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Very old flag mounting


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 11, 2004
Edwardsburg, MI
I have a very old flag approx 13X17 which I need to mount in order to include into a shallow shadow box. It's an old Chris Craft flag from the 1940's and is so threadbare and torn in various places that you can barely breath on it without it fluttering away. This has been an on-going project for almost a year and the Mahogany striped moulding from Garret is now available and I can proceed.

Some time ago I posted and it was suggested that I sew the flag onto a linen backing, however, due to the condition of the flag, I don't think sewing is very viable solution.

I would like to mount it onto a near white surface in order to keep this stained fabric as bright as possible.

- Frank's Fabric Adhesive on rag white board and dry mount?

- Dry Mount with extra white dry mount tissue I have in stock?

- Any other suggestions???

Good display is of more importance to the client than preservation or reversability.


Dave Makielski

How about a Stabilitex or Crepeline overlay? It has the added advantage of being reversible even if at this point in time the client says this is not a factor to him/her. For ease of reference, PFM featured the method sometime last year.
Dave, if it looks like my old pennent that beat itself to death, the end is fray and almost fringe..

I think you may have it with the adhesive. But I would roll it and let dry then carefully with low heat iron it on. From the 30s I would think they were cotton, later in the 50s they went to nylon I believe.. mine is all nylon but from the early 60s.

Post pictures and make sure you send copies to CC down in FL.
I'd prefer not to do the overlay as it'll have museum glass over it and the client wants nothing over it that isn't absolutely necessary.

I think I'll go ahead with the fabric adhesive.

I'll try to post pics later.


Dave Makielski
If you haven't seen what Stabiltex looks like over fabric, then you may be missing the least-risky, non-invasive mount.

The PFM article CAframer mentioned is on page 49 of the May, 2005 issue.
Thanks, Jim. I will check it out.

Dave Makielski
I also had an old flag to frame that was not in good condition. I followed Jim's direction in the PFM article and had great success. I got the stabilitex from Talas in NYC. Just make sure that you charge enough to cover for this product. You might need to purchase a sample book to choose the color and also shipping was about $9.00. I believe that it was $65/ yard and the minimum was one yard. Also you need to get the acrylic gloss medium. I don't think that I charged enough, but it was a great learning experience and I love Jim's method.
Susang, sometimes it isn't about the less evasive nature ...

I use Stabilitex less than twice a year, and its the $65/yd with 1yd minimum plus minimum handling fee, boxing fee and full freight UPS that stops the sale.

If I'm putting down a fragile flag, and the framing comes to $250 before the mount, the $170 ($85x2) plus one hour labor @ $60 pushes the flag over the $450... and into a walk.

If I used dozens of yards a month like Jim, it would be a common thing.. but for most framers, I think another direction is in order to be considered.

With a quick Google, I found this fun little cheap project... and I wonder what the frame will cost?

The flag will undergo a lengthy, complicated process. A high-quality photograph will be taken of the flag before it undergoes treatment. This photograph will hang in the display case in the flag’s absence. Next, the flag will be removed from the case and transported to Spicer’s workshop. There, she will vacuum it to remove particulate matter. She will remove the creases and bulges through humidification. During humidification, the flag is exposed to highly controlled humidity, causing the fibers to relax, thus allowing them to be straightened and aligned. The flag is then dried under weights. After determining whether or not the dyes will bleed, an additional moisture treatment may be applied to remove soluble residues. Fragmented stars will be secured together with a sheer polyester fabric called Stabiltex. Stabilitex will also encapsulate the entire flag to further stabilize and protect it.

The total budget for the project is $20,281. This includes preservation of the flag itself, the photograph of the flag, and a custom-built case in which to store and display the restored flag. So far, $18,100 has been raised towards the preservation effort.
This would be a good candidate for a pressure mount - the flag is lain on a slightly sunken but padded backmount and covered with plexi. There is very little pressure involved, completely reversible, and no "visual veils" that stabiltex and crepeline can create.

I've described them here before, which you may be able to find in the archives, or you can e-mail me - I'll be home in a few days and can reply then.

Pressue mounts have been used by conservators for many years now, and are a mainstream treatment.

Adhesives should not be used.

Originally posted by Rebecca:
This would be a good candidate for a pressure mount - the flag is lain on a slightly sunken but padded backmount and covered with plexi. There is very little pressure involved, completely reversible, and no "visual veils" that stabiltex and crepeline can create.
Do you recommend an outer glazing, spaced away from the mount glazing? Others have said the air space between glazing layers provides insulation for the frame package, important to slow the rate of changes and inhibit possible condensation. YesNoMaybe?

Using optically-coated acrylic for both layers makes the mount almost invisible.
I've never heard of condensation happening with acrylic, nor seen it on my own pieces. So I don't know about the insulation end of things, but I do know that some use double glazing, most likely with spacers, so that the outer layer can be replaced (scratches etc) without having to undo the pressure mount itself. I haven't done it myself.

Acrylic is a better insulator than glass, so condensation is slower to form on acrylic than on glass. But acrylic, like so many other materials, can form condensation when the conditions are right.

For example, when a customer picks up a finished frame at the shop when the temperature is 85 F degrees, with about 80% relative humidity. The frame goes into the customer's car trunk, which may be 120 degrees. Condensation may form on the outside of the frame.

Let's say the frame stays in there long enough to acclimate to the trunk environment of high temperature and high humidity -- perhaps all afternoon while she's at work. Then, what happens when she takes that 120 F degree, 85% RH frame into her 72 F degree house? Yup, condensation forms inside the frame. I have seen it happen, even with acrylic.

Such extreme conditions may not occur often, but how many doses of condensation does it take to harm an item pressed against the glazing?

Insulation may be the best reason to use double glazing for pressure mounts. The now-common anti-reflection acrylic products have the same optical coatings as used on glass, and they are applied to abrasion-resistant acrylic. So, scratching is much less a problem than with plain-finish acrylic.
Well, this thread has caused some very interesting discussion and I sincerely appreciate all the input and education.

After discussing all the pros and cons with my customer, he decided the value of the flag itself was not of monetary concern...that is...the flag is not that valuable that he is concerned with reversibility. When put into the terms..."do you want a $ 50.00 mount or a $ 250-400 mount?"...he responded...$ 50.00. Now the entire job will be about a $ 700.00 job when said and done, but he is more concerned in this case with presentation than preservation.

Thanks all.

Dave Makielski
Not Dave's concern anymore, but re condensation and acrylic, the more humid air in the package, the greater the possibility of condensation with a rapid drop in temperature. There is very little air in a pressure mount, and I have never heard any reports of condensation problems with them. One of their original uses was to protect textiles during travelling exhibitions, where some fluctuation in environment would be expected. Of course those fluctuations would probably not include hours in a 120 degree trunk at 85% humidity!