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Author Topic: Face Mounting on Plexi Glass  (Read 14290 times)
VDye
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« on: August 26, 2011, 11:44:54 AM »
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I like the look of this process for some of my fine art images. I am looking for information on the process. I am not interested in doing it myself.

What kind of archivability does this have? I was concerned with some posts on another thread saying this process does not last for long. I sell archival prints so this is a huge concern for me.

What labs have anyone used? Was the product good?

I have read about the different methods, Optimount and Diatec, mostly interested in how long it lasts.

Thanks,

Victoria
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deanwork
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2011, 09:25:16 PM »
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From my research this is the place to direct your questions. They do a hell of a job but are quite expensive. However, they will talk to you about your options. I don't think anyone knows as much about it as they do.

http://www.laumont.com/services/mounting-lamination.html

Laumont does both Diasec , face mounting with a silicone liquid, which is the best way to do this BY FAR, but very tedious and few know how to do it well. This is the original method developed in Switzerland and can last for decades if done well. It can be very effective visually.

 And, the other less permanent method, which uses thermo plastic ( heat ) mounting. The problem with this pressure/heat adhesive method is that even if it IS done right, which is extremely rare, eventually this is going to become "delaminated" and pull of the mount. How long it will last is a crap shoot. I've had friends who had work in galleries that de-laminated in a matter of weeks, and turned them off to it forever. This method also requires very smooth gloss papers with inkjet. C prints seem to work the best.  Our attempt with even a fairly smooth HP Satin inkjet paper was hit and miss due to the slight texture. We had to switch to a totally gloss surface, and they even screwed that up.

The deal is with face mounting is the lab has to be totally ultra-clean and have totally pristine mounting rollers if you are using the pressure method. MOst of these lab use the same equipment for print mounting and plexi-face mounting. Not good.  I've had this done twice in Atlanta by different labs and they screwed it up several times. I gave up after 4 40x60 prints were ruined. The primary reason being the rollers of the press that adheres the mounting adhesive were not clean and stuck to the plexi, and in the other lab's case the mounting area was less than perfectly clean of debris and resulted in debris under the plexi which was horrendous.

Almost no commercial labs do the good Diasec method because the cost is prohibitive and the other methods are usually used for non-permanent commercial ad photo uses that don't have to be totally free of dirt and bubbles.

I've talked to several people in different parts of the US who bought expensive equipment do both methods and wish they had never gotten involved with it. It is very demanding to do it right and very time consuming. Laumont does a lot of it though for galleries in NY and I've seen their work and it is first rate, if you have the cash.

j
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Colorwave
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 09:39:11 PM »
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I read about a reasonably new venture that specializes in acrylic prints, called AcrylicPix.  They were touted by Andrew Darlow in his newsletter.  I haven't tried them yet, but wonder if anybody else on LL has used them, and how their direct printing compares to the face mount process in print quality and durability?

http://www.acrylicpix.com/
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 05:32:04 PM by Colorwave » Logged

tim wolcott
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 12:19:34 AM »
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THis is really bad idea.  I had dinner with Henry Wilhelm, and of course if you know my background.  I had to bring this subject up and I think he new it was going to be brought up.  He knows how I feel about processes that inherently hurt the value or life expectancy of an image.

Those of you who do not my background I helped design the Evercolor process and in 1994 made the first pigment inkjet photograph.  The goal was to turn dye based printing processes to have everything being worked on in the pigment printing technology.  I figured if we could change this idea of dyes to pigments then the whole photographic color printing would move to archival development.

So you have brief idea of my mindset.  This idea has no merits outside of display.  But selling these prints, when they get scratched 'the plexi' the prints will look horrible and not have any display purposes or value to your customers.

There is an old saying never ever let your customers see the faults in your work.  But Henry and discussed this at great length and we both said there is no upside to this idea.  Just use AR truVue or Optium  atleast you have some value.  Tim
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tom b
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2011, 02:15:02 AM »
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I recently saw an exhibition of Catherine Nelson's highly manipulated photography in Sydney. She would have sold close to US$200 000 worth of face mounted prints here and she is represented in Melbourne and Paris. I could easily see here selling over US$500 000 in prints from this series. It would be interesting to see what will happen in the future to these prints. The workmanship on the framing was of a very high standard and the one and a half metre square prints looked fantastic.

Cheers,
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2011, 06:31:22 AM »
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PlexiFlex does this.  But be warned, their customer service is terrible.  I tried to email them after Darwin Wiggett blogged about their prints and got no response.  I finally had to call them to get any information.  Darwin's written an updated blog post about them and their service.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2011, 11:29:05 AM »
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I will wait and laugh as they the photographer and the gallery gets sued for selling a product that has no upside once the images gets scratches on it or if its made with chromagenic dyes it also fades quickly.  The higher the price the faster the law suit.  I'm not saying they don't look very good.  When Iris prints and polaroid prints were made they looked good, but the lawsuits happened and its just not good for the photographic industry.  T
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Sven W
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2011, 01:38:59 PM »
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The one who knows most about face mounting is Martin C Jürgens:
http://www.martinjuergens.net/Assets/download/Queens_Thesis_Juergens.pdf

And everything you want to know about the rest of digital printing:
http://www.martinjuergens.net/deutsch/buch.htm


/Sven
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ghaynes754
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2011, 03:27:06 PM »
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Sven

Interesting article but I'm not sure about why he would age plexi at 55-65C.  Don't know about you but I don't know any of my customers that would be viewing the images at those temps.  I didn't gather that he did testing using light aging like Wilhelm or others.  Wouldn't that make more sense.

I do agree that for 'archival' prints that I don't think I would want a print I bought (Ansel Adams, etc) face mounted. But for the consumer who is using it to decorate a home I would ask why not if they are happy with their purchase I the maker discloses the downsides to acrylic mounting.
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narikin
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2011, 04:28:57 PM »
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Do a forum search on this - it has been very well covered in these pages.  There is no need to repeat that.

Laumont does both Diasec , face mounting with a silicone liquid, which is the best way to do this BY FAR, but very tedious and few know how to do it well. This is the original method developed in Switzerland and can last for decades if done well. It can be very effective visually

Laumont does NOT do Diasec, they do their own version of it using liquid silicone face mounting.

As you say the process was developed in Switzerland, and Diasec is a licensed process with propitiatory silicone. There is nobody in the USA with a full Diasec license.  Including Laumont.

Be careful about using them as well.  If they trash your prints when they mis-mount them, they say it is not their problem, and give you no compensation.
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davidh202
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 04:36:27 PM »
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I have been in the Photofinishing,Art, and Framing business since 1972 and have seen and sold many products that lay claim as being 'archival',  'permanent', or have 'preservation quality', come and go with the passing wind.
 There are just way too many variables from the quiality of the materials and labor used to manufacture them , to quality of the end users  viewing and storage conditions, to be able to guarantee that you can expect these prints to last longer than a reasonable product lifetime.
Truth is if you like the look, are willing to accept the fact that your prints may not realistically last for more than 5-10 years in a non degradable state of enjoyable viewing ...fine.
Don't put your reputation on the line by trying to represent these products as anything other than the  "Decorative Art" that they are!
David
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VDye
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2011, 09:34:02 AM »
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I would like to thank everyone for their opinions. It is as I feared, the process looks cool but is not archival. I will continue to look into other methods.
Victoria
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bbrantley
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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2011, 07:27:01 AM »
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I agree with the conclusion, but I just wanted to rebut one of the issues raised in the discussion.

When acrylic is scratched (and it can be, fairly easily), it is no big deal to take the scratches out with the right polishing compounds.  Most minor scratches will come out in seconds.  Even rather deep gouges can be worked out with some effort and skill. 

Obviously, if you go at the surface with an awl you can damage it beyond repair, but minor sideswipes are no big deal.



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MandyS
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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2011, 10:09:40 AM »
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'Archival' is one of those terms that is thrown around, sometimes by people with little understanding of it's meaning.
Archival in this context means products that stand the test of time and are produced in a method that is PH neutral.
It refers to the ability of paper or other items to withstand the effects of time. In the case of printed items and Photographs, the ability of the images to retain their color or blackness over long periods of time. In the case of paper, it is made with the intent of having an extended lifespan without discoloration or deterioration.

Let me start by stating that I am a Diasec® licence holder. (yes it is correct that there are no Diasec® producers in North America).

Diasec® was the first method of face mounting to acrylic. It was developed in Europe for the advertising industry primarily. After time, the fine art photographic industry  came to realise that although it is not a true conservation method of mounting (it is not reversible), images that are face mounted with Diasec®, are holding their colours and paper integrity. Images from the early 1970's are still going well. The process contains no plasticisers and cures to be an inert product (in the PH sense). the acrylic and aluminium materials used are also inert product in the conservation sense, and these combine to ensure a long life of the  Diasec image.

Many factors determine whether a product  is 'archival'or not. The paper and the printing process of photos is one major factor. We have all seen images fade or deteriorate before our eyes due to poor paper quality or poor printing processes. These items are sometimes mounted or framed and it is usually the framer or mounting person who is called on first, to explain themselves when images lose condition.

Many of the world's great art galleries including Metropolitan Musem of Art, Tate Galleries, etc, etc all carry Diasec® mounted images in their collections.
 They often get around the 'archival',factor by taking two copies of the image intothe collection - one to be 'archived' and one for display.

Some golden rules when face mounting or any other form of non reversible mounting such as self adhesive boards, wet mounting etc.NEVER mount anything that cannot be reproduced. Shall I say it again?...NEVER mount anything that cannot be reproduced.

When you get this sort of thing done, use experienced businesses with a strong reputation. Many many things come into the equation of a quality and successful permanent mounting job.

If you truely want an 'archival" process for your image (by this I assume you mean reversible and will not cause deterioration of the photos), you will need to hinge the photos and place it in a frame with a UV glazing and unbuffered (yes folks - photos like acids!!) mat boards that contain Zealite microchamber technology and a corflute or aluminium backing with a cotton rag barrier to absorb moisture). You may not like the cost though!  You cannot glue, stick, adhere any photos if you want 'archival" - hinging is the only 'archival' option.

But let me tell you, not many are doing this. We work with lots of internationally known fine art photographers with their images in major art galleries, worth $100,000's  and some of them do so, but many do not. One of our clients recently sold an image of $1,000,000.00 (and the work was not 'archival".) - No we did not mount or frame it.


Scratches on acrylic are indeed becoming a smaller issue as there are great scratch removal products available. You can also use scratch resistant acrylic if this is such an issue for you. We use it some high traffic jobs such as the 2.4 metre image going in a lightbox in a lift (elevator) in a major city skyscraper.

Laminate face mounting products (or any sort of laminate) are not 'archival" and they have a high failure rate. even the experts have a 15% wastage of images they try and face mount this way. Less experienced people have a failure rate of 30 -50%. Trying to work with a highly static material such as acrylic and a sticky laminate film with no dust particles falling on the  image is impossible. This is one of the great benifits of working with Diasec (as an aside). Even when you get the image to work, you face the problem of having the photo backed Often with a PVC material which caused degradation of the photo over time from the Chlorides. The acrylic expands a lot and this causes the face mount laminate to create a 'spider web' appearance over time on the face of the image as it is stretched when the acrylic expands etc. I have gone on long enough I am sure. If you are still reading this, I hope  it helps.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 10:36:54 AM by MandyS » Logged
MandyS
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2011, 10:42:47 AM »
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Almost no commercial labs do the good Diasec method because the cost is prohibitive /quote]

Diasec is not prohibitive. I charge about the same as the guys who use laminates to face mount.

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davidh202
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2011, 02:33:06 PM »
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Let me start by stating that I am a Diasec® licence holder. (yes it is correct that there are no Diasec® producers in North America).

 
Mandy,
Thanks for that eloquent explaination of the term "archival"
It is many times misunderstood, misinterpreted,  and unscrupulously misused.
Preservation is a far better general term ;-)

I am very curious as to why there are no licensed Diasec vendors here in the states .Do you know if  it is a matter of not being able to legally control the license, or could it be a matter of exporting or importing the material (patent rights infringments)?
there are a couple who are misrepresenting themselves saying their process is AKA Diasec
David
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2011, 10:28:42 PM »
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If  you have a good laminating setup, you can facemount to glass or acrylic using a product like seal Optimount or Optimount Ultra.

Here's a decent video that shows the process ... it makes it look pretty easy but I haven't tried it yet so I have no clue how easy/difficult it might actually be.


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Gemmtech
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« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2011, 02:09:28 AM »
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WOW,

The term "Archival" again, yuk!  This has been discussed ad infinitum and I'm sorry Mandy, your ambiguous definition is no better or eloquent than any other.

Quote
'Archival' is one of those terms that is thrown around, sometimes by people with little understanding of it's meaning.
Archival in this context means products that stand the test of time and are produced in a method that is PH neutral.

Isn't "Stand the test of time" ambiguous at best?  Seriously, what does that mean?  100 years?  200 years?  1000 years? 10,000 years? 30,000 Years (some cave paintings have survived this long)
I doubt many if any photographers here or elsewhere will print a photo that somebody will want in its current state in 1000 years (a very short period of time, geologically speaking).

Quote
Diasec® was the first method of face mounting to acrylic. It was developed in Europe for the advertising industry primarily.

OT, I'm not being pugnacious, but am always curious why people state "It's from Europe" or "It was developed in Europe" do people say "It was developed in North America" or "I'm going to North America"
they are after all both continents.  I do suppose some people think Africa is a country!  Diasec was developed in Switzerland; my favorite country!

Quote
NEVER mount anything that cannot be reproduced. Shall I say it again?...NEVER mount anything that cannot be reproduced.


You can say it 1000 times and it still is nonsense!  IOW, EVERYTHING, including the Mona Lisa can be reproduced and I mean so well in fact that it will fool 99.99999% of all people including all the experts.
Just look at the forgeries that have fooled everybody, need I list them?  If somebody can duplicate a Da Vinci so well that they have to study and test it for years to verify its authenticity doesn't it become the "original"?  I'm sorry, I'm not hung up on the art's history as most are, but rather the art itself.  A Van Gogh is only worth $100 million today because of the hype!  Many works by Van Gogh were burned, thrown out, put into storage, etc. because they weren't deemed valuable.  Now the "pundits" try to preserve them because of their "value" :-)

Diasec, they try to sell it as the original formula to Coke or KFC, but seriously, it's silicone!  I know, it's all in the primer.  However at the end of the day, ALL photographs can be replicated and I can only imagine that in the future it'll even be easier.  There is the rare (very rare) photograph that sells to some idiot with more money than brains for over $1 million, but it's not like the crazy art (paintings) world and never will be.  There isn't a photograph or painting that can't be forged well enough to fool everybody.

"archival" give me a break, it's a BS term and has no meaning regarding the "art" world.  Preservation, sure, I'll agree, we can preserve art for a certain amount of time, however as time has shown, NOTHING is forever!  The earth isn't forever, who cares if a photograph or painting will last 1000 years? 
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MandyS
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« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2011, 07:34:24 AM »
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I agree with a lot of what you say Gemmtech and David.
We prefer to use the word "preservation"' also.

Two of my favorite words are Ärchival"and ( my personal "favorite!! ) ""äcid free""  !!
I sometimes feel like screaming when people bandy these words around.


I also love the term ''archival ink" . What the heck is that?

Well this is best for a different thread.

Diasec is not in USA or Canada for a variety of reasons. This will not always be the case.
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davidh202
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« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2011, 09:15:02 AM »
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An even worse term that has been perpetrated on the masses is

 "COLLECTABLE"
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