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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Mounting canvas and paper to wood panelsApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2019-02-11 15:39:36 ... Most recent comment 2019-02-16 11:41:10
    Sizes and Adhesives Grounds / Priming Rigid Supports Flexible Supports

    ​Hello dear people from MITRA.

    I wanted to ask some questions regarding mounting on wood panels.

    1. Do you think that 9mm birch plywood is ok to use as a base for mounting  canvases, papers?  If not, what kind of wood do you think is better to use as a base for mounting?  

    2. Before mounting a canvas/paper to wood, do you think that wood should be sized with something? And if you do, with what kind of sizer? 

    3.When mounting a linen canvas/paper what kind of glue should i use? I have heard people using Golden Soft Gel as a glue for mounting canvases/papers , or some kind of PVA glue...? 

    4. Do you think that this practice of mounting canvas/paper on wood panel is archival? 

    Thank you

    Marko Karadjinovic

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

     I think this application requires a sturdier panel material. ​I have seen boards that thin easily distorted by the force of shrinking fabric or paper.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2019-02-11 16:27:55
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Hi there....not sure if you have had a chance to look at our resources section, but some of the questions you pose above are addressed there (for example in our "Rigid Supports" document that you can find here: Take a look and let us know if you have more questions!

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2019-02-11 16:43:18
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Hi Kristin,

    I understand that plywood is not manufactured for artists, to fine art specifications.  Still, I've always thought of plywood as a slightly better support than solid wood because of the greater stability given by multiple plys.  

    I was re-reading the "Rigid Supports" document and it says, "Plywood....[is] not considered sufficiently stable for permanent use", followed by various caveats and recommendations for how to improve the longevity of a plywood panel.  Pros, cons and considerations are similarly given for solid wood, but I didn't see an equivalent statement, i.e. solid wood panels are not considered sufficiently stable for permanent use.  So, understanding that any wood-based support (natural or engineered) has inherent challenges, is plywood a more problematic choice than solid wood? 




    2019-02-15 12:37:35
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Hi Koo.

    I am answering, rather than Kristin, as this position on MITRA originated with myself. It is my view that the stresses inherent in plywood, due to the way in which the plys are created, will very often create checking in the ground over time. I base this on decades of looking as students and professionals who used birch ply and other supposed higher quality plywoods, and simply applied a glue, casein, or acrylic dispersion ground over the sized plywood. So many of these developed checks along the grain lines overtime, often these were visible the first time they were displayed. This subject has been discussed earlier here on MITRA but I see that you commented on the salient thread. Kristin and I were just on a panel at CAA. One of the panelists (Rustin Levenson coauthor if Seeing Through Paintings and owner of three large and busy private conservation firms across the US) showed examples of delamination of individual plys in works that have been in her conservation studios.

    It is certainly true that wooden panels can and do have a host of potential problems, but the above is less the case than warping. I do believe that a canvas interlayer is a smart and possibly integral choice for solid wood panels as well. Now other experts may disagree with my general assessment. The opinion espoused in our resources section and on the forum is based primarily on my long-term observations and conversations with others in the field.

    Brian Baade
    2019-02-15 19:14:59
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​To make sure I understand: are you saying that alternating plys, with each ply reacting to changes in RH differently, create greater stresses in a panel than, for example, a solid piece of wood, which also expands and shrinks from RH but at least does so consistently, as a unit?  

    I have seen the grain pattern of plywood telegraph through paint layers (specifically egg tempera), creating hairline cracks that follow the grain pattern - so I always recommend plywood (and solid wood) be covered with fabric, which I thought sufficient to address the problem.  But it seems more accurate that fabric merely mitigates the problem; and that the long term stresses within alternating plys (that are at odds with one another, so to speak) ultimately will prove more problematic than the initial stability the plys imparted - yes?

    I hadn't heard of problems with high quality plywoods delaminating, so that is an additional mark against it.  Thanks for these clarifications - I'll think twice about recommending plywood over solid wood. 

    By the way, I've been experimenting with egg tempera on ACM panels.  Drybrush works well, but water intensive applications of paint take much longer to dry (as there is no wood "sponge" underneath to help control the water), which slows the process, creates more lifting. So no perfect answers yet for an egg tempera support. 


    2019-02-16 08:34:13
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Sorry for not being clear. We just returned for NYC last night and my brain was not up to par. I am not saying that plywood creates greater stresses due to the laminate state just that tensions inherent in the manufacturing means that without a barrier, the grain will telegraph (as you put it) through the ground layers. I believe (but am not positive) that the delamination of plys were a result of impacts to the corners of the artwork executed on plywood. Certainly, hardboard panels are even more sensitive to impacts to the sides and corners so that is a separate issue.  I am also not saying that all plywood panels are equal. Birch plywood is the material that I see most often (ignoring works executed on cheap common plywood) and have seen dozens/hundreds of examples of this checking (or telegraphing). I do suspect that the very nature of plywood would promote this defect to varying degrees with all plywoods but it would require a long term study with different plywood, size layers, grounds, and paint media to make a definitive statement on the subject.

    Brian Baade
    2019-02-16 11:41:10
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks for the clarification. Thanks also for attending to MITRA questions amidst the busyness of life.  Koo

    2019-02-16 17:30:01

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