Fine Framers provides specialist conservation framing and museum framing services for items of significant financial, historical, or sentimental value.
With conservation framing and museum framing, the item(s) we frame won’t suffer damage over time from the sun’s rays, from adhesives used, or from any other aspect of the framing process.
It will prolong the item’s life while still allowing it to be displayed for viewing and admiration by others.
We carry out all our conservation framing and museum framing to the highest standards of the Fine Art Trade Guild. This is the leading institution for framers in Ireland and the UK.
Three of our staff members have completed specialist training in conservation framing with the Guild, with one of them progressing to advanced level.
We know of no other framers in the area who can offer such high levels of expertise.
When is conservation framing or museum framing recommended?
We recommend conservation framing or museum framing in all cases involving items of high financial, historical, sentimental value.
The specialist materials and procedures we use will protect valuable artwork, and will prolong the life of 3D objects such as jerseys, baby shoes/clothes, or other items.
One of our expert staff members will talk you through the measures involved and their benefits when you bring the item(s) to us. Together, we will decide the perfect framing plan for you.
The very best type of framing
The high standards required of both conservation framing and museum framing can be seen from how they rank at the top of the Five Levels of Framing guide, as laid down by the Fine Art Trade Guild:
|Museum Framing||To offer the ultimate level of protection from the environment and framing materials for up to 35 years in normal conditions. Frames should be professionally examined every five years.||Collectable Artwork that is to be kept for future generations, e.g. original paintings and limited editions of moderate to high value. Processes must be fully reversible.|
|Conservation Framing||To visually enhance artwork and offer a high level of protection from physical and mechanical damage, airborne pollutants and acids generated by framing materials, for approximately 20 years under normal conditions.||Museum quality works to be preserved for the future, including high value items and art of potential or historical value. Processes must be fully reversible.|
|Budget Framing||To provide a visually acceptable frame at a budget price. No pretence is made to protect the artwork or its long term appearance.||Replaceable artwork of no commercial or sentimental value.|
|Minimum Framing||To provide a basic frame at minimum cost, where price considerations override visual appearance and quality.||Temporary display. An inexpensive product into which customers can insert their own work.|
Benefits of conservation framing and museum framing
Perhaps the best way of describing the benefits of conservation framing and museum framing is showing what can happen if the framer does not use these techniques.
For example, this is what happens to a plastic moulding frame if it gets a hard knock on a corner. The material becomes brittle over time and is therefore easy to break. At Fine Framers, we use only real wood frames for conservation framing and museum framing. This superior material will prevent cracks like this from occurring.
Here is a photo that was previously framed but which became badly faded over time. See the difference at the edges of the photo, where the mount protected them from sunlight. The fading occurred because the frame had regular float glass, which offers no UV protection. This photo is ruined.
This frame of prize winning rosettes and photos celebrated a number of successes at a regional sale and show. The framer used black mountboard and with float glass. The owner then hung it in a position of direct sunlight. The mountboard has severely faded from its original black colour and the photos have faded too. This is again because the framer did not use UV glass originally.
You can avoid all these issues by opting for conservation framing or museum framing when you ask us to frame your item(s). Our expert staff will help decide on the best framing technique for you.
Materials used in conservation framing and museum framing
We use only superior specialist materials in all our conservation framing and museum framing projects. This ensures the best results possible.
We can use specialist UV or museum glass to prevent the usual problem that standard float glass causes. This is that the item(s) in the frame becomes faded over time.
UV glass blocks penetration of UV light. This dramatically reduces the fading effect of the sun’s harmful rays.
Museum glass has all the benefits of UV glass but also significantly reduces the levels of reflection you will experience when viewing a glazed frame. It is more expensive but it may be the best option for some framing projects.
There are three common types of mountboard in framing:
- Cotton museum mountboard – Made from 100% cotton fibre and containing no post consumer waste (recycled pulp). It has a high level of lightfastness, and usually features an alkaline reserve buffer.
- Conservation mountboard – Made from chemically reduced wood pulp and contains no post consumer waste. Conservation mountboard features an alkaline reserve buffer. It does not have a specification for lightfastness.
- Standard mountboard – Made from chemically reduced wood pulp or mechanically beaten wood pulp. May contain post consumer waste . Most standard boards are buffered with an alkaline reserve.
In practice, if the framer uses standard mountboard, evidence of acid burn will develop over time. This manifests itself in the form of brown stains. We avoid this by choosing cotton museum mountboard or conservation mountboard instead.
Another strategic use of mountboard is to prevent the problems that occur when a framer places a piece of artwork in direct contact with glass. Doing so means that changing temperatures and conditions will result in condensation on the inside of the glass surface, damaging the artwork. The artwork may even permanently stick to the glass.
However, using a mountboard with a window mount maintains an air space between the artwork and the glass. This is the prime function of using a window mount in a frame assembly.
As specialist suppliers of conservation framing and museum framing services, we take great care with the types and quantities of adhesives used.
Others not so well versed in conservation framing and museum framing techniques may use cellotape, masking tape, and even packing tape. This should be avoided. Their use will damage artwork irreversibly if they come into direct contact with artwork and objects to secure them in the framing assembly.
If we do require tapes and adhesives, we use only water reversible and pH neutral types. Their properties to prevent any damage to the artwork.
We also take great care with the moulding (framework) we use in all conservation framing and museum framing projects.
We make sure the moulding has a deep enough rebate to hold the glazing, window mount, artwork, undermount, and back board. It must be strong enough to support the whole package.
We glue the mitred corners as well as pin them. If the moulding is to come into direct contact with the artwork, we seal the inside rebate of the moulding, to protect the artwork.
Fittings and hangings
Finally, we ensure that the fittings and hangings to be used do not adversely affect the artwork or other item(s) framed either.
We make sure that the hanging fittings are adequately strong and secure. We also attach pads or buffers to the bottom corners of the frame. This is to allow air circulation over the back of the item(s) framed. Air circulation is important to prevent mould forming and transfer of dampness from a wall.
Care of conservation framing and museum framing items
We offer the following advice for care of items that are framed using or conservation framing and museum framing techniques and expertise:
- Framed pictures should not be stored upside down or on their sides. Doing so may cause the artwork mounting hinges to give way, and/or the artwork to slip inside the frame.
- When stacked, pictures should be back to back and face to face, to avoid damage from hanging fittings.
- You should hang items out of direct sunlight. Also hang them away from heat sources such as radiators. This is because you must avoid extreme changes in temperature near the item(s).
- Care must be taken when cleaning the glazing to ensure none migrates behind the glazing.
Contact us for conservation framing and museum framing needs and advice
If you have an item that may require conservation framing or museum framing, or if you would like further information on what is the best option, just contact us for expert and no-obligation advice.
You can also call to us at Wexford Road Business Park, Carlow, during normal opening hours: 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday (Closed for lunch 1 to 2 p.m., and closed all day Sunday)