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Author Topic: To coat or not to coat...  (Read 2200 times)
pwbrian
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« on: November 15, 2012, 12:45:54 PM »
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A co-worker and I are debating and I'm hoping you all might help me settle it.  The inks for our Z2100 are guaranteed not to fade for 108 years.  He says we don't need to coat them since they're guaranteed and it will just slow turn around times.  I'd like to coat them.  My understanding is the inks, while guaranteed, will fade in direct sun and that a UV coating is needed.  Plus, I like the idea of added scratch protection.  But, is coating necessary with the new inks?  The last large format printer I worked with coated them.  That was a while back now so I'm wondering if that's still the best way to go. 

So, is coating old school or still standard practice for canvas prints?  I appreciate any advice. 



I hope I'm right  Tongue
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 02:19:20 PM »
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This sounds like a job for Windex Man!

Place a bare scrap print against the wall.  From a distance of a few feet direct a sprayed blast of Windex or any randomly selected household cleaner towards the bare print, so a few drops land on the surface.  Then for a real thrill move in close and spray the surface right next to the print as though your were cleaning the imaginary frame or wall surrounding the print.  Make your own conclusions of about how much of that 108 year "guarantee" you want to be responsible for to your client.  Smiley

And while that UV spray may slow fading down, one must remember that visible light is almost as bad as UV, especially at the blue end of the visible spectrum.  For complete protection from all visible sources of radiation, I highly recommend either Krylon Gloss Black or Bright Yellow sprays.  Smiley
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 03:41:58 PM »
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Standard practice - not an option, unless you are printing with a solvent printer.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 07:25:05 PM »
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A co-worker and I are debating and I'm hoping you all might help me settle it.  The inks for our Z2100 are guaranteed not to fade for 108 years.  He says we don't need to coat them since they're guaranteed and it will just slow turn around times.  I'd like to coat them.  My understanding is the inks, while guaranteed, will fade in direct sun and that a UV coating is needed.  Plus, I like the idea of added scratch protection.  But, is coating necessary with the new inks?  The last large format printer I worked with coated them.  That was a while back now so I'm wondering if that's still the best way to go. 

So, is coating old school or still standard practice for canvas prints?  I appreciate any advice. 



I hope I'm right  Tongue
So what I didn't see in your post is what the purpose of the prints are ... how critical is print permanence.  Are these collector prints or are they for POP advertising? What are the display conditions - are you worried about sunlight?

108 years is probable "optimal" meaning dark storage protected from atmosphere, humidity, UV.  Even a UV coating won't prevent fading in direct sunlight.  And I'd be curious who "guarantees" they won't fade - where is this documented?
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 09:26:23 PM »
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It's not so much an issue of UV protection, but other environmental factors. Assuming the canvas will be displayed without glazing, the coating will make it much more resistant to scratches, scuffs, spills, and airborne pollutants that could affect print life.

I've been working recently with some of the gloss canvases, which have much better gamut and DMax than matte canvas (almost as good as the latest fiber-gloss fine art papers).  I would say spray-coating is pretty much mandatory with these despite with the manufacturers claim. I found gallery wraps would crack if not coated first. I also think the gloss canvases look better coated; the coating takes away some of the "sparkle" that these canvases have when the light hits them a certain way. After coating they have more of a semi-gloss look which I much prefer.
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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 10:02:49 PM »
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One of the foibles of pigmented inkjet receivers is that they are micro porous. Epson found out about the problems with micro porous coatings and their 1280 dye printer many years ago--the infamous "orange fade" problem. This caused a major overhaul of dye/pigment fade testing, not only from light, but also Ozone a highly reactive gas.

So yes, it is extremely advantageous to seal the surface of pigmented prints to extend the life from fading not from light, but from atmospheric contaminates. Most art prints are sealed under glass, but canvas prints are wide open to ozone, and also liquids.

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tim wolcott
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 11:25:34 PM »
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Fading starts from the day its made!  Although very slowly, so to say it won't fade for X years is BS.  But what the others have said is true.  Whats the display method and how long do you want it to last.  If someone sprays it its over.  The scratching is another big issue.  As John Travolta said in Phenomenon.  (Specifics).

The one thing about this forum and others there are very smart people with a tremendous hands on knowledge.  The other thing is not to believe the manufacturer needs to be third party.  TW
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Paul2660
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 07:58:50 AM »
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I agree with Bill T, the windex test or just water.  Any matte canvas non coated will show fingerprint oil, scratches and just be next to impossible to stretch without a scratch.  You can coat matte canvas with many options, Breathing color now has a matte version of Timeless which does an excellent job of retaining the matte look of your print and still protecting it.

With a glossy or semigloss canvas, it's still a good idea to coat them.  When I mount a glossy canvas print to gator, I always coat it since the process of mounting it to the gator will sometimes require you to wipe off the canvas with a damp cloth.  (If you get any of the glue on the face which can happen easily)  A wet or damp cloth on any non coated glossy canvas will pull off the ink or effect the gloss.

Some of the newer glossy canvas types seem to handle very well for stretching.  I have many  Crystalline prints sold over the past 2 years that were stretched and not coated.  However I always provide a notice recommended handling conditions for such prints.  If these prints are going in office buildings, or hospitals, etc. they are coated.  You can never control the environment in these situations.  People will touch, or spray the prints with cleaning solutions and thus ruin them.  As for cracking at the edges, so far I am not seeing this with Crystalline.  I am using a standard  1 1/2 inch bar from Larson.

I would recommend spray coating a glossy canvas as rolling on the coating (especially on larger prints) can take off the ink.  I currently use Timeless and love it.  It's pretty bomb proof once it dries and it does offer a UV protective coating.   The only issue you run into, at least for me, is getting "hot spots" where you have sprayed a bit more strongly.  These are hard to avoid sometimes but using a good spray gun and working on technique help.

I will also add that a Timeless/Lyve Canvas solution can be a great alternative to get to a glossy/semi gloss look.

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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pwbrian
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 09:37:39 AM »
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I really appreciate all the input.  Glad to hear I wasn't just being manic.

We'll be printing mostly photo to art treatments done with Photoshop (our core biz) with some photo and art prints.  I'd say 80% are in homes, the rest in businesses.  Some will be dry mounted and framed under glass but most will be stretched.   These will be collector prints.  Like I said, I personally like the idea of a coating just for a better quality product and consumer resistance haha.  You know when someone is so firm on a subject that you start to question whether you're right or not?  That's what I was starting to do.  I just wanted to make sure I didn't cave without knowing for sure.  I'll pass all this on.   

Wayne - I misread / misheard "guarantee."  HP says "Original HP photo inks deliver bright, amazing colors that resist fading for 108 years."  Resist being the operative word there. 

So while we're on canvas... anyone have a good source for stretcher bars?  We have a source but are always looking for ways to be cost effective.
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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 07:04:27 PM »
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I've had good luck with ASW.
http://www.aswexpress.com/?gclid=CJiV6v_l1LMCFXGRPAod_wYAgg

Regarding the life of HP z prints, their inks are engineered for a more "linear" fade.That is why their Wilhelm ratings are almost double those of Epson & Canon.
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darlingm
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2012, 02:36:48 PM »
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I'd also spend some time really considering the language you want to use with your customers.  If you say anything along the lines of guarantee, you'll have to back that up.  While you could choose to do that, realize that none of your suppliers will assist you with this.  You aren't going to be able to "exchange" canvas or ink that faded early - the manufacturers specifically disclaim anything along these lines.  I typically explain the testing that is done, but also throw in there that only time will tell for sure, and I've had no issues going that route.  That being said, if there's an occasional issue I'd just replace it for customer satisfaction.  However, if longevity testing wound up being way off on some of this stuff, like a new canvas or ink, it could be disastrous to a printing company to have to replace nearly everything under a "guarantee".

For your original question, if your partner still budge, make two identical prints.  Only coat one.  Do Bill's Windex testing, also bang the corners on the wall a few times, rub your fingernail across it, even spray some water on it.  Like others I haven't found any canvas (outside of solvent ink) that backs up any claim of not being needed to be coated.  One manufacturer started making that claim, and the others followed suit as marketing...
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Mike Westland Printworks
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philbaum
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 02:22:34 PM »
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It's not so much an issue of UV protection, but other environmental factors. Assuming the canvas will be displayed without glazing, the coating will make it much more resistant to scratches, scuffs, spills, and airborne pollutants that could affect print life.

I've been working recently with some of the gloss canvases, which have much better gamut and DMax than matte canvas (almost as good as the latest fiber-gloss fine art papers).  I would say spray-coating is pretty much mandatory with these despite with the manufacturers claim. I found gallery wraps would crack if not coated first. I also think the gloss canvases look better coated; the coating takes away some of the "sparkle" that these canvases have when the light hits them a certain way. After coating they have more of a semi-gloss look which I much prefer.


I definitely agree with Jeff's comments. These are 2 of my experiences that many help:

a) I displayed conventional glazed pictures in a tourist restaurant for a few years - wasn't doing canvas at that time.  I eventually pulled out my pictures and cleaned them after finding all types of disagreeable residue on the glass, from coffee spatters, sticky saliva or something from kids i suppose, and more :-(.   The point is: don't expect that the public will respect any warnings about not touching art work, they will and you can expect all manners of debris to land on the face of your art work, IMO.

b) We have 3 cats, and they can easily jump 5 feet high, judging from the areas we've found them on.  One of my favorite canvas pictures had what looked like a dirty paw scuff/scratches in one area.  (None of the cats admitted to the scuff marks, but who can really tell :-)).   In my mind, i had written that canvas off, but thought i would try to clean the scuff mark with a damp cloth and mild soap.  I was surprised when it all the dirt/scratches(i thought) came off - as good as new.  This canvas was printed by a commercial company that specializes in canvas and coats their products with a WR coating.

c) I subsequently tried cleaning another scrap canvas from that same company, and cloth cleaning with mild soap had no deteriorating effect.  However, i then tried a synthetic scrubbing pad from the kitchen, and it started taking off the print.  I guess there are limits  Cheesy

I have now started printing some small canvases myself, and will definitely be coating them.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 02:26:38 PM by philbaum » Logged
bill t.
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 05:18:59 PM »
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Yup, restaurants are the best!  I have several huge pieces up at Friday night favorite restaurant featuring greasy comfort food such as burgers & fries.  "Kelly's" for those in the know.  The amount of grease on the coated canvas is just astonishing and has changed the look of the prints.  Think Sistine Chapel before its famous cleaning.  That's a good comparison, actually, me and Michelangelo, I like that!  But I digress.  Plan A is that when they call me to haul the stuff away, it all goes straight to the dumpster.

Semiconductor manufacturing clean rooms should be just about optimal for uncoated canvas.  Can't recommend anywhere else.
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philbaum
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2012, 03:59:09 AM »
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....The amount of grease on the coated canvas is just astonishing and has changed the look of the prints.  Think Sistine Chapel before its famous cleaning.  That's a good comparison, actually, me and Michelangelo, I like that!  But I digress.  Plan A is that when they call me to haul the stuff away, it all goes straight to the dumpster.

Semiconductor manufacturing clean rooms should be just about optimal for uncoated canvas.  Can't recommend anywhere else.
That's horrible - i hope you can salvage the prints.  I'm getting more selective on where i'll show my work.  It seems to me that some of these establishments that want the look of an art show, should be paying the artist to show his work.  by the time you add up the transportation costs, time spent hanging the stuff, and wear and tear on the prints - if its not a hotbed of activity - its not worth it :-)  But one does learn a lot from these experiences of what people like and are willing to buy.
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bill t.
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2012, 05:46:38 PM »
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In that case a few pieces lost to grease are well worth it.  The restaurant refers all inquiries to a gallery not far away, which has meant a lot of sales.  The young people who go to that restaurant are not normally inclined to visit art galleries, so it's a winning situation even though in that particular venue I don't make direct sales.

Otherwise restaurants are a mixed bag.  If you have flashy, big images well placed, and the restaurant is willing to process the sale for you right there on the spot, you can do pretty well.  But the tendency is for art on restaurant walls to simply fade into the overall decor, paid for by you.  Don't bother with merely pretty pictures.  You need local interest stuff, preferably of a stunning nature.
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