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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Gluing primed polyester canvas to boardApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-12-31 09:23:24 ... Most recent comment 2018-01-01 06:35:36
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    ​Happy New Year dear Mitra people

    I have been struggling to find a way to glue primed polyester canvas to Masonite (Hardboard) panels. My problem is that the canvas is fairly lightweight and very prone to deformation/ wrinkles. My attempts to glue it to panel so far havent been very successful. I keep getting little air pockets under the polyester canvas, despite using a roller to push the fabric down and weighting it with heavy books etc. I’ve tried PVA, acrylic matte medium gel, solvent based contact adhesive and acrylic based contact adhesive. So far, the  best results have been with the solvent based contact adhesive—but the fumes are dreadful. (I am aware of the measures I must take to avoid hazardous exposure to them by the way) and I’m not too sure about it’s soundness from a conservation POV. I thought it might help to stretch the canvas on a stretcher, then stiffen it with rabbit skin glue, then remove it and glue it to a panel. Unfortunately it’s almost as difficult to stretch as it is to glue down. So I’ve given up on that idea. My next plan is to use rabbit skin glue to glue it to the panel. I am aware of all the problems associated with rabbit skin glue but still feel (or should I say hope) it will work better than anything else for my purposes. It also has the advantage of being reversible. My questions are : what ratio of RSG to water would you recommend? My old Painters Handbook (like all art technique books) contradicts itself. On one page it recommends the same ratio as normal RSG size (1 part rsg to 10 parts water). But then tucked away on another page, the suggested ratio for RSG as an adhesive is given as 3 parts to 10 parts water. I seem to remember that Ralph Mayer recommended a recipe that was similarly stronger for RSG as an adhesive as opposed to as a size, But I can’t find that reference currently despite looking for it in my old book.

Answers and Comments
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Outside of the general concerns about animal glues, I would not recommend it to adhere a synthetic material. It does not stick well to these materials and its lack of gap filling makes it a poor choice in this instance. I would not recommend any contact cement. They are often very acidic any are really not meant for artwork. I think that the best results would probably be with a heat activated and stable adhesive like BEVA, although you may still have issues given the thin nature of the fabric.

    An acrylic gel medium is probably the best cold adhesive for this purpose. I understand the difficulty of stretching. How about trying something like this: Pre-stretch the fabric on a working stretcher large enough to allow you to place your panel within the back of the stretcher chassis. Apply the acrylic gel to the reverse of the stretched fabric (within the opening of the stretcher bars). Place your panel on the adhesive, face down. Weigh the back of the panel with books, etc. Let the panel dry a day or two and then cut the fabric from the stretcher bars and trip to size. If you try this let us know the results Also, others here may have additional thoughts or tips.

    Brian Baade
    2017-12-31 11:24:21
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks Brian, I will try that. Good to know that RSG isn’t suitable for synthetic fabrics. It’s very hard to get any information on working with polyester canvas. On washing and scrubbing out the RSG on the back of the stretched canvases (without detaching them from the stretchers, which hopefully won’t warp) I found, happily,  that a lot of the puckering that had developed on stretching the canvas seemed to disappear. I might have gotten this effect by simply spritzing the back of the canvas heavily with water had I not needed to get the RSG out. Hopefully the puckering won’t come back once the canvas is fully dry! If I’m lucky and it doesn’t reappear, it should make it easier to try out your suggestion. Thanks again, Jenny

    2018-01-01 06:35:36
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