Dry mounting Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet paper

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Trish Williams, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. I am a new illustrator printing my work on Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet
    paper or Epson Matte Paper Heavyweight, for sale in the fine art
    market. I have been having my work professionally dry mounted but am
    finding the cost prohibitive. In an attempt to learn to do this myself
    I have looked for information in Google Groups and discovered that the
    process is to dry mount the corners of the photo paper in a dry mount
    press. The images I have had professionally mounted seem to be
    completly adheared to the mounting board, not just in the corners. An
    exacto knife inserted under the edges cannot lift the page. Is this
    possible? Do you know if the process for this thinner paper is
    different from photo paper? Can you recommend a dry mount press for
    this purpose? I have been looking on E-Bay for a mounting press but
    hesitate to purchase a press that may not be able to mount my images.
    Trish Williams, Nov 1, 2004
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  2. No. I don't know what you read, but you misunderstood it.

    Dry mounting bonds the entire artwork to the support. A sheet of
    wax-infused tissue is placed between the artwork and the support and
    the entire assembly is placed in a very hot press that looks much like
    a giant sandwich press of the sort used to make panini (ugh) or Cuban
    sandwiches (yum!).

    What I have been wondering, myself, is what that much heat does to the
    permanence of the Epson ink and paper. It's not clear to me that it's
    actually designed to be dry-mounted.

    A better option may be 3M Repositionable Adhesive, which is also
    usually considered archival. It is somewhat annoying to work with, in
    my experience, but no heat is required. Spray adhesive, glue,
    double-stick tape, etc -- those are definitely no-nos.

    If you cannot find a working solution that bonds the entire print to
    the support you will need to hinge the print with archival linen
    tape, or use clear polyethylene corners to hold the corners of the
    print in place. The latter solution usually works better for small
    prints, the former for large ones; but I do not know how well the
    linen tape will stick to the very slippery Epson inkjet paper.

    All these materials are available from Light Impressions.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Nov 1, 2004
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  3. Generally, you'll tack the corners using a tacking iron (looks like a
    tiny clothes iron on a handle like a soldering iron), to hold the print
    and dry mount tissue in place, then put the assembly (with cover paper,
    usually, to protect the print surface from anything that might be on the
    press platen) into the dry mount press for all-over adhesion.

    I can't help you with recommendations; it's been about thirty years
    since I dry mounted anything.

    The challenge to the photographer is to command the medium, to use
    whatever current equipment and technology furthers his creative
    objectives, without sacrificing the ability to make his own decisions.
    -- Ansel Adams

    Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

    Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
    and don't expect them to be perfect.
    Donald Qualls, Nov 1, 2004
  4. Trish Williams

    f/256 Guest

    See if your local library has or can get for you "The Life of a Photograph:
    Archival Processing, Matting, Framing, and Storage" ISNB#0240800249

    f/256, Nov 1, 2004
  5. No! You don't want to tack the tissue to the art or mat at more than
    one place -- that's the best way to wrinkle the tissue when it goes
    into the press and guarantee a permanently damaged work.

    One tack to the art, one tack to the support; that's all.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Nov 1, 2004
  6. I agree with Thor, the 3M sheet is a sensible alternative which, as far as I
    am aware, has no vices. I have a drymount press, but it kills any inkjet
    print at 80C with a gloss surface.
    Christopher Woodhouse, Nov 1, 2004
  7. "Thor Lancelot Simon"
    I found a 'one-tack' method would shift on me when mounting large prints.

    FWIW: I tack the MT to the print at the center. Trim both together.
    Make corner marks on the mount. Takc the tissue at the corners, being
    very careful to stretch the tissue out so there are no wrinkles. Toss
    the mess into the press.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Nov 1, 2004
  8. Trish Williams

    Ken Hart Guest

    Absolutely, if you're careful and practiced.
    Usually less time and/or heat required
    Mine is an old (25+ years!) Seal. No, it's not for sale!
    a press that may not be able to mount my images.
    Make sure the platen is clean and smooth. It would be good if the platen is
    large enough to mount your largest photo, but you can mount in more than one
    pass, if you're careful!

    _General_ basic info: Dry mounting requires a press that heats to 160F to
    250F (more or less), and temperature sensitive mounting paper (a tissue-like
    paper that is covered on both sides with a glue that melts in the press).
    There are different types of dry-mount tissue that adhere at various
    temperatures. Older fiber-based photo papers could withstand higher
    temperatures, so the tissue might adhere at 220 to 250F. Modern RC photo
    papers can't withstand high heat, so tissue for these papers might adhere at
    180F. Thicker papers may require longer time or higher heat to properly

    _General_ mounting procedure: Warm up the press to the proper temp for your
    mounting tissue. Make sure that your mounting board and photo are completely
    dry by placing both in the press for a few minutes (without the mounting
    tissue). Tack the mounting tissue to the back of the photo in the center
    using the tacking iron (or an ordinary clothes iron that you don't mind
    getting gunk on!). Trim the tissue and photo to the desired size/shape.
    Position both on the mounting board; hold the photo securely in the center,
    lift each corner and tack the tissue to the mounting board. The photo is now
    tacked to the tissue in the center, the tissue is tacked to the board at the
    corners. Put the whole unit in the press for the appropriate length of time
    (30 seconds?) to melt the adhesive entirely. Remove the board and photo,
    place on a cool, hard surface (kitchen counter?) under a heavy weight
    (several college physics/philosophy textbooks) for 10-15 minutes.

    The whole process is very easy the seventh or eighth time you do it!
    Variables to watch for are how much heat will your photo withstand, and how
    much heat will the mount board absorb before the tissue adheres to it. Keep
    your work area and the press platen (the heated part) clean. Any dirt that
    gets between the mount board and the photo will make a permanent bump; any
    dirt between the photo and the platen will make a permanent dimple.

    Ken Hart
    Ken Hart, Nov 2, 2004
  9. I drymount inkjet prints all the time using luster, glossy and matt surfaces
    without any problems. If there was going to be any damage to the ink it
    would show up immediately and would not affect the lifespan of the print.
    Problems with altering the surface texture of a print are usually caused
    by several things. First, is that the press may be too hot. 80C or 180F is
    generally considered safe for RC types of photopaper, but if that is an
    issue there are tissues that will work down to 75C/160F. It is also possible
    that the work is being kept in the press too long. Usually with common
    thickness mat board one minute is enough.
    Another thing is to make sure that both the board and the print are dried
    before bonding. Heat without pressure for 30 seconds or so on each side
    to drive off moisture.
    The last important thing to watch for is the covering of the artwork when
    it is in the press. Usually the best thing is a full size piece of release
    paper with several layers of plain paper or Seal's "cover sheet" above that.
    You don't want to have the print in contact with the metal heating surface or
    have bumps in it get embossed into the print.
    Finally, after removing keep the whole sandwich together and cool under
    weights (I use a bunch of hardcover books).

    The museum market doesn't like drymounting much, but if you look at old
    photos you will find that the dry mounting tissue has acted as a buffer and
    protected the print from impurities in the mat, so that in many cases the
    print is fine and the old mat is starting to discolor and crumble.
    Newer "archival" mats may not have this problem, we will see.
    Robert Feinman, Nov 2, 2004
  10. I don't see how we know that that's necessarily the case. The inks suffer
    chemical degradation for many reasons, and the process can clearly be sped
    up -- blast them with UV light for a short while and you _will_ take years
    off their eventual lifetime. I'd be reassured to know that that were not
    the case with head in the 180F range, but I don't think it's safe to just
    assume that that's how it is.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Nov 2, 2004
  11. Yep, done all that. The issue seems to be particularly with the slow dry
    inkjet papers like Ilford Classic and Epson Colorlife. My DM film is the
    lowest temperature one I can get in the UK and needs between 70 and 80C for
    2mins between two mountboards in a seal press. Less than that and the print
    will lift. Putting a release paper on top doesn't work either. The actual
    gloss surface is lifting. As you say, RC paper isn't an issue if the print
    is kept below 80 and a couple of minutes.
    Christopher Woodhouse, Nov 2, 2004
  12. Trish Williams

    prep Guest

    Get that book and read it cover to cover!

    Do not dry mount anything you care about. Even if the process is
    `perfect' it makes it impossible to to remove the work from the
    backing if re-mounting is needed in the future.

    Hinges and rice paste cost only a few c per mount.

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
    prep, Nov 3, 2004
  13. That's simply not true. Modern archival mounting tissue can be removed
    by simple reapplication of heat. Hinges and paste, or linen tape, often
    must be trimmed from the print with a knife -- I have often been quite
    amused to hear this slicing away of part of the print as evidence of a
    "reversible" mounting process. Sure, you can _supposedly_ soak or steam
    rice paste away (_supposedly_ without damaging the gelatin emulsion that's
    sitting right next to it -- ha!) which I consider about as likely as
    reversing a dry-mounting job done with traditional (not modern "archival")
    tissue: possible, but very difficult and failure-prone at best.

    The only truly reversible "mounting" process is use of corners, whether
    paper or intert plastic, with inert adhesive. The problem, of course,
    is that these don't reliably hold large, heavy, highly flexible prints
    in place, much less flat, over long periods of time; in other words, they
    are reversible, but they aren't much by way of _mounting_. Meanwhile,
    there is considerable evidence that modern dry mounting techniques,
    coupled with modern archival boards, actually _protect_ prints from
    contamination all too common in display environments by removing the
    opportunity for contaiminants to reach 50% of the total surface area of
    the print itself (the back).

    I have come around to the point of view that prints that will be
    displayed, then, should be dry-mounted; while prints for archival storage
    should not be mounted _at all_. You just can't have it both ways.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Nov 3, 2004
  14. Trish Williams

    otzi Guest

    Take a look at this.

    otzi, Nov 4, 2004
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