Warped Item Help Needed

Janis

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Kansas
Customer brought in a warped painting - not sure of the medium, we think it's oil. It survived a fire, but is severely warped from the water. Will rewetting it on the back side and placing weights on it flatten it safely? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Janis
 

Framerguy

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First of all, that is a project that should be handled by a conservator.

The type of substrate IS important because if it is a composite like MDF or masonite, adding more water to it will probably do more damage than what has already been done. I am assuming that it isn't done on canvas or you wouldn't have asked that straightening question.

I don't understand why you would want to take on the responsibility of handling a damaged piece of artwork if you are not very familiar with the restoration of fire damaged art??? What is the piece worth? Has an appraisel been done yet? Who is liable for the piece if you squirt water on the back and it crumbles into a little pile of sawdust? That could very well happen if the art is done on MDF and you dissolve the glue holding everything together!

Take some free advice, let a conservator do the repairs and save yourself alot of headaches. That is coming from 18 years of a "heck, how hard can THAT be to fix" attitude!!
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Framerguy
 

Janis

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It's not an expensive piece; just one of the very few items that customer was able to salvage from their house fire. Likley was painted by an art student from the local junior college. This is a rural community, low income - customer can't afford a conservator - the reason she brought it to me.

The board it's painted on is "Frederix artist canvas panel.
 

Val

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Putting it into a frame will probably straighten it out. Try that. ;)
 

Emibub

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Don't put it in a frame with hopes of forcing it to straighten out. If it is that warped you could snap it and it would crack. A humidity chamber seems the way to go depending on how the moisture would effect the paint. But, the humidity chamber would allow it to slowly revert back to it's original shape. Who knows what the water has done to the integrity of the canvas board.....definitely wait to hear what Hugh or Rebecca have to say.
 

Rebecca

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You could see if they are interested in framing as is in a deep frame, as a kind of testiment to it's history.

Often insurance covers conservation treatment, they might speak to their adjuster. Depending on size etc. it might not be all that much to send it to a conservator, unless anything over $25.00 would be too much.

To try and flatten it themselves (and I'd suggest that the owner rather than you try it as you're not getting paid to do it and so are taking on needless risk/possible angst for no compensation?)it would likely be the old humidify and press treatment.

As other have suggested, humidity chamber - many variations on how to build one, the idea is to have the item exposed to high humidity for a day or so, so that the paperboard (it is paperboard isn't it?) can absorb the moisture evenly and slowly and relax a bit. (Watch out for condensation dripping on front!) Then sandwich between blotters, or white matboard, cover with rigid material like 1/4" glass or plexi, or plywood..., and weight. Change blotting material every day or so until it is quite dry (or warp will come back).

That is the simplest version - there are lots of varients like humidifying with Goretex, using spunbond polyester release sheets to avoid possible blocking, blowing warm air through corrugated interleaves, I know some framers use heat and their press to speed up the drying process. Sometimes the treatment needs to be repeated 2 or 3 times.

A lot of it is just having the materials on hand and often it is cheaper to have someone who has the materials do it than gather them all together one's self.

Good Luck.

Rebecca
 

Ron Eggers

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I'm still insulted that people who assume they can't afford a conservator figure we'll do the same thing for next-to-nothing.

I imagine the conservators are insulted, too.
 

Jerry Ervin

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North Carolina ... The Picture Frame Capital of th
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
I'm still insulted that people who assume they can't afford a conservator figure we'll do the same thing for next-to-nothing.

I imagine the conservators are insulted, too.
There is a lot of Framers out here that do a lot things for nothing.

I guess I am just as guilty as the next from time to time.
 

Rebecca

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Ron it is a two way street. Sometimes I have foolishly agreed/offered to do something in the framing realm, thinking "how hard can it be"? Hohoho, I don't do THAT anymore. lol.
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So I don't really feel insulted, it's more like been there, done that, they'll figure it out too. We all specialize for a reason!

Rebecca
 

Susan May

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Originally posted by Janis:
The board it's painted on is "Frederix artist canvas panel.
Frederix's canvas pannels are CARDBOARD. Do not add more water! The board will flatten by putting it in a frame. Now, I can't say the same for the painting, IT might not want to flatten out.

Good luck. Give it a trial push, see if the paint will go flat, without cracking. Remember that the paint has been exposed to high levels of heat, and therefore might be brittle.

(See what comes from growing up in a craft store?)
 

Val

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QUOTE]Frederix's canvas pannels are
CARDBOARD.
(See what comes from growing up in a craft store?)


Yep...that's why I said try putting into the frame first. Been there/done that. Almost always works. The paint usually stays on the cardboard.
 

Emibub

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Centennial, CO, USA
Originally posted by Val:

Yep...that's why I said try putting into the frame first. Been there/done that. Almost always works. The paint usually stays on the cardboard.
[/QUOTE

We are talking about a damaged canvas here folks, one that has already been exposed to moisture. The whole point of the humidity chamber is to let it flatten slowly. If it is truly warped more than the normal warp you find in any canvas board forcing it flat will crack the board and the paint. The humidity will allow it to relax gradually. Especially if the board has already received moisture, it's integrity has already been compromised.

I brought a damaged print home recently that had been crushed by the post office. The customer had already been compensated for the damage but she could not bring herself to throw it away. She was not interested in spending money to have it restored so I took it home and hung it in a steamy bathroom for an hour and that allowed it to uncurl naturally, I was then able to put some weights on it until it dried. The customer was very pleased with the results and we were able to frame it. Forcing it flat would have been disasterous.
 

Susan May

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Kathy, you are right that a humidity chamber would be the only way to add moisture, BUT it sounded like they were going to WET the back of the canvas board. Too much water is a bad thing.

Jerry, as for doing watercolors on a canvas board, what are they thinking? The normal canvas boards are designed for heavy paint, not the thin layers of pigment you get with traditional watercolors. However, there is a new product out also by Frederix that is a canvas for watercolor. It comes both as a sheet, and on a canvas board. It is designed to withstand the extra amount of moisture needed in watercolor painting, and the fabric is smoother than the original canvas.

Eeek! The craft store is leaking out of my brain!
 
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