxygen, humidity, and air pollution.
 

David Waldmann

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I have not created a sealed frame package yet and was thinking I would seal the back of the frame with Tyvek ...
Kinda shocked that no one responded to this. Tyvek (or its' myriad non-brand-name alternatives) is nowhere near impermeable. In fact, it was specifically DESIGNED to be permeable, to prevent moisture being trapped in a house. It is designed to keep liquid water (and air) in/out but allow passage of vapor...
 

wpfay

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The efficacy of sealed frame packages is debatable. Systems like Jerry's Minoxy chambers work well, but trying to make a vapor-proof barrier using Marvelseal and glass is elusive. In Hugh's words (paraphrasing) 'water will find a way in'.
The best we can hope for is to mitigate the effects of rapid environmental changes, and use of partial vapor barriers, like Tyvek, is effective to that end.
Another consideration, especially in the event of catastrophic weather events, it that the technologies that help mitigate humidity transfer can also work against dehumidifying the interior of a frame package once breached.
 
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