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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Minor warping of Baltic Birch plywood with traditional RSG gesso.ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2019-05-01 09:37:26 ... Most recent comment 2019-05-01 12:33:35
    Animal Glue Egg Tempera Rigid Supports Grounds / Priming

    Another panel question!

     I recently purchased a 5'x5' sheet of ¾" Baltic birch plywood and cut into 30"x30" pieces for use as panels.

    For two of these pieces:

    I applied a coat of RSG size, muslin adhered with RSG, and 8 layers of traditional gesso on BOTH SIDES of the panel. Save my application of cloth to both sides of the panel, my method generally followed instructions for gessoing detailed in Daniel V Thompson and Koo Schadler books. About 3 days of drying and the panels have warped a small amount in one direction. If I set a rigid rule from edge to edge of the panel, I can see about 1.5-2mm space between the center of the panel and the rule. Hanging the panel on the wall, the warp is barely noticeable, but I wonder, is this evidence of even greater instability of my panels in the near future? Or, if I'm willing to accept the current warp, could I paint them (with egg tempera), shellac the back, with any confidence?

    I've had extremely bad luck workign on plywood and also custom made panels in terms of warping at the gesso stage at this scale of 30"+

    Still learning a lot from this forum, thank you,


Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    That is really a very minor amount of warping (certainly far less than one sees on most historic paintings on wooden panels). I cannot see into the future but I would not expect that this is a sign of later problems and your panels are likely perfectly suitable for use as a painting substrate. The big issue with plywood panels is the grain checking through the ground, which is almost universal if there is no fabric interleaf (which is not the case here). Certainly thin panels should be braced to offset severe warping (again, this is not the case here).  

    Brian Baade
    2019-05-01 12:33:35

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