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Author Topic: Antique style convex printing...  (Read 1544 times)
pwbrian
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« on: December 31, 2012, 03:39:45 PM »
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Hey there...

Anyone know how to print convex (bubble looking) antique style photos or someone that does convex printing?  I've only found one company online in NC that seems to do it.  Most of my customers are content restoring these images to 2-D.  I have one that would prefer to keep it convex.  Not sure if I want to attempt it.  Wondering if anyone knows the process or a possibly another printer who does this.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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DeanChriss
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 12:07:57 PM »
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This could still be done today but I don't know anyone who does it, and if you could find someone it would cost a small fortune.

The glass used for these prints was in a flat sheet that was laid on top of a convex surfaced mold and then put into an oven where it would deform, taking the shape of the mold.

The prints were made using a different concave surfaced mold that was sized to produce a paper surface slightly smaller than the glass mold so it would fit into the glass. This mold was coated with rag paper pulp and allowed to dry. You'll notice that these photos are very thick and look something like paper mache on the back side. After the paper was dry it was taken from the mold, which leaves a surface as smooth as the mold itself on the image side. Light sensitive photographic emulsion was then applied to the smooth convex surface. The emulsion was exposed in various ways over the years, the most common being a contact printing process using a waxed-paper negative. It wasn't perfect, but it didn't need to be. After exposure the whole thing was chemically developed and put back in the mold to dry so it would retain its shape. After this second drying the image was drawn over and/or painted over, improving the clarity and producing a color image. There were no color photographic emulsions in those days.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 12:09:41 PM by DeanChriss » Logged

- Dean
Ray Cox
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 10:06:28 AM »
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I just completed one of these images for a client who insisted that the print be convex. After a lot of thinking and a little trial and error I was able to complete the project. It gets a little to complicated for a post I believe. Sent you a pm. Let me know if I can help.    Ray
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framah
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 08:48:13 AM »
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I just completed one of these images for a client who insisted that the print be convex. After a lot of thinking and a little trial and error I was able to complete the project. It gets a little to complicated for a post I believe. Sent you a pm. Let me know if I can help.    Ray

Ray... if we can have a thread that is 55 pages or so long with EXTREME details about the inner workings of an epson print head, I think it would be ok to post your process as well. Wink

Plus, I'd LOVE to know how you did it!!
There are companies that make the curved glass and I do get customers in with these things that need restoring or possibly remaking. I'd love to offer that process.
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 10:52:18 AM »
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I too would love to hear more about this! Any basic concepts would be appreciated, from those that have real, hands-on experience.
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Bob Smith
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 12:41:35 PM »
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I did some prints a few years ago for a small frame shop that was trying to accomplish this.  They were asking me to supply prints on a thicker rag paper.  I think I used William Turner.  They had the glass from someone that supplies this sort of thing.  I know they were wetting the prints and then trying to form them to the curved shape of the glass.  I never saw the results but they said they had some limited success... however I think that they quickly realized that it was cost and time prohibitive for their particular situation.  I too would like to hear experiences from someone who's actually successfully done this sort of thing.

Bob Smith
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Ray Cox
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 07:09:26 PM »
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Framah.... Let's see if I can make this as simple as possible!   Yes, that other thread is making me incredibly nervous. I do all my printing with an Epson 4880 and 9900. The 9900 does 90% of the work. It is 27 months old, no firmware updates, no new wiper blade, an expired extended warranty, I can count all of the "clogs" on one hand, it just keeps chucking out beautiful paper and canvas!

Well, back to our regular programming. I too tried all of the obvious papers too no avail. If it were not for having to take the darkroom out of mothballs I would have tried that. I soaked various fiber papers trying to get them to mold. I agree that is not a good solution because the surface will always separate no matter how hard you try.

While trying to use papers, I had made a couple of moulds from the original glass. With one of the moulds I heated plexiglass in the oven and let it form to the shape of the glass. The contour was good but I was unable to control the edges. So.. I dropped back and thought about the advantage of being able to print the image on the trusty ol' 9900 and how that would allow me to get any type of image, not just b&w.

Canvas came up as my first choice of media. Now all I had to do is figure out how to shape it and have it retain that shape.

As luck would have it, my boots were due to be waterproofed. Like Eric my mind began to wander! Because I print and spray canvas I am very careful not to let any wax or silicone in the area. A few loose molecules in the air and disaster strikes. But here was a product that I knew would not get away, bees wax. So went to work and hatched a plan.

Waxed the inside of the glass and a small area on the outside edge, then applied low heat from a hair dryer to make the wax flow out and eliminate any irregularities. I now had decided to make a fiberglass mould. With fiberglass mat one layer thick (only!)on a sheet of waxed paper I saturated the glass mat and transfered it to the inside of the glass, removed the waxed paper and carefully worked all of the bubbles out of the resin with a short, stiff bristle brush. After it cured I was able to lift it from the glass and trim it out to the correct size. Now you are thinking that one layer is not sufficient, and yes there is some flexibility to the mould. But if you set it down and press on it you will see that because it is shaped like an egg it is very difficult to deform. The face is easily cleaned with lacquer thinner and then scuffed with sand paper to give it some tooth.

Now that I had a good mould I printed the image on canvas, coated lightly with mat spray and mounted it to the backing with Miracle Muck. The canvas has enough stretch that if you begin in the center and work your way around the edges there are no wrinkles. To accomplish this I placed the parts on a board with a piece of the brown release paper that comes in the Epson paper boxes (glue won't stick and its free). Began working from the center and just stapled it down all around. Next day I removed the staples, trimmed the image out, leaving enough to fold around the back and glue.

You can now mount the image as you prefer, touching the glass or not by the way you trim or space it. Of course all of this depends on whether you are cool with canvas as the image substrate or not. I can tell you it looked good and the customer was happy and that's what counts. I am sure that if I had pursued the paper route I would still be working it out. This procedure is cheap, safe , and repeatable

 
Hope this helps,  Ray
 

   

 
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davidh202
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 08:05:17 PM »
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I frame photos (and restorations) with convex glass, , but I don't worry about the curvature of the print itself as it really isn't that important unless the client insists  Wink
One of the original methods that larger 'studio photo' production companies used  to form the convex print, was to shape it in  specially  designed pressure molds with steam and heat similar to the way felt hats were produced.


http://www2.rangefindermag.com/magazine/archives/July01/frames.tml  

a quote from this....
"Brisebois said that bending or bowing of photos today was too complicated and costly a process to make it practical. His frames, he said, offer the next best alternative".
Ray has a good idea with pliable canvas.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 09:49:17 PM by davidh202 » Logged
framah
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 10:31:20 AM »
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I think i have it.... my only question: is the fiberglass shell now the backer for the image? Are you gluing the canvas onto the fiberglass shell?

Thank you for taking the time to post this. Sometime this winter, when I'm dead slow in here, I'll give it a try.
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Ray Cox
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 04:09:12 PM »
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Framah... yes that is correct, the canvas is stretched over the fiberglass shell and attached with the adhesive.  There are many more things that I could have added to the post, but I cut to the chase scene. A lot of trial and error involved here.  Although after I have thought out this process, I believe it would be possible to greatly simplify it and almost make it routine with the correct tools. Fabricated a stretching devise in my head that would really simplify things.

I sure hope you don't get dead slow!

Perhaps another image would help. Hopefully, you can see the row of staples around the perimeter of the shell. These remain there until the adhesive has set, removed and the canvas is then trimmed with enough to make the back wrap.     Ray

 
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