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Author Topic: A few gator board question  (Read 1377 times)
PeterAit
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« on: January 25, 2013, 08:16:25 AM »
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I have searched thru the many posts on this mounting material and was not able to find answers to a few questions - any help will be much appreciated.

1) Is the 3/16 inch board suitable for stand-alone mounting or does it need additional support? Sizes up to 24 x 40 ".

2) Who is a good supplier for cut sheets, particularly in the thicker sizes? I don't need it cut to my precise sizes, but don't want to deal with full sheets. For example, 30 x 40 sheets would be OK. In central North Carolina would be great, but not essential.

3) How do you deal with the exposed edges of the board? Is using the black-on-black gator board a good solution?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
View my photos at http://www.peteraitken.com
Justan
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 10:41:38 AM »
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> 1) Is the 3/16 inch board suitable for stand-alone mounting or does it need additional support? Sizes up to 24 x 40 ".

I use Ό” gator for up to 24” x 72” and it is entirely suitable by itself as far as being rigid and able to be somewhat safely transported, if properly protected. I use it in combination with a frame. If I were to use it alone, for the sake of aesthetics, I’d go with ½” version.

> 2) Who is a good supplier for cut sheets, particularly in the thicker sizes? I don't need it cut to my precise sizes, but don't want to deal with full sheets. For example, 30 x 40 sheets would be OK. In central North Carolina would be great, but not essential.

I buy from a local supply company and suggest doing the same, if at all possible. Shipping something this size can get obnoxiously expensive.

>3) How do you deal with the exposed edges of the board? Is using the black-on-black gator board a good solution?

I don’t do this but know of some who have wrapped the ends of the paper or canvas around the edge of the gator. The edges is where gator is most vulnerable as it is easily damaged.

Fwiw you can buy a roughly 2” wood frame this size at pictureframes.com for about $100 and a metal frame for less.
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 01:18:46 PM »
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Would just add that if you are using relatively thin media, for instance thin RC papers, you should avoid black gator because it will drag down the bright areas of the print a bit because the media is slightly translucent.  But for thick, perfectly opaque media like canvas mounted with glue, black is a good choice because it visually helps you get the glue spread out evenly.

As Justan mentioned the bare edges of Gator are beyond delicate.  A trivial bump into anything will dent it, and if you hand such a piece to an average buyer he will within seconds bump it against something, guaranteed.  The cheap fix is to carefully trim off 1/8" or so.

Companies that supply sign makers usually carry Gator, also many suppliers of sheet plastic.  I like Piedmont Plastics.   Online companies like this will sell you Gator for about 2.5 times the price of a wholesale supplier, not even counting the considerable shipping costs your local supplier doesn't charge you for.  Most suppliers will cut 4x8 foot down to custom sizes for you.  There is usually a charge of $10 per session for any reasonable number of cuts.

Oh, here's an online company that sells Mighty Core in 30 x 40, 25 sheets to a carton.  They're only charging about twice the wholesale price, not counting shipping.  Mighty Core is a Gator clone.  Comes in 1/4" instead of 3/16".  I actually prefer 3/16" because of framing issues, but 1/4" would of course be more rigid and beefier looking when seen bare.
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Graham Clark
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 01:08:40 AM »
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Hello Peter,

For a good solid year I produced images on Gatorboard for wall-mounting without frames. My experience is that this method is good, but not great. I designed a custom wood back hanger with brass wire to float it off the wall. If someone purchases it and it lives on the wall then the print can survive, but if you're moving it from gallery to gallery etc., dings on the corners are inevitable. Keep in mind that this method is far from archival as the print is exposed to the elements. This should only be considered if you're going for a quantity approach, like for Sunday markets etc. where Canvas might appeal.

For free-hanging always go for 1/2" Gatorboard. For framing, 3/16" is better for the frame shops (and it's less expensive).

Graham
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Graham Clark  |  grahamclarkphoto.com
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