Tacky Question


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jan 7, 2005
I have been reading threads on mounting arrowheads. Tacky Glue seems as if it might be a simple solution. Has anyone used this method with success?
We tried hotglue, and lost a couple already. (I think this was due to user error b/c not enough was applied).
But I am also worried that it won't last over time?
Gorilla Glue? But doesn't it dry yellow? I used it once to put mailbox numbers back in place & it melted goo everywhere.
And Jim, the Mylar King....how exactly do these work?
An artifact that makes it through time like that I would be disinclined to use any kind of glue. I've used invisible thread and sewn them down in the past as Cliff said. I'm taking Jim Millers Mylar and shadowbox class this weekend and I bet the answer might be mylar or possibly tulle......we will find out on Sunday.
A fairly fine brass wire can be fashioned into a mounting clip and covered with heat shrinkable wire sleeves. Thin strips of Melinex (Mylar) can be wrapped around the objects and attached to the back. Sewing with a color matched cotton thread. Lots of options, but please put away the glue. I have a set of Pawnee bird/small animal hunting arrowheads I bought years ago. They were glued down to chip board...I'm still trying to figure out how to get them off without breaking them.
I don't see why you wouldn't use silicone. It's very strong, you won't have to worry about losing any.
The key to silicone is to let it cure for 24 hours before closing the frame. you need to let all the gas from the drying silicone out in the air. Then you can just back and frame as usual.

The best part of silicone is that it peels off after its dry so it is reversable. and also it is so much stronger than clue.

Those arrow heads should be made of stone so you really can't hurt them.You'll do more damage if they keep falling.

That's what I would do, Hope that helps. Oh and it also drys clear!

Nope, sorry, it is an artifact, part of history. I just don't think any kind of adhesive should be added. Especially when there are other choices available. I collect lots of old things and always appreciate their history and how they have made it through time. I always have a personal sense of duty to care for any of those old items. That is magnified x100 with customers belongings.

You are correct, silicone would hold those arrowheads in place with a stronger bond than most other adhesives. The problem with silicone adhesive, <u>all archival issues aside,</U> is that the adhesive oozes into every tiny nook and cranny of the stone tools. It is almost impossible to remove all traces of it once it is completely cured. I know because I had to remount 3 different collections of Native American artifacts for customers and 2 of them were glued with clear silicone.

Contrary to popular belief, silicone doesn't simply peel off in a single chunk as you would think. It adheres too well to objects that it is applied to and doesn't break its bond as easily as you would imagine. I had to carefully remove little remnants of silicone from these collections with dental tools and it was a time consuming job.

You can't afford to put little scratches in the arrowheads and some types of stone used for this purpose will scratch when abraded with sharp steel tools. Flint and novaculite don't scratch easily but do you always know what type of rock you are working with and how to identify each of the possible types of rock used by the craftsmen of a particular area? To me, it isn't worth the risk of damaging artifacts.

I would opt for sewing or mylar strips or brass wire mounts or a number of other methods before I would use silicone on the arrowheads. I use silicone myself for certain applications and I suspect that there are many more framers who use silicone than would admit to it on this forum but attaching artifacts isn't one of the applications that I would recommend for using silicone.

I will admit to have using silicone in framing before. But, never with an artifact.......can't stress it enough. Don't hold history in your hand and then set it in a gob of glue.......

somebody kick the soapbox out from under me.
Don't hold history in your hand and then set it in a gob of glue.

Sage advice, and very well stated, Kathy!

If the makers of acetic acid curing silicone didn't need the acid to etch the surface of the
item to gain a bond, they wouldn't make a product
that smells that much. Alcohol curing silicone has
such a short shelf life that it is very hard to use. As was noted, this material is very hard to remove, even from stone, and attachment methods that tie down the arrow heads give the future artifacts that are in fine condition.

As a recovering silicone-user, I have nothing to add to the previous admonitions.

I would, however, like to say something about titles for forum topics. Many of you know this is a pet peeve of mine.

Realize, when you're starting a new topic, that Grumblers will be searching for the information in the future. Search for "arrowheads" and you'll get a list of threads containing that word. It's a lot easier to scan a long list of meaningful topic titles than to open every single link to see what's actually in there.

I hope you don't think I'm picking on you, Mecianne, but a lot of us need to be less clever and more descriptive when we title these topics.

Sorry. I think I must have been a librarian in a previous life.
Thank you for once again bringing that up Ron. Several times in the past few months, I've searched for some info here, and due to the way it was titled, was unsuccessful in finding the much needed info until completing a very time consuming search.

Be as creative as you want to be on Warped, but here, it sure would help to name the topic something less clever.
Ron and Janet, I imagine your eyes must have rolled all the way into the back of your heads when you saw my "Robert Deniro lives in Tribeca........." thread from a couple weeks ago...........
Well, sure, Kathy, but we figure you're hopeless.

There still might be hope for Mecianne.
Thanks for the vote of confidence Ron!
Quick response, you must be on a lunchbreak. I'm soooooo glad you found your way back here. It was a dark dank place the few weeks you seemed to have vanished into the ether. This is gonna work out great for you. All that pent up sarcasm with no place to go at your new job. I figure you will be twice as funny and twice as irreverant. Win/Win for us all!
I hate to say this,

I still say Silicone is a good thing. One small spot on those "Historical Arrowheads" will not hurt them. I did not say to rub it all over the back of it.
One little dot will do ya and will be alot safer and easier for all in the long run.Easier to take apart if need be and won't show in the frame so the whole Arrow head can be enjoyed.

If they have lasted this long in someones back yard in the elements, they are going to be just fine with an 1/8 circle of silicone on the back.

I'm all about conservation but please let's get real. It's not like you're pouring hot acid on them. And it's also not like the are going into the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We are talking about a few Arrowheads for personal enjoyment.

I agree with the Conservation framing deal, I just think that sometimes you have to be reasonable about where you use it.
And also if the Customer is willing to put that much money into it.

Just my 2 cents


OK let me have it
Uh-oh! You're gonna be in trouble! (ROTFLMAO)

I do have to say, even with all of my inexperience & even though I know I will be chastised by the lot of you, that this is probably the way I am gonna go with this project.
These arrowheads have been in a coffee can for years & covered in dirt, and I really don't think the customer will ever want to take them out of the shadowbox. And if she does, I don't think, in this particular case, that a little dot of silicone is going to make her furious or ruin my integrity as a framer. What do I know.

Oh...and I will try to curb my cleverness (at least on The Grumble---Warped is a totally different thing). Sometimes I just can't help myself. But I don't want to anger the gods!

Thanks for all the great advice on this and every other topic I post. You guys are a fountain of knowledge.
Jennifer, I always use leather for arrowheads. I take a leather looking mat and wrap leather shoestrings around the part of the arrow head that had a leather moccasin string around it originally anyway. Or at least that’s how I’m going to do it if I ever get to frame some.

Another option would be sink them into suede boards with little foamcore dividers. It would look similar to stamps individually mounted but cut with a reverse bevel of coarse.

I’m not the conservation king. I agree that silicone might not turn them to sand. However if there are options that are 99% non-evasive that look good, I take that route. I can’t think of a good reason not to.

Good luck.
The sad thing, Jay, these arrowheads (except one or two) don't have that stem part left. Some don't even have tips. They look like plain ole chiseled rocks. So I can't really do the leather thing. Although I really like that idea.
Originally posted by J Phipps TN:
I agree with the Conservation framing deal, I just think that sometimes you have to be reasonable about where you use it.
And also if the Customer is willing to put that much money into it.

I agree with you 100%

They can let me have it too. My customer is always right. If you can't talk them into a $500 job, for heavens sake don't let them walk out without a $100 job.
Originally posted by Emibub:
...Don't hold history in your hand and then set it in a gob of glue.......
That says it all. Do you mind if I quote you?

About those arrowheads...
The evils of silicone & most other adhesive mounts are well covered here. Most glues -- including silicone -- are not easily removed, and may permanently change the item glued. Offgassing is an issue, but it's not the only issue.

Another factor to consider is the integrity of the mounting surface. Most of us have seen glued mounts fail. And when they do, the glue often isn't at fault; it may be intact on one surface or the other. Instead, one of the glued surfaces fails.

For example, a matboard's surface fibers of paper or "suede" flocking may be stuck securely to the glue, but those glued fibers separate from the board. So, when you look at the intact "failed" glue gob, you can see the fibers attached to it.

Sometimes the mount may be a decorative feature. In the case of arrowheads, why not use laces of sinue or rawhide? Those are similar to the materials native Americans used to attach their arrowheads to the arrows. That kind of laced mount would not only look authentic, but would also support the stones without changing them.
Originally posted by J Phipps TN:
...I still say Silicone is a good thing. One small spot on those "Historical Arrowheads" will not hurt them. I did not say to rub it all over the back of it. One little dot will do ya and will be alot safer and easier for all in the long run...they are going to be just fine with an 1/8 circle of silicone on the back.
That's exactly the thought process that leads glued mounts to fail. "One little dot" might stick to the arrowhead, but a firm bump in handling the frame might dislodge the glue gob from the mount board.

If you care about preservation, you have plenty of good suggestions. If you don't care about preservation, then glue them over the largest area you can.
Originally posted by Jerry Ervin:

My customer is always right. If you can't talk them into a $500 job, for heavens sake don't let them walk out without a $100 job.
I don't believe you, you are smarter than that! We aren't talking about using paper mats on a poster here or regular quality glass. We are talking about mounting an arrowhead the correct way. You can't tell me, that you will hands down frame the way the customer dictates. Our customers don't have a clue what is best 90% of the time, we are the knowledgeable one, that is why they aren't doing it themselves.

Part of our job is to respect whatever it is that the customer brings to us. If you discuss using glue after finding out what the customers needs are, that is one thing. But, you have to know the difference and when to say, no, I won't do that.

If your default method is the least desirable method you have nowhere to go from there. If it is nothing but a "rock" to you then you aren't servicing your customer in a fair manner. I don't let my lack of sentimentaliy or reverence for what a customer brings in dictate how I frame. What is just a rock to you might be something pretty special to the person on the other side of the counter.

To mount these properly isn't exactly going to break the bank for most customers. It is up to us to at least give them the choice.

Again, somebody kick that soapbox out from under me........
Originally posted by Emibub:

You can't tell me, that you will hands down frame the way the customer dictates. Our customers don't have a clue what is best 90% of the time, we are the knowledgeable one, that is why they aren't doing it themselves.
Yep....I will do it just the way they want it. That is why I have that little disclaimer at the bottom of my invoices which states that I have explained conservation methods, and they have refused.
And most of the time they are not doing it themselves because they don't have the time, the supplies, the saws, v-nailers, & CMCs at home in their garage. I know HOW to do lots of things, but I don't , because it is sometimes easier just to pay someone else to do it for me.
I could go butcher one of my cows, but I'd rather go to the Meat Market and pick up a pack of Ribeyes.
Originally posted by Mecianne:
Yep....I will do it just the way they want it. That is why I have that little disclaimer at the bottom of my invoices which states that I have explained conservation methods, and they have refused.
There are plenty of times we make these concessions with our customers, I do it everyday. It is up to us to decide how far we will go and what we are willing to be liable for in case it comes back to haunt us. They can sign a hundred disclaimers and it won't hold up in court. I work with my customers on saving money too. I can usually do that without compromising the integrity of the item being framed. Certain things just aren't negotiable. A stitchery as an example, it gets charged to be mounted, nowhere to negotiate, it is what it is. Same with an arrowhead, this is the price I charge and that is that.
Less just did a job with Silicone II.

<strike>I explained</strike> I'm sorry, he explained the different options to the client. I was greatful that the clients agreed to let Less use Silicone.

Did I mention how much Less likes that smell?
I've used silicone in certain cases too Less. Just not on historical artifacts. Could you share with us what it was you used it on? Just curious.
Have you considered sewing the arrowheads to a big piece of bright green felt and stretching the felt over stretcher bars?
Framinista that made me laugh out loud!

Ron is right about the topic headings - I almost missed a good one here.

Like Kathy, I can think of lots of times where the customer isn't right. I've been a wrong customer myself on a number of occasions. That's why tradespeople and professionals who can guide us to a solution or variety of solutions that follow "best practices" are pearls beyond price.

Are any of the people in this thread versed on how truly legally binding/absolving any disclaimer is?

I not trying to lecture ( especially since I don't know) but I have heard that you can't disclaim your liability if you are a trained profesional and as such should know better than to do what the client has agree to allow you to do.I was told you should KNOW better and as such you can still be liable for your actions if they do any damage.I was told that the best the disclaimer does is prevent the Client from saying they weren't forewarned,but the wrong is still your resposibility since you knew it shouldn't have been done.

I realize that sounds like double talk .But most legal speak does. I just would love to hear a definetive Legal answer from someone versed on the Liability Laws.
Disclaimers are meant to discourage nuisance suits, but it is impossible to sign away your right to sue with a disclaimer.

When I taught SCUBA, you can bet that everyone signed releases and everyone involved knew they were meaningless. So I carried a million dollars worth of liability insurance and continued it for many years after I stopped teaching.

That way, if someone got eaten after teasing a hammerhead shark, and their next-of-kin swore in court that I NEVER mentioned in my class that you shouldn't tease sharks, I would have some protection.

Forget about protection from that release, though.

Sorry about the modest Frankenthread but any discussion about lawyers somehow makes me think of those sharks, even after all these years.
So, what you are telling me is that if I am asked, and sometimes pretty much told how to do something, I should say "no," and lose the job/money.
I really don't get it. I am not a conservator nor profess to be. They can get exactly what they want from someone else and will pay for it, so I let them walk?
I really, really don't get it.

If I go to get the bumper on my car fixed and ask for duct tape and bondo (sp) , am willing to pay for duct tape and bondo, and sign for duct tape and bondo on a written duct tape agreement that says the ductape and bondo may rot & my bumper may fall off in a year and yet I am still ok with this, shouldn't they sell it to me?
Sorry this is a bad example, I know, but I cannot see turning away customers because they don't value things like I do.
If I did this every day and followed these conservation "RULES" I would be out of business. Rarely do they want the UV glass on the needlework their Great-grandma made. I can't do it anyway because it "should" be done and absorb the cost because of their ignorance. And I most certainly can't turn everyone away who doesn't want Mueseum glass and Rag Mats and acid free foam core on the project.
These situations where you may get sued are rare and my liability insurance protects me for a substantial amount, so I think I will be ok.
Push me off my soapbox now.
Some of you can afford to turn people away, but I can't.

Besides, I have a really great lawyer next door!
I think this would be a good place for everyone to sit down and read Hugh's latest article about doing what the future (as well as the present) wants.

If there are literally MILLIONS of arrowheads floating around and even getting paved over, does it really matter about this handful???

I think the penetration of silicone adhesive into any rock would depend on the hardness of said rock - ie, obsidion, which is like glass, no penetration; sandstone - which is like, um, sand, well - more penetration.

And not many arrowheads were made out of sandstone.

Just my two cents.....
I still say Silicone is a good thing. One small spot on those "Historical
Arrowheads" will not hurt them. I did not say to rub it all over the back of it.
Big Mistake!

Drop some rocks into an bottle of vinegar and check the periodically to see what
happens to them.

I don't know about diamonds, but vinegar will completely dissolve some types of
rock and badly damage most of them.

It's just as easy to do it right as it is to glue them down. Tie them with leather or thread (not fishing line or a derivitive thereof) or strap them down with mylar. Practice a time or two on a scrap of board.
We're getting dangerously close to geology here and I am feeling a nearly irresistible urge to expound.

Instead, I think I'll go to bed and spare you all.

Don't push your luck, though.
Originally posted by jframe:

It's just as easy to do it right as it is to glue them down.
And this to me is the real answer. Are you really saving that much time, effort, and money by doing it any other way? Probably not. (In fact, in the long run, a few strips of mylar is probably cheaper than silicone anyway!)

just checked the box of arrowheads that my mother in law put together back when she started teaching in 1943. . . .

Elmers white glue.... not one is ready to budge from their moorings.

Hmmmmmm, I wonder if Okrum was a framer.....

just glue the **** things down and be done with it. BTW: China is turning out about 5,000-10,000 reproduction-hand-chipped-arrowheads a day.

I just bought a few @ $2.50 each. Don't ask.... Frank's Fabric Adhesive, what else.

AS FOR: TACKY QUESTION? "What's your budget?" is always a good one. :D
The only reason I brought up the hardness of rocks is because about thirty years ago I decided to frame my favorite rocks. These were a variety of 1" or smaller pieces that I have treasured since childhood.

I siliconed them all onto linen matboard and stuck 'em in a frame with no glass. Last year I got tired of dusting them and I redid them into a "book box" project but first I had to peel them off of the linen and peel the silicone off of them.

The silicone peeled neatly off of all of the rocks except one - this was a sparkly unknown flaky kind of black mineral. I lost a few sparkles, embedded in the silicone.

Other than that, the rest were clean, at least to me (without a scanning electron microscope!).

Rock on!!!
I rarely weigh in on framing issues as I feel so unqualified when against so many more learned than I.

But, when we make these "historical representations" (and it doesn't make any difference if it is an arrowhead or a document), I would suggest if it is "priceless", perhaps it need not be framed at all?

I firmly believe that no matter how skillful we suggest we are, the moment we expose to any part of the framing process,we do some damage. It may be no less than exposing it to environmental considerations (light, airborne pollution, so many things beyond our control)

When do we draw the line between "protectors of history" and people trying to make a living?

If you truly wish to protect what you frame, then, don't frame it all.
That's a stretch, Bob, but point taken.

One of the main reasons I would find a way, other than glue, to attach them down is it will make them look more important. I think one of our design goals should always be "Make the object look more important than it really is."

Isn't that why we put a $20 piece of glass over a $5 coated poster?

I got a certificate from my new employer for perfect attendance in January. Nearly EVERYONE got the same certificate, which says something like, "Thanks for showing up" but I plan to put mine in a 4" wide gold Baroque frame and hang it in my cubicle.

And the arrowheads are among the few objects for which I probably wouldn't look to clear film. It seems so out-of-character.

Leather, sinew or even cotton thread would seem to be more appropriate.
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:

Leather, sinew or even cotton thread would seem to be more appropriate.
In that case, I know leather shoe laces are cheaper than silicone glue!

I did a huge collection of arrowheads about a year ago. The customer had wired them down himself to the backing board. He had used a brass colored wire and it looked great.

Problem was, there where over five hundred arrowheads, the wire just did not work on all of them. After I had it completely fit and finished in the shadowbox, several heads fell out of their wire restraints.

Naturally, not one had even jiggled in the slightest during all the handling before the frame was made and finished.

Like the caring conservator I am, after trying twice to re-wire those %@*&** ofitches, I selected Tacky Glue from my arsenal of conservation supplies.

The reason I used Tacky Glue instead of our much beloved Silicone, is because it is better! Tacky Glue is water soluble, even after it is dry. If some future arrowhead collector wants to remove the glue, all he has to do is soak it in water.

Water could be detrimental to the arrowhead your thinking. I'm thinking that the little piece of rock had spent at least a hundred years out in the elements. Rain, snow, wind, sand, mud, sun, etc., non of that **** could hurt that little piece of rock over all that time. I don't think soaking it in a cereal bowl for a few hours will make much difference to it.

I would go even further by proposing that string and wire or even cotton thread will probably do more harm to the arrowheads than Tacky Glue ever would. Things move, they expand and contract, wire and threads could, over time, leave their mark on the arrowheads.

And there's always the possibility that these items mean absolutely NOTHING to the customer, who is paying the bill. They may just want to drag them out of the archival coffee can they've been keepin' 'em in and frame 'em for their 5 yr old grandson, who likes them.

Or, she may want them to have the true museum treatment, in which case she should have gone to a museum and gotten their advice.

I see nothing wrong with asking her some questions to determine their value to HER, then giving her some or all of the options posted here, and the cost of each. Let her decide. SHE'S paying for them.
Make no mistake, we would glue those bad boys down in a heart beat.

I have stated before, every frame shop ought to have a world class copier at the end of the counter.

Then everytime someone brought in that diploma, Cub Scout award, letter from the Governor, that we debate ad naseum, if we should dry mount or hinge, we would just make a great copy and frame the virtually indetectable copy and tell the client to return this priceless, irreplaceable heirloom back into the family vault. There, and only there, will it get the preservation that it deserves.

Two benefits:

We get to frame the project without fear of hearing from an attorney (and make the dad-gummed sale), and

We get an add-on sale for the color copy
After attending Jim Miller's class on shadowbox's today I am convinced more than ever that there are too many other alternatives than glue. First off, glue has already failed her, was it the glue or possibly one or both surfaces won't keep a bond with the glue? There are too many reversible methods that truly are as easy and no more time consuming. It is just a matter of learning the techniques.

Dang, this thread took on almost a sneering reaction to calling arrowheads artifacts. I don't care how plentiful they are, they still are part of history and that is the way I choose to see them.
I find it amusing that there is so many opposing views on preservation or not. Let me just say this, to all those shops that are unwilling to "glue" arrowheads, send your customers to me. If there is any shops unwilling to mount them with thread, mylar, copper wire, etc, send me your customers also. I will give MY customers what they want.

This thread is one of the reasons I visit here often. Where else would we feel comfortable hashing out 'should' or 'should not' issues like these?

Thanks Everyone for making this such a great place!