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AIM: New/Used Picture Framing Equip. 330-405-9421

thick substrate that is warped


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Oct 20, 2003
How do you deal with art on a thick substrate that is warped? Examples of items we’ve had are a painting on canvas board, an old mounted photograph (the customer didn't want the expense of having it copied), and an original collage where the artist used 8-ply mat board as the substrate.

My boss uses gatorboard as backing, (with a rag mat “barrier”) and tells me that it is no more acidic than fomecore.

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jul 6, 2001
an old mounted photograph (the customer didn't want the expense of having it copied)
I'm sorry, Framanista. I don't have an answer for you, but I'm struck by how many of our framing dilemmas contain statements like, "The customer doesn't want to pay for restoration (or a copy, or a deep-enough frame, etc.)"

They are always willing to have us attempt heroic measures, as long as they don't have to pay for them. I wonder if other professionals are as "easy" as we are.

Not sure about Gatorboard vs. fomeboard, but I'm pretty sure there's really no such thing as a rag board "barrier." If you have access to it, clear or archival Coroplast would be a safe and economical alternative.


Angry Badger
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Sep 1, 2000
Will the pieces flatten without cracking? The Gatorfoam makes a fair pressure plate but will probably deform eventually and more of the torque will be transfered to the frame. If you have sufficient depth to the frame, and if the artwork won't be damaged in the flattening process you can make a strainer with a number of cross bars to hold the work flat in the frame. Its a process known as cradling, I believe, and is used in helping to stabilize paintings on panel.
None of this is guaranteed to work with badly warped panels and any solutions other than the care of a conservator might cause more damage than good. "Just Say NO".


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Mar 23, 2001
These concern that Wally and Ron noted about cracking and about framers taking on problems that have been created by others are well worth keeping in mind, when a warped item comes into the shop.If such items must be framed, they can be installed in deeper frames without flattening.
Pushing them flat entails risks and if the item
has any significant value, the profit on the frame
is unlikely to warrant taking that risk.


Greg Fremstad

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Sep 4, 2002
4 Ply rag is no more a barrier than barrier paper. If you look at each in a microscope, they look like a scotch brite scouring pad. Both are very porous. I've seen a nice old print burned right through a 4 play rag mat that was behind an acid laden wood pulp mat. ECXCEPT where the ATG tape held the two mats together for cutting. ATG is a better barrier than 4 play rag board.
We’re here for you. www.wizardcutters.com


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 11, 2004
Shouldn't this be in Warped???

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jul 28, 2005
Welcome to the Picture Framers Grumble
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